The Abraham Cowley Text and Image Archive

ODE. Sitting and Drinking in the Chair, made out of the
Reliques of Sir
Francis Drake's Ship.

Chear up my Mates, the wind does fairly blow,
  Clap on more sail and never spare;
    Farewell all Lands, for now we are
    In the wide Sea of Drink, and merrily we go.
Bless me, 'tis hot! another bowl of wine,
    And we shall cut the Burning Line:
Hey Boyes! she scuds away, and by my head I know,
    We round the World are sailing now.
What dull men are those who tarry at home,
When abroad they might wantonly rome,  10
    And gain such experience, and spy too
    Such Countries, and Wonders as I do?
But prythee good Pilot take heed what you do,
    And fail not to touch at Peru;
    With Gold; there the Vessel we'll store,
    And never, and never be poor,
    No never be poor any more.
What do I mean? What thoughts do me misguide?
As well upon a staff may Witches ride
    Their fancy'd Journies in the Ayr,  20
As I sail round the Ocean in this Chair:
    'Tis true; but yet this Chair which here you see,
For all its quiet now, and gravitie,
Has wandred, and has travailed more,
Than ever Beast, or Fish, or Bird, or ever Tree before.
In every Ayr, and every Sea't has been,
'T has compas'd all the Earth, and all the Heavens 't has seen.
Let not the Pope's it self with this compare,
This is the only Universal Chair.
The pious Wandrers Fleet, sav'd from the flame,  30
(Which still the Reliques did of Troy persue,
    And took them for its due)
A squadron of immortal Nymphs became:
Still with their Arms they row about the Seas,
And still make new and greater voyages;
Nor has the first Poetick Ship of Greece,
(Though now a star she so Triumphant show,
And guide her sailing Successors below,
Bright as her ancient freight the shining fleece;)
Yet to this day a quiet harbour found,  40
The tide of Heaven still carries her around.
Only Drake's Sacred vessel which before
    Had done, and had seen more,
    Than those have done or seen,
Ev'n since they Goddesses, and this a Star has been;
As a reward for all her labour past,
    Is made the seat of rest at last.
    Let the case now quite alter'd be,
And as thou went'st abroad the World to see;
    Let the World now come to see thee.  50
The World will do't; for Curiosity
Does no less than devotion, Pilgrims make;
And I my self who now love quiet too,
As much almost as any Chair can do,
    Would yet a journey take,
An old wheel of that Chariot to see,
    Which Phaeton so rashly brake:
Yet what could that say more than these remains of Drake?
Great Relique! thou too, in this Port of ease,
Hast still one way of Making Voyages;  60
The breath of fame, like an auspicious Gale,
  (The great Trade-wind which ne're does fail,)
Shall drive thee round the World, and thou shalt run,
  As long around it as the Sun.
The straights of time too narrow are for thee,
Lanch forth into an indiscovered Sea,
And steer the endless course of vast Eternitie,
Take for thy Sail this Verse, and for thy Pilot Mee.

[from the editor's copy of Works (1668); all texts normalized in the same way as Cowley's "Hymn to Light"]
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