Abraham Cowley



THE thirsty earth soaks up the rain,
And drinks and gapes for drink again ;  
The plants suck in the earth, and are
With constant drinking fresh and fair ;  
The sea itself (which one would think 5
Should have but little need of drink)
Drinks twice ten thousand rivers up,
So fill'd that they o'erflow the cup.
The busy Sun (and one would guess
By 's drunken fiery face no less) 10
Drinks up the sea, and when he 's done,
The Moon and Stars drink up the Sun :  
They drink and dance by their own light,
They drink and revel all the night :  
Nothing in Nature 's sober found, 15
But an eternal health goes round.
Fill up the bowl, then, fill it high,
Fill all the glasses there—for why
Should every creature drink but I ?
Why, man of morals, tell me why ?

The Epicure            

UNDERNEATH this myrtle shade,
On flowerly beds supinely laid,
With odorous oils my head o'erflowing,
And around it roses growing,
What should I do but drink away 5
The heat and troubles of the day ?
In this more than kingly state
Love himself on me shall wait.
Fill to me, Love !  nay, fill it up !
And mingled cast into the cup 10
Wit and mirth and noble fires,
Vigorous health and gay desires.
The wheel of life no less will stay
In a smooth than rugged way :  
Since it equally doth flee, 15
Let the motion pleasant be.
Why do we precious ointments shower ?—
Nobler wines why do we pour ?—
Beauteous flowers why do we spread
Upon the monuments of the dead ? 20
Nothing they but dust can show,
Or bones that hasten to be so.
Crown me with roses while I live,
Now your wines and ointments give :  
After death I nothing crave, 25
Let me alive my pleasures have :  
All are Stoics in the grave.


FOOLISH prater, what dost thou
So early at my window do ?
Cruel bird, thou'st ta'en away
A dream out of my arms to-day ;  
A dream that ne'er must equall'd be 5
By all that waking eyes may see.
Thou this damage to repair
Nothing half so sweet and fair,
Nothing half so good, canst bring,
Tho' men say thou bring'st the Spring. 10

The Oxford Book of English Verse.
Arthur Quiller-Couch, Ed.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1919.  374-376.

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