WHILE Andrew Marvell (1621-1678) dodged ripe apples dropping about his head, a falling apple apparently hit his near contemporary Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) with the concept of gravitation.

Apart from that cultural connection, this poem, “Annihilating all that’s made to a green thought in a green shade” is full of Marvell’s charm and memorable phrases; including the dubiously sincere conceit, “Two paradises ’twere in one to live in paradise alone.”



What wondrous life is this I lead!

Ripe apples drop about my head;

The luscious clusters of the vine

Upon my mouth do crush their wine;

The nectarine and curious peach

Into my hands themselves do reach;

Stumbling on melons, as I pass,

Insnared with flowers, I fall on grass.

Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less,

Withdraws into its happiness;

The mind, that ocean where each kind

Does straight its own resemblance find;

Yet it creates, transcending these,

Far other worlds and other seas,

Annihilating all that’s made

To a green thought in a green shade.

Such was that happy garden-state,

While man there walked without a mate:

After a place so pure and sweet,

What other help could yet be meet!

But ’twas beyond a mortal’s share

To wander solitary there:

Two paradises ’twere in one

To live in paradise alone.