Cowley, Abraham . The Third Part of the Works of Mr. Abraham Cowley
Being his Six Books of Plants
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[Upon the same.]
Go from my Book, foul Bawd of Pleasure, go,
(For what have I, lewd Bawd, with thee to do?) 1400
From these chaste Herbs and their chast Poet flee,
Us thou offend'st and w'are asham'd of thee.
With such a Prostitute to come in view,
Chast Matrons think a Sin and Scandal too.
Blushes pale Water-Lilies cheeks o'r-spread,
To be with thee in the same Volumn read. [Latin: 1280]
Who still the sad remembrance does retain,
How when a Nymph, in thee she gorg'd her Bane. 85
That very Night t'Alcides arms betray'd
Through thy deceitful force the yielding Maid.
While I but mention thee (who wou'd believe?)
And but thy Image in my thoughts conceive,
Through all my Bones I felt thy lightning move,
The sure fore-runner of approaching Love.
With this of old he us'd to attack my Sense,
Before the dreadful Fight he did commence.
But Love and Lust I now alike detest,
My Muse and Mind with nobler Themes possest.
Lascivious Plant, some other Poet find,
For Ovid's or Catullus Verse design'd: 1420
For thou in mine shalt have no place at all,
Or in the List of pois'nous Herbs shalt fall.
The flames of Lust of fewel have no need,
His Appetite without thy Sawce can feed.
Love in our very Diet finds his way,
And makes the Guards that should defend, betray. [Latin: 1300]
Our other Ills permit our Herbs to cure
Venus, who plague enough in thee endure.
Those Plants which Nature made of Sex devoid,
Improperly are in thy work employ'd.
Yet Venus too much skill'd in impious Arts,
These forein aids to her own use converts.
Who'd think green Plants with constant dew supply'd,
(Life's Friends design'd) such mortal Flame shou'd hide?
What wonder therefore if when Monarchs feast,
Lust is of Luxury the constant Guest?
When He who with the Herd on Herbage fed 86
Cou'd find her lurking in the verdant Bed.
The End of the First Book.
 See Water-Lily.