The Garden

James Shirley 1596 (London) – 1666 (London)

This Garden does not take my eyes,
Though here you show how art of men
Can purchase Nature at a price
Would stock old Paradise again.

These glories while you dote upon,
I envy not your spring nor pride,
Nay, boast the summer all your own,
My thoughts with less are satisified.

Give me a little plot of ground,
Where might I with the Sun agree,
Though every day he walk the round,
My Garden he should seldom see.

Those Tulips that such wealth display,
To court my eye, shall lose their name,
Though now they listen, as if they
Expected I should praise their name.

But I would see my self appear
Within the Violet's drooping head,
On which a melancholy tear
The discontented morn hath shed.

Within their buds let Roses sleep,
And virgin Lilies on their stem,
Till sighs from lovers glide, and creep
Into their leaves to open them.

I'th'center of my ground compose
Of Bays and Yew my summer room,
Which may so oft as I repose,
Present my arbor, and my tomb.

No woman here shall find me out,
Or if a chance do bring one hither,
I'll be secure, for round about
I'll moat it with my eyes' foul weather.

No bird shall live within my pale,
To charm me with their shames of art,
Unless some wandering Nightingale
Come here to sing and break her heart.

Upon whose death I'll try to write
An epitaph in some funeral stone,
So sad, and true, it may invite
My self to die, and prove mine own.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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James Shirley

James Shirley (or Sherley) was an English dramatist. He belonged to the great period of English dramatic literature, but, in Charles Lamb's words, he "claims a place among the worthies of this period, not so much for any transcendent genius in himself, as that he was the last of a great race, all of whom spoke nearly the same language and had a set of moral feelings and notions in common." His career of play writing extended from 1625 to the suppression of stage plays by Parliament in 1642. more…

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    "The Garden" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 30 Oct. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/20501/the-garden>.

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