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
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O Sleep, the gentle ease of Grief, 680 [Latin: 720]
Of Care and toil the sweet Relief;
Like Sov'reign Balm thou canst restore
When Doctors give the Patient o'r.
Thou to the wretched art a friend,
A Guest that ne'r does harm intend,
In Cottages mak'st thy aboad,
To th'Innocent thou art a God.
On Earth with Jove bear'st equal sway,
Thou rul'st the Night as Jove the Day;
A middle station thou dost keep
'Twixt Jove and Pluto, pow'rful Sleep!
As thou art just and scorn'st to lie,
Confess before this Company,
That by the Virtue of my Flow'r
Thou holdest thy nocturnal Pow'r.
Why do we call thee Loiterer,
Who fly'st so nimbly through the air;
The Birds on wing confess thy force,
And stop i' th'middle of their course.
Thy Empire as the Ocean wide, 700 [Latin: 740]
Rules all that in the Deep reside;
That moving Island of the Main
The Whale, is fetter'd in thy Chain.
The Desart Lands thy Pow'r declare,
Thou rul'st the Lion, Tyger, Bear,
To mention these alas, is vain,
O'r City-tyrants thou dost Reign.
The Basilisk whose looks destroy,
And Nymph more fatal, if she's coy;
Whose Glances surer Death impart
To her tormented Lover's Heart,
When Sleep commands, their Charms give way,
His more prevailing force obey;
Their killing Eyes they gently close
Disarm'd by innocent Repose.
That careful Jove does always wake [Latin: 760]
The Poets say; a foul mistake!
For when to Pow'r the wicked rise,
Can Jove look on with open eyes?
When bloud to Heav'n for vengeance calls, 720
So loud it shakes his Palace walls;
Yet does unheard, unanswer'd sue,
Must Jove not sleep, and soundly too?
That Ceres with my Flow'r is griev'd
Some think, but they are much deceiv'd,
For where her richest Corn she sows,
The inmate Poppy she allows.
Together both our seeds does fling,
And bids us both together spring,
Good cause, for my Sleep-giving juice
Does more than Corn to Life conduce.
On us the Mortals freely feed,
Of other Plants there's little need;
Full of Poppy, full of Corn,
Th'Hesperian Gardens you may scorn.
Bread's more refreshing mix'd with me, 178 [Latin: 780]
Honey and I with Bread agree,
Our tast so sweet it can excite
The weak, or sated Appetite.
In Ceres Garland I am plac'd, 740
Me she did first vouchsafe to tast,
When for her Daughter lost she griev'd,
Nor in long time had Food receiv'd.
'Bove all she does extol my Plant,
For if sustaining Corn you want,
From me such kind supplies are sent,
As give both Sleep and Nourishment.
The Reason therefore is most plain
Why I was made the fruitful'st Grain,
The Persian brings not to the Field,
Such Armys as my Camp does yield.
Diseases in all Regions breed,
No corner of the World is freed,
Hard labour ev'ry where we find,
The constant Portion of mankind.
Sick Earth Great Jove beheld with Grief, [Latin: 800]
And sent me down to her relief,
And 'cause her Ills so fast did breed,
Endu'd me with more fertile Seed.
Thus Poppy spake, nor did as I suppose,
So soon intend her bold Harangue to close, 760
But seiz'd with sleep, here finish'd her Discourse;
Nor cou'd resist her own Lethargick force.
I tell strange things, (but nothing should deter
Since 'tis most certain truth what I aver,)
Nor would I Sacred History profane
As Poets use with what is false and vain.
While Poppy spoke --
Th'Assembly could no longer open keep
Their Eyes, ev'n Flora's self fell fast asleep.
So Daffodils with too much Rain opprest
Recline their drooping Heads upon their Breast.
Zephyr, not long could bear this foul disgrace;
With a brisk Breeze of Air he shook the Place:
Flora, who well her Husbands Kisses knew,
Wak'd first, but rear'd her Head with much ado;
With heavy Motion to her drowsie Eyes [Latin: 820]
Her Fingers lifts, and what's a Clock, she cryes:
At which the rest (all by degrees) unfold
Their Eye-lids, and the open Day behold.
The Sun Flow'r thinking 'twas for him foul shame 780
To Nap by Day-light, strove t'excuse the blame;
It was not sleep that made him Nod, he said,
But too great weight and largeness of his Head.
Majestick then before the Court he stands,
And silence with Phoebean Voice commands.
 In old time the Seed of the White-Poppy parch'd was serv'd up as a Dessert.