Study Guide

The Garden Stanza 8

By Andrew Marvell

Stanza 8

Lines 57-60

Such was that happy garden-state,
While man there walked without a mate:
After a place so pure and sweet,
What other help could yet be meet!

  • The "such was" that opens stanza 8 refers immediately back to the situation being described in stanza 7. Remember, where the speaker's soul was flying around like a bird? 
  • Apparently the speaker thinks that is what it was like in The Garden of Eden (that happy garden-state) before Eve came along and ruined everything.
  • The speaker can't imagine why God would have thought it necessary to add anything to his creation after making Adam.
  • That's interesting because, without Eve, more people could obviously not have existed.
  • Line 60 is a fairly direct reference to a Bible verse in Genesis: "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." 
  • So does this mean our speaker's yearning for solitude flies in the face of what God ordained back at the beginning of time? Or is this just another example of Marvell's famous wit?

Lines 61-64

But 'twas beyond a mortal's share
To wander solitary there :
Two paradises 'twere in one
To live in Paradise alone.

  • The speaker seems resigned to the fact that his dream of solo Paradise will never actually come true, but that doesn't mean he's giving up the chase.
  • Lines 63 and 64 are super-famous. They essentially say that living in Paradise would be great, and living by yourself would be Paradise. So it would be a double-Paradise if you could live in Paradise and not have to share it with anyone else. 
  • And we're sure Marvell meant to include that it would be three paradises in one if Shmoop could be there to keep him company.
  • Also, a quick point about tone. Did you notice how lines 63 and 64 sound kind of like an aphorism, or proverb? They make a profound point, but do it in an incredibly concise, clean kind of way. This is very typical of Marvell's poetry. He picked the style up from classical authors, but always makes sure to mellow out the terseness with a little flowery language. That way, the poem sounds succinct and clean without becoming too harsh.