The Abraham Cowley Text and Image Archive

Answer to the Platonicks
from The Mistress, Poems (1656; editor's copy)

SO Angels love; so let them love for me;
When I'am all soul, such shall my Love too be:
Who nothing here but like a Spirit would do,
In a short time (believ't) will be one too:
But shall our Love do what in Beasts we see?
E'ven Beasts eat too, but not so well as Wee.
And you as justly might in thirst refuse
The use of Wine;, because Beasts Water use:
They taste those pleasures as they do their food;
Undrest they tak't, devour it raw and crude:  10
But to us Men, Love Cooks it at his fire,
And adds the poignant sawce of sharp desire.
Beasts do the same: 'tis true; but ancient fame
Says, Gods themselves turn'd Beasts to do the same.
The Thunderer, who, without the Female bed,
Could Goddesses bring forth from out his head,
Chose rather Mortals this way to create;
So much he 'esteemed his pleasure, 'bove his state.
Ye talk of fires which shine, but never burn;
In this cold world they'll hardly serve our turn;  20
As useless to despairing Lovers grown,
As Lambent flames, to men i'th' Frigid Zone.
The Sun does his pure fires on earth bestow
With nuptial warmth, to bring forth things below;
Such is Loves noblest and divinest heat,
That warms like his, and does, like his, beget.
Lust you call this; a name to yours more just,
If an Inordinate Desire be Lust:
Pygmalion, loving what none can enjoy,
More lustful was, than the hot youth of Troy.  30

This text normalized in the same way as Cowley's "Hymn to Light."
Return to The Works on the Web