You well compacted Groves, whose light and shade
Mixt equally, produce nor heat, nor cold,
Either to burn the young, or freeze the old,
But to one even temper being made,
Upon a greene embroidering through each Glade
An Airy Silver, and a Sunny Gold,
So cloath the poorest that they do behold
Themselves, in riches that can never fade,
While the wind whistles, and the birds do sing,
While your twigs clip, and while the leaves do friss,
While the fruit ripens which those trunks do bring,
Sensless to all but love, do you not spring
Pleasure of such a kind, as truly is
A self-renewing vegetable bliss.
(1620, ‘Made upon the Groves near Merlow Castle’; from Henry Woudhuysen (ed.), The Penguin Book of Renaissance Verse 1509–1659, selected and with an introduction by David Norbrook; London: Penguin, revised edition 2005)
On Shakespeare’s anniversary I am not posting a poem by him... Today is also England’s national day, and what could be more English than a daydream of horticultural perfection from the gardens of a castle? Although maybe the castle was in Wales.
I am fond of these country house poems, Marvell’s ‘The Garden’ and Jonson’s ‘To Penshurst’ are also lovely, and I particularly like the couplet: ‘While the wind whistles, and the birds do sing, / While your twigs clip, and while the leaves do friss’, they sound very spring-like.