Abraham Cowley

Jan Weenix. An Italian Seaport (detail), c.1666
Jan Weenix. An Italian Seaport (det.), c.1666.
Staatliche Museen, Kassel, Germany.

from "The Mistress"


As Men in Greenland left beheld the sun
      From their horizon run;
      And thought upon the sad half-year
Of cold and darkness they must suffer there:

So on my parting mistress did I look;
      With such swoln eyes my farewell took;
      Ah, my fair star! said I;
Ah, those blest lands to which bright Thou dost fly!

In vain the men of learning comfort me,
      And say I 'm in a warm degree;
      Say what they please, I say and swear
'T is beyond eighty at least, if you're not here.

It is, it is; I tremble with the frost,
      And know that I the day have lost;
      And those wild things which men they call,
I find to be but bears or foxes all.

Return, return, gay planet of mine East,
      Of all that shines thou much the best!
      And, as thou now descend'st to sea,
More fair and fresh rise up from thence to me!

Thou, who in many a propriety,
      So truly art the sun to me,
      Add one more likeness (which I'm sure you can)
And let me and my sun beget a man!

Cowley, Abraham. The Works of Mr. A. Cowley. vol 2.
Richard Hurd, ed.
London: John Sharpe, 1809.  69-70.

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