Similizing the Brain to a Garden

The brain a garden seems, full of delight,2
Whereon3 the sun of knowledge shineth bright,
Where fancy flows, and runs in bubbling streams,
Where flowers grow4 upon the banks of dreams,
Whereon the dew of sleepy eyes doth fall,                            5
Bathing each leaf, and every flower small.
There5 various thoughts as several flowers grow:
Some milk-white innocence, as6 lilies, show,
Fancies, as painted tulips’7 colors fixt,
By Nature’s pencil neatly8 intermixt;                                      10
Some as sweet roses, which are newly blown,
Others as tender buds, not yet full9 grown;
Some, as small violets, much10 sweetness bring.
Thus many fancies from the brain still spring.
Their wit, as butterflies, hot love11 do make,                        15
On every flower fine their pleasure take,12
Dancing13 about each leaf in pleasant sort,
Passing14 their time away in amorous sport.
Like Cupids young, their painted wings display,
And with Apollo’s golden beams do15 play.                            20
Industrious pains16, as17 bees, suck out the sweet,
Wax of invention gather18 with their feet.
Then on the19 wings of fame fly to their hive,
Which from the wint’r of20 death keeps them alive.
There birds of poetry sweet notes still sing,                          25
Which through the world, as through the air, do21 ring,
And on the branches of delight they22 sit,
Pruning their wings, which are with study wet,
Then to the cedars of high honor fly,
Yet rest not there, but mount up to the sky.                           30

  1. Similizing the Brain to a Garden] Nature’s Garden. 1664, 1668. The title in 1664 and 1668 exists as a marginal note in Cavendish’s 1653 text.
  2. brain a garden seems, full of delight,] Brain’s a Garden full of Sweet delight, 1664; Brain’s a Garden full of sweet delight, 1668
  3. Whereon] Wherein 1664, 1668
  4. grow] growes 1653
  5. There] Where 1664, 1668
  6. Some milk-white innocence, as] Where Innocence doth, like white 1664; Where Innocence doth like white 1668
  7. tulips’] Tulips 1653, Tulip’s 1664; Tulip’s 1668
  8. pencil neatly] Pencils they are 1653
  9. yet full] full out 1653
  10. much] yet much 1653
  11. Their wit, as butterflies, hot love] Wit is like Butter-flies, which Love 1664; Wit is like Butterflyes, which Love 1668
  12. On every flower fine their pleasure take,] And on each several Flower pleasure take, 1664; And, on each several Flower, pleasure take: 1668
  13. Dancing] Which Dance 1664; Which dance 1668
  14. Passing] And pass 1664, 1668
  15. do] they 1653
  16. Industrious pains,] Industry, 1653
  17. as] like 1664, 1668
  18. Wax of invention gather] Gath’ring Wax of Invention 1664, 1668
  19. the] their 1653
  20. Which from the wint’r of] From Winter of sad 1653
  21. air, do] Aire 1653
  22. And on the branches of delight they] Where on the Branches of Delight do 1653