Cowley, Abraham . The Third Part of the Works of Mr. Abraham Cowley Being his Six Books of Plants
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[image] [image]
SOmewhere in Horace, if I don't forget, 132
(Flowers are no foes to Poetry and Wit;
For us that Tribe the like affection bear,
And of all Men the greatest Florists are)       740
We find a wealthy man
Whose Ward-robe did five thousand Suits contain;
He counted that a vast prodigious store,
But I that number have twice told and more.       [Latin: 760]
Whate'r in Spring the teeming Earth commands;
What Colours e'r the painted pride of Birds,
Or various Lights the glistering Gem affords
Cut by the artful Lapidary's hands;
Whate'r the Curtains of the Heavens can show,
Or Light lays Dyes upon the varnish'd Bow,
Rob'd in as many Vests I shine,
In every thing bearing a Princely Mien.
Pity I must the Lily and the Rose
(And the last blushes at her threadbare Clothes)
Who think themselves so highly blest,
Yet have but one poor tatter'd Vest.
These studious, unambitious things, in brief,
Wou'd fit extreamly well a College-life,
And when the God of Flowers a Charter grants
Admission shall be given to these Plants;       760
Kings shou'd have plenty, and superfluous store,
Whilst thriftiness becomes the poor.       [Latin: 780]
Hence Spring himself does chiefly me regard:
Will any Flower refuse to stand to his award?
Me for whole Months he does retain
And keeps me by him all his Reign;
Caress'd by Spring, the season of the year,
Which before all to Love is dear.
Besides; the God of Love himself's my friend,
Not for my Face alone; but for another end.
Lov'd by the God upon a private score,
I know for what -- but say no more;
But why shou'd I,
Become so silent or so shy?
We Flow'rs were by no peevish Sire begot,
Nor from that frigid, sullen Tree did sprout,
So famed in Ceres sacred Rites; [image]
Nor in moroseness Flora's self delights.
My Root, like Oil in antient Games, prepares 133
Lovers for Battle or those softer wars;       780
My quickning heat their sluggish veins inspires
With vigorous and sprightly fires;       [Latin: 800]
Had but chast Lucrece us'd the same,
The night before bold Tarquin try'd his flame,
Upon Record she ne'r a Fool had been,
But wou'd have liv'd to reap the pleasure once again.
The Goddess conscious of the truth, a while
Contain'd, but then was seen to blush and smile.
The Flower-de Luce next loos'd her heavenly Tongue;
And thus, amidst her sweet Companions, sung.


[132] Horat. lib. I. Ep. 6.


[133] Lauremberg. Gerard, Parkinson.