How does Andrew Marvell use form and structure to shape meaning in "The Garden"?
"The Garden" by Andrew Marvell is an interesting work, though at first glance there does not seem to be anything particularly striking about the form and structure of the poem. Upon closer examination, however, those two essential elements actually help create meaning in this poem.
The speaker of this Marvell poem contrasts the life of ease and innocence which only living in the midst of nature can provide. In contrast, a life lived in the midst of society offers nothing but busy-ness and a distinct lack of serenity.
In the first stanza, a life spent chasing achievements is vilified,
While all flow’rs and all trees do closeTo weave the garlands of repose.
Apollo hunted Daphne so,Only that she might laurel grow;And Pan did after Syrinx speed....
Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less,Withdraws into its happiness....
Casting the body’s vest aside,My soul into the boughs does glide;There like a bird it sits and sings,Then whets, and combs its silver wings;And, till prepar’d for longer flight,Waves in its plumes the various light.
Two paradises ’twere in oneTo live in paradise alone.