Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
 
The Garden (from Poems)
By James Shirley (1596–1666)
 
[1646]

THIS garden does not take my eyes,
Though here you show how art of men
Can purchase nature at such price
Would stock old Paradise again.
 
These glories while you dote upon,        5
I envy not your spring nor pride;
Nay boast the summer all your own,
My thoughts with less are satisfied.
 
Give me a little plot of ground,
Where might I with the sun agree,        10
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        15
Expected I should praise their flame.
 
But I would see myself appear
Within the violet’s drooping head,
On which a melancholy tear
The discontented morn hath shed.        20
 
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’ centre of my ground compose        25
Of bays and yew my summer-room,
Which may, so oft as I repose,
Present my arbour and my tomb.
 
No woman here shall find me out,
Or if a chance do bring one hither,        30
I ’ll be secure, for round about
I ’ll moat it with my eyes’ foul weather.
 
No birds shall live within my pale,
To charm me with their shames of art,
Unless some wandering nightingale        35
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
Myself to die, and prove mine own.        40
 
 
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