The Abraham Cowley Text and Image Archive

Platonick Love
from The Mistress, Poems (1656; editor's copy)

1.

   Indeed I must confess,
   When Souls mix, 'tis an Happiness;
But not compleat till Bodies too do joyne,
And both our Wholes into one Whole combine;
But half of heaven the Souls in glory tast,
   Till by love in Heaven at last,
   Their Bodies too are plac't.

2.

   In thy immortal part
   Man, as well as I, thou art.
But something 'tis that differs Thee and Me; 10
And we must one even in that difference be.
I Thee, both as a man, and woman prize;
   For a perfect Love implies
   Love in all capacities.

3.

   Can that for true love pass,
   When a fair woman courts her glass?
Something unlike must in Loves likeness be,
His wonder is, one, and Varietie.
For he, whose soul nought but a Soul can move,
   Does a new Narcissus prove,  20
   And his own Image love.

4.

   That souls do beauty know,
   'Tis to the Bodies help they ow;
If when they know't, they strait abuse that trust,
And shut the Body from't, 'tis as injust,
As if I brought my dearest Friend to see
   My Mistris, and at th' instant Hee
   Should steal her quite from Mee.

Stanza-forms where obscured by initials in 1656 have been normalized by their own rule; English text normalized in the same way as Cowley's "Hymn to Light."

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