Cowley, Abraham . The Third Part of the Works of Mr. Abraham Cowley
Being his Six Books of Plants
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
Table of Contents for this work | | All on-line databases | Etext Center Homepage |
PLANTAIN, or, WAY-BRED
NExt Way-bred rose, propt by her seven nerves, 101
Who th'honour of a noble house preserves:
Her nature is astringent, which great hate
Of her among Bloud-letters does create.
But her no quarrels more than words engage,
Nor does she ever like mad mortals rage.
I envy not the praises, which, to you,
Ye num'rous race of Leechy kind, are due.
The purple Tyrant wisely you expel,
And banishing such murdering bloud, do well. [Latin: 320]
Proudly he o'r the vital spirits reigns,
And cruelly insults in all the veins.
Arms he of deadly Poisons bears about,
And leads of Maladies a mighty Rout.
But why shou'd you such vain additions make,
And ills already great soe greater make?
Whilst you so tragically paint the foe
More dreadful, but less credible they grow:
He lessens that wou'd raise an Heroes fame 340
By Lyes; false praises cloud a glorious Name.
One Geryon slew (a mighty feat) and He
Three bodies had, in this I can't agree.
You any Monster easily subdue;
But I scarce think such monstrous lyes are true.
Greek Poets, Ditt'ny, you who oft have read, 102
Keep up their Art of lying, though they're dead.
But what their Countrymen once said of you 103
Pray mind it, for I fear 'tis very true.
Let that which blasts the Corn a Goddess be, 104
I cannot think her courses e'r cou'd be [Latin: 340]
So hurtful to the grain. And then, I 'm sure,
A Fat of lusty Wine is more secure
From danger, where a thousand Damsels sit,
Than if one drunken Beldam come at it.
None, cause a tast of that rank bloud they've had,
But for the place, from whence it comes, run mad.
Madness of Dogs most certainly it cures,
As thy own Author Pliny us assures.
Whether by Womens touch the Bee's annoy'd 360
I cannot tell; but Maids shou'd Bees avoid.
Rue ought to let the fatal blou'd remain
Within its Vessel and ne'r force a vein,
If for her pains nought but her death she gain.
Thou, Ivy, too more careful oughtst to be
Both of thy self and thy great Deity. 105
But when she says, Swords edges it rebates,
I cou'd rejoice methinks and bless the Fates,
If that be all the mischief it creates.
I only wish a Beauty might remain
Perfect, till that the Lookinglass wou'd stain.
But I wast time -- By this sufficiently
These Grecian wonders are o'erthrown, that I
No Woman see of this dread Poison die.
At which the Bramble rose (whose fluent tongue [image]
With thorny sharpness arm'd it neatly hung) [Latin: 360]
And said, all Serpents have the gift to be,
As much as these, from thir own venom free;
Nor wou'd the Basilisk, whose baneful Eye
All others kills, by his own Image die. 380
This mov'd 'em and they quaver'd with a smile,
Some Wind you wou'd ha' thought, pass'd by the while,
For by that Cynick Shrub great Freedoms shown,
Which he by constant use has made his own.
Way-bred at this took pet, displeas'd, that she
By such an one shou'd interrupted be,
And sate her down; when straight before 'em all
These words the Rose from her fair lips let fall;
Whilst modest blushes beautified her face,
Like those in Spring, that blooming Flowers grace.
 The many Virtues of Plantain are to be read in Pliny and Fernelius. The old Physician Themison wrote a whole Volume concerning them.
 See Dittany.
 Epimenides Cretensis said, The Cretans were always Lyars.
 Bacchus, to whom the Ivy is consecrated.