“Time and the Garden” is a didactic lyric written in rhyming couplets of regular iambic pentameter—that is, in heroic couplets. The speaker is the poet himself, meditating on his craft.
The poem consists of three parts. In the first part (lines 1-12), the speaker considers the springtime budding in his garden and the “excitement,” the sense of anticipation, that the spectacle arouses in him. In the second part (lines 13 to 20), he realizes that to write great poems, the poet much achieve intellectual maturity and discernment; he then concludes that the great poet’s goal and achievement are the same as those of the wise scholar.
As the poet contemplates his garden, he becomes aware of the newly revived hidden bustle in the vegetation, which manifests itself in the “darkening” tints of unfurling leaves and budding fruit. In “vine, bush, and tree,” the future is slowly ripening and building what in time will be fruits of different sizes, shapes, and tastes—“Persimmon, walnut, loquat, fig, and grape.” They will ripen in gradual stages (they “will advance in their due series”), and this measured growth will create a tranquil, enclosed space that will seem like a peaceful abode.
The poet is excited by this new burgeoning and by what time will bring; he is impatient. He wants to hurry the process of growth; “crowd the little garden”; gather up its harvest in the springtime; and then in a single moment...
(The entire section is 521 words.)