The Picture of Little T. C. in a Prospect of Flowers

By Andrew Marvell 1621–1678 Andrew Marvell
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:
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!
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
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
In triumph over hearts that strive,
And them that yield but more despise.
                           Let me be laid,
Where I may see thy glories from some shade.

Meantime, whilst every verdant thing
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:
                           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;
Lest Flora angry at thy crime,
To kill her infants in their prime,
Do quickly make the example yours;
                           And, ere we see,
Nip in the blossom all our hopes and thee.

Source: Complete Poems (1996)

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Poet Andrew Marvell 1621–1678


SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Nature, Youth, Landscapes & Pastorals, Living, Infancy

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Pastoral

 Andrew  Marvell


In an era that makes a better claim than most upon the familiar term transitional, Andrew Marvell is surely the single most compelling embodiment of the change that came over English society and letters in the course of the seventeenth century. Author of a varied array of exquisite lyrics that blend Cavalier grace with Metaphysical wit and complexity, Marvell turned, first, into a panegyrist for the Lord Protector and his regime . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Youth, Landscapes & Pastorals, Living, Infancy


SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Pastoral

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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