Abraham Cowley

David Ryckaert, the Younger. Man Sleeping. c1649.
David Ryckaert, the Younger. Man Sleeping.
c1649. Amstelkring Museum, Amsterdam

from "The Mistress"


In vain, thou drowsy God! I thee invoke;
      For thou, who dost from fumes arise—
            Thou, who man's soul dost overshade
            With a thick cloud by vapours made—
      Canst have no power to shut his eyes,
            Or passage of his spirits to choke,
Whose flame's so pure that it sends up no smoke.

Yet how do tears but from some vapours rise?
      Tears, that bewinter all my year?
            The fate of Egypt I sustain,
            And never feel the dew of rain,
      From clouds which in the head appear;
            But all my too much moisture owe
To overflowings of the heart below.

Thou, who dost men (as nights to colours do)
      Bring to an equality!
            Come, thou just God! and equal me
            Awhile to my disdainful She:
      In that condition let me lie,
            Till Love does the favour shew:
Love equals all a better way than you.

Then never more shalt thou b' invok'd by me;
      Watchful as spirits and Gods I'll prove:
            Let her but grant, and then will I
            Thee and thy kinsman Death defy;
      For, betwixt thee and them that love,
            Never will an agreement be;
Thou scorn'st th' unhappy, and the happy, thee!

Cowley, Abraham. The Works of Mr. A. Cowley. vol 2.
Richard Hurd, ed.
London: John Sharpe, 1809.  66-7.

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