Cowley, Abraham . The Third Part of the Works of Mr. Abraham Cowley Being his Six Books of Plants
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MUGWORT [The President.]

IF the green Nation, Sister, banish Thee,
I'll go along and bear thee Company.
If we for Womens faults must bear disgrace,
We, the Ecbolicks, are a wretched Race. 115
On her head let it (if a Woman shall       960
To her own bowels prove inhumane) fall;
Not part of Deaths sad penalties, but all.
Why are we sent for at untimely hours?
That Day, when lucky Juno comes, is ours. 116
She's wicked and deserves the worst of fates,
Who to ill ends that time anticipates.
For the admitted juice knows no delay,
But torpid as it is will force its way.
Nor is it hard a Fabrick to confound
Ill-fix'd within it self or to the ground.
A Ship, well tackled, which the winds may scorn,
Ill rigg'd away by ev'ry gust is born.
The Elements of Life what can't o'rethrow?
No wonder; Life it self's an empty show.
Sometimes it smells a Candles snuff and dies; 117
The weaker fume before the stronger flies.       [Latin: 940]
Let Cesar round the Globe with 's Eagles fly,
And grieve with Jove to share Equality.
Yet what a trifle might ha' been his death,
Preventing all his Triumphs with his breath.       980
One farthing Candle by its dying flame
Wou'd have depriv'd the world of his great Name;
Nor had we had such numerous supplies
Of mighty Lords and new-found Deities.
Thou, Alexander, too might'st so ha' dy'd,
(How well the world that smell had gratifi'd.)
Thou, who, a petty King o' th'Universe,
Thought'st with thy self alone thou didst converse.
Yea the same chance might have remov'd from us,
Both Thee, Jove's Son, and thy Bucephalus.
And if thy Groom his Candle out had slept, 118
Bucephala he from being built had kept.
So slight a stink you'd scarce think this could do,
Unless the niceness of the womb I knew.
How shie it is of an ungrateful smell
You, by its secret coyness, know full well.
(But that's no prudence in it: since that place
For pleasure no good situation has)       [Latin: 960]
But greedily sweet things it meets half-way,
And into its own bosom does convey.       1000
The secret cause of which effect to find,
Is hard; nor have the Learned it assign'd.
Let's see if any thing further we can say;
The Night grows late, and now 'tis toward Day.
Wherefore a thousand wonders that remain
Concerning Childbirth, as may entertain
I' th'next Assembly, when we meet again.
You, Myrrh! who from a Line of Monarchs came,
The glory of their angry Fathers name; 119
[image] [image]
Sacred and grateful to the Gods; again
A Virgin, and shalt always so remain;
you know the secrets of the female kind,
And what you know, I hope, can call to mind.
Then surely you the nature of a smell
Among rich Odours born must clearly tell.
Besides, when formerly their Reason strove
Weak as it was, to cope with conquering Love;
You in the middle of the fight wou'd fall,
They say, and lie in fits Hysterical. 120       [Latin: 980]
Come then. Let's hear, what you at last can say?       1020
Speak, modest Myrrh! why do you so delay?
Why do the tears run down thy bark so fast?
Thou need'st not blush for faults so long time past.
Ah! happy faults, that can such tears produce,
Which to the World are of such Sovereign use. [image]
No Woman e'r deserv'd before this time
So much for Virtue, as thou for a Crime.


[115] Ecbolics, i. e., such Medicines as bring away dead Children, or cause abortion.


[116] The smell of a Candles Snuff, 'tis said, will make Women miscarry.


[117] The smell of a Candles Snuff, 'tis said, will make Women miscarry.


[118] The Stink of the Snuff of a Candle, is said to cause Abortion in Mares.


[119] Cynaras, King of Cyprus. See the Story of his Daughter Myrrha, Ovid. Met.


[120] i. e., Fits of the Mother.