Cowley, Abraham . The Third Part of the Works of Mr. Abraham Cowley Being his Six Books of Plants
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DIttany, though cold Winds her Lips did close,
Put on her Winter-gown and up she rose.
For what can hinder Grecian plants to be
Rhetorical, when they occasion see?
For Penny-royal, painting that Disease,
Her nice, and quainter fansie did not please.
She spake to what the other did omit,
And pleas'd her self with her own prating wit.       260

If this dire Poisons force their duller Eyes
Can't see, whilst in the body warm it lies,
Think with your selves how it offends the sense,
When all alone (nay dead) if driven thence.
Let Dogs or Men by chance but taste of it
(But on Dogs rather let such mischiefs light.)       [Latin: 260]
Madness the tainted Soul invades within,
And sordid Leprosie rough casts the skin:
While panting Dogs quite raving mad appear, 100
And thirst for water, but the water fear.
It stabs an half-Man by abortive birth,
And from the Womb (oh! horrid) drags it forth.
Now fansie Children born of such base bloud,
Which gives the Embryo Poison 'stead of food.
Nor is this all; for Corn and Vines too know
Its baneful force, by which fields barren grow.
A Tree, once us'd to bear, its fruit denies;
If young it fades, and if new-born, it dies.
Witness the Ivies ('tis no shame) to you
What good does their medicinal virtue do?       280
These also, Rue! who all things do'st o'rcome,
From this strong venom must receive thy doom.
Plants dry and yellow, as in Autumn, grow,
And Herbs, as if they had the Jaundice, show.
Offended Bees with one small touch it drives
(Though murmuring to be exil'd) from their hives.       [Latin: 280]
The wretched Creatures leave their golden store,
And sweet abodes, which they must see no more.
Nor do strong Fats their wine within defend,
Which in their very youth draw to their end.
But I name things of litle eminence;
The warlike Sword it self makes no defence;
And Metals, which so oft have won the Field,
To this effeminate distemper yield.
For frequent bloudshed, bloud now vengeance takes,
And mortal wounds ev'n in the weapons makes.
Beauty, the thing, for which we Women love,
Th'occasion of keen Swords does often prove;
Let then the female-plague those Swords rebate,
Yea even the mem'ry of what's so ingrate.       300
Maids with proud thoughts, alas! themselves deceive,
Whilst each herself a Goddess does believe;
Like Tyrants they misuse the po'r they have,
And make their very Worshiper their Slave. [image]
But if they truly would consider things,
And think what filth each month returning brings,
If they their cheating Glasses then wou'd mind,
(Which now they think so faithful and so kind)
How beautiful they are they needs must find.       [Latin: 300]
The smooth Corrupter of their looks they taint,
Which long and certain signs at that time paint.
Each Maid in that still suffers the disgrace
Of being poisoner to her own face.
What an unnatural Distemper's this,
Which ev'n to their own shadows mortal is.
Thus she, and as much more she was about
To say, the whole Assembly gave a shout.
Through all the boughs and all the leaves around
There went an angry, loud and murm'ring sound.
For they of Womens honour tender are,       320
Though she thereof had seem'd to take no care.


[100] If a Dog tastes it, he'll run mad. Plin. [in 1689 transposed with the earlier note glossing "Devils Turd".]