Abraham Cowley is the author of The Mistress (1647).
D'ye slight me, 'cause a bog my Belly feeds, And I am found among a crowd of Reeds I'm no green vulgar Daughter of the Earth, But to the noble Waters owe my birth. I was a Goddess of no mean degree; But Love alas! deposed my Deity. He bad me love, and straight my kindled heart In Hercules's triumphs bore a part. I with his Fame, and actions fell in love, And Limbs, that might become his Father Jove. And by degrees Me a strong impulse hurl'd, That Man t'enjoy, who conquer'd all the World. To tell you true, that Night I most admir'd, When he got fifty Sons and was not tir'd. Now, blushing, such deeds hate I, to profess; But 'twas a Night of noble wickedness. He (to be short) my honour stain'd, and he Had the first flow'r of my Virginity. But He by 's Father Jove's example led Rambled and cou'd not brook a single bed. Fierce monstrous Beasts and Tyrants, worse than they, All o'r the World he ran to seek and slay. But He, the Tyrant, for his Guerdon still A Maid requires, if he a Monster kill. All Womankind to me his Harlots are, Ev'n Goddesses in my suspicion share. Perish me; let the Sun this Water dry, And may I scorch'd in this burnt puddle die; If I of Juno were not jealous grown, And thought I shew'd her hatred in my own. (Perhaps, said I, my passion he derides, And I'm the scorn of all his virtuous Brides. Grief, anger, shame and fury vex my mind, But, maugre all, Loves darts those passions blind.) If I from tortures of eternal grief Did not design by Death to seek relief. But Goddesses in Love can never die, Hard Fate! our punishment's Eternity. Mean time I'm all in tears both night and day, And as they drop, my tedious hours decay. Into a Lake the standing showers grow, And o'r my feet th'united Waters flow: Then (as the dismal boast of misery) I triumph in my griefs fertility. Till Jove at length, in pity, from above, Said, I shou'd never from that Fen remove. His Word my body of its form bereft, And straight all vanish'd, that my grief had left. My knotty root under the Earth does sink, And makes me of a Club too often think. My thirsty leaves no liquor can suffice; My tears are now return'd into my eyes. My form its ancient Whiteness still retains, And pristine paleness in my Cheeks remains. Now in perpetual mirth my days I pass, We Plants, believe me, are an happy Race. We truly feel the Suns kind influence, Cool winds and warmer Air refresh our sense, Nectar in dew does from Aurora rise, And Earth Ambrosia untill'd supplies. I pity Man, whom thousand cares perplex, And cruel Love, that greatest plague, does vex; Whilst mindful of the ills I once endur'd His flames by me are quench'd, his wounds are cur'd. I triumph, that my Victor I o'rthrow, Such changes Tyrants Thrones shou'd undergo. Don't wonder, Love, that Thee thy Slave shou'd beat, Alcides Monsters taught me to defeat. And lest, unhappy Boy! thou shou'dst believe, All handsom folks thy cruel Yoke receive; I have a Wash that beautifies the Face, Yet chastly look in my own wat'ry Glass. Diana's meine, and Venus face I lend, So to both Deities I prove a friend. But lest that God shou'd artfully his Flame Conceal, and burn me in anothers Name; All Heats in general I resist, nay I To all that's Hot am a sworn Enemy. Whether distracting flames with fury flie, Through the burnt brain, like Comets through the skie, Or whether from the Belly they ascend, And fumes all o'r the Body swiftly send, Whether with sulphurous fire the veins within They kindle, or just singe the outward skin. Whate'r they are, my awful juice they fly; When glimmering through the pores they run and die. Why wink'st thou? why doest so with half an eye Look on me? Oh — my sleepy root's too nigh. Besides my tedious Discourse might make Any Man have but little mind to wake, Without that's help; Thus then our leaves we take.
This poem is in the public domain.