Abraham Cowley

FROM  Davideis, Book 3      

[Awake, awake, my lyre]      

       Awake, awake, my lyre,
And tell thy silent master's humble tale
       In sounds that may prevail,
   Sounds that gentle thoughts inspire,
       Though so exalted she 5
       And I so lowly be,
Tell her, such different notes make all thy harmony.

       Hark, how the strings awake,
And though the moving hand approach not near,
       Themselves with awful fear 10
   A kind of numerous trembling make.
       Now all thy forces try,
       Now all thy charms apply,
Revenge upon her ear the conquests of her eye.

       Weak lyre !  thy virtue sure 15
Is useless here, since thou art only found
       To cure but not to wound,
   And she to wound but not to cure.
       Too weak, too, wilt thou prove
       My passion to remove ; 20
Physic to other ills, thou 'rt nourishment to love.

       Sleep, sleep again, my lyre,
For thou canst never tell my humble tale
       In sounds that will prevail,
   Nor gentle thoughts in her inspire ; 25
       All thy vain mirth lay by,
       Bid thy strings silent lie ;
Sleep, sleep again, my lyre, and let thy master die.


Poetry of the English Renaissance 1509-1660.
J. William Hebel and Hoyt H. Hudson, eds.
New York: F. S. Crofts & Co., 1941. 835.

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