Abraham Cowley

from "The Mistress"


      No; to what purpose should I speak?
      No, wretched heart! swell till you break.
      She cannot love me if she would;
And, to say truth, 'twere pity that she should.
      No; to the grave thy sorrows bear;
      As silent as they will be there:
Since that lov'd hand this mortal wound does give,
      So handsomely the thing contrive,
      That she may guiltless of it live;
      So perish, that her killing thee
May a chance-medley,and no murder, be.

      'Tis nobler much for me, that I
      By her beauty, not her anger, die:
      This will look justly, and become
An execution; that, a martyrdom.
      The censuring world will ne'er refrain
      From judging men by thunder slain.
She must be angry, sure, if I should be
      So bold to ask her to make me,
      By being hers, happier than she!
      I will not; 't is a milder fate
To fall by her not loving, than her hate.

      And yet this death of mine, I fear,
      Will ominous to her appear;
      When, sound in every other part,
Her sacrifice is found without an heart;
      For the last tempest of my death
      Shall sigh out that too with my breath.
Then shall the world my noble ruin see,
      Some pity and some envy me;
      Then she herself, the mighty she,
      Shall grace my funerals with this truth;
" 'T was only Love destroy'd the gentle youth."

Cowley, Abraham. The Works of Mr. A. Cowley. vol 2.
Richard Hurd, ed.
London: John Sharpe, 1809.  71-2.

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