I am amazed at how confused my students get in analyzing this poem. To me, it seems quite obvious. Yet, they start talking about Mars the planet, and half of them do not have the biblical background to even know what Eden is, and then they take the precious stone as being literal. In the end, their pieces are a mess of misunderstanding.
Still, it is a baseline. This serves as a teachable moment; a place to begin.
I use it as an introduction to nationalism and the western world. How does it compare to great American poems and songs? Remember, this is but a piece from a play.
This England: from Richard II
This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,