Language and tone in The Mower against Gardens

The language of horticulture

The language is fairly technical, in that the Mower is describing new Artificial cave, photo by Carlos Luis M C da Cruz, available through Creative Commonshorticultural techniques. We need to know what ‘Pinks', the ‘Marvel of Peru', or ‘the Stock' are, for example. There is also the technical language of the pastoral genre itself: ‘the Grot', which means ‘grotto' or a cave. The reference is to the artificial landscape then in vogue, the creation of fountains and caves for the sake of ornament only. ‘'Tis all enforced' (l.31) he says, again using language which has sexual undertones. ‘Fauns and Fayres' are again a pastoral convention, symbolising the spiritual forces in Nature.

A complaint

The voice is of complaint against ‘luxurious Man'. It is a cumulative list of grievances, going from bad to worse, using stronger and stronger language. Only at the end can the Mower find anything positive to say:

The Gods themselves with us do dwell

Investigating The Mower against Gardens

  • Do you see The Mower against Gardens as a protest poem?
  • Do you think Marvell is the Mower, and the poem the poet's complaint or is he just voicing the way a Mower would feel?
      • What evidence is there one way or the other?
  • Would you say the tone of the poem is ironic?
    • If so, what kind of irony?
      • sad, bitter, sardonic?
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