‘On Tea’ by Edmund Waller

As of 2019, May 21 is observed as the International Tea Day. Joining the observances, in this post we’ll be reading Edmund Waller’s short poem in praise of this wonderful drink with such a rich history.

Edmund Waller (1606–1687) was an English politician and poet, very popular during his lifetime but now considered one of the minor writers of the period. On Tea is Waller’s ode to the joys of tea drinking and the beverage’s wholesome and salutary properties.

Venus her myrtle, Phoebus has her bays;
Tea both excels, which she vouchsafes to praise.
The best of Queens, and best of herbs, we owe
To that bold nation, which the way did show
To the fair region where the sun doth rise,
Whose rich productions we so justly prize.
The Muse's friend, tea does our fancy aid,
Repress those vapors which the head invade,
And keep the palace of the soul serene,
Fit on her birthday to salute the Queen.


Find the words in the poem with the following meaning:

  • in a way that is considered fair; deservedly (adverb)
  • tiny particles of liquid resulting from heating; gas (noun)
  • imagination (noun)
  • laurel or a shrub resembling it (noun)
  • to help, support, facilitate (verb)
  • an alternative name of the Greek god Apollo (noun)
  • to greet someone in a formal, ceremonial way (verb) 
  • to give or grant something graciously (verb)
  • calm, peaceful (adjective)
  • an evergreen shrub with aromatic berries (noun)
  • to do extremely well; be superior to others (verb)
  • well suited, well equipped (adjective)

To check your answers, please click here.


Edmund Waller – a biographical entry on Encyclopedia.com 

The History of Tea – a National Trust presentation

Cover photo credit: Harry Cunningham on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: