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TO THE EDITION OF 1674.
THE following Poems of Mr. Cowley being much inquired after, and very scarce (the town hardly affording one book, though it bath been four times prin'ed) we thought this fifth edition could not fail of be ng well received by the world. We presume one reason why they were omitted in the last collection, was, because the propriety of this copy belonged not to he same person that published those : but the reception they had found appears by the several impressions through which they had passed. We dare not say they are equally perfect with those written by the author in his riper years, yet certainly they are such as deserve not to be buried in obscurity. We presume the author's judgment of them is most reasonable to appeal to ; and you will find him (allowing grains of modesty) give them no small character. His words are in the 3d page of his preface before his former published poems 6.
You find our excellent author likewise mentioning and reciting part of these poems, in his “Several Discourses by way of Essays in Verse and Prose, in the 11th Discourse treating of himself.” These we suppose a sufficient anthority fr our reviving them; and sure there is no ingenuous reader to whom the smallest remains of Mr. Cowley will be unwelcome. His poems are every where the copy of his mind; so that by this supplement to his other volume you have the picture of that so deservedly eminent man from almost his childhood to his latest years, the bud and bloom of his spring; the warmth of his suinmer; the richness and perfection of his autumn. But, for the reader's further curiosity, we refer him to the author's following preface to them, published by himself.
. See the Author's Preface above, p. 45.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE AND RIGHT REVEREND PATHER IN GOD,
LORD B ISHOP OF LINCOLN, AND DEAN OF WESTMINSTER.
MIGHT well fear, lest these my rude and unpolished lines should offend your honourable survey; Hit that I hope your nobleness will rather smile at the faults committed by a child, than censure them. Howsoever I desire your lordship's pardon, for presenting things so unworthy to your view; and to accept the good-will of hin, u bo in all duty is bound to be
(I know not yet whether gentle or no) some, I know, have been angry (I dare not assume the honour of their envy) at my poetical boldness, and blamed in mine, what commends other fruits, earliness: others, who are either of a weak faith, or strong malice, have thought me like a pipe, which never sounds but when it is blowed in, and read me, not as Abraham Cowley, but Authorem Anonymum. To the first I answer, that it is an envious frust which nips the blossoms, because they appear quickly: to the latter, that he is the worst homicide who strives to murder another's fame: to both, that it is a ridiculous folly to condemn or laugh at the stars, because the Moon and Sun shine brighter. The sinall fire I have is rather blown than extinguished by this wind. For the itch of poesy, by being angered, increas. eth; by rubbing, spreads farther; which appears in that I have ventured upon this third edition. What though it be neglected ? It is not, I am sure, the first book which hath lighted tobacco, or been einployed by cooks and grocers. If in all men's julgments it suffer shipwreck, it shall something content me, that it hath pleased myself and the bookseller. In it you shall find one argument (and I hope I shall need no more) to confute unbelievers : which is, that as mine age, and consequently experience (which is yet but little) hath increased, so they have not left my poesy flagging behind them. I should not be angry to see any one burn my Piramus and Thisbe, nay, I would do it myself, but that I hope a pardon may easily be gotten for the errours of ten years age. My Constantius and Philetus confesses me two years older when I writ it. The rest were made since, upon several occasions, and perhaps do not belie the time of their birth. Such as they are, they were created by me: but their fate lies in your hands; it is only you can effect, that neither the bookseller repent himself of his charge in printing them, nor I of my labour in composing them. Farewell.
TO THE READER.
I called the buskin'd muse, Melpomene,
If thou dislike these sorrowful lines, then know,
And, as she my unabler quill did guide,
But think her tears defac'd it, and blame then
The glorious heams of her fair eyes did move, CONSTANTIA AND PHILETUS, And light beholders on their way to love.
Among her many suitors, a young knight,
Of her fair presence, presseth most in sight;
With that blest object, or her rareness see;
For Beauty's guard is watchful Jealousy. This mournful tale, and favour every verse!
Oft times, that he might see his dearest fair, In Florence, for ber stately buildings fam'd,
Upon his stately jennet he in th' way And lofty roofs that emulate the sky,
Rides by her house; who neighs, as if he were There dwelt a lovely maid, Constantia named,
Proud to be view'd by bright Constantia. Fain'd for the beauty of all Italy.
But his poor master, though to see her move Her, lavish Nature did at first adorn
His joy, dares show no look betraying love. With Pallas' soul in Cytherea's form:
Soon as the Morning left her rosy bed, And, framing her attractive eyes so bright, And all Heaven's smaller lights were driven away, Spent all her wit in study, that they might Shę, by her friends and near acquaintance led, Keep Earth from chaos and eternal night ;
Like other maids, would walk at break of day: But envious Death destroyed their glorious light. Aurora blush'd to see a sight unknown,
Expect not beauty then, since she did part; To behold cheeks more beauteous than her own. For in her Nature wasted all her art.
Th' obsequious lover follows still her train, Her hair was brighter than the beams which are
And where they go, that way his journey feigns : A crown to Phæbus; and her breath so sweet, Should they turn back, he would turn back again; It did transcend Arabian odours far,
For with bis love, his business does remain. Or smelling flowers,wherewith the Spring doth greet Nor is it strange he should be loth to part
Approaching Summer; teeth, like falling snow From her, whose eyes had stole away his heart. For white, were placed in a double row.
Philetus he was call’d, sprung from a race Her wit, excelling praise, even all admire
Of noble ancestors; but greedy Time. Her speech was so attractive, it might be
And envious Fate had laboured to dcface A cause to raise the mighty Pallas' ire,
The glory which in his great stock did shine: And stir up envy from that deity.
Small his estate, unfitting her degree; The maiden lilies at her sight
But blinded Love could no such difference sec. Wax'd pale with envy,and from thence grew white. Yet he by chance had hit his heart aright, She was in birth and parentage as high
And dipt his arrow in Constantia's eyes, As in her fortune great or beauty rare;
Blowing a fire that would destroy him quite, And to her virtuous mind's nobility
Unless such flames within her heart should rise. The gifts of Fate and Nature doubled were;
But yet he fears, because he blinded is, That in her spotless soul and lovely face
Though he have shot him right, her heart he'll You might have seen each deity and grace.
miss. The scornful boy, Adonis, viewing her,
Unto Love's altar therefore he repairs, Would Venus still despise, yet her desire;
And offers up a pleasing sacrilice; Each who but saw, was a competitor
Entrcating Cupid, with inducing prayers, And rival, scorch'd alike with Cupid's fire.
To look upon and ease his miseries :
Where having wept, recovering breath again, No morning-banish'd darkness, nor black night
In which Pbiletus by a constant rite
At Cupid's altars did not weep and pray; Wiom all celestial deities obey ;
And yet he nothing reap'd for all his pain, Whom men and gods both reverence and fear!
But care and sorrow was his only gain. Oh force Constantia's heart to yield to love! But now at last the pitying god, o'crcome
Of all thy works the master-piece 'twill prove. By constant votes and tears, fix'd in her heart “ And let me not affection vainly spend,
A golden shaft, and she is now become Bit kindle fiames in her like those in me;
A suppliant to Love, that with like dart Yet if that gift my fortune doth transcend,
Hled wound Philetus; does with tears implore Grant that her charming beauty I may sce!
Aid from that power, she so much scomu'd be
fore, For ever view those eyes, whose charming light, More than the world besides, does please my Little she thinks she kept Philctus' heart sight.
In her scorch'd breast, because her own she gave “ Those who contemn thy sacred deity,
To him. Since either suffers equal smart,
And a like ineasure in their torments have : Laugh at thy power, make them thine anger know :
His soul, his griefs, his fires, now her's are grown: I faultless am ; what honour can it be,
ller heart, her mind, her love, is his alone. Only to wound your slave and spare your foe ?" Whilst thoughts 'gainst thoughts rise up in muHere tears and sighs speak his imperfect moan,
tiny, In language far more inoving than his own. She took a lute (being far from any ears)
And tun'd this song, posing that harinony Home he retir'd, his soul he brought not home;
Which poets attribute to heavenly spheres. Just like a ship, while every mounting wave,
Thus had she sung when her dear love was slain, Toss'd by enraged Borcas up and down, Threatens the mariner with a gaping grave;
She'd surely call'd him back from Styx again. Such did his case, such did his state appear,
TO whom shall I my sorrows show?
And my Philetus doth not know Op his unhapry fate, but all in vain;
The inward torment of my mind. And thus fond Echo answers him again :
And all these senseless walls, which are It muvid Aurora, and she wept to hear,
Now round about me, cannot hear;
And with my griefs relent:
Unless their willing tears they keep,
Till I from Earth am sent. “Ok! what hath caus'd my killing miseries ?”
Then I believe they 'll all deplore “ Eyes,” Echo said. “ What hath detained my
My fate, since I taught them before. " ease ?"
I willingly would weep my store, “ East,'' straight the reasonable nymph replies. If th' Hood would land thy love, “ That nothing can my troubled mind appease?” My dear Philetus, on the shore
“ Prace," Echo answers. “What, is any nigh?" Of my heart; but, should'st thou prore Philetus said. She quickly utters, “1."
Afraid of flames, know the fires are Is't Echo answers? tell me then thy will:"
But bonfires for thy coming there. "I WILL," she said. “ What shall I get,"
THEN tears in envy of her speech did flow By loving still ?” To which she answers,
" Lil." From her fair eyes, as it it seem'd that there “Ill! Shall I void of wish d-for pleasures dje?” Iler burning flame had melted bills of snow,
“I.” “Shall not I, who toil in ceaseless pain, And so dissolv'd them into many a tear;
Aud quickly caus’d new serpent griefs to grow, “False and ivconstant nymph, thou lyest !"said Here stay, my Muse; for if I should recite
Her mournful language, I should make you weep « THOU LYEST," she said ; “And I deserv'd her hate, Like her, a flood, and so not sce to write If I should thce believe." “ BELIEVE," saith she. Such lines as I, and th' age requires, to keep " For why? thy idle words are of no wcight.” Me from stern Death, or with victorious rhyme
“WEIGHT," she answers, “ Therefore I'll depart:” Revenge their master's death, and conquer To which resounding Echo answers, “ PART.”
He weeps to quench the fires that burn in him, And, as time serv’d, show her his misery :