Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
Andrew Marvell. 1621–1678
  
358. The Picture of Little T. C. in a
Prospect of Flowers
  
SEE with what simplicity 
    This nymph begins her golden days! 
      In the green grass she loves to lie, 
  And there with her fair aspect tames 
  The wilder flowers, and gives them names;         5
    But only with the roses plays, 
                       And them does tell 
What colour best becomes them, and what smell. 
 
      Who can foretell for what high cause 
    This darling of the gods was born?  10
      Yet this is she whose chaster laws 
  The wanton Love shall one day fear, 
  And, under her command severe, 
    See his bow broke and ensigns torn. 
                      Happy who can  15
Appease this virtuous enemy of man! 
 
      O then let me in time compound 
    And parley with those conquering eyes, 
      Ere they have tried their force to wound; 
  Ere with their glancing wheels they drive  20
  In triumph over hearts that strive, 
    And them that yield but more despise: 
                       Let me be laid, 
Where I may see the glories from some shade. 
 
      Meantime, whilst every verdant thing  25
    Itself does at thy beauty charm, 
      Reform the errors of the Spring; 
  Make that the tulips may have share 
  Of sweetness, seeing they are fair, 
    And roses of their thorns disarm;  30
                       But most procure 
That violets may a longer age endure. 
 
      But O, young beauty of the woods, 
    Whom Nature courts with fruits and flowers, 
      Gather the flowers, but spare the buds;  35
  Lest Flora, angry at thy crime 
  To kill her infants in their prime, 
    Do quickly make th' example yours; 
                      And ere we see, 
Nip in the blossom all our hopes and thee.  40
 
 
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