Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday poetry - Abraham Cowley

Abraham Cowley (photo above from was another of the Cavalier poets of the 17th century. Born in 1618, he studied at Cambridge but went to Oxford at the outbreak of the Civil War & is said to have become a spy for the Royalist cause. His loyalty was questioned in later years & he never felt he received his due after the Restoration. I especially like the second verse of this poem, The Wish. A small house, large garden, few friends & many books, I can't argue with that!

Well then; I now do plainly see,
This busy world and I shall ne'er agree;
The very honey of all earthly joy
Does of all meats the soonest cloy,
And they, methinks, deserve my pity,
Who fo it can endure the stings,
The crowd, and buzz, and murmerings
Of this great hive, the city.

Ah, yet, e'er I descend to th' grave
May I a small house, and large garden have!
And a few friends, and many books, both true,
Both wise, and both delightful too!
And since love ne'er will from me flee,
A mistress moderately fair,
And good as guardian-angels are,
Only belov'd, and loving me!

Oh, fountains, when in you shall I
My self, eas'd of unpeaceful thoughts, espy?
O fields! O woods! when, when shall I be made
The happy tenant of your shade?
Here's the spring-head of pleasure's flood;
Where all the riches lie, that she
Has coin'd and stamp'd for good.

Pride and ambition here,
Only in far-fetch'd metaphors appear;
Here nought but winds can hurtful murmurs scatter;
And nought but echo flatter.
The gods when they descended hither
From Heav'n did always choose their way;
And therefore we may boldly say,
That 'tis the way too thither.

How happy here should I,
And on dear She live, and embracing die?
She ho is all the world, and can exclude
In deserts solitude.
I should have then this only fear,
Lest men, when they my pleasures see,
Should hither throng to live like me,
And so make a city here.

A very happy & peaceful Easter to everyone.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not doing the large garden bit. But then I am the black sheep in a long line of market gardeners. Even planting out a few pots on the patio takes me forever.