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

This poem isn’t what I normally find enjoyable. It hits far too close to home. Because if you think about it a brain and thus the person it forms is like a garden. What seeds you plant, what flowers or poison you grow all depends on what you sow. In MacBeth, the title character is haunted by his choices. So much so that the entire play is rumoured to be cursed. As a person you are what you decide to be. The initial seeds are planted by your caregivers but then you are ceded gardenerhood and most tend your own garden.

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