On a Drop of Dew

By Andrew Marvell 1621–1678 Andrew Marvell
See how the orient dew,
Shed from the bosom of the morn   
   Into the blowing roses,
Yet careless of its mansion new,
For the clear region where ’twas born   
   Round in itself incloses:
   And in its little globe’s extent,
Frames as it can its native element.
   How it the purple flow’r does slight,   
      Scarce touching where it lies,
   But gazing back upon the skies,   
      Shines with a mournful light,
         Like its own tear,
Because so long divided from the sphere.
   Restless it rolls and unsecure,
      Trembling lest it grow impure,
   Till the warm sun pity its pain,   
And to the skies exhale it back again.
      So the soul, that drop, that ray   
Of the clear fountain of eternal day,   
Could it within the human flow’r be seen,
      Remembering still its former height,
      Shuns the sweet leaves and blossoms green,
      And recollecting its own light,
Does, in its pure and circling thoughts, express
The greater heaven in an heaven less.   
      In how coy a figure wound,   
      Every way it turns away:   
      So the world excluding round,   
      Yet receiving in the day,
      Dark beneath, but bright above,
      Here disdaining, there in love.
   How loose and easy hence to go,
   How girt and ready to ascend,
   Moving but on a point below,
   It all about does upwards bend.
Such did the manna’s sacred dew distill,   
White and entire, though congealed and chill,   
Congealed on earth : but does, dissolving, run   
Into the glories of th’ almighty sun.

Source: Complete Poems

(1996)

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Poet Andrew Marvell 1621–1678

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Religion, Nature

 Andrew  Marvell

Biography

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 Religion, Nature

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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