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 |
YOU Cretan Dittany, who such Poisons mix
(For on my Kinsman Wild-rose I'll not fix)
With Womens blood; see what a sprightly grace
And ardent Scarlet decks their lovely face.
No Flower, no not Flora's self to sight
Or touch than these appears more soft and white.
But at the same time also take a view
Of Mans rough, prickly limbs and rusty hue. [Latin: 380]
You'll say with Butchers-broom sweet Violets grow, [image]
And mourn that Lilies shou'd with Brambles go. 400
Then let their Eyes and Reason testifie,
Whether pure veins their purer limbs supply.
You cannot say that Dying Vat is bad,
From whence a florid colour may be had.
But this you'll say, committed some offence,
Or the just Moon had never driv'n it thence.
No, you're mistaken; it has done no wrong,
But all the fault lies in its copious throng:
It therefore from the rest, by the great Law
Of publick safety, order'd to withdraw.
So if a Nation to such numbers rise,
That them their native Countrey can't suffice;
To seek new Lands some part of them are sent,
And suffer, for their Countrey, banishment.
But why does Woman-kind so much abound?
Oh! think not Nature e'r was lavish found.
Nor does she lay up Riches to the end
(Like Prodigals) she more may have to spend.
Whate'r she does is good; what then remains?
No room for doubt; the thing it self explains. 420 [Latin: 400]
This bloudy Vintage, see, lasts all the year,
And the fresh Chyle duely does Life repair.
The Presses still with juice swell to the brink
Of which their fill the hot, male bodies drink.
But temperate Women seem to kiss the Cup,
Nor does their heat suck all the liquor up.
A vital treasure for great uses She
Lays up, lest Nature shou'd a Bankrupt be.
Lest both the Parents shares of mingled Love
Too little to beget a Child shou'd prove,
Unless the Mother some addition made
To perfect the design they both had laid.
One part on't's red, the other white as snow,
And both from springs of the same colour flow.
One wood, you'd think, and t'other stones did yield,
Whilst out of both a living House they build.
The former, of such poysoning Arts accus'd,
In which you fansie, venom is infus'd,
(Perhaps with this that fatal Robe was dy'd,
Which Hercules had sent him from his Bride) [image] 440 [Latin: 420]
The tender Embryos body does compose,
And for ten months to kind nutrition goes.
Nor is this all; but on the Mothers breast
Again it meets the little Infant Guest.
Then chang'd it comes both in its hue and course,
Like Arethusa through a secret Source. [image]
Then from the Paps it flows in double tides
Far whiter than the banks in which it glides.
The golden Age of old such Rivers drank, [image]
That spring from Dugs of e'ry happy bank.
The candor and simplicity of Men
Deserv'd the milky food of the Infants then.
How just and prudent is Dame Natures care
Who for each age does proper food prepare!
Before the Liver's form'd, the Mother's bloud
Supplies the Babe with necessary food.
And when to work the Novice Heat first goes
In its new shop, and scarce its bus'ness knows,
Its first imployment is in Scarlet grain
(A childish task for learners) Milk to stain. 460 [Latin: 440]
At last in e'ry kind its skill it tries,
And spends it self in Curiosities.
Now say, it venom in the members breeds,
With which her Child the careful Mother feeds.
Their bane to Infants cruel Stepdames give,
Whilst Mothers such from better springs derive.
But how, you'll say, does that which Infants love
So prejudicial to their Mothers prove?
'Tis lively whilst i' th'native womb it lies,
But by the veins flung out, decays and dies.
Then shipwrack'd on the neighbouring shore it lies,
And gasping wishes for its Obsequies.
This being deni'd, new strength it does recover,
And flies in vapours all the body over.
But what first tast fruits from the tree receive,
When rotten, they no natural sign can give.
So in pure seed the Lifes white mansion stands,
But surly Death corrupted seed commands.
Of Life Death's no good witness; do not think
A living Man can like a Carcass stink. 480 [Latin: 460]
But you a running stream (that duly flows,
And no corruption by long standing knows)
To be as hurtful in their nature hold,
As if from some corrupted springs they rou'ld.
But now do you go on (for much you know,
Part false, I think, part very true) and shew:
If any hurtful seeds you can descry
In humane bodies (where they often lie)
How quickly Natures orders they obey,
when to the bloud the Flood-gates once give way.
The courses this perhaps may putrifie,
'Tis dangerous to keep bad Company.
Is this the blouds fault? I'm no witch, I hope,
Though with my juice a Man shou'd Poison tope.
She spake, and with Ambrosial Odours clos'd
Her Speech, which many there, they say, oppos'd.
At last the Laurels thoughts they all desir'd,
Th'Oracular Laurels words they all admir'd.