Cowley, Abraham . The Third Part of the Works of Mr. Abraham Cowley Being his Six Books of Plants
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YOU! who in sacred Wedlock coupled are, 82       1360
(Where all joys lawful, all joys seemly are)
Ben't shie to eat of my leaves heartily,
They do not hunger onely satisfie.       [Latin: 1240]
They'll be a Banquet to you all the night,
On them the body chews with fresh delight.
But you, chaste Lads, and Girls, that lie alone,
And none of Loves enjoyments yet have known,
Take care and stand aloof, if you are wise;
Touch not this Plant, Venus her Sacrifice;
I bring a Poison for your Modesties.
In my Grass, like a Snake, blind Cupid lies,
And with my juice his deadly weapons dies.
The God of Gardens no Herb values more,
Or courts, presents, or does himself devour.
This is the reason, hot Priapus, why
(As I suppose) you itch so constantly,
And that your Arms still ready are to do,
The wicked business that you put 'em to.
Let him who Love wou'd shun, from me remove,
Says Naso, that Hippocrates in Love. 83       1380
Yet to his Table I was duly serv'd,
Who my choice Dainty to himself reserv'd.
Prove that from Love he ever wou'd be free,
More chast than Lettuce I'll consent to be, [image]
The praise of Chastity let others keep,
And gratifie the widow'd Bed with sleep.       [Latin: 1260]
Action's my Task, bold Lovers to engage,
And to precipitate the sportive Rage.
Frankly I own my Nature, I delight
In Love unmix'd and restless Appetite.
From curing Maladies I seek no Fame,
(Though ev'n for that I might put in my Claim) 84
Fuel I bring that Pleasure may not cease:
Take that from Life, and Life is a Disease.
If thus you like me, make me your Repast,
I wou'd not gratifie a Stoicks tast.
If Morals gross and crude be your delight,
Marsh weeds can best oblige your Appetite.


[82] Rocket is hot and dry in the third degree, [image] [image] of a contrary nature to Lettuce, a friend to Venus and her affairs.


[83] Ovid. de Rem. Amor. l. 2.


[84] Its Medicinal Virtues, see Plin. l. 20.13.