Gerrit van Honthorst. Samson and Delilah.
c1615. Cleveland Museum of Art.
from "The Mistress"
Thou 'adst to my soul no title or pretence;
I was mine own, and free,
Till I had given myself to thee;
But thou hast kept me slave and prisoner since.
Well, since so insolent thou 'rt grown,
Fond tyrant! I'll depose thee from thy throne;
Such outrages must not admitted be
In an elective monarchy.
Part of my heart by gift did to thee fall;
My country, kindred, and my best
Acquaintance, were to share the rest;
But thou, their covetous neighbour, drav'st out all:
Nay more; thou mak'st me worship thee,
And wouldst the rule of my religion be:
Did ever tyrant claim such power as you,
To be both emperor and pope too?
The public miseries, and my private fate,
Deserve some tears; but greedy thou
(Insatiate maid!) wilt not allow
That I one drop from thee should alienate:
Nor wilt thou grant my sins a part,
Though the sole cause of most of them thou art;
Counting my tears thy tribute and thy due,
Since first mine eyes I gave to you.
Thou all my joys and all my hopes dost claim;
Thou ragest like a fire in me,
Converting all things into thee;
Nought can resist, or not encrease the flame:
Nay, every grief and every fear
Thou dost devour, unless thy stamp it bear:
Thy presence, like the crowned basilisk's breath,
All other serpents puts to death.
As men in hell are from diseases free,
So from all other ills am I;
Free from their known formality:
But all pains eminently lie in thee!
Alas, alas! I hope in vain
My conquer'd soul from out thine hands to gain;
Since all the natives there thou 'ast overthrown,
And planted garrisons of thine own.
Cowley, Abraham. The Works of Mr. A. Cowley. vol 2.
Richard Hurd, ed.
London: John Sharpe, 1809. 81-82.
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