Cowley, Abraham . The Third Part of the Works of Mr. Abraham Cowley Being his Six Books of Plants
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WHile others boast their proud Original,
And Sol or Jove
their Parents call,
I claim (contented with such slender Flowers)
No kindred with Almighty Pow'rs.
I from a Constant Lover took my Name, 183
And dare aspire no greater Fame.       [Latin: 920]
Whom after all the Toils of anxious Life
'Twixt Hopes and Fears a tedious strife,
Great Jove to quit me of my hopeless Fire,
(My Patron he, though not my Sire,)
Transform'd me to a smiling Flower at last,
To recompence my Sorrows past.
Live cheerful now, he said, nor only live
Merry thy self, but Gladness give;
Then to my sacred Flow'r with Skill he joyn'd,       880
Stems three or four of Star-like kind,
Made them the Magazines of Mirth and Joy,
What e'r can sullen Grief Destroy.
Gay Humours there, Conceit and Laughter ly,
Venus and Cupid's Armory.
Bacchus may like a Quack give present Ease,       [Latin: 940]
That only strengthens the Disease.
You crush (alas!) the Serpent's Head in vain,
Whose Tail survives to strike again.
All noxious Humours from the Heart I drive,
And spight of Poyson keep alive.
The Heart secur'd, through all the Parts beside
Fresh Life and dancing Spirits glide.
But still 'tis vain to guard th'Imperial Seat,
If to the Lungs the Foe retreat,
If of those Avenues he's once possest,
Famine will soon destroy the rest.
I watch and keep those Passes open too,       [Latin: 960]
For Vital Air to come and go.
Ungrateful to his Friend that Breath must be,       900
That can abstain from praising me.
But having been an Instance of Love's pow'r
To Females still a sacred flow'r,
Tis just that I shou'd now the Womb defend,
And be to Venus Seat a friend.
Gainst all that wou'd the teeming part annoy
My ready Succour I emply,
I ease the lab'ring Pangs, and bring away
The Birth that past its time wou'd stay.
If this Assembly then my Claim suspend,       [Latin: 980]
Who am to Nature such a friend,
Who all that's Good protect, and Ill confound,
If you refuse to have me Crown'd,
If you decline my gentle cheerful sway,
Let my pretended Kinsman come in play, 184
Punish your folly and my wrongs repay.

He said, and shaking thrice his fragrant Head
Through all the Court a Cordial flavour spread:
While of his scatter'd Sweets each Plant partakes,
And on th'Ambrosial scent a Banquet makes.       920
Touch'd with a sense of Joy, his Rivals smil'd,
Ev'n them his Virtue of their Rage beguil'd;
Ev'n Poppy's self, refresh'd, erects her Head,
Who had not heard one word of what he said.

Flower-gentle last, on lofty stem did rise, 185
And seem'd the humble Saffron to despise:
On his high Name and Stature he depends,       [Latin: 1000]
And thus his Title to the Crown defends.


[183] Ovid. Metam. 4.


[184] The foremention'd Bastard-Saffron.


[185] Amaranthus, that never withers.