The Abraham Cowley Text and Image Archive

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

1     Not Winds to Voyagers at Sea,
     Nor Showers to Earth more necessary be,
    (Heav'ens vital seed cast on the womb of Earth
       To give the fruitful Year a Birth)
       Then Verse to Virtue, which can do
    The Midwifes Office, and the Nurses too;
    It feeds it strongly, and it cloathes it gay,
       And when it dyes, with comely pride
    Embalms it, and erects a Pyramide      10
       That never will decay
       Till Heaven it self shall melt away,
    And nought behind it stay.
    Begin the Song, and strike the Living Lyre;
    Lo how the Years to come, a numerous and well-fitted Quire,
    All hand in hand do decently advance,
    And to my Song with smooth and equal measures dance.
1    Whilst the dance lasts, how long so e're it be,
    My Musicks voyce shall bear it companie.
       Till all gentle Notes be drown'd
       In the last Trumpets dreadful sound.      20
    That to the Spheres themselves shall silence bring,
[2]       Untune the Universal String.
       Then all the wide extended Sky,
       And all th'harmonious Worlds on high,
       And Virgils sacred work shall dy.
3    And he himself shall see in one Fire shine
    Rich Natures ancient Troy, though built by Hands Divine.
1       Whom Thunders dismal noise,
    And all that Prophets and Apostles louder spake,
    And all the Creatures plain conspiring voyce,      30
       Could not whilst they liv'ed, awake,
       This mightier sound shall make
       When Dead t'arise,
       And open Tombs, and open Eyes
2    To the long Sluggards of five thousand years.
    This mightier Sound shall make its Hearers Ears.
    Then shall the scatter'ed Atomes crowding come
       Back to their Ancient Home,
       Some from Birds, from Fishes some,
       Some from Earth, and some from Seas,      40
       Some from Beasts, and some from Trees.
       Some descend from Clouds on high,
       Some from Metals upwards fly,
    And where th'attending Soul naked, and shivering stands,
       Meet, salute, and joyn their hands.
    As disperst Souldiers at the Trumpets call,
       Hast to their Colours all.
       Unhappy most, like Tortur'ed Men,
    Their Joynts new set, to be new rackt agen.
       To Mountains they for shelter pray,      50
    The Mountains shake, and run about no less confus'd then They.
    Stop, stop, my Muse, allay thy vig'orous heat,
       Kindled at a Hint so Great.
    Hold thy Pindarique Pegasus closely in,
       Which does to rage begin,
    And this steep Hill would gallop up with violent course,
    'Tis an unruly, and a hard-Mouth'd Horse,
       Fierce, and unbroken yet,
       Impatient of the Spur or Bit.
    Now praunces stately, and anon flies o're the place,      60
    Disdains the servile Law of any settled pace,
    Conscious and proud of his own natural force.
       'Twill no unskilful Touch endure,
    But flings Writer and Reader too that sits not sure.

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