Cowley, Abraham . The Third Part of the Works of Mr. Abraham Cowley Being his Six Books of Plants
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ENter, sweet Stranger, to my Eyes reveal
Thy self, and gratefully thy Poet heal.
If I of Plants have any thing deserv'd,
Or in my Verse their Honour be preserv'd.
Thus, lying on the Grass and sad, pray'd I, [image]
Whilst nimbly Eye-bright came and stood just by. [image]
I wonder'd that so noble an Herb so soon
Rose by my side like a Champignon; [image]
I saw her not before, nor did sh' appear,
For any thing I knew, to be so near.
On a black stalk, nine inches long she grew,
With leaves all notch'd, and of a greenish hue.       [Latin: 700]
While pretty Flowers on her top she bore,
With yellow mixt and purple streaks all ore.
I knew her straight; her Name and Visage sute;
And my glad Eyes their Patroness salute.
Strange News! To me she bow'd with Flow'r and stalk,
And thus, in Language fit for her, did talk.
'Twas low; for Herbs that modest custom love,       760
Hoarse murmurs of the Trees they don't approve.
Thou only Bard said she, o' th'verdant Race,
Who in thy Songs do'st all our Virtues trace.
All Men are not allow'd our Voice to hear,
Though such respect to you, our Friend, we bear, [image]
We hate the custome, which with Men obtains,
To slight a kind, ingenuous Poets pains.
I wish my root cou'd heal you, and I'm sure,
Our Nation all wou'd gladly see the Cure. 49
But if by Natures self it be withstood,
The pow'r of Herbs, alas! can do no good.
Natures injunctions none of us withstands,
We're Slaves to all her Ladyships commands.       [Latin: 720]
Let what She gives your Appetite suffice,
Nor grumble, when she any thing denies.
For she with sparing Hands large gifts supplies.
But if some Malady impair the Sight,
Or Wine, or Love, that's blind, and hates the Light;
Or Surfeits, watchful Cares, or putrid Air,
Or numerous other things, that hurtful are;       780
Then am I useful: If you wou'd engage
To count my Conquests, or the Wars I wage,
The Ev'ning Star much sooner wou'd go down,
And all the Fields in dewy Nectar drown.
Oft a salt Flood which from the head descends, 50
With the Eyes fresher streams its current blends.
That Pain, which causes many watery Eyes, 51
From its own tears it self does here arise.
Oft times the Channels of a paler Flood 52
Are fill'd and swell with strange, unnatural blood;
And by a Guest, who thither lately came,
The House is set all on a raging flame.
Take care, if your small worlds bright Sun appear
Blood-red, or he'll soon leave your Hemishpere.
Oft fumes and wandering Flies obscure the Eye, 53
And in those Clouds strange Monsters seem to fly.       [Latin: 740]
Fume, what does thy dull, sooty visage here?
I see no fire, that thou shoud'st be so near.
Or what (with a Mischief) means the troublesome Fly?
I'd as soon have the God of Flies as nigh.       800
Oft times the sight is dark'ned with false snow, 54
And night it self in blanched Robes does go;
Whilst shapes of distant things, that real were,
In different colours, or in none, appear.
Tumours, and Cankers, Pustles, Ulcers why 55
Shou'd I recount, those torments of the Eye?
Or thousands more which I'm affraid to name,
Lest when I tell them they my Tongue inflame,
Or that which from its hollow length Men call
Fistula [Pipe] a name too Musical. [image]
All these I tame; the Air my vertue clears,
Whilst the Clouds vanish and the day appears.
The joyful Face smiles with diffused Light;
What comeliness is mix'd with that delight!
You know, Arnoldus (if you've read him o'r) 56
Did sight by me to Men stone-blind restore.
'Tis true; and my known virtue ought to be
The more esteem'd for that strange Prodigy.
With my kind leaves he bids you tinge your Wines,
And profit with your pleasure wisely joins. [image]       820       [Latin: 760]
Those Light will truly give, and sacred bowls,
Bacchus will dwell in your enlarged Souls.
Then call thy Boy, with a capacious Cup,
And with that Wine be sure to fill it up,
Till thou hast drunk, for all the amorous Dames,
An Health to ev'ry Letter of their names.
Then drink an Health to th'Eyes; they won't refuse
(I'm confident) to pledge you in my juice.
But we lose time; go; carefully rehearse
What I have said in never-dying Verse.
She spake, then vanishing away she flew;
I (Reader) tell you nothing but what's true.


[49] Of Plants.


[50] Several Diseases of the Eyes are recounted.


[51] Epiphora.


[52] Ophthalmia.


[53] Suffusio.


[54] Leucoma.


[55] Aegilopes. Carcinomata. Phlyctænæ. Epicaumata.


[56] Arnold. de Villa nova. Lib. de Vinis.