Abraham Cowley

Poussin. Acis and Galatea, c1630. [detail]
Poussin. Acis and Galatea, c1630. [det]
National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.

from "The Mistress"


'Tis true, I'have lov'd already three or four,
      And shall three or four hundred more;
      I'll love each fair one that I see,
Till I find one at last that shall love me.

That shall my Canaan be, the fatal soil,
      That ends my wandrings, and my toil.
      I'll settle there and happy grow;
The Country does with Milk and Honey flow.

The Needle trembles so, and turns about,
      Till it the Northern Point find out:
      But constant then and fixt does prove,
Fixt, that his dearest Pole as soon may move.

Then may my Vessel torn and shipwrackt be,
      If it put forth again to Sea:
      It never more abroad shall rome,
Though't could next voyage bring the Indies home.

But I must sweat in Love, and labour yet,
      Till I a Competency get.
      They're slothful fools who leave a Trade,
Till they a moderate fortune by't have made.

Variety I ask not; give me One
      To live perpetually upon.
      The person Love does to us fit,
Like Manna, has the Tast of all in it.

Cowley, Abraham. Poems. A. R. Waller, ed.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1905.  96.

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