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The virgin rose, that untouch'd stands,
Arm'd with its briars, how sweet it smells!
But pluckt and strain'd thro' ruder hands,
Its sweet no longer with it dwells';
But scent and beauty both are gone,
And leaves drop from it one by one.

Such fate, cre long, will thee betide,
When thou hast handled been a while,
With sear-flow'rs to be thrown aside;
And I shall sigh, while some will smile,
To see thy love for every one
Hath brought thee to be loved by none.

NOT, CELIA, that I juster am

Or truer than the rest;

For I would change each hour like them,

Were it my interest.

But I'm so fixt alone to thee

By every thought I have,

That should you now my heart set free,

→T would be again your slave.


All that in woman is adored

In thy dear self I find;

For the whole sex can but afford
The handsome, and the kind.

Not to my virtue, but thy power,
This constancy is due;

When change itself can give no more
'Tis easy to be true.


IT is not, CELIA, in our power
To say how long our love will last;
It may be we within this hour

May lose the joys we now do taste:

The blessed that immortal be

From change of love are only free.

Then since we mortal lovers are,

Ask not how long our love will last;

But while it does, let us take care
Each minute be with pleasure past:
Were it not madness to deny

To live, because we're sure to die?


SAY, MYRA, why is gentle love
A stranger to that mind
Which pity and esteem can move,
Which can be just and kind?

Is it because you fear to share
The ills that love molest,
'The jealous doubt, the tender care,
That rack the amorous breast?

Alas! by some degree of woe
We every bliss must gain :

The heart can ne'er a transport know,
That never feels a pain.


AWAKE, awake, my lyre!

And tell thy silent master's humble tale
In sounds that may prevail;

Sounds that gentle thoughts inspire:


Though so exalted she,

And I so lowly be,

Tell her such different notes make all thy harmony.

Hark! how the strings awake:

And though the moving hand approach not near,
Themselves with awful fear

A kind of numerous trembling make.
Now all thy forces try,

Now all thy charms apply,

Revenge upon her ear the conquests of her eye.

Weak lyre! thy virtue sure

Is useless here, since thou art only found
To cure but not to wound,

And she to wound, but not to cure.
Too weak too thou wilt prove

My passion to remove:

Physic to other ills, thou'rt nourishment to love.

Sleep, sleep again, my lyre! For thou canst never tell my humble tale In sounds that will prevail,

Nor gentle thoughts in her inspire:


All thy vain mirth lay by,

Bid thy strings silent lie,

Sleep, sleep again, my lyre, and let thy master die.*



WHAT shade and what stillness around!
Let us seek the loved cot of the fair;
There soften her sleep with thy sound,
And banish each phantom of care.

The virgin may wake to thy strain,

And be sooth'd, nay, be pleased with thy song; Alas! she may pity the swain,

And fancy his sorrows too long.

Could thy voice give a smile to her cheek,
What a joy, what a rapture were mine!

*This song or ode is given in the "Davideis" as addressed by David to Saul's daughter, Michal. It is one of the proofs that Cowley, when not unhappily an imitator of Donne and the rest of the metaphysical school, was capable of all the elegance and harmony properly belonging to lyrical poetry.


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