The Abraham Cowley Text and Image Archive

Who was choaked by a GRAPE-STONE.
Spoken by the God of Love
from Miscellanies, Poems (1656; editor's copy)

HOw shall I lament thine end,
My best Servant, and my Friend?
Nay and, if from a Deity
So much Deifi'ed as I,
It sound not too profane and odd,
Oh my Master, and my God!
For 'tis true, most mighty Poet,
(Though I like not Men should know it)
I am in naked Nature less,
Less by much then in thy Dress.  10
All thy Verse is softer far
Then the downy Feathers are,
Of my Wings, or of my Arrows,
Of my Mothers Doves, or Sparrows.
Sweet as Lovers freshest kisses,
Or their riper following blisses,
Graceful, cleanly, smooth and round,
All with Venus Girdle bound,
And thy Life was all the while
Kind and gentle as thy Stile.  20
The smooth-pac'd Hours of ev'ery day
Glided numerously away.
Like thy Verse each Hour did pass,
Sweet and short, like that it was.
      Some do but their Youth allow me,
Just what they by Nature owe me,
The time that's mine, and not their own,
The certain Tribute of my Crown,
When thy grow old, they grow to be
Too Busie, or too wise for me.  30
Thou wert wiser, and did'st know
None too wise for Love can grow,
Love was with thy Life entwin'd
Close as Heat with Fire is joyn'd,
A powerful Brand prescrib'd the date
Of thine, like Meleagers Fate.
Th' Antiperistasis of Age
More enflam'd thy amorous rage,
Thy silver Hairs yielded me more
Then even golden curls before.  40
      Had I the power of Creation,
As I have of Generation,
Where I the matter must obey,
And cannot work Plate out of Clay,
My Creatures should be all like Thee,
'Tis Thou shouldst their Idæa be.
They, like Thee, should throughly hate
Bus'iness, Honor, Title, State.
Other wealth they should not know
But what my Living Mines bestow;  50
The pomp of Kings they should confess
At their Crownings to be less
Then a Lovers humblest guise,
When at his Mistress feet he lies.
Rumour they no more should mind
Then Men safe-landed do the Wind,
Wisdom it self they should not hear
When it presumes to be Severe.
Beauty alone they should admire;
Nor look at Fortunes vain attire,  60
Nor ask what Parents it can shew;
With Dead or Old t'has nought to do.
They should not love yet All, or Any,
But very Much, and very Many.
All their Life should gilded be
With Mirth, and Wit, and Gayety,
Well remembring, and Applying
The Necessity of Dying.
Their chearful Heads should always wear
All that crowns the flowry year.  70
They should always laugh, and sing,
And dance, and strike th'harmonious string.
Verse should from their Tongue so flow,
As if it in the Mouth did grow,
As swiftly answering their command,
As tunes obey the artful Hand.
And whilst I do thus discover
Th'ingredients of a happy Lover,
'Tis, my Anacreon, for thy sake
I of the Grape no mention make.  80
      Till my' Anacreon by thee fell,
Cursed Plant, I lov'd thee well.
And 'twas oft my wanton use
To dip my Arrows in thy juice.
Cursed Plant, 'tis true I see,
Th'old report that goes of Thee,
That with Gyants blood the Earth
Stain'd and poys'ned gave thee birth,
And now thou wreak'st thy ancient spight
On Men in whom the Gods delight.  90
Thy Patron Bacchus, 'tis no wonder,
Was brought forth in Flames and Thunder,
In rage, in quarrels, and in fights,
Worse then his Tygers he delights;
In all our heaven I think there be
No such ill-natur'd God as He.
Thou pretendest, Trayt'erous Wine,
To be the Muses friend and Mine.
With Love and Wit thou dost begin,
False Fires, alas, to draw us in.  100
Which, if our course we by them keep,
Misguide to Madness, or to Sleep.
Sleep were well; thou'hast learnt a way
To Death it self now to betray.
      It grieves me when I see what Fate
Does on the best of Mankind wait.
Poets or Lovers let them be,
'Tis neither Love nor Poesie
Can arm against Deaths smallest dart
The Poets Head, or Lovers Heart.  110
But when their Life in its decline,
Touches th'Inevitable Line,
All the Worlds Mortal to'em then,
And Wine is Aconite to men.
Nay in Deaths Hand the Grape-stone proves
As strong as Thunder is in Joves.

This text normalized in the same way as Cowley's "Hymn to Light."
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