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Featured Poem: On A Drop of Dew by Andrew Marvell

Written by Lisa Spurgin, 15th September 2014

This week's Featured Poem is perfect to consider on these crisp and chillier mornings, when you're likely to find more than just one drop of dew on the grass. Andrew Marvell wrote in the 17th century, and as a metaphysical poet concerned with a new expression and freedom at the time, found himself in good company with other poets including John Donne and George Herbert. Perhaps his most famous poem is To My Coy Mistress, and many of his works were not published until after his death. He has gone onto receive praise from more contemporary poets, including T.S. Eliot who described him as having 'a tough reasonableness beneath the slight lyric grace'.

We're hoping that it's just dew you'll find on the ground this Monday morning, but whatever the weather this poem will give you lots to ponder.

On A Drop of Dew

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.
Andrew Marvell

2 thoughts on “Featured Poem: On A Drop of Dew by Andrew Marvell

sue margaret says:

Reblogged this on Week of tweets and commented:
As a new academic year begins hoping to make time for the ‘sacred dew distilled’ in poetry.

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