by: Abraham Cowley (1618-1667)
- O; thou'rt
a fool, I'll swear, if e'er thou grant;
- Much of my veneration thou must want,
- When once thy kindness puts my ignorance out,
- For a learn'd age is always least devout.
- Keep still thy distance; for at once to me
- Goddess and woman too thou canst not be;
- Thou'rt queen of all that sees thee, and as such
- Must neither tyrannize nor yield too much;
- Such freedom give as may admit command,
- But keep the forts and magazines in thine hand.
- Thou'rt yet a whole world to me, and dost fill
- My large ambition; but 'tis dang'rous still,
- Lest I like the Pellæan prince should be,
- And weep for other worlds, having conquered thee.
- When Love has taken all thou hast away,
- His strength by too much riches will decay.
- Thou in my fancy dost much higher stand
- Than women can be placed by Nature's hand;
- And I must needs, I'm sure, a loser be,
- To change thee, as thou'rt there, for very thee.
- Thy sweetness is so much within me placed,
- That shouldst thou nectar give, 'twould spoil the taste.
- Beauty at first moves wonder and delight;
- 'Tis Nature's juggling trick to cheat the sight;
- We admire it, whilst unknown, but after more
- Admire ourselves for liking it before.
- Love, like a greedy hawk, if we give way,
- Does overgorge himself with his own prey;
- Of very hopes a surfeit he'll sustain
- Unless by fears he cast them up again:
- His spirit and sweetness dangers keep alone;
- If once he lose his sting, he grows a drone.
POEMS BY ABRAHAM COWLEY
"Against Fruition" is
reprinted from The Mistress; or, Several Copies of Love Verses.
Abraham Cowley, 1647.