Envy

By Mary Lamb 1764–1847 Mary Lamb
This rose-tree is not made to bear
The violet blue, nor lily fair,
   Nor the sweet mignionet:
And if this tree were discontent,
Or wished to change its natural bent,
   It all in vain would fret.

And should it fret, you would suppose
It ne’er had seen its own red rose,
   Nor after gentle shower
Had ever smelled its rose’s scent,
Or it could ne’er be discontent
   With its own pretty flower.

Like such a blind and senseless tree
As I’ve imagined this to be,
   All envious persons are:
With care and culture all may find
Some pretty flower in their own mind,
   Some talent that is rare.

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Poet Mary Lamb 1764–1847

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Nature, Arts & Sciences, Trees & Flowers, Humor & Satire

Poetic Terms Simile, Rhymed Stanza

Biography

British Poet and anthologist Mary Lamb worked as a seamstress for 10 years to support her ailing family. She suffered from bipolar disorder and, during an episode in 1796, killed her mother with a kitchen knife. Her younger brother Charles, a poet and essayist who worked for the East India Company, agreed to serve as Mary’s caretaker rather than consign her to lifelong institutionalization. They lived together for nearly 40 . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Arts & Sciences, Trees & Flowers, Humor & Satire

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Poetic Terms Simile, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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