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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AMongst the Miracles of ancient Rome,
When Cineas thither did as Envoy come,
Th'August and purpled Senate he admir'd, [Latin: 1040]
View'd 'em, and if they all were Kings, enquir'd?
So I in all this num'rous throng must own
I see no Head but what deserves a Crown.
On what one Flower can I bestow my Voice,
Where equal Merits so distract my Choice?
Be rul'd by me, the envious Title wave,
Let no one claim what all deserve to have.
Consider how from Roman-Race we spring,
Whose Laws you know wou'd ne'r permit a King.
Can I who am a Roman Deity,
A haughty Tarquin in my Garden see?
Ev'n your own Tribes, if I remember right,
Rejoyc'd when they beheld the Tyrant's flight.
With Gabine slaughter big, think how he slew 980
The fairest Flow'rs that in his Plat-forms grew;
Mankind and you, how he alike annoy'd,
And both with sportive Cruelty destroy'd.
You who are Lords of Earth as well as they
Should Free-born Romans Government display.
Rest ever then a Common-wealth of Flow'rs, [Latin: 1060]
Compil'd of People and of Senators. [image]
This, I presume, the best for you and me,
With Sense of Men and Gods does best agree.
Lily and Rose this Year your Consuls be
The Year shall so begin auspiciously.
Four Prætors to the Seasons four, I make,
The vernal Prætorship thou, Tulip, take:
Jove's 186 Flow'r the Summer, Crocus 187 Autumn sway,
Let Winter war-like Hellebore obey.
Honour's the sole Reward that can accrue,
Tho short your Office, to your Charge be true.
Your life is short -- the Goddess ended here,
The Chosen, with her Verdict pleas'd appear
The rest with Hope to speed another year. [image]
The End of the Fourth Book.