Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
Abraham Cowley. 1618–1667
  
350. Anacreontics
2. The Epicure
  
UNDERNEATH this myrtle shade, 
On flowerly beds supinely laid, 
With odorous oils my head o'erflowing, 
And around it roses growing, 
What should I do but drink away         5
The heat and troubles of the day? 
In this more than kingly state 
Love himself on me shall wait. 
Fill to me, Love! nay, fill it up! 
And mingled cast into the cup  10
Wit and mirth and noble fires, 
Vigorous health and gay desires. 
The wheel of life no less will stay 
In a smooth than rugged way: 
Since it equally doth flee,  15
Let the motion pleasant be. 
Why do we precious ointments shower?— 
Nobler wines why do we pour?— 
Beauteous flowers why do we spread 
Upon the monuments of the dead?  20
Nothing they but dust can show, 
Or bones that hasten to be so. 
Crown me with roses while I live, 
Now your wines and ointments give: 
After death I nothing crave,  25
Let me alive my pleasures have: 
All are Stoics in the grave. 
 
 
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