The Garland

A poem by Matthew Prior

The pride of every grove I chose,
The violet sweet and lily fair,
The dappled pink and blushing rose,
To deck my charming Cloe's hair.

At morn the nymph vouchsafed to place
Upon her brow the various wreath;
The flowers less blooming than her face,
The scent less fragrant than her breath.

The flowers she wore along the day,
And every nymph and shepherd said,
That in her hair they look'd more gay
Than glowing in their native bed.

Undress'd at evening, when she found
Their odours lost, their colours past,
She changed her look, and on the ground
Her garland and her eyes she cast.

That eye dropp'd sense distinct and clear
As any Muse's tongue could speak,
When from its lid a pearly tear
Ran trickling down her beauteous cheek.

Dissembling what I knew too well,
My love, my life, said I, explain
This change of humour; pr'ythee tell,
That falling tear, what does it mean?

She sigh'd, she smiled; and to the flowers
Pointing, the lovely moralist said,
See, friend, in some few fleeting hours,
See yonder what a change is made.

Ah me! the blooming pride of May
And that of Beauty are but one;
At morn both flourish bright and gay,
Both fade at evening, pale, and gone.

At dawn poor Stella danced and sung,
The amorous youth around her bow'd;
At night her fatal knell was rung;
I saw and kiss'd her in her shroud.

Such as she is who died to-day,
Such I, alas! may be to-morrow;
Go, Damon, bid thy Muse display
The justice of thy Cloe's sorrow.

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