The Abraham Cowley Text and Image Archive

The Muse
from Pindarique Odes  [V.],  Poems (1656; editor's copy)

1    GO, the rich Chariot instantly prepare;
    The Queen, my Muse, will take the aire;
    Unruly Phansie with strong Judgment trace,
       Put in nimble-footed Wit,
       Smooth-pac'ed Eloquence joyn with it,
    Sound Memory with young Invention place,
       Harness all the winged race.
    Let the Postillian Nature mount, and let
       The Coachman Art be set.
    And let the airy Footmen running all beside,      10
       Make a long row of goodly pride.
    Figures, Conceits, Raptures, and Sentences
             In a well-worded dress.
    And innocent Loves, and pleasant Truths, and useful Lies,
             In all their gaudy Liveries.
       Mount, glorious Queen, thy travelling Throne,
             And bid it to put on;
       For long, though cheerful, is the way,
    And Life, alas, allows but one ill winters Day.
    Where never Foot of Man, or Hoof of Beast,      20
             The passage prest,
1       Where never Fish did fly,
    And with short silver wings cut the low liquid Sky.
2       Where Bird with painted Oars did n'ere
    Row through the trackless Ocean of the Air.
             Where never yet did pry
       The busie Mornings curious Ey.
    The Wheels of thy bold Coach pass quick and free;
       And all's an open Road to Thee.
3       Whatever God did Say,      30
    Is all thy plain and smooth, uninterrupted way.
    Nay ev'n beyond his works thy Voyages are known,
       Thou'hast thousand worlds too of thine own.
    Thou speakst, great Queen, in the same stile as He,
    And a New world leaps forth when Thou say'st, Let it Be.
1    Thou fadom'est the deep Gulf of Ages past,
       And canst pluck up with ease
    The years which Thou dost please,
    Like shipwrackt Treasures by rude Tempests cast
       Long since into the Sea,      40
    Brought up again to light and publique Use by Thee.
       Nor dost thou only Dive so low,
                But Fly
    With an unwearied Wing the other way on high,
2       Where Fates among the Stars do grow;
    There into the close Nests of Time do'est peep,
             And there with piercing Eye,
    Through the firm shell, and the thick White do'st spie,
             Years to come a forming lie,
    Close in their sacred Secundine asleep,      50
             Till hatcht by the Suns vital heat
             Which ore them yet does brooding set
             They Life and Motion get,
       And ripe at last with vigorous might
    Break through the Shell, and take their everlasting Flight.
             And sure we may
       The same too of the Present say,
    If Past, and Future Times do thee obey.
       Thou stopst this Current, and dost make
    This running River settle like a Lake,      60
[1]    Thy certain hand holds fast this slippery Snake.
             The Fruit which does so quickly wast,
             Men scarce can see it, much less tast,
    Thou Comfitest in Sweets to make it last.
[2]                This shining piece of Ice
             Which melts so soon away
                With the Suns ray,
    Thy Verse does solidate and Chrystallize.
             Till it a lasting Mirror be;
             Nay thy Immortal Rhyme      70
       Makes this one short Point of Time,  [1656: once
[3]    To fill up half the Orb of Round Eternity.

Click here for a facsimile sequence of Cowley's elaborate prose notes; the verse text has been normalized in the same way as Cowley's "Hymn to Light."
Pindarique Odes Preface  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  /   Return to The Works on the Web