Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 33. The Coronet
Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
33. The Coronet
By Andrew Marvell  (1621–1678)
WHEN for the thorns with which I long, too long,
  With many a piercing wound,
  My Saviour’s head have crown’d,
I seek with garlands to redress that wrong;
  Through every garden, every mead,        5
I gather flow’rs (my fruits are only flow’rs),
  Dismantling all the fragrant towers
That once adorn’d my shepherdesse’s head:
And now, when I have summ’d up all my store,
  Thinking (so I my self deceive)       10
  So rich a chaplet thence to weave
As never yet the King of Glory wore,
  Alas! I find the Serpent old,
  That, twining in his speckled breast
  About the flowers disguis’d, does fold,       15
  With wreaths of fame and interest.
Ah, foolish man, that would’st debase with them
And mortal glory, Heaven’s diadem!
But Thou who only could’st the Serpent tame,
Either his slipp’ry knots at once untie,       20
And disintangle all his winding snare;
Or shatter too with him my curious frame,
And let these wither—so that he may die—
Though set with skill, and chosen out with care;
That they, while Thou on both their spoils dost tread,       25
May crown Thy feet, that could not crown Thy head.



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