Cowley, Abraham . The Third Part of the Works of Mr. Abraham Cowley Being his Six Books of Plants
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WITH furious heats and unbecoming rage
Ye flowry Nations cease t'engage;
Since on my stately Stem
Nature has plac'd th'Imperial Diadem;
Why all these words in vain, why all this noise?
Be judg'd by Nature and approve her choice.
Perhaps it does your envy move,
And to my right may hurtful prove,
That I an upstart Novel Flower am
Who have no rumbling hard Greek name;
Perhaps I may be thought
In some Plebeian bed begot,
Because my Lineage wears no stain,
Nor does Romantick shameful Stories feign
That I am sprung from Jove, or from his
bastard strain.       680
I freely own, I have not been
Long of your world a Denizen;
But yet I reign'd for Ages past
In Persia and in Bactria plac'd,       [Latin: 700]
The pride and joy of all the Gardens of the East.
My Flower a large-siz'd golden head does wear,
Much like the Ball Kings in their hands do bear,
Denoting Sovereign Rule and striking Fear.
My purple stalk, I, like some Scepter wield,
Worthy in Regal hands to shine,
Worthy of thine, great God of Wine,
When India to thy conquering Arms did yield.
Besides all this; I have a flowry Crown
My Royal Temples to adorn,
Whose buds a sort of Hony liquor bear,
Which round the Crown, like Stars or Pearls appear;
Silver threads around it twine,
Saffron, like Gold, with them does join;
And over All
My verdant Hair does neatly fall.       700
Sometimes, a threefold rank of Flowers
Grows on my top, like lofty Towers.
Imperial Ornaments I scorn,
And, like the Pope, affect a triple Crown;       [Latin: 720]
The Heavens look down and envy Earth
For teeming with so bright a Birth;
For Ariadnes starry crown
By mine is far out-done,
And as they've Reason, let 'em envy on.
She thunder'd out her Speech; and walk'd to greet
The Judg, not falling meanly at her feet,
But as one Goddess does another meet.
A flower that wou'd too happy be and blest,
Did but its Odour answer all the rest!
The Tulip next appear'd, all over gay,
But wanton, full of pride, and full of play;
The world can't shew a Dye, but here has place,
Nay by new mixtures she can change her face.
Purple and Gold are both beneath her care,
The richest Needlework she loves to wear;       720
Her onely study is to please the Eye,
And to outshine the rest in Finery;
Oft of a Mode or Colour weary grown
By which their Family had long been known,       [Latin: 740]
They'll change their fashion strait, I know not how,
And with much pain in other Colours go;
As if Medea's Furnace they had past; [image]
(She without Plants old Æson ne'r new-cast)
And though they know this change will mortal prove
They'll venture yet -- to change so much they love.
Such love to Beauty, such the thirst of praise,
That welcome Death before inglorious days!
The cause by all was to the white assign'd,
Whether because the rarest of the kind,
Or else because every Petitioner 131
In antient times, for Office, white did wear.


[131] Thence such were are are still call'd Candidates.