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POEMS

ABRAHAM COWLEY.

CONSTANTIA AND PHILETUS.

| SING two constant lovers' various fate,

The hopes and fears that equally attend Their loves; their rivals' envy, parents' hate: I sing their woeful life and tragic end.

Aid me, ye gods, this story to rehearse,

This mournful tale, and favour every verse!
In Florence, for ber stately buildings fam'd,
And lofty roofs that emulate the sky,
There dwelt a lovely maid, Constantia named,
Fam'd for the beauty of all Italy.

Her, lavish Nature did at first adorn

With Pallas' soul in Cytherea's form:
And, framing her attractive eyes so bright,
Spent all her wit in study, that they might
Keep Earth from chaos and eternal night;
But envious Death destroyed their glorious light.

Expect not beauty then, since she did part;

For in her Nature wasted all her art. Her hair was brighter than the beams which are A crown to Phæbus ; and her breath so sweet, It did transcend Arabian odours far, Or smelling flowers, wherewith the Spring doth greet

Approaching Summer; teeth, like falling snow

For white, were placed in a double row.
Her wit, excelling praise, even all admire y
Her speech was so attractive, it might be
A cause to raise the mighty Pallas' ire,
And stir up envy from that deity. .

The maiden lilies at her sight
Wax'd pale with envy,and from thence grew white.
She was in birth and parentage as high
As in her fortune great or beauty rare;
And to her virtuous mind's nobility
The gifts of Fate and Nature doubled were;

That in her spotless soul and lovely face

You might have seen each deity and grace.
The scornful boy, Adonis, viewing her,
Would Venus still despise, yet her desire;
Each who but saw, was a competitor
And rival, scorch'd alike with Cupid's fire..

The glorious beams of her fair eyes did move,

And light beholders on their way to love.
Among her many suitors, a young knight,
'Bove others wounded with the majesty
Of her fair presence, presseth most in sight;
Yet seldom his desire can satisfy

With that blest object, or her rareness see;

For Beauty's guard is watchful Jealousy.
Oft times, that he might see his dearest fair,
Upon his stately jennet he in th' way
Rides by her house; who neighs, as if he were
Proud to be view'd by bright Constantia.

But his poor master, though to see her movo

His joy, dares show no look betraying love. Soon as the Morning left her rosy bed, And all Heaven's smaller lights were driven away, Shę, by her friends and near acquaintance led, Like other maids, would walk at break of day:.

Aurora blush'd to see a sight unknown,

To behold cheeks more beauteous than her own. Th' obsequious lover follows still her train, And where they go, that way his journey feigns : Should they turn back, he would turn back again; For with bis love, his business does remain.

Nor is it strange he should be loth to part

From her, whose eyes had stole away his heart. Philetus he was calld, sprung from a race Of noble ancestors; but greedy Time, And envious Fate had laboured to deface The glory which in his great stock did shine:

Small his estate, unfitting her degree;

But blinded Love could no such difference sec.
Yet he by chance had hit his heart aright,
And dipt his arrow in Constantia's eyes,
Blowing a fire that would destroy him quite,
Unless such flames within her heart should rise.

But yet he fears, because he blinded is,
Though he have shot him right, her heart he'll

miss.
Unto Love's altar therefore he repairs,
And offers up a pleasing sacrifice;
Entrcating Cupid, with inducing prayers,
To look upon and ease his miseries :

Where having wept, recovering breath again, | No morning-banish'd darkness, nor black night

Thus to immortal Love he did complain : by her alternate course expellid the day, "Oh, mighty Cupid! whose unbounded sway

In which Philetus by a constant rite Hath often ruld th' Olympian thunderer;

| At Cupid's altars did not weep and pray; Wirom all cælestial deities obey;

1. 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'ercome

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 Bat kindle flames in her like those in me;

A suppliant to Love, that with like dart , Yet if that gift my fortune doth transcend,

He'd wound Philetus; does with tears implore Grant that her charming beauty I may sce!

Aid from that power, she so much scom'd beFor crer view those eyes, whose charming light,

fore. More than the world besides, dues 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, Laugh at thy power, make them thine anger

And a like measure in their torments have : know:

His soul, his griefs, his fires, now her's are grown: I faultless am ; what honour can it be,

Her heart, her mind, her love, is his alone. Only to wound your slave and spare your foe?” Whilst thoughts 'gainst thoughts rise up in mu. · Here 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 mourting wave,

Thus had she sung when her dear love was slain, Toss'd by enraged Borcas up and down,

She'd surely call'd him back from Styx again.
Threatens the mariner with a gaping grave;
Such did his case, such did his state appear,

THE SONG.
Alike distracted between hope and fear.
Thinking her love he never shall obtain,

TO whom shall I my sorrows show?
One morn he haunts the woods, and doth com-

Not to Love, for he is blind : plain

And my Philetus doth not know Of his inhappy fate, but all in vain ;

The inward torment of my mind. Aid thus fond Echo answers niin again:

And all these senseless walls, which are It mov'd Aurora, and she went to hear,

Now round about me, cannot hear;
Dewing the verdant grass wiih many a tear. For, if they could, they sure would weep,

And with my griefs relent:
THE ECHO,

Unless their willing tears they keep,

Till I from Earth am sent. - OH! 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 Philctus, on the shore

“PEACE," Echo answers. “What, is auy nigh?” Of my heart; but, should'st thou prove Philetus said. She quickly utters, " I."

Afraid of flames, know the fires are s: Is't Echo answers ? tell me then thy will:”

But bonfires for thy coming there.
." I will," she said. “What shall I get,” says he, THEN tears in envy of her speech did fox
“ By loving still ?" To which she answers, “ IL.L." From her fair eyes, as it it seem'd that there
“ HIT ! Shall I void of wish`d-for pleasures dje?” Her 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;
" Some pleasure know ?” “No," she replies Which, Nilus-like, did quickly overflow,
again.'

Aud quickly caus'd new serpent griefs to grow, “ False and inconstant nymph, thou lyest !"said Here stay, my Muse; for if I should recite he;

| Her mournful language, I should make you weep « THOU LYEST,” she said ; “And I deservd her hate, Like her, a flood, and so not see to write If I should thee believe," “ BELIEVE," saith she. Such lines as I, and th' age requires, to keep e. For why? thy idle words are of no weight.”

Me from ster 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.” •

Timc.
THEN from the woods with wounded heart he goes, By this time, chance and his own industry
Filling with legions of fresh thoughts his mind, Had help'd Philetus forward, that he grew
He quarrels with himself, because his woes

Acquainted with her brother, so that he
Spring from himself, yet can no med cine tind: Might, by this means, his bright Constantia vier;

He weeps to quench the fires that burn in him, And, as time serv'd, show her his misery: ... But tears do fall to th'earth, fames are within. This was the first act in his tragedy,

Thus to himself, sooth'l by his Nattering state, 1 “ Long have I staid, but yet have no relief; He saint; “How shall I thank thee for this gain, Long have I lov'd, yet have ou favour shown ; O Cupid! or reward my helping Fate,

Because she knows not of my killing grief, Which sweetcos all my sorrows, all my pain ? And I have fear'd to make my sorrows known. What husbandman would any pains refuse,

For why? alas! if she should once but dart To reap at last such fruit, his labour's use?” Disdainful looks, 'twould break my captiv'd lieart. But, when he wisely weigh'd his doubtful state, “But how should she, ere I impart my love, Seeing his griefs link'd like an endless chain

Reward my ardient fame with like desire ? To following woes, he would when 'twas too late But when I speak, if she should angry prove, Quenci his hot Aames, and ille love disilain.

Laugh at my flowing tears, and scorn my fire ? But Cupid, when his heart was set on fire,

Why, he who hath all sorrows borne before, Had burnt his wings, who could not then retire. Needeth not fear to be opprest with more." The wounded youth anul kind Philocrates

Philocrates no longer can forbear, (So was her brother call’d) grew soon so dear, Runs to his friend, and sighing, " Oh !” said he, So true and constant in their amities,"

“ My dear Philetus! be thyself, and swear And in that league so strictly joined were,

To rule that passion which now masters thce, That death itself could not their friendship sever, And all thy reason; but, if it can't be,

But, as they livid in love, they died together. Give to thy love but eyes, that it may see.” If one be melancholy, th’ other's sad;

Amazement strikes him dumb; what shall he do? If one be sick, the other's suely ill;

Should he reveal his love, hc fears 'twould prove And if Philetus any sorrow had,

A hindrance; and, should he deny to shew, Philocrates was partner in it still: .

It might perhaps his dear friend's anger move : Pylarles' soul, and mad Orestes', was

These doubts, like Scylla and Charybdis, stand, In these, if we believe Pythagoras.

Whilst Cupid, a blind pilot, doth command. Oft in the woors Philetus walks, and there

At last resolvid: “ How shall I seek,” said he, Exclains against his fate, fate too unkind :

“l'excuse myself, dearest Philocrates! With speaking tears his griets he doth declare, That I from thee have hid this secrecy? And with sad sighs instructs the angry wind

Yet censure not; give me first leave to case/known 'To sigh; and did ev'n upon that prerail ;

My case with words: my grief you should have It groan'd to hear Philctus' mournful tale.

Ere this, if that my heart had been my own. The crystal brooks, which gently run between “I am all lore; my heart was burnt with fire The sha lovingtrees, and,astbey through them pass, From two bright suns, which do all light disclose; Water the earth, and keep the meadows green, First kindling in my breast the fame desire : Giving a colour to the verdant grass,

But, like the rare Arabian bird, there rose, Hearing Philctus tell his woeful state,

From my heart's ashes, never quenched Love, In show of grief run murmuring at his fate.

Which now this torment in my soul doth move. Philomel answers him again, and shows,

"Oh! let not then my passion cause your hate In her best language, her sad history,

Nor let my choice offend you, ar detain And in a mournful sweetness tells her woes, | Your ancient friendship ; 'tis, alas! too late Denying to be pos'd in misery:

To call my firm affection back again: . Constantia he, she Tereus, Tereus, cries;

No physic can re-cure my weaken'd state, With him both grief, and grief's expression, vies. The wound is grown too great, too desperate." Philocrates must needs his sadness know,

" But counsel,” said his friend, “a remedy Willing in ills, as well as joys, to share,

| Which never fails the patient, may at least, Nor will on them the name of friends bestow, If not quite heal your mind's infirmity, Who in light sport, not sorrow, partners are. Assuage your torment, and procure some rest. Who leaves to guide the ship when storms arise, | But there is no physician can apply Is guilty both of sin and cowardice.

A med'cine ere he know the malady." But when his noble friend perceiv'd that he

" Then hear me,” said Philetus; “but why? Stay Yielded to tyrant Passion more and more,

I will not toil thee with my history; Desirous to partake his malady,

For to remember sorrows past away, He watches him, in hope to cure his sore

Is to renew an old calamity. By counsel, and recall the poisonous dart,

He who acquainteth others with his moan, When it, alas! was fixed in his heart.

Adds to his friend's grief, but not cures his own." When in the woods, places best fit for care, “ But,” said Philocrates, “stis best, in woe, He to himself did his past griefs recite,

'To have a faithful partner of their care; Th'obsequious friend straight follows him and there that burthen may be undergone by two, Doth hide himself from sad Philetus' sight; Which is perhaps too great for one to bear.

Whothusexclaims (fora swoln heart would break, I should mistrust your love, to hide from me If it for vent of sorrow might not speak):

Your thoughts, and tax you of inconstancy.” “ Oh! I am lost, not in this desert wood,

What shall he do? or with what language frame But in Love's pathless labyrinth; there I

Excuse? He must resolve not to deny, My health, each joy and pleasure counted good, But open his close thoughts and inward flame: Have lost, and, which is more, iy liberty;

With that, as prologue to his tragedy, And now am forc'd to let him sacrifice

| He sigh’d, as if they'd cool his torments' ire, My heart, for rash believing of my eyes. . l When they, was! did blow the raging fire

“ When years first stylld me twenty, I began But, if beyond those limits you demand, To sport with catching snares that Love had set: I must not answer, sir, nor understand.” Like birds that thutter round the gin till ta'en,

“ Believe me, virtuous maiden! my desire Or the poor fly caught in Arachoe's net,

Is chaste and pious as thy virgin thought; Even so I sported with her beauty's light,

No flash of lust, 'tis no dishonest fire, Till I at last grew blind with too much sight.

Which goes as soon as it was quickly brought; « First it came stealing on me, whilst I thought But as thy beauty pure; which let not be 'Twas easy to repel it; but as fire,

Eclipsed by disdain and cruelty !” Though but a spark, soon into flames is brought,

“ Oh! how shall I reply?" she cry'd, “ thou 'st So mine grew great, and quickly mounted higher ;

My soul, and therefore take thy victory: (wou Which so have scorch'd my love-struck soul, Thy eyes and speeches have my heart o'ercome, that I

And if I should deny thee love, then I .. Still live in torment, yet each minute die.”

Should be a tyrant to myself : that fire " Who is it,” said Philocrates, “ can move

Which is kept close burns with the greatest ire. With charming cyes such deep affection?

“ Yet do not count my yielding lightness, now; I may perhaps assist you in your love;

Impute it rather to my ardent love; Two can effect more than yourself alone.

Thy pleasing carriage won me long ago, My counsel this thy errour may reclaim,

And pleading Beauty did myliking move; (might Or my salt tears quench thy destructive flame."

Thy eyes, which draw like loadstones with their “ Nay,” said Philetus, “ oft my eyes do flow

The hardest hearts, won mine to leave me Like Nilus, when it scorns th' opposed shore;

quite." Yet all the watery plenty I bestow,

« Oh! Lam rapt above the reach," said he, . . Is to my fame an oil that feeds it more.

“Of thought; my soul already feels the bliss (thee So fame reports o'th' Doclonéan spring,

Of Heaven : when, sweet, my thoughts once tax but That lightens all those which are put therein.

Wich any crime, may I lose all happiness “ But, being you desire to know her, she

Is wish'd for: both your favour here, and dead, Is call'd” (with that his eyes let fall a shower, May the just gods pour vengeance on my head!” As if they fain would drown the memory

| Whilst he was speaking this (behold their fate!) Of his life-keeper's name) “ Constantia ” More

Constantia's father enter'd in the room, Grief would not let him utter ; tears, the best

When glad Philetus, ignorant of his state, Expressers of true sorrow, spoke the rest.

Kisses her cheeks, more red than setting Sun, To which his noble friend did thus reply :

Orelse the Morn, blushing through clouds of water, “ And was this all? Whate'er your grief would ease, To see ascending Sol congratulate her. Though a far greater task, believe't, for thee

Just as the guilty prisoner fearful stands It should be soon done by Philocrates :

Reading his fatal Theta in the brows Think all your wish perform’d; but see, the day,

Of him who both his life and death commands, Tird with its heat, is hasting now away !"

Ere from his mouth he the sad sentence knows : Home from the silent woods Night bids them go : Such was his state to see her father come, But sad Pbiletus can no comfort find;

Nor wish'd-for, nor expected, in the room. What in the day he fears of future woe,

Th' enrag'd old man bids him no more to dare At night in dreams, like truth, affrights his mind.

Such bold intrusion in that house, nor be Why dost thou vex him, Love? Could'st thou but |

At any time with his lov'd daughter there, Thou would'st thyself Philetus' rival be. [sce, | Till he had given him such authority: Philocrates, pitying his doleful moan,

But to depart, since she her love did show him, And wounded with the sorrows of his friend,

Was living death, with lingering torments, to him, Brings him to fair Constantia ; where alone

This being known to kind Philocrates, He might impart his love, and either end

He chears his friend, bidding bim banish fear, His fruitless hopes, nipt by her coy disdain,

And by some letter his griev'd mind appease, Or, by her liking, his wisht joys attain.

And show her that which to her friendly ear “ Fairest,” said he, " whom the bright Heavens do Time gave no leave to tell : and thus his quill cover,

Declares to her the absent lover's will.
Do not these tears, these speaking tears, despise!
These beaving sighs of a submissive lover,

THE LETTER.
Thus struck to th' earth by your all-dazzling eyes!
And do not you contemn that ardent flame,

PHILETUS TO CONSTANTIA.. . Which from yourself, your own fair beauty, came! I TRUST, dear soul, my absence cannot move “ Trust ine, I long have bid my love; but now

You to forget or doubt my ardent love : ,

For, were there any means to see you, I Au forc'd to show't, such is my inward smart!

Would run through death, and all the misery And you alone, fair saint! the means do know To beal the wound of my consuming heart.

Fate could inflict; that so the world might say.

In life and death I lov'd Constantia. Then, since it only in your power doth lie

Then let not, dearest sweet, our absence part To kill or save, Oh! help, or else I die.”

Our loves, but each breast keep the other's heart; His gently cruel love did thus reply;

Give warmth to one another, till there rise “ I for your pain am grieved, and would do, From all our labours aviour industries Without impeachment of my chastity

The long-expected fruits : bave patience, sweet! And honour, any thing might pleasure you. | There's no man whom the summer pleasures greet Before he taste the winter; none can say,

Comfort's Sun we then shall see, Ere night was gone, he saw the rising day.

Though at first it darken'd be
So, when we once have wasted Sorrow's night, With dangers; yet, those clouds but gone,
The Sun of Comfort then shall give us light.

Our Day will put his lustre on.
PHILETUS. Then, though Death's sad night appear,

And we in lonely silence rest ; his, when Constantia read, she thought her state

Our ravish'd souls no more shall fear,
Most happy, by Philetus constancy .

But with lasting day be blest.
And perfect love: she thanks her flattering fate,
Kisses the paper, till with kissing she

And then no friends can part us more,
The welcome characters doth dull and stain :

Nor no new death extend its power; Then thus with ink and tears writes back again.

Thus there's nothing can dissever

Hearts which Love hath join’d together.
CONSTANTIA TO PuiLETUS.

FEAR of being seen, Philetus homeward drove,

But ere they part she willingly doth give YOUR absence, sir, though it be long, yet

(As faithful pledges of her constant love) Neither forget nor doubt your constancy.

Many a soft kiss; then they each other leave, Nor need you fear that I should yield unto

Rapt up with secret joy that they have found Another, what to your true love is due.

A way to heal the torment of their wound,
My heart is yours; it is not in my claim,
Nor hare I power to take it back again.

But, ere the Sun through many days had run, There's nought but death can part our souls; no Constantia's charming beauty had o'ercome time,

Guisarelo's heart, and scorn'd affection won ; Or angry friends, shall make my love decline : Her eyes soon conquer'd all they shone upon, But for the harvest of our hopes I'll stay,

Shot through his wounded heart such hot de Unless Death cut it, ere 'tis ripe, away.

sire,

As nothing but her love could quench the fire. CONSTANTIA.

In roofs which gold and Parian stone adorn Oh! how this letter seem'd to raise his pride! (Proud as the owner's mind) he did abound; Prouder was he of this than Phæton,

In fields so fertile for their yearly corn, When he did Phoebus' flaming chariot guide, As might contend with scorch'd Calabria's Unknowing of the danger was to come :

ground; Prouder than Jason, when from Colchos he

But in his soul, that should contain the store Returned with the fleece's victory.

Of surest riches, he was base and poor. But ere the autumn, which fair Ceres crown'd, Him was Constantia urg'd continually, Had paid the sweating plowman's greediest prayer, By her friends, to love: sometimes they did en And by the fall disrobed the gaudy ground

treat Of all those ornaments it us'd to wear;

With gentle speeches and mild courtesy; Them kind Philocrates t' each other brought, Which when they see despis'd by her, they Where they this means t enjoy their freedom

threat. wrought.

But love too deep was seated in her heart, & Sweet fair-one,” said Philetus, since the time

To be worn-out by thought of any smart. Farours our wish, and does afford us leave

Soon did her father to the woods repair, Tenjoy our loves; oh, let us not resign

To seek for sport, and hunt the started game; This long'd-for favour, nor ourselves bereave

Guisardo and Philocrates were there, Of what we wish'd for, opportunity,

With many friends too tedious here to name: That may too soon the wings of Love out-fy! With them Constantia went, but not to find " For when your father, as his custom is,

The bear or wolf, but Love, all mild and For pleasure doth pursue the timorous hare,

kind. If you 'll resort but thither, I'll not miss

Being enter'd in the pathless woods, while they To be in those woods ready for you, where

Pursue their game, Philetus, who was late We may depart in salety, and no more

Hid in a thicket, carries straight away With dreams of pleasure only, heal our sore." | His love, and hastens his own hasty fate; To this the happy lovers soon agree;

That came too soon upon him; and his sun But, ere they part, Philetus begs to hear,

Was quite eclips'd before it fully shone. From her enchanting voice a rielody,

Constantia miss'd, the hunters in amaze One song to satisfy his longing ear:

Take each a several course, and by curst Fa te She yields; and, singing added to desire, Guisardo runs, with a love-carried pace, The listening youth increas'd his amorous fire.

Tow'rds them, who little knew their woeful state :

Philetus, like bold Icarus, soaring high

To honours, found the depth of :nisery.
THE SONG.

For when Guisardo sees his rival there,

Swelling with envious rage, he comes behind TIME! Ay with greater speed away,

Philetus, who such fortune did not fear, Add feathers to thy wings,

And with his sword a way to s heart does find. Till thy haste in flying brings

But, ere his spirits were possest of deat", That wish'd-for, and expected day.

In these few words he spent his latest breath:

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