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To thy lover,
That sweet blush of thine that shameth
(When those roses
All the flowers that Nature nameth.
In free air
Flow thy hair;
That no more Summer’s best dresses
For their golden
Locks to Phoebus' flaming tresses.
Love his quiver,
From thy eyes he shoots his arrows,
Feathered with his mother's sparrows.
O envy not
(That we die not)
Those dear lips whose door encloses
All the Graces
In their places,
Brother pearls, and sister roses.
From these treasures Of ripe pleasures One bright smile to clear the weather. Earth and heaven Thus made even, Both will be good friends together.
The air does woo thee, Winds cling to thee; Might a word once fly from out thee, Storm and thunder Would sit under, And keep silence round about thee.
But if Nature's
So dear glories dare not borrow :
Yet thy beauty
Owes a duty
To my loving lingering sorrow.
When to end me
Death shall send me
All his terrors to affright me:
Thine eyes' Graces
Gild their faces,
And those terrors shall delight me.
When my dying
Life is flying,
Those sweet airs that often slew me
Shall revive me,
Or reprieve me,
And to many deaths renew me.
THE DEW NO MORE SHALL WEEP.
The dew no more shall weep,
The primrose's pale cheek to deck;
The dew no more shall sleep,
Nuzzled in the lily’s neck:
Much rather would it tremble here,
And leave them both to be thy tear.
Not the soft gold which
Steals from the amber-weeping tree,
Makes sorrow half so rich,
As the drops distilled from thee:
Sorrow’s best jewels be in these
Caskets, of which Heaven keeps the keys.
When sorrow would be seen
In her bright majesty,
(For she is a queen)
Then is she dressed by none but thee;
Then, and only then, she wears
Her richest pearls;–I mean thy tears.
Not in the evening's eyes
When they red with weeping are,
For the sun that dies,
Sits sorrow with a face so fair :
No where but here doth meet
Sweetness so sad, sadness so sweet.
IN 1647 “the melancholy Cowley’ published a volume of poems, entitled, “THE MISTRESSE, or SEVERALL coPIEs of LovE VERSEs.” “Poets,” he says in his preface (I quote from the folio edition of 1656), “Poets are scarce thought freemen of their company, without paying some duties, and obliging themselves to be true to love. Sooner, or later, they must all pass through that trial, like some Mohammedan monks, that are bound by their order, once at least in their life, to make a pilgrimage to Mecca.” That Cowley himself passed through that trial, or, to parody his own expression, made a pilgrimage to the Mecca of Love, is admitted by most of his biographers, but they tell us nothing of the route which he took, and through what dangers or delights it led him. We only know that he wandered astray in the desert, misled perhaps by some glittering mirage, and never reached the shrine. “In the latter part of his life,” says Pope, or Spence for him, “he showed a sort of aversion for women; and would leave the room when they came in : ’t was probably from a disappointment in love. He was much in love with his Leonora; who is mentioned at the end of that good ballad on his different mistresses. She was married to Dean Sprat's brother; and Cowley never was in love with anybody after.”
Though you be absent here, I needs must say
The trees as beauteous are, and flowers as gay,
As ever they were wont to be ;
Nay, the birds' rural music too
Is as melodious and free,
As if they sung to pleasure you :
I saw a rose-bud ope this morn, I’ll swear
The blushing morning opened not more fair.
How could it be so fair, and you away?
How could the trees be beauteous, flowers so gay ?
Could they remember but last year,
How you did them, they you delight,
The sprouting leaves which saw you here,
And called their fellows to the sight,
Would, looking round for the same sight in vain,
Creep back into their silent barks again.
Where'er you walked, trees were as reverend made,
As when of old gods dwelt in every shade.
Is 't possible they should not know
What loss of honour they sustain,
That thus they smile and flourish now,
And still their former pride retain Ż
Dull creatures ’tis not without cause that she,
Who fled the god of wit, was made a tree.
In ancient times sure they much wiser were,
When they rejoiced the Thracian verse to hear;
In vain did Nature bid them stay,
When Orpheus had his song begun,
They called their wondering roots away,
And bade them silent to him run.
Plow would those learnéd trees have followed you !
You would have drawn them, and their poet too.
But who can blame them now, for, since you’re gone,
They’re here the only fair, and shine alone.
You did their natural right invade :
Wherever you did walk or sit,
The thickest boughs could make no shade,
Although the sun had granted it :
The fairest flowers could please no more, near you,
Than painted flowers, set next to them, could do.
Whene'er then you come hither, that shall be
The time, which this to others is, to me.