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About this poet

Abraham Cowley is the author of The Mistress (1647).

Written in Juice of Lemon

Whilst what I write I do not see,
      I dare thus, ev'n to you, write poetry.
Ah, foolish Muse! which dost so high aspire,
      And know'st her judgment well,
      How much it does thy power excel,
Yet dar'st be read by, thy just doom, the fire.

      Alas! thou think'st thyself secure,
      Because thy form is innocent and pure:
Like hypocrites, which seem unspotted here;
      But, when they sadly come to die,
      And the last fire their truth must try,
Scrawled o'er like thee, and blotted, they appear.

      Go then, but reverently go,
      And, since thou needs must sin, confess it too:
Confess 't, and with humility clothe thy shame;
      For thou, who else must burned be
      An heretick, if she pardon thee,
Mayst like a martyr then enjoy the flame.

      But, if her wisdom grow severe,
      And suffer not her goodness to be there;
If her large mercies cruelly it restrain;
      Be not discourag'd, but require
      A more gentle ordeal fire,
And bid her by love's flames read it again.

      Strange power of heat! thou yet dost show
      Like winter-earth, naked, or cloth'd with snow:
But as, the quickening sun approaching near,
      The plants arise up by degrees;
      A sudden paint adorns the trees,
And all kind Nature's characters appear.

      So, nothing yet in thee is seen;
      But, when a genial heat warms thee within,
A new-born wood of various lines there grows;
      Here buds an A, and there a B,
      Here sprouts a V, and there a T,
And all the flourishing letters stand in rows.

      Still, silly paper! thou wilt think
      That all this might as well be writ with ink:
Oh, no; there's sense in this, and mystery—
      Thou now mayst change thy author's name,
      And to her hand lay noble claim;
For, as she reads, she makes, the words in thee.

      Yet — if thine own unworthiness
      Will still that thou art mine, not hers confess—
Consume thy self with fire before her eyes,
      And so her grace or pity move:
      The gods, though beasts they do not love,
Yet like them when they 're burnt in sacrifice.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Abraham Cowley

Abraham Cowley is the author of The Mistress (1647).

by this poet

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
I've often wish'd to love; what shall I do?
      Me still the cruel boy does spare;
      And I a double task must bear,
First to woo him, and then a mistress too.
      Come at last and strike, for shame,
If thou art any thing besides a name;
      I'll think thee else no God to be,
But poets rather Gods, who
Some think your commendation you deserve,
'Cause you of old Augustus did preserve.
Why did you still prolong that fatal breath, 
That banish'd Ovid, and was Tully's death? 
But I suppose that neither of 'em you, 
Nor Orator nor Poet ever knew; 
Wherefore I wonder not, you shou'd comply,