Cowley, Abraham . The Third Part of the Works of Mr. Abraham Cowley Being his Six Books of Plants
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I Being the chief of all the Hairy State, 14
Me they have chosen for their Advocate,
To speak on their behalf; Now We, you know,
Among the other Plants make no small show.
And Fern too, far and near which does preside 15
O'er the wild Fields, is to our kind ally'd.
Some Hairy Comets also hence derive, 16
And Marriages of Stars with Plants contrive.
But we such Kindred do not care to own,
Rather than rude Relations we'll have none.
My hair of Parentage far better came,
'Tis not for nought, it has Loves gentle Name.
Beauty her self my Debtor is, she knows, 17
And of my Threads Love does his Nets compose.
Their Thanks to me the beauteous Women pay
For wanton Curls, and shady Locks, that play
Upon their Shoulders. Friend! who e'er thou art,
(If thou'rt in Love) to me perform thy part.       180
Keep thy Hair florid, and let dangling toils
Around thy Head, make Ladies Hearts thy spoils.
For when your Head is bald, or Hair grows thin,
In vain you boast of Treasures lodg'd within.       [Latin: 180]
The Women won't believe you, nor will prize
Such Wealth; all Lovers ought to please the Eyes.
So I to Venus my assistance lend
(I'm pleas'd to be my Heavenly Name-sakes Friend) 18
Though I am modest, and consent to go
In simple Weeds, that make no gawdy show;
For I am cloth'd, as when I first was born, 19
No painted Flow'rs my rural Head adorn.
But above all, I'm sober; I ne'er drink
Sweet Streams, nor does my Thirst make Rivers sink.
When Jove to Plants begins an Health in show'rs,
And from the Sky large Bowls of Water pours,
You see the Herbs quaff all the Liquor up,
When they ought only modestly to sup:
You'd think the German Drunkards near the Rhine,
Were keeping Holy-day with them in Wine.       200
Mean while I blush; shake from my trembling Leaves
The Drops; and Jove my Thanks in drought receives.
But I no Topers envy; for my meen
Is always gay, and my complexion green.
Winter it self does not exhaust the Juice,
That makes me look so verdant and so spruce.
Yet the Physicians steep me cruelly
In hateful Water, which I drink and die.       [Latin: 200]
But I ev'n dead, on Humors operate, 20
Such force my Ashes have beyond my Fate.
I through the Liver, Spleen, and Reins the Foe
Pursue, whilst they with speed before me flow.
Ten thousand Maladies down with 'em they
Like Monsters fell, in bracky Waves convey.
For this I might deserve, above the Air,
An higher place than Berenices Hair; 21
But if into the Sea the Stars turn round,
Rather than Heav'n it self, I'd chuse dry ground.


[14] Capillary Plants.


[15] From the likeness of their Leaves.


[16] Alluding to the Name


[17] The Name it bears, because it tinges the Hair, and is tot his purpose boil'd in Wine with Parsley-seed, and plenty of Oil, which renders the hair thick and curling, and keeps it from falling. Plin. l. 22.11.


[18] Being called in Latin Capillus Veneris.


[19] 'Tis always green, but never flowers. It delights in dry places, and is green in Summer, but withers not in Winter. Plin.


[20] It forces Urine, is good against Dropsie, Stangury, etc. Plin.


[21] The Wife of Ptolomy Euergetes, who having vowed, if her Husband had success in his Asian Expedition, that she would cut off and dedicate her Hair: at his Return she did so; and on the morrow, it not being found in the Temple of Venus, where it was laid, Ptolomy was highly enraged, till one Conon, a Mathematician, made it out to him, that it was transferred to Heaven, and there made a Constellation of seven Stars near the Lion's Tail; which still bears this Name.