The Abraham Cowley Text and Image Archive


from Part Three of the Works tr. Nahum Tate et al. (1689; editor's copy)

Prose Notes // Image-references keyed to the Latin line-numbers

Plantarum Liber Primus = De Plantis Liber I   (opening in new window)

LIfes lowest, but far greatest Sphere, I sing, [image]
Of all things, that adorn the gawdy Spring:
Such as in Deserts live, whom, unconfin'd,
None but the simple Laws of Nature bind:
And those, who growing tame by human care,
The well-bred Citizens of Gardens are:
Those that aspire to Sol, their Sires bright Face,
Or stoop into their Mother Earths embrace:
Such as drink Streams, or Wells, or those, dry fed,
Who have Jove only for their Ganymede:
And all, that Salomon's lost Work of old, [image]
(Ah fatal Loss!) so wisely did unfold.
Though I the Oaks vivacious Age shou'd live,
I ne'r to all their Names in Verse could give.

Yet I the Rise of Groves will briefly show
In Verses, like their Trees, ranged all a-row.
To which some one perhaps new Shades may joyn,
Till mine, at last, become a Grove Divine. [image]
Assist me, Phoebus! Wit of Heav'n, whose care [image]
So bounteously both Plants and Poets share.       20       [Latin: 20]
Where e'er thou com'st, hurl Light and Heat around,
And with new Life enamel all the Ground;
As when the Spring feels thee, with Magick Light,
Break through the Bonds of the dead Winters Night;
When thee to Colchis the gilt Ram conveys, 1
And the warm'd North rejoyces in thy Rays.
Where shall I first begin? For, with delight
Each gentle Plant me kindly does invite.
My self to slavish Method I'll not tye,
But like the Bee, where e'er I please, will flie;
Where I the glorious hopes of Honey see,
Or the free Wing of Fancy carries me.
Here no fine Garden Emblems shall reside,
In well-made Beds to prostitute their Pride: [image]
But we rich Nature, who her Gifts bestows,
Unlimited (nor the vast Treasure knows)
And various plenty of the pathless Woods [image]
Will follow; Poor Men only count their Goods.
Do thou, bright Phoebus! guide me luckily
To the first Plant by some kind Augury.       40       [Latin: 40]

The Omen's good; so, we may hope the best,
The Gods mild Looks our grand Design have blest.
For thou kind Bet'ny! art the first we see,
And opportunely com'st dear Plant! for me;
For me, because the Brain thou dost protect,
See, if y'are wise, my Brain you don't neglect.
For it concerns you, that in Health that be,
I sing thy Sisters, Betony! and thee.
But who, best Plant! can praise thee to thy merit,
Or number the Perfections you inherit?
The Trees, he, in th'Hercynian Woods as well, [image]
Or Roses, that in Pæstum grow, may tell.
Musa at large, thy say, thy Praises writ, 2
But, I suppose, did part of them omit.
Cæsar his Triumphs would recount; do thou,
Greater than he a Conqueress! do so now.


[1] When the sun enters Aries, i. e. in March. Colchis Sea when the Ram with the Golden Fleece was said to have been translated into a Constellation.


[2] Antonius Musa, Physician to Augustus.


[image] [image]
TO know my Virtues briefly, you in vain
Desire, all which this whole Book can't contain.
O'er all the World of Man great I preside,
Where e'er red Streams though milky Medows glide;       60       [Latin: 60]
O'er all you see throughout the Body spread,
Between the distant Poles of Heel and Head.
But in the Head my chief Dominions are, 3
The Soul commits her Palace to my Care.
I all the Corners purge, refresh, secure,
Nor let it be, for want of Light, obscure.
That Soul, that came from Heav'n, which Stars adorn,
Her God's great Daughter, by Creation born,
Alas! to what a frail Apartment now,
And ruinated Cottage does she bow!
Her very Mansion to Infections turns, [image]
And in the Place, wherein she lives, she burns. [image]
When Falling-Sickness thunder-strikes the Brain,
Oft Men, like Victims, fall, as Thunder-slain.
Oft does the Head with a swift Whinsie reel,
And the Soul's turn'd, as on Ixion's Wheel.
Oft pains i' th'Head an Anvil seem to beat,
And like a Forge, the Brain-pan burns with heat.
Some parts the Palsie oft of Sense deprives 4
And Motion, (strange effect!) one side survives       80       [Latin: 80]
The other. This Mezentius fury quite 5
Outdoes; in this Disease dead Limbs unite
With live ones. Some with Lethargy opprest
Under Deaths weight seem fatally to rest.
Ah! Life, thou art Deaths Image, but that Thee
In nought resembles, save thy Brevity.
Vain Phantoms oft the Mind distracted keep, 6
And roving thoughts possess the place of Sleep.
Oft when the Nerves for want of Juice grow dry 7
(That Heavenly Juice, unknown to th'outward Eye)
Each feeble Limb as 'twere grows loose, and quakes,
Yea, the whole fabrick of the Body shakes.
These, and all Evils which the Brain infest
(For numerous, sawcy Griefs that part molest)
Me Phoebus bad, by constant War restrain;
Saying, my Kingdom (Child!) see, you maintain.
And straight he gave me Arms well forg'd from Heav'n,
Like those t'Æneas or Achilles giv'n.
One wondrous Leaf he wisely did create
'Gainst all the Darts of Sickness and of Fate,       100       [Latin: 100]
And into that a Soverign mystick Juice,
With subtile heat from Heav'n he did infuse.
'Tis not in vain, bright Sire! that you bestow
Such Arms on me, nor shall they rusty grow.
No; from that Crime not the just Head alone
Acquits me, but th'inferior Limbs will own,
I'm guiltless. When the Lungs with Phlegm opprest 8
Want Air, to fan the Heart, and cool the Brest,
A fainty Cough strives to expel the Foe,
But seeks the help of powerful Medicines too.
It comes to me, I my assistance lend,
Open th'obstructed Pores, and gently send
Refreshment to the Heart. Cool Gales abate
Th'internal Heat, and it grows temperate.
The Quartan Ague its dry Holes forsakes,
As Adders do; Dropsies like Water Snakes,
With liquid Aliment no longer fed,
By me are forc'd to fly their wat'ry Bed.
I loss of Appetite repair, and heat
The Stomach, to concoct the Food men eat.       120
Torturing Gripes I in the Guts allay,
And send out murmuring Blasts the backward way.       [Latin: 120]
I wash the Saffron Jaundice of the Skin,
And ease the Kidneys of dire Stones within.
Thick Blood that stands in Womens veins I soon
Force to flow down, more powerful than the Moon.
But then th'unnatural Floods of Whites arise;
Ah me! that common Filth will not suffice.
I likewise stop the Current, when the Blood 9
Through some new Channel seeks a purple Flood.
I all the Tumults of the Womb appease,
And to the Head, which that disturbs, give Ease.
Womens Conceptions I corroborate, 10
And let no Births their time anticipate.
But in the sacred time of Labor I
The careful Midwifes Hands with help supply.
The lazy Gout my Virtue swiftly shuns, 11
Whilst from the Joynts with nimble heels it runs.
All Poysons I expel, that men annoy,
And baneful Serpents by my Power destroy. 12       140
My pointed Odor through its marrow flies,
And of a secret wound the Adder dies.       [Latin: 140]
So Phoebus, I suppose, the Python slew, [image]
And with my Juice his arrows did imbrew.
From every limb all kinds of Ach and Pain
I banish, never to return again.
The wearied Clown I with new vigor bless,
And Pains as pleasant make as Idleness.
Nor do I only Lifes Fatigue relieve,
But 'tis adorn'd with what I freely give.
I make the colour of the Blood more bright,
And cloath the Skin with a more graceful White. 13

Spain in her happy Woods first gave me Birth,
Then kindly banish'd me o'er all the Earth;
Nor gain'd she greater Honor when she bore
Trajan to rule the World, and to restore
Romes Joys. 'Tis true, he justly might compare
With my Deserts; his Virtues equal were.
But a good Prince is the short Grant of Fate,
The World's soon robb'd of such a vast Estate.       160
But of my Bounty Men for ever taste,
And what he once was I am like to last.       [Latin: 160]


[3] Betony is hot and dry in the second degree. [image] [image] Wine or Vinegar Impregnated with it, is excellent for the Stomack and Sight. The Smell alone refreshes the Brain. 'Tis an Italian Proverb. He has as many Virtues as Betony, i. e. innumerable.


[4] Fernel.


[5] Virg. Æn.


[6] Betony is drunk as remedy against Madness, Plin. l. 26.11.


[7] This is according to Dr. Glisson's Opinion, which see in L. de Anatomia hepatis. And Plin. ut supra.


[8] Concerning these Diseases help'd by Betony, see Pliny and Fernelius.


[9] See Plin. l. 26. 19.


[10] Fernel.


[11] It is every where made use of against the Gout and Sciatica.


[12] Betony is said to have so great a Virtue against Serpents, that if they are inclosed in a circle made thereof, they'll lash themselves to death. Plin. l. 25.8.


[13] It has a particular faculty to amend the dead colour of the skin, and to render it vivid and clear. Id. l. 26.11.


[image] [image]
I Being the chief of all the Hairy State, 14
Me they have chosen for their Advocate,
To speak on their behalf; Now We, you know,
Among the other Plants make no small show.
And Fern too, far and near which does preside 15
O'er the wild Fields, is to our kind ally'd.
Some Hairy Comets also hence derive, 16
And Marriages of Stars with Plants contrive.
But we such Kindred do not care to own,
Rather than rude Relations we'll have none.
My hair of Parentage far better came,
'Tis not for nought, it has Loves gentle Name.
Beauty her self my Debtor is, she knows, 17
And of my Threads Love does his Nets compose.
Their Thanks to me the beauteous Women pay
For wanton Curls, and shady Locks, that play
Upon their Shoulders. Friend! who e'er thou art,
(If thou'rt in Love) to me perform thy part.       180
Keep thy Hair florid, and let dangling toils
Around thy Head, make Ladies Hearts thy spoils.
For when your Head is bald, or Hair grows thin,
In vain you boast of Treasures lodg'd within.       [Latin: 180]
The Women won't believe you, nor will prize
Such Wealth; all Lovers ought to please the Eyes.
So I to Venus my assistance lend
(I'm pleas'd to be my Heavenly Name-sakes Friend) 18
Though I am modest, and consent to go
In simple Weeds, that make no gawdy show;
For I am cloth'd, as when I first was born, 19
No painted Flow'rs my rural Head adorn.
But above all, I'm sober; I ne'er drink
Sweet Streams, nor does my Thirst make Rivers sink.
When Jove to Plants begins an Health in show'rs,
And from the Sky large Bowls of Water pours,
You see the Herbs quaff all the Liquor up,
When they ought only modestly to sup:
You'd think the German Drunkards near the Rhine,
Were keeping Holy-day with them in Wine.       200
Mean while I blush; shake from my trembling Leaves
The Drops; and Jove my Thanks in drought receives.
But I no Topers envy; for my meen
Is always gay, and my complexion green.
Winter it self does not exhaust the Juice,
That makes me look so verdant and so spruce.
Yet the Physicians steep me cruelly
In hateful Water, which I drink and die.       [Latin: 200]
But I ev'n dead, on Humors operate, 20
Such force my Ashes have beyond my Fate.
I through the Liver, Spleen, and Reins the Foe
Pursue, whilst they with speed before me flow.
Ten thousand Maladies down with 'em they
Like Monsters fell, in bracky Waves convey.
For this I might deserve, above the Air,
An higher place than Berenices Hair; 21
But if into the Sea the Stars turn round,
Rather than Heav'n it self, I'd chuse dry ground.


[14] Capillary Plants.


[15] From the likeness of their Leaves.


[16] Alluding to the Name


[17] The Name it bears, because it tinges the Hair, and is tot his purpose boil'd in Wine with Parsley-seed, and plenty of Oil, which renders the hair thick and curling, and keeps it from falling. Plin. l. 22.11.


[18] Being called in Latin Capillus Veneris.


[19] 'Tis always green, but never flowers. It delights in dry places, and is green in Summer, but withers not in Winter. Plin.


[20] It forces Urine, is good against Dropsie, Stangury, etc. Plin.


[21] The Wife of Ptolomy Euergetes, who having vowed, if her Husband had success in his Asian Expedition, that she would cut off and dedicate her Hair: at his Return she did so; and on the morrow, it not being found in the Temple of Venus, where it was laid, Ptolomy was highly enraged, till one Conon, a Mathematician, made it out to him, that it was transferred to Heaven, and there made a Constellation of seven Stars near the Lion's Tail; which still bears this Name.


SAge! who by many Virtues gain'st renown, 22
Sage! whose Deserts all happy Mortals own.       220
Since thou, dear Sage! preserv'st the Memory,
I cannot sure forgetful prove of Thee.
Thee, who Mnemosyne dost recreate 23
Her Daughter Muses ought to celebrate,
Nor shalt thou e'er complain, that they're ingrate.
High on a Mount the Souls firm Mansion stands,
And with a view the Limbs below commands.
Sure some great Architect this Pile design'd,
Where all the World is to a Span confin'd.       [Latin: 220]
A mighty throng of Spirits here reside,
Which to the Soul are very near alli'd.
Here the grand Council's held; hence to and fro
The Spirits scout to see what News below.
Busie as Bees, through every part they run,
Thick as the Rays stream from the glitt'ring Sun.
Their subtle Limbs Silk, thin as Air, arrays,
And therefore nought their rapid Journey stays.
But with much toil they weary grow, at length
Perpetual Labor tires the greatest Strength.
Off too, as they in pains bestow their hours,       240
The airy vagrants hostile Heat devours.
Oft in Venereal Raptures they expire,
Or burnt by Wine, and drown'd in liquid Fire.
Then Leaden Sleep does on the Senses seize,
And with dull drowziness the Vitals freeze.
Cold Floods of dire Distempers swiftly rowl,
For want of Dams and Fences, o'er the Soul.
Then are the Nerves dissolv'd, each member quakes,
And the whole ruinated Fabrick shakes.       [Latin: 240]
You'd think the Hands fear'd Poyson in the Cup,
They tremble so, and cannot lift it up.
Hence, Sage! 'tis manifest what thou canst do,
And glorious dangers beg relief from you.
The Foe, by cold and humors so inclos'd,
From his chill Throne by thy strong heat's depos'd.
And to the Spirits thou bring'st fresh Recruits,
When they are wearied in such long Disputes.
To Life, whose Body was almost its Urn,
New Life, (if I may say it) does return.
The members by their Nerves are steady ty'd,       260
A Pilot, not the Waves, the Vessel guide.
You all things fix: Who this for truth wou'd take,
That thy weak Fibres such strong Bonds shou'd make?
Loose Teeth thou fasten'st; which, at thy command,
Well riveted in their firm Sockets stand.
May that fair, useful Bulwark, ne'er decay,
Nor the Mouth's Ivory Fences e'er give way!
Conceptions, Women by thy help retain, 24
Nor does th'injected Seed flow back again.       [Latin: 260]
Ah! Death, don't Life it self anticipate,
Let a Man live, before he meets his Fate.
Thou'rt too severe, if, in the very Dock,
Our Ship, before 'tis built, strikes on a Rock.
Of thy Perfections this is but a tast,
You bring to view things absent, and what's past
Recal; such tracts i' th'mind of things you make,
None can the well form'd Characters mistake.
And lest the Colours there shou'd fade away,
Your Oil embalms, and keeps 'em from decay. [image]


[22] The Virtues of Sage are highly celebrated by all Authors; particularly the Writers of Schola Salernitana, who may be consulted. It is hot in the first, and dry in the second degree; it is easily astringent, and stays Bleedings. It strengthens the Stomack and Brain; and rowzes a dull Appetite, but its peculiar Faculty is to corroborate the Nerves, and to oppose all Diseases incident unto them. Hence it hath the hightest reputation among Medicaments for the Memory.


[23] The Memory


[24] Agrippa calls it the holy Herb, and says the Lionesses eat it when they are big. See Heurnius concerning its virtues this way.


HEnce, Cares! my constant, troublesome Company,       280
Be gone! Melissa's come and smiles on me. 25
Smiling she comes, and courteously my Head
With Chaplets binds from every fragrant Bed:
Bidding me sing of her, and for my strains,
Her self will be the Guerdon of my pains.
My Heart, methinks, is much more lightsome grown,
And I thy influence, kind Plant! must own:
Justly thy Leaves may represent the Heart,
For that, among its Wealth, counts thee a part.
As of Kings Heads Guinies th'impression bear,
That Princely part you in Effigie wear.       [Latin: 280]
All Storms and Clouds you banish from the mind,
But leave Serenity and Peace behind.
Bacchus himself no more revives our Blood,
When he infuses his hot, purple flood:
When in full Bowls he all our sorrow drowns,
And flattering hopes with short-liv'd riches crowns.
But those Enjoyments some disturbance bring,
And such delights flow from a muddy Spring.
For Bacchus does not kill, but wound the Foe, |       300
Whose rage and strength increases by the Blow. |
But without force or dregs thy pleasures flow, |
Thy Joys no after-claps of Torments know. |
Thy Hony, gentle Bawm! no pointed Stings,
Like Bees, thy great admirers, with it brings. 26
Oh! Heavenly Gift to sickly human kind,
All Goddess, if from care thou freest the mind.
All Plagues annoy, but Cares the whole Man seise:
Whene'er we labor under this Disease.
These, though in prosp'rous affluence we live,
To all our Joys a bitter Tincture give.       [Latin: 300]
Frail humane Nature its own Poyson breeds,
And Life it self thy healing Virtue needs.


[25] Baum is hot and dry in the first degree; it is excellent against Melancholy, and the Evils arising therefrom. It causes chearfulness, a good digestion and florid colour; The leaves are said, by those who mind Signatures, to resemble a heart.


[26] It is very much loved by the Bees, and is a present Remedy against the Stings of them and Wasps, etc. Plin.


A Malady there is, that runs through all
The Northern World, which they the Scurvy call.
Thrice happy Greece, that scorns the barbarous Word, 27
Nor in its Tongue a neater does afford.
Destructive Monster! God ne'er laid a Curse,
On Man like this, nor could he send a worse.
A thousand horrid shapes the Monster wears, 28       320
And in as many hands fierce arms it bears.
This Water-Serpent, in the Belly's bred,
By muddy Fens, and sulph'rous Moistures fed.
Him either Sloth or too much Labour breeds,
He both from Ease and Pain it self proceeds.
Oft from a dying Fever he receives
His Birth, and in the Ashes of it lives.
Of him just born you easily may dispose,
Then he's a Dwarf, but soon a Giant grows.
That a small Egg should breed a Crocodile,
Of such vast bulk and strength, the wondering Nile
Thinks he as much amazed ought to stand,
As men, when he o'erflows the drowned Land.       [Latin: 320]
With nasty Humors and dry Salts he's fed,
By stinking Wind and Vapours nourished.
Even in his Cradle he unlucky grows
(Though he be Son of sloth, no sloth this shows)
His Toils no sooner Hercules began;
Monsters now ape that Monster-murdering Man.
E're he's well born the Limbs he does oppress,       340
And they are tired with very Idleness.
They languish and deliberating stand,
Loth to obey the active Souls command.
Nor does it to your wildred Sense appear,
Where their pain is, 'cause it is every where.
When Men for want of breath can hardly blow,
Nor Purple Streams in azure Channels flow,
Then the bold Enemy shews he's too nigh,
One so mischievous cannot hidden lie.
The Teeth drop out, and noisome grows the Breath,
The man not only smells, but looks like Death.
Qualms, Vomiting, and torturing Gripes within
Besides unseemly spots upon the skin
His other symptoms are; with clouds the mind
He overcasts, and, fettering the Sense,
To Life it self makes Living an Offence.       [Latin: 340]

This Monster Nature gave me to subdue, 29
(Such feats with herbs t'accomplish is not new)
So the fierce Bull and watchful Dragon too
On Colchis shore the valiant Jason slew. [image]      360
But whether those defeated Monsters fell
By virtue of my Juice I cannot tell.
But them he conquer'd and then back he row'd
O'r the proud waves; nor was it only Gold
He got; he brought away a Royal Maid
Beside (may all Physicians so be paid.)
The hardness of my task my courage fir'd,
A powerful Foe was that I most desir'd.
I love to be commended, I must own,
And that my Name in Physick books be shown.
I envy them, whom Galen deigns to name,
Or old Hippocrates, great Sons of Fame.
Achilles Alexander envy'd; why,
If he complain'd so justly, may not I?
When Græcian Names did other Plants adorn
And were by them as marks of honour born,
I grew inglorious on the British coast, 30
(For Britain then no reason had to boast)
Hapless I on the Gothick shore did lie,
Nor was the Sea-weed less esteem'd than I.       380       [Latin: 360]
Now sure 'tis time, those losses were regain'd,
Which in my youth and fame so long I have sustain'd;
'Tis time, and so they are; Now I am known,
Through all the Universe my fame has flown:
Who my deserts denies, when by my hands
That Tyrant falls, that plagues the Northern Lands?
Sing Io Pæan; yea thrice Io sing,
And let the Gothick shores with Triumphs ring;
That wild Disease, which such disturbance gave,
Is led before my Chariot like a Slave.


[27] There is no proper Greek word for the Scurvy.


[28] Description of the Scurvy.


[29] Scurvy-Grass is reckoned among the Medicines peculiar to this Disease. It opens, penetrates, renders volatile the crude and gross humous, purges by urine and sweat, and strengthens the entrails.


[30] Not but that 'tis by some thought to be the Britannica of Pliny.


THou neither leaf nor stalk, nor root can'st show;
How, in this pensile posture dost thou grow?
Thou'rt perfect Magick; and I cannot now
Those things you do, for Miracles allow;
Those wonders, if compar'd to you, are none;
Since you yourself are a far greater one.
To make the strength of other Herbs thy prey,
The Huntress thou thy self for Nets dost lay,
Live Riddle! He that would thy mysteries
Unfold, must with some Oedipus advise.       400
No wonder in your Arms the Plants you hold,
Thou being all Arms must them needs so infold.       [Latin: 380]
For thee large threads the fatal Sisters spin,
But to your work nor woof nor web put in.
Hence 'tis, that you so intricately twine
About that plant [31] which yields so long a line.
Oh! Spouse most constant to a Plant most dear, [image]
Than whom no Couple e'er more loving were.
No more let Love of wanton Ivy boast,
Her kindness is th'effect of nought but Lust.
Another she enjoys; but that her Love
And she are Two, many distinctions prove. 32
Their strength and leaves are different, and her fruit
Puts all the Difference beyond dispute.
The likeness to the Parent does profess,
That She in that is no Adulteress.
Her root with different juices is supply'd,
And She her Maiden name bears though a Bride.
But Dodder on her Spouse depends alone,
And nothing in her self can call her own.       420
Fed with his juice, she on his stalk is born,
And thinks his Leaves her head full well adorn.
Whe'r he be, She loves to take his Name,
And must with him be every way the same. [image]      [Latin: 400]
Alceste and Evadne thus enflam'd
Are, with some others, for their passion, fam'd.
So, Dodder, for thy husband Flax thoud'st die
I guess; but may'st thou speed more luckily.
This is her living passion; but she grows
Still more renown'd for kindness, which she shows
To mortal Men, when she 'as resign'd her breath;
For She of them is mindful even in Death.
The Liver and the Spleen most faithfully 33
Of all oppressions she does ease and free.
Where has so small a Plant such strength and store
Of Virtues, when her Husband's weak and poor?
Who'd think the Liver shou'd assistance need,
A noble part, from such a wretched Weed?
Use therefore little things; nor take it ill
That Men small things preserve; for less may kill.      440


[31] Flax.


[32] The Ivy is always call'd Ivy, whatsoever it cleaves to: but this Herb takes the name from the Plant on which it hands, with whom also it partakes its Virtues, as Epithymum, Epilinum, Epiurtica, etc.


[33] Concerning its manifold Virtues, consult Heurnius and Fernelius.


'MOng Children I a baneful Weed am thought,34
By none but Hags or Fiends desir'd or sought.
They think a Doctor is in jest, or mad,
If he agrees not, that my juice is bad.
The Women also I offend, I know,
Though to my bounteous hands so much they owe.      [Latin: 420]
Few Palates do my bitter tast approve,
How few, alas! are well inform'd by Jove!
Sweet things alone they love; but in the end
They find what bitter gusts those sweets attend.
Long nauseousness succeeds their short-liv'd joys,
And that which so much pleas'd the Palate, cloys.
The Palate justly suffers for the wrong 35
Sh' 'as done the Stomach; into which so long
All tastefull food she cramm'd, til now, quite tir'd,
She loaths the Dainties she before admir'd,
A grievous stench does from the stomach rise,
And from the mouth Lernæan Poison flies.
Then they're content to drink my harsher juice,
Which for its bitterness they n'er refuse.       460
It does not idle in the stomach lie,
But, like some God, give present remedy.
(So the warm Sun my vigour does restore,
When he returns and the cold Winter's o'r.)
There I a Jakes out of a Stable throw,
And Hercules's labour undergo.
The Stomach eas'd its Office does repeat,
And with new living fire concocts the meat.       [Latin: 440]
The purple Tincture soon it does devour,
Nor does that Chyle the hungry veins o'rpower.
The visage by degrees fresh Roses stain,
And the perfumed breath grows sweet again.
The good I do Venus herself will own,
She, though all sweets, yet loves not sweets alone.
She wisely mixes with my juice her joys,
And her delights with bitter things alloys.
We Herbs to different studies are inclined,
And every faction does its Author find.
Some Epicurus's sentiments defend,
And follow pleasure as their only end.       480
It is their pride and boast sweet fruits to bear,
And on their heads they flowry Chaplets wear.
Whilst others courting rigid Zeno's Sect,
In Virtue fruitful, all things else neglect.
They love not pomp, or what delights the sense,
And think all's well, if they give no offence.
And none a greater Stoick is, than I,
The Stoa's Pillars on my Stalk rely.       [Latin: 460]
Let others please, to profit, is my pleasure.
The Love I slowly gain's a lasting treasure.
In Towns debauch'd he's the best Officer,
Who most censorious is and most severe;
Such I am; and such you, dear Cato, were.
But I no dire, revengeful passion show,
Our Schools in Wisemen Anger don't allow.
No fault I punish more than that which lies
Within my Province; wherefore from my eyes
Choler with hasty speed before me flies.
As soon as Me it in the stomach spies,
Preparing for a War in Martial guise,       500
Not daring in its lurking holes to stay,
It makes a swift escape the backward way.
I follow him at th'heels, and by the scent
Find out which way the noisom Enemy went.
Of Water too I drain the flesh and bloud, 36
When Winter threatens a devouring flood.
The Dutchmen with less skill their Country drain,
And turn the course of Waters back again.
Sometimes th'obstructed Reins too narrow grow,
And the salt floods back to their Fountains flow.       [Latin: 480]
Unhappy state! the neighboring members quake,
And all th'adjacent Country seems to shake.
Then I begin the Waters thus to chide;
Why, sluggish Waters, do you stop your tide?
Glide on with me, I'll break the Rampires down,
That stop the Channel where you once have flown.
I do so; straight the Currents wider grow,
And in their usual banks the Waters flow.
This all the members does rejoice and chear,
Who of a dismal Deluge stood in fear.       520
Men-eating Worms I from the body scare, 37
And conquering Arms against that Plague prepare.
(Voracious Worm! thou wilt most certainly
Heir of our bodies be, whene'r we die;
Deferr a while the meal which in the Grave,
Of humane Viands thou e'r long must have.)
Those Vermine Infants bowels make their food,
And love to suck their fill of tender bloud.
They cannot stay till Death serves up their feast,
But greedily snatch up the meat undrest.
Why shou'd I speak of fleas? such Foes I hate,
So basely born, ev'n to enumerate,
Such dust born, skipping points of life; I say,
Whose only virtue is, to run away.
My Triumphs to such numbers do amount,
That I the greater ones can hardly count.
To such a bulk the vast account does swell,
That I some Trophies lose which I should tell.
Oft wandring Death is scatter'd through the Skies, 38
And through the Elements infection flies. [image]      540       [Latin: 500]
The Earth below is sick, the Air above,
Slow Rivers prove they're sickly, whilst they move;
All things Deaths Arms in cold embraces catch,
Life even the vital Air away doth snatch.
To remedy such evils God took care,
Nor me as least of Med'cines did prepare.
Oft too, they say, I (though no Giant neither)
Have born the shock of three strong Foes together.
Not without reason therefore, or in vain 39
Did conquering Rome my Honour so maintain:
The Conqu'ror a Triumphal draught of Me
Drank, as the Guerdon of his Victory.
Holding the crowned Goblet in his hand
He cry'd aloud, This Cup can health command.
Nor does it, cause 'tis bitter, please me less,
My toils were so, in which I met success.


[34] Pliny spends all Chap. 7. l. 27. in enumerating the Virtues of Wormwood, and Fernelius is large upon it; whom consult.


[35] It strengthens the Stomach, and purges it of Choler, Wind and Crudities.


[36] It is good against the Dropsie.


[37] And Worms which occasion'd the Name, Wormwood.


[38] And useful in time of Pestilence.


[39] Concerning this custom see Pliny, ut suprà.


D'ye slight me, 'cause a bog my Belly feeds,
And I am found among a crowd of Reeds
I'm no green vulgar Daughter of the Earth,
But to the noble Waters owe my birth.       560       [Latin: 520]
I was a Goddess of no mean degree; 40
But Love alas! deposed my Deity.
He bad me love, and straight my kindled heart
In Hercules's triumphs bore a part.
I with his Fame, and actions fell in love,
And Limbs, that might become his Father Jove.
And by degrees Me a strong impulse hurl'd,
That Man t'enjoy, who conquer'd all the World.
To tell you true, that Night I most admir'd,
When he got fifty Sons and was not tir'd.
Now, blushing, such deeds hate I, to profess;
But 'twas a Night of noble wickedness.
He (to be short) my honour stain'd, and he
Had the first flow'r of my Virginity.
But He by 's Father Jove's example led
Rambled and cou'd not brook a single bed.
Fierce monstrous Beasts and Tyrants, worse than they,
All o'r the World he ran to seek and slay.
But He, the Tyrant, for his Guerdon still
A Maid requires, if he a Monster kill.       580       [Latin: 540]
All Womankind to me his Harlots are,
Ev'n Goddesses in my suspicion share.
Perish me; let the Sun this Water dry,
And may I scorch'd in this burnt puddle die;
If I of Juno were not jealous grown,
And thought I shew'd her hatred in my own.
(Perhaps, said I, my passion he derides,
And I'm the scorn of all his virtuous Brides.
Grief, anger, shame and fury vex my mind,
But, maugre all, Loves darts those passions blind.)
If I from tortures of eternal grief
Did not design by Death to seek relief.
But Goddesses in Love can never die,
Hard Fate! our punishment's Eternity.
Mean time I'm all in tears both night and day,
And as they drop, my tedious hours decay.
Into a Lake the standing showers grow,
And o'r my feet th'united Waters flow:
Then (as the dismal boast of misery)
I triumph in my griefs fertility.       600       [Latin: 560]
Till Jove at length, in pity, from above,
Said, I shou'd never from that Fen remove.
His Word my body of its form bereft,
And straight all vanish'd, that my grief had left.
My knotty root under the Earth does sink, 41
And makes me of a Club too often think.
My thirsty leaves no liquor can suffice;
My tears are now return'd into my eyes.
My form its ancient Whiteness still retains, 42
And pristine paleness in my Cheeks remains.
Now in perpetual mirth my days I pass,
We Plants, believe me, are an happy Race.
We truly feel the Suns kind influence,
Cool winds and warmer Air refresh our sense,
Nectar in dew does from Aurora rise,
And Earth Ambrosia untill'd supplies.
I pity Man, whom thousand cares perplex,
And cruel Love, that greatest plague, does vex;
Whilst mindful of the ills I once endur'd
His flames by me are quench'd, his wounds are cur'd. 43       620       [Latin: 580]
I triumph, that my Victor I o'rthrow,
Such changes Tyrants Thrones shou'd undergo.
Don't wonder, Love, that Thee thy Slave shou'd beat,
Alcides Monsters taught me to defeat.
And lest, unhappy Boy! thou shou'dst believe,
All handsom folks thy cruel Yoke receive;
I have a Wash that beautifies the Face, 44
Yet chastly look in my own wat'ry Glass.
Diana's meine, and Venus face I lend,
So to both Deities I prove a friend.
But lest that God shou'd artfully his Flame
Conceal, and burn me in anothers Name;
All Heats in general I resist, nay I 45
To all that's Hot am a sworn Enemy.
Whether distracting flames with fury flie,
Through the burnt brain, like Comets through the skie,
Or whether from the Belly they ascend,
And fumes all o'r the Body swiftly send,
Whether with sulphurous fire the veins within
They kindle, or just singe the outward skin.      640       [Latin: 600]
Whate'r they are, my awful juice they fly;
When glimmering through the pores they run and die.
Why wink'st thou? why doest so with half an eye
Look on me? Oh -- my sleepy root's too nigh.
Besides my tedious Discourse might make
Any Man have but little mind to wake,
Without that's help; Thus then our leaves we take.


[40] Deianira's blood is said by Calepine to be turn'd into this Herb, after she had kill's her self with Hercules his Club, for grief that she had been the cause of his death.


[41] It is call'd by some Hercules's Club.


[42] There are two sorts, a white and a yellow.


[43] 'Tis said to be a great allayer of Lechery.


[44] It takes away Morphews and Freckles.


[45] It is cold in the second degree, its root and seed are drying; but the flower moistens, being applied to the forehead and nostrils it cures the Head-ach arising from Plegm, and is very cooling. Fernel.


[image] [image]
ME cruel Nature, when she made me, gave 46
Nor stalk, nor seed, nor flow'r, as others have.
The Sun ne'r warms me, nor will she allow,
I shou'd in cultivated Gardens grow.
And to augment the torment of my years,
No lovely colour in my leaves appears.
You'd think me Heav'ns aversion, and the Earth
Had brought me forth at some chance, spurious Birth.
Vain outward gaudy shews mankind surprize,
And they resign their Reason to their eyes.
To Gardens no poor Plant admittance gains,
For there, God wot, the painted Tulip reigns.
But the wise Gods mind no such vanity,       660
Phoebus above all Tulips values me.
So does that Coan, old Hippocrates,
Who the next place to Phoebus challenges.
For when the Members Nature did divide, [image]
And over such or such bad Herbs preside;       [Latin: 620]
I of the savage and unruly Spleen,
A stubborn Province, was created Queen.
I that restrain, though it resist my power,
And bring its swelling, rebel humor lower.
The passages with Rampires it in vain
Obstructs; I quickly break them down again.
All Commerce I with speedy force restore,
And the ways open all my Kingdom o'r.
If I don't take that course, it furious grows,
And into every part Contagion throws.
With poisonous vapours it infects the blood,
And Life it self drinks of a venomous flood.
Foul Leprosie upon the skin appears,
And the chang'd visage Deaths pale colours wears.
Hence watchfulness, distracting cares, and tears,       680
And pain proceeds; with hasty, killing fears.
Hence Halters, cruel Love! our necks release
From thy more fatal Yoke; and Daggers ease
Our Souls of Life's incurable Disease:
May no such monstrous evils good Men hurt,
Jove and my Virtue all such things avert!
The Treasury Trajan rightly to the Spleen
Compar'd; for, when that swells, the body's lean.       [Latin: 640]
Why do you laugh? Is it, because that I
Pretend to know the Roman History,
I a dull stock and not a Plant shou'd be,
Having so long kept Doctors company,
If their discourse shou'd not advantage me.
It has; and I great wonders cou'd relate,
But I'm a Plant, that ne'r was given to prate.
But to return from whence I have digrest,
I many Creatures ease by Spleen opprest.
Creet, though so used to lye, you may believe, 47
When for their Swine their thanks to me they give.
The wretched Ass, whom constant labour tires,       700
Sick of the Spleen my speedy aid desires.
Eating my leaves (for I relieve his pain)
He cheerfully resumes his work again.
Now, if you can, vain, painted Flow'rs admire,
Delights, scarce sooner born, than they expire.
They're fair, 'tis true, they're cheerful and they're green;
But I, though sad, procure a gladsom mein.


[46] The Vertues of this Herb are told in its name.


[47] Vitruvius says that in Creet, where this Herb abounds, the Swine have no Spleen.


SOme think your commendation you deserve, 48
'Cause you of old Augustus did preserve.       [Latin: 660]
Why did you still prolong that fatal breath,
That banish'd Ovid, and was Tully's death?
But I suppose that neither of 'em you,
Nor Orator nor Poet ever knew;
Wherefore I wonder not, you shou'd comply,
And the Worlds Tyrant so far gratify.
Thou truly to all Tyrants art of use,
Their madness flies before thy pow'rful juice.
Their heads with better wreaths, I pri'thee, crown,
And let the World in them thy kindness own.
At thy command forth from its scorched Heart,       720
Of Tyrants Love the greatest does depart.
False Love, I mean; for thou ne'r try'st t'expel
True Love, who, like a good King, governs well.
Justly that Dog star, Cupid, thou do'st hate,
Whose fire kills Herbs, and Monsters does create.


[48] Augustus is said to have been preserved in his Sickness by Lettuce. Plin.

Upon the Same.

EAT me with Bread and Oil, you'll ne'r repine,
Or say, in Summer you want meat to dine.
The Worlds first golden Age such Viands blest, [image]
I was the chief ingredient at a Feast:
Large bodies for the Demigods my juice,
And blood proportionable, did produce.       [Latin: 680]
Then neither fraud nor force, nor lust was known,
Such ills their rise from too much heat must own.
Let their vile Name religiously be curst,
Who to base Glutt'ny gave dominion first.
For thence sprang Vice, whose Train Distempers were,
And Death did in new, ghastly shapes appear.
Shun cruel Tables, that with blood are dy'd,
And Banquets by destructive Death suppli'd.
Sick, if not well, thou'lt Herbs desire, and we       740
Shall prove, it not thy Meat, thy Remedy.


ENter, sweet Stranger, to my Eyes reveal
Thy self, and gratefully thy Poet heal.
If I of Plants have any thing deserv'd,
Or in my Verse their Honour be preserv'd.
Thus, lying on the Grass and sad, pray'd I, [image]
Whilst nimbly Eye-bright came and stood just by. [image]
I wonder'd that so noble an Herb so soon
Rose by my side like a Champignon; [image]
I saw her not before, nor did sh' appear,
For any thing I knew, to be so near.
On a black stalk, nine inches long she grew,
With leaves all notch'd, and of a greenish hue.       [Latin: 700]
While pretty Flowers on her top she bore,
With yellow mixt and purple streaks all ore.
I knew her straight; her Name and Visage sute;
And my glad Eyes their Patroness salute.
Strange News! To me she bow'd with Flow'r and stalk,
And thus, in Language fit for her, did talk.
'Twas low; for Herbs that modest custom love,       760
Hoarse murmurs of the Trees they don't approve.
Thou only Bard said she, o' th'verdant Race,
Who in thy Songs do'st all our Virtues trace.
All Men are not allow'd our Voice to hear,
Though such respect to you, our Friend, we bear, [image]
We hate the custome, which with Men obtains,
To slight a kind, ingenuous Poets pains.
I wish my root cou'd heal you, and I'm sure,
Our Nation all wou'd gladly see the Cure. 49
But if by Natures self it be withstood,
The pow'r of Herbs, alas! can do no good.
Natures injunctions none of us withstands,
We're Slaves to all her Ladyships commands.       [Latin: 720]
Let what She gives your Appetite suffice,
Nor grumble, when she any thing denies.
For she with sparing Hands large gifts supplies.
But if some Malady impair the Sight,
Or Wine, or Love, that's blind, and hates the Light;
Or Surfeits, watchful Cares, or putrid Air,
Or numerous other things, that hurtful are;       780
Then am I useful: If you wou'd engage
To count my Conquests, or the Wars I wage,
The Ev'ning Star much sooner wou'd go down,
And all the Fields in dewy Nectar drown.
Oft a salt Flood which from the head descends, 50
With the Eyes fresher streams its current blends.
That Pain, which causes many watery Eyes, 51
From its own tears it self does here arise.
Oft times the Channels of a paler Flood 52
Are fill'd and swell with strange, unnatural blood;
And by a Guest, who thither lately came,
The House is set all on a raging flame.
Take care, if your small worlds bright Sun appear
Blood-red, or he'll soon leave your Hemishpere.
Oft fumes and wandering Flies obscure the Eye, 53
And in those Clouds strange Monsters seem to fly.       [Latin: 740]
Fume, what does thy dull, sooty visage here?
I see no fire, that thou shoud'st be so near.
Or what (with a Mischief) means the troublesome Fly?
I'd as soon have the God of Flies as nigh.       800
Oft times the sight is dark'ned with false snow, 54
And night it self in blanched Robes does go;
Whilst shapes of distant things, that real were,
In different colours, or in none, appear.
Tumours, and Cankers, Pustles, Ulcers why 55
Shou'd I recount, those torments of the Eye?
Or thousands more which I'm affraid to name,
Lest when I tell them they my Tongue inflame,
Or that which from its hollow length Men call
Fistula [Pipe] a name too Musical. [image]
All these I tame; the Air my vertue clears,
Whilst the Clouds vanish and the day appears.
The joyful Face smiles with diffused Light;
What comeliness is mix'd with that delight!
You know, Arnoldus (if you've read him o'r) 56
Did sight by me to Men stone-blind restore.
'Tis true; and my known virtue ought to be
The more esteem'd for that strange Prodigy.
With my kind leaves he bids you tinge your Wines,
And profit with your pleasure wisely joins. [image]       820       [Latin: 760]
Those Light will truly give, and sacred bowls,
Bacchus will dwell in your enlarged Souls.
Then call thy Boy, with a capacious Cup,
And with that Wine be sure to fill it up,
Till thou hast drunk, for all the amorous Dames,
An Health to ev'ry Letter of their names.
Then drink an Health to th'Eyes; they won't refuse
(I'm confident) to pledge you in my juice.
But we lose time; go; carefully rehearse
What I have said in never-dying Verse.
She spake, then vanishing away she flew;
I (Reader) tell you nothing but what's true.


[49] Of Plants.


[50] Several Diseases of the Eyes are recounted.


[51] Epiphora.


[52] Ophthalmia.


[53] Suffusio.


[54] Leucoma.


[55] Aegilopes. Carcinomata. Phlyctænæ. Epicaumata.


[56] Arnold. de Villa nova. Lib. de Vinis.


WHen I stand musing (as I often do)
I'm fill'd with shame and noble anger too;
To think that all we Plants (except some few
Whom Phoebus with more vigour did endue)
Cannot away with Winters nipping fare,
But more effeminate, than Mankind, are.
From Father Sun, and Mother Earth in vain
We sprang; they both your figure still retain.       840
To our Delights why don't the Seasons yield,
And banish Winter from each verdant Field?       [Latin: 780]
Why in Elysian Gardens don't we grow,
Whe're no chill blasts may on our beauties blow?
We're Halcyons forsooth, and can't with ease
Bring forth, unless the world be all at peace.
Nor is this softness only to be found
Among small Herbs, still creeping on the ground:
Great Elms and Oaks themselves it does controul.
In their hard bark they wear a tender Soul.
These Huffs Effeminacy count no crime;
You'd think in Summer they to Heav'n wou'd climb.
But if the Year its back upon them turn,
Each Giant creeps back into th'Earth his Urn. [image]
Here lies -- you on his bulky trunk may write;
For shame! There lie; let not the mold lie light.
But I, who very hardly dare receive
The name of Shrub (though Pliny gives me leave)
The dreadful Winter to the Combat dare;
Though Heav'n it self shou'd fall, I'd take no care.       860
The Winter comes; and I'm by storms alarm'd,
She comes with Legions numberless, well arm'd.       [Latin: 800]
Then I my fruit produce, and having first
Expos'd them to her, cry, Now, do thy worst.
Pour, pour upon them all the Rain i' th'Skie,
It will not wast away their scarlet die.
Pour Snow, their Purple thence will grow more bright,
Some red in a white Vessel gives delight.
So the red lip the Ivory teeth befriends,
And a white Skin the rosy Cheeks commends.
With such like rudiments do I inure
My Virtue, and the force of it secure:
I, who rebellious Sickness must subdue,
And every day fresh Victories pursue.
Thus did I learn vast stones to break in twain, 57
And Ice, at first, put me to little pain.
For I not onely water do expel,
(That other weaker Plants can do as well)
But such hard Rocks of Adamant I break,
As Hannibal to pass wou'd prove too weak.       880
Unhappy He, who on this Rock is tost,
And shipwrack'd is on his own waters lost!
Even Sisyphus might pity and bemoan
The Wretch that's tortur'd with an inbred stone.       [Latin: 820]
How does he envy, ah, how much, the dead,
Whose Corps with stones are only covered!
Wou'd I not help him? Might the Earth divide,
And swallow me, if I my aid deni'd.
Then I my self child of some Rock must own,
And that my roots were veins of hardest stone.
But truly I do pity such a Man,
And the obdurate matter quickly can
Dissolve; my piercing Liquor round it lies,
And straight into a thousand parts it flies.
The long obstructed streams then glide away,
And fragments with them of the Stone convey.


[57] It is excellent against the Stone and all Diseases of the Bladder, thence in Latin call'd Vesicaria.


TO say the truth Nature's too kind to Thee,
For all thy days thou spend'st in luxury.
Thy Flowers are Silver, and a purple Down
Covers thy body, like a Silken Gown:       900
Whilst, to increase thy pomp and pride, each vein
Of thine a Golden humour does contain.
Each leaf is hollow made, just like a Cup,
Which Liquor always to the brim fills up.
The drunken Sun cannot exhaust thy bowl,
Nor Sirius himself, that thirsty Soul.
Full thou survey'st the parched Fields around,
And enviously in thy own floods art drown'd.       [Latin: 840]
Drinking, the thirsty months thou laugh'st away, day.
Thy Nile from secret sources moistens Thee,
And bids Thee merry, though Jove angry be.


[58] Vulgarly call'd also Rosa Solis.

Upon the same.

THY conquer'd Ivy, Bacchus! now throw down, [image]
And of this Herb make a far nobler Crown!
This Herb, with Plenty's bounteous current feeds,
Plenty which constantly it self succeeds.
So thy extended Guts thy Godship swills,
And its own self thy titled Hogshead fills.
So at Joves Table Gods the Goblet drain,
But straight with Nectar it grows full again.       920
Nor do the Cups the Phrygian Stripling need,
To fill them; each is his own Ganymede.
So in the Heart, that double lusty bowl
(In which the Soul it self drinks Life and Soul)
That Heav'nly bowl, made by an Heav'nly hand,
With purple Nectar always crown'd does stand.
Of what she spends Nature ne'r feels the lack,
What one throws out, another brings it back.       [Latin: 860]
Blest Plant, brimful of moisture radical!
No wonder thou the Spirits, lest they fall,
Support'st, or that Consumptive bodies you,
And the firm Limbs bind with a lasting glue.
Or that lifes Lamp, which ready is to die,
With such vivacious Oil you can supply.
No wonder to the Lungs thou grateful art,
Thy constant waters feed that spongy part.
You Venus also loves, for though you're wet,
Your inside, like your outside's burnt with heat,
These are Lusts Elements; of heat she makes
A Soul, and moisture for her Body takes.       940


[image] [image]
THE dropping, bloudy Nose you gently bind,
But loosen the close Hemorroids behind.
And 'tis but natur'al, that who shuts the Fore
Shou'd at the same time open the back-door. [image]

Upon the same.

SEE how with Pride the groveling Pot-herb swells, 59 [image] [image]
And sawcily the generous Vine repells:
Her, that great Emperours oft in Triumph drew,
A base, unworthy Colewort does subdue.
But though o'r that the wretch victorious be,
It cannot stand, puissant Plant! near Thee       [Latin: 880]
For Meat to Medicines still must give the place,
That feeds Diseases, which away these chase.
You bravely Men and other Plants outvie,
Who no kind Office do, until they die;
Thy Virtues thou, yet living, do'st impart,
And ev'n to thy own Garden Physick art.


[59] The Colewort is said to kill the Vine, and it self kill'd by this Herb.

[Upon the same.]

Though on me Greece bestow'd a graceful Name, 60
Which well the Figure of my leaves became;
Th'Apothecaries have a new one found,
(Dull Knaves! that hate the very Greek Words sound)       960
And from a nasty Sow, (whose very name
Stinks on my tongue) have stigmatiz'd my Fame.
But I to them more than to Swine give bread,
They are the Hogs, by my large bounty fed.


[60] Cyclaminus.

Upon the same.

MY Virtue dries all ulcerous, running Sores,
And native softness to the skin restores.
My pow'r hard tumours cannot, if I list,
Either with water, or with fire resist.
Of sears by burning caus'd I clear the Face,
Nor let Small-pox the Countenance disgrace.       [Latin: 900]
My conquering hand Pimpgenets cannot shun,
Nor blackish, yellow spots the Face o'r run;
Morphew departs, and out each Freckle flies,
Though from our god himself they had their rise.
Nor leave I ought upon the Cheeks of Lasses,
To make 'em shie of looking in their Glasses.
Nor doubt I but that Sex much thanks will give,
For that the pangs of Childbirth I relieve.       980

Upon the same.

IN my Fire, that false Gold, the Jaundice, I 61
Consume, (true Gold scarce does more injury.)
Black blood, at my command, the back-way flows;
Nasty it self through nasty holes it goes.
Choler and Phlegm yellow and white I drain,
They wear th'dear Metals colours both in vain. 62
All Meteors from the eyes I drive away,
And whatso'er obscures the small Worlds day.
I of the Gout remove the very seed,
And all the humours which that torment breed.
Thorns, splinters, nails I draw, who wondering stand
How they could so come forth without an hand.       [Latin: 920]
This is the least: all Poisons I expel,
And Death force thence, where it was like to dwell.
Infants that know not what it is to live,
Before they're wretched, from the Womb I drive.
Oh Heavens! says th'ignorant amazed world; What's this?
Is't a Distemper to be born? Yes, 'tis.
For if we make a true account, 'tis more
Advantage life to hinder than restore.       1000


[61] The Jaundies, sometimes call'd in Latin Aurigo, from Aurum.


[62] Silver and Gold.


A Lusty Frog, a Duck swears is such Meat
(Fat'ned by me) as Jove himself may eat.
And if the learn'd Apicius knew that Dish, 63
He'd hungry grow, though dead, and life wou'd wish.
By this our value's in some measure shewn;
But I'm not born to fatten Ducks alone,
Nor o'r green Ponds did Nature Carpets strow,
That She to slimy Frogs good-will might show.
From me great benefits all the World must own,
Though long time hid, they're, many, yet unknown.
In a small Ring the Wits of learned Men
Run, and the same, confin'd trace o'r agen.       [Latin: 940]
The Plants which Nature through the Universe
In various shapes and colours does disperse,
Why shou'd I mention; this their ignorance shews,
That ev'n of Me Mankind so little knows.
Something they do; and more I wou'd reveal,
Which Phoebus and the Fates bid me conceal.
But this I'll tell you; dry, blew Cankers I,
And cholerick Fire of hot St. Anthony,       1020
I soon extinguish; and all other flames,
Whatever are their Natures or their Names.
My native cold, and watery temper show,
Who my chill Parent is and where I grow.
Thus when the water in the joints inclos'd
Bubbles, by pain and natural heat oppos'd, 64
The boyling Caldron my stong virtue rules,
And sprinked with my dew the fury cools.


[63] And antient Roman Author that wrote about good eating.


[64] The Gout.

ROSEMARY. Touching the bite of the Tarantula. 65

DAunian Arachne! who spinn'st all the day, 66
Nor to Minerva will't ev'n yet give way;
Whilst thy own bowels thou to Lawn dost weave,
What pleasure canst thou from such pains receive?
Why thy sad hours in such base deeds dost spill,
Or do things so ridiculously ill?       [Latin: 960]
Why dost thou take delight to stop our breath,
Or act the serious sports of cruel Death.
Whom thou scarce touchest straight to rave he's found,
He raves although he hardly feels thy wound.
One Atome of thy Poison in the veins,
Dominion soon o'r all the body gains.       1040
Within upon the Soul her self it preys,
Which it distracts a thousand cruel ways.
One's silent, whilst another roars aloud;
He's fearful, t'other fights with th'gazing crowd.
This cryes, and this his sides with laughter shakes,
A thousand habits this same Fury takes.
But all with love of Dancing are possest,
All day and night they dance and never rest.
As soon as Musick from struck strings rebounds,
Or the full Pipes breath forth their Magick sounds;
The stiff old Woman straight begins a Round,
And the Lethargick Sleeper quits the ground.
The poor lame Fellow, though he cannot prance
So nimbly as the rest, he hops a Dance.
The old Man, whom this merry Poison fires,
Satyrs themselves with dancing almost tires.
To such a sad, phrenetick Dance as this
A Siren, sure, the fittest Minstrel is.       [Latin: 980]
Cruel Distemper! thy wild fury proves
Worst Master of the Revels which it loves:       1060
When this sad Pyrrhick measure they begin, 67
Ah! what a weight hangs on their hearts within.
Tell me, Physicians! which way shall I ease
Poor mortals of this strange, unknown disease?
For me may Phoebus never more protect
(Whose Godhead you and I so much respect)
If I know any more (to tell you true)
Whence this dire mischief springs, than one of you.
But to the heart (you know it) and the brain,
Those distant Provinces, in which I reign,
(To you, my friends, I no false stories feign.)
Auxiliary troops of Spirits I
Send, and the Camp with fresh Recruits supply.
Many kind Plants besides Me to the War
Attend, nor blush that under me they Soldiers are.
The merry Baum, and Rue which Serpents kills,
Cent'ry, and Saffron from Cilician Hills,
And thou, kind Birthwort, whose auspicious Name
From thy good deeds to teeming Women came.
The kind Pomegranate also does engage,       1080
With her bright Arms, and my dear Sister Sage.       [Latin: 1000]
Berries of Laurel, Myrtle, Tamarisk,
Ivy nor Juniper are very brisk.
Lavender, and sweet Marjoram march away,
Sothernwood and Angelica don't stay.
Plantain, the Thistle which they Blessed call,
And useful Wormwood in their order fall,
Then Carrot, Anise, and white Cumin seed,
With Gith, that pretty, chast, black Rogue, proceed.
Next Vipers-grass a Plant but lately known,
And Tormentil and Roses red, full blown;
To which I Garlick may and Onions join;
All these to fight I lead; go, give the sign.
With indignation I am vex'd, and hate
Soft Musick that great praise shou'd arrogate.
Poets will say, 'tis true (they're given to lye)
Willing their Mistris so to gratifie.
But food I say it does, not Physick, prove
To madmen (witness, all that are in Love!)
She to a short-liv'd folly does supply       1100
Constant additions of new vanity;
And here (to shew her Wit and Courage too)
Flatters the Tyrant, whom she shou'd subdue.
It is the greatest part of the Disease,
That she does so immoderately please,       [Latin: 1020]
'Tis part of the Disease, that so they throw
And toss themselves, which does for Physick go;
This Plague it self is plagu'd so night and day
That tir'd with labour it flies quite away.
I also lend an hand, to ease her grief,
When from her own strength Nature seeks relief.
'Tis something that I do; but truly I
Think the Disease is its own Remedy.


[65] An Insect of the Spider-kind.


[66] A Nimph turn'd into a Spider.


[67] A heavy sort of Dancing in armour.


TAke my advice, Men! and no Riddles use; 68
Why won't you rather to speak plainly choose?
If you're affraid, your secrets shou'd be told,
Your tongues you (that's the surest way) may hold.
Why shou'd we Sense with barbarous cruelty
Put to the Rack, to make it tell a lye?
Of this just reason I have to complain;       1120
Old dubious Saws long since my fame do stain.
How many ill conjectures grounded are
On this, that I must ne'r be set in War.
The Reader of a thing obscure will be
Inclin'd to carp, and to take liberty.       [Latin: 1040]
Hence one says, Mint, Mars does entirely hate,
And Mint to Venus also is ingrate.
Mars loves as well to get as to destroy
Mankind, the booty of his fierce employ.
Mint from the seed all seminal virtue takes,
And of brisk Men dull frigid Eunuchs makes. [image]
And then (to make the spreading error creep
Farther and farther still) they hear I keep
Their Milk from thickning; but how this I do
I'll tell you on these terms alone, That you
Shall me before resolve how first you gain
Notions of things, then, how you them retain.
This I dare boldly say; the fire of Love
With genial heat I gently do improve;
Though constantly the noble, human seed       1140
That sacred Lamp with vital Oil does feed:
For what to Venus e'r will faithful seem,
If Heat it self an Enemy you esteem?
Whether I know her Proserpine can tell, 69
I by my punishment am clear'd too well. 70
Besides, nought more the stomach rectifies,
Or strengthens the digestive faculties.       [Latin: 1060]
Such, such a Plant that feeds the amorous flame,
If Venus love not, she is much to blame;
And with ingratitude the seed I may
Charge, if to me great thanks it do not pay.
But other causes others have assign'd,
Who make the reason, which they cannot find.
They say, Wounds, if I touch them, bleed anew,
And I wound wounds themselves; 'tis very true.
For I a dry, astringent Pow'r retain,
By which all Ulcers of their gore I drain.
I Bloody fluxes stop, my Virtue's sure
The Wounds that Natures self has made to cure.
On bites of Serpents and mad Dogs I seize [image]       1160
And them (Wars hurts are slight) I heal with ease.
I scarce dare mention, that from Galling, I,
If in the hand I'm born, preserve the thigh.
D' ye laugh? laugh on, so I with laughter may
Requite the scandals which on me you lay.
Of which some I omit; and the true cause
Of all will tell (and then she made a pause.)
Though I abhor my sorrows to recal
(And here the tears down her green cheeks did fall)       [Latin: 1080]
I did not always in your Gardens grow,
But once a comely Virgins face cou'd show.
Black though I was (Cocytus was my Sire)
Yet Beauty had to kindle am'rous fire.
Lest anyone should think this is a lye,
Ovid will tell you so as well as I. 71
My Father had a pleasant, shady Grove,
Where he perpetually to walk did love.
There mournful Yew, and funeral Cypress grow,
Whose melancholy Greens no Winter know,
With other Trees whose looks their sorrow shew.       1180
Here Pluto, (Jove of the infernal Throne)
Saw me, as I was walking all alone.
He saw me and was pleas'd; for his desire
At any face, or white or black, takes fire.
Ah! if you knew him but so well as I,
He's an unsatiable Deity!
He never stands a tender Maid to woo,
But cruelly by violence falls to.
He caught me, though I fled till out of breath
I was; I thought he wou'd ha' been my death.
What cou'd I do? his strength was far above
Mine; he, the strength has of his Brother Jove.       [Latin: 1100]
In short, Me to a secret Cave he lead,
And there the Ravisher got my Maidenhead; [image]
But in the midst of all his wickedness,
(How it fell out the Poets don't express.
Nor can you think that I, poor Creature, well
The cause at such a time as that cou'd tell)
Lo! Proserpine, his Wife came in, and found
My wretched limbs all prostrate on the ground.       1200
She no excuse wou'd hear, nor me again
Let rise; but said, There fix'd I shou'd remain.
She spake, and straight my body I perceiv'd,
(Each limb dissolv'd) of all its strength bereav'd.
My Veins are all straight rooted in the Earth
(From whence my ruddy stalk receives its birth)
A blushing crown of Flowers adorns my head,
My leaves are jagged, of a darkish red,
And so a lovely Bed of Mint I make
In the same posture, that she did me take.
But the infernal Ravisher my Fate
('Twou'd move a Devil) did commiserate;
And, his respect for what I was, to show,
great Virtue on my leaves he did bestow.       [Latin: 1120]
Rich qualities to humble Me he gave,
Of which my fragrant Smell's the least I have.
All this the Ancients understood was true,
And thence their great Religious caution grew.
They thought me sacred to th'infernal King,
And that 'twas ominous for me to spring       1220
In times of death and danger, nor wou'd let
Me in the midst of war and blood be set.
But they mistaken were; for I take care
That others be not caught in his strong snare,
Nor pass the Stygian Lake without gray hair.


[68] Aristotle gave the World a Rule, Neither eat Mint nor plant it in time of War; which being variously understood by his Followers; The said Herb does in this Speech make out, that it can with no sense be interpreted to its dishonour, by telling her Virtues in chearing the Spirits and exciting the Stomach.


[69] Venus.


[70] Minthe was a Nymph, one of Pluto's Harlots, whom Proserpine therefore chang'd into this Herb. Opp. Hal. 3.


[71] Ovid. Met. I. 10.


[image] [image] [image] [image]
WElcome, thrice welcome, sacred Misseltoe! [image] [image]
The greatest Gift, Teutates does bestow. 72
With more Religion, Druid Priests invoke
Thee, than thy sacred, sturdy Sire, the Oak.
Raise holy Altars from the verdant ground,
And strow your various Flowers all around:
Next let the Priest when to the Gods h' 'as paid 73
All due Devotion, and his Or'sons made,
Cloth'd all in white, by the attendants be,
With Hands and Necks rais'd to the sacred Tree.
Where that he may more freely it receive,
Let him first beg the Shrubs indulgent leave.
And when h' 'as cut it with a golden hook,
Let the expecting crowd, that upward look, [image]
Array'd in White, the falling Treasure meet,       1240
And catch it in a pure, clean snowy Sheet.
Then let two spotless Bulls before him lie,
And with their grateful blood the Altar die.       [Latin: 1140]
Which when you've done then feast, and dance, and sing,
And let the Wood with their loud voices ring.
Such honour had the Misseltoe; which hate
And envy to it did in Gods create.
Th'Egyptian Temples do not louder sound,
When there again th'adored Heifer's found.
Nor did she seem less Majesty to wear
(If any Tree there, Misseltoe did bear)
When in Dodonas Grove upon an Oak
She grew, that in its hollow Ora'cles spoke;
For this one Plant the Ancients, above all,
Protectress of their Life did think and call:
She onely from the Earth loaths to be born,
And on the meaner ground to tread thinks scorn.
Nor did she from prolifick matter come,
But like the World from Nothings fruitful womb.
Others are set and grow by humane care,       1260
Her leaves the product of mere Nature are.
Hence Serpents She of their black stings disarms, 74
And baffles (Mans worse Poison) Magick Charms;
Besides all other kinds of Maladies
(How numberless; alas!) that on us seize.
Nor wonder, that all others ills it beats,
Since the Herculean Sickness it defeats, 75
Than which none more Chiæra-like appears;
One part on't's dead, the other raves and tears.       [Latin: 1160]
This Monster she subdues; hence 'twas believ'd
(And truly though 'twas false, it was receiv'd
On no bad grounds) that lesser Monsters She
Cou'd make the Trophies of her Victory.
The Antients thought so in the infancy
O' th'World, they then knew nought of Fallacy.
Nor was She then thought onely to defend,
And guard Lifes Fort, but Life it self to lend,
Ev'n the Wombs fruitful Soil t'improve and mend;
For what Soil barren to that Plant can be,
Which without Seed has its Nativity?       1280
Or what to her close shut and lock'd can seem,
That makes th'obdurate Oaks hard entrails teem?
That from a Tree comes forth in pangs and pain,
Like the Athenian Goddess from Jove's brain.
But if that's true, which Antient Bards have writ
(For though they're Antient Bards, I question it) 76
I wonder not, that Misseltoe's so kind
To us, since her the ties of Nature bind.
For Men of old, (if you'll believe 'twas so)
Born out of Oaks, were the first Misseltoe.


[72] Teutates and Hesus were the two greatest Gods of the Gauls.


[73] Concerning these Ceremonies, see Plin. l. 16.43.


[74] It averts Charms being tied to the Neck. Clus.


[75] The Falling-Sickness.


[76] Virg. Juven. Statius.


SEE how the yellow Gall the delug'd Eyes, 77
And Saffron Jaundice the whole Visage dies;
That colour, which on Gold we think so fair;
That hue which most adorns the tressed hair,       [Latin: 1180]
When, like a Tyrant, it unjustly gains
Anothers Throne, and there usurping reigns,
It frightful grows, and far more beauty lacks
Than, with their Saddle-noses, dusky Blacks.
So (I suppose) to the Gods Eyes, the Soul
O' th'Miser looks; as yellow and as foul.       1300
For if with Gold alone the Soul's inflam'd,
It has th'Aurigo, from that Metal nam'd.
This the almighty Gods can onely cure;
And Reason, more than Herbs, our minds secure.
But th'outward Jaundice does Our help implore;
When with Gall floods the body's dy'd all o're.
I cannot tell what others do; but I
Give to that Jaundice present remedy;
Nor do I rashly undertake the cure,
I an Assistant have, that makes me sure.
Natures own Patent gives me my command.
See, here's her own sign manual, here's her hand. 78
Through leaves, and stalk and roots themselves it goes,
The yellow blood through my whole body flows.
Whoever me dissects, wou'd think, nay swear,
O'rflown with Gall I sick o' th'Jaundice were.
Mean time my skin all o'r is fresh and green,
And colour good, as in an Herb you've seen.       [Latin: 1200]


[77] A Decoction hereof with White-wine and Annise-seeds, is said to be excellent against the Jaundies. Mathiolus [image] says it will cure the same, being applied to the soles of the feet.


[78] The Signature.

Upon the same.

TEN thousand blessings may the Gods bestow 79
Upon Thee, tunefull Swallow! and ne'r show, 80       1320
They bear the least resentment of that Crime, [image]
Which thou hast suffer'd for so long a time.
For that the use of a choice Plant thou'st taught,
Which ne'r before blind Man had seen or sought.
Of Thee large Rent now e'ry House receives
For th'Nests which they to Thee let under th'eaves.
The painted Springs whole train on thee attend,
Yet nought thou seest which thou canst more commend.
For this it is that makes thee all things see,
This Plant a special favour has for thee.
When thou com'st, th'others come; that won't suffice;
At thy return away This with thee flies.
Yet we to it must more engagements own;
'Tis a small thing to heal the Eyes alone;
Ten thousand torments of our Life it cures, 81
From which good Fortune you, blest Birds, secures.
The Gripes by its approach it mitigates,
And tortures of an aking tooth abates.
The golden Jaundice quickly it defeats,
And with gilt Arms at his own weapons beats:       1340
Jaundice, which Morbus Regius they call,
From a King; but falsly; 'tis Tyrannical.       [Latin: 1220]
Foul Ulcers too that from the body bud,
This dries and drains of all their putrid blood.
A gaping Wounds one Lip, like any Brother,
Approaches nearer and salutes the other.
Nor do thy shankers now, foul Lust! remain,
But all thy shealing scabs rub off again.
The burning Cancer and the Tetter fly,
Whilst all hot, angry, red biles sink and dry.
The Sun once printed kisses, disappear.
Purg'd of all blemishes the smiling face
Is cleaner far, and smoother than its Glass.
Kind Friend to th'Eyes! who giv'st not onely sight,
But with it also Objects that delight.
She may be seen, as well as come to see,
Whatever Woman's doubly blest by thee:
The gaudy Spring by thy approach is known,
And blooming Beauties thy arrival own.


[79] The extraordinary faculty of this Herb in healing the eyes, is said to have been found out by the Swallow, who cures its young therewith.


[80] Alluding to the Fable of Philomel [sc., Procne] turn'd into a Swallow.


[81] Its other Virtues.


YOU! who in sacred Wedlock coupled are, 82       1360
(Where all joys lawful, all joys seemly are)
Ben't shie to eat of my leaves heartily,
They do not hunger onely satisfie.       [Latin: 1240]
They'll be a Banquet to you all the night,
On them the body chews with fresh delight.
But you, chaste Lads, and Girls, that lie alone,
And none of Loves enjoyments yet have known,
Take care and stand aloof, if you are wise;
Touch not this Plant, Venus her Sacrifice;
I bring a Poison for your Modesties.
In my Grass, like a Snake, blind Cupid lies,
And with my juice his deadly weapons dies.
The God of Gardens no Herb values more,
Or courts, presents, or does himself devour.
This is the reason, hot Priapus, why
(As I suppose) you itch so constantly,
And that your Arms still ready are to do,
The wicked business that you put 'em to.
Let him who Love wou'd shun, from me remove,
Says Naso, that Hippocrates in Love. 83       1380
Yet to his Table I was duly serv'd,
Who my choice Dainty to himself reserv'd.
Prove that from Love he ever wou'd be free,
More chast than Lettuce I'll consent to be, [image]
The praise of Chastity let others keep,
And gratifie the widow'd Bed with sleep.       [Latin: 1260]
Action's my Task, bold Lovers to engage,
And to precipitate the sportive Rage.
Frankly I own my Nature, I delight
In Love unmix'd and restless Appetite.
From curing Maladies I seek no Fame,
(Though ev'n for that I might put in my Claim) 84
Fuel I bring that Pleasure may not cease:
Take that from Life, and Life is a Disease.
If thus you like me, make me your Repast,
I wou'd not gratifie a Stoicks tast.
If Morals gross and crude be your delight,
Marsh weeds can best oblige your Appetite.


[82] Rocket is hot and dry in the third degree, [image] [image] of a contrary nature to Lettuce, a friend to Venus and her affairs.


[83] Ovid. de Rem. Amor. l. 2.


[84] Its Medicinal Virtues, see Plin. l. 20.13.

[Upon the same.]

Go from my Book, foul Bawd of Pleasure, go,
(For what have I, lewd Bawd, with thee to do?)       1400
From these chaste Herbs and their chast Poet flee,
Us thou offend'st and w'are asham'd of thee.
With such a Prostitute to come in view,
Chast Matrons think a Sin and Scandal too.
Blushes pale Water-Lilies cheeks o'r-spread,
To be with thee in the same Volumn read.       [Latin: 1280]
Who still the sad remembrance does retain,
How when a Nymph, in thee she gorg'd her Bane. 85
That very Night t'Alcides arms betray'd
Through thy deceitful force the yielding Maid.
While I but mention thee (who wou'd believe?)
And but thy Image in my thoughts conceive,
Through all my Bones I felt thy lightning move,
The sure fore-runner of approaching Love.
With this of old he us'd to attack my Sense,
Before the dreadful Fight he did commence.
But Love and Lust I now alike detest,
My Muse and Mind with nobler Themes possest.
Lascivious Plant, some other Poet find,
For Ovid's or Catullus Verse design'd:       1420
For thou in mine shalt have no place at all,
Or in the List of pois'nous Herbs shalt fall.
The flames of Lust of fewel have no need,
His Appetite without thy Sawce can feed.
Love in our very Diet finds his way,
And makes the Guards that should defend, betray.       [Latin: 1300]
Our other Ills permit our Herbs to cure
Venus, who plague enough in thee endure.
Those Plants which Nature made of Sex devoid,
Improperly are in thy work employ'd.
Yet Venus too much skill'd in impious Arts,
These forein aids to her own use converts.
Who'd think green Plants with constant dew supply'd,
(Life's Friends design'd) such mortal Flame shou'd hide?
What wonder therefore if when Monarchs feast,
Lust is of Luxury the constant Guest?
When He who with the Herd on Herbage fed 86
Cou'd find her lurking in the verdant Bed.

   The End of the First Book.


[85] See Water-Lily.


[86] Pythagoras.

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