The Abraham Cowley Text and Image Archive

My Picture
from The Mistress, Poems (1656; editor's copy)

HEre, take my Likeness with you, whilst 'tis so;
   For when from hence you go,
   The next Suns rising will behold
   Me pale, and lean, and old.
   The Man who did this Picture draw,
Will swear next day my face he never saw.
I really believe, within a while,
   If you upon this shadow smile,
   Your presence will such vigour give,
   (Your presence which makes all things live)  10
   And absence so much alter Me,
This will the substance, I the shadow be.
When from your well-wrought Cabinet you take it,
   And your bright looks awake it;
   Ah be not frighted, if you see,
   The new-soul'd Picture gaze on Thee,
   And hear it breath a sigh or two;
For those are the first things that it will do.
My Rival-Image will be then thought blest,
   And laugh at me as dispossest;  20
   But Thou, who (if I know thee right)
   I'th substance dost not much delight,
   Wilt rather send again for Me.
Who then shall but my Pictures Picture be.

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