The Abraham Cowley Text and Image Archive

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

   I Came, I Saw, and was undon;
Lightning did through my bones and marrow run;
   A pointed pain pierc'd deep my heart;
A swift, cold trembling seiz'd on every part;
   My head turn'd round, nor could it beare
   The Poyson that was enter'd there.
   So a destroying Angels breath
Blows in the Plague, and with it hasty Death.
   Such was the pain, did so begin
To the poor wretch, when Legion entred in.  10
   Forgive me, God, I cry'd; for I
   Flatter'd my self I was to dye.
   But quickly to my Cost I found,
'Twas cruel Love, not Death had made the wound:
   Death a more generous rage does use;
Quarter to all he conquers does refuse.
   Whilst Love with barbarous mercy saves
   The vanquisht lives to make them slaves.
   I am thy slave then; let me know,
Hard Master, the great task I have to do:  20
   Who pride and scorn do undergo,
In tempests and rough Seas thy Galleys row;
   They pant, and groan, and sigh, but find
   Their sighs encrease the angry wind.
   Like an Egyptian Tyrant, some
Thou weariest out, in building but a Tombe.
   Others with sad and tedious art,
Labour i'the' Quarries of a stony Heart;
   Of all the works thou dost assigne
   To all the several slaves of thine,  30
Employ me, mighty Love, to dig the Mine.

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