Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
 
The Cruel Mistress
By Thomas Carew (1595?–1639?)
 
WE read of kings and gods that kindly took
A pitcher filled with water from the brook,
But I have daily tendered without thanks
Rivers of tears that overflow their banks;
A slaughtered bull will appease angry Jove,        5
A horse the Sun, a lamb the god of love,
But she disdains the spotless sacrifice
Of a pure heart that at her altar lies.
Vesta is not displeased if her chaste urn
Do with repairëd fuel ever burn,        10
But my saint frowns, though to her honoured name,
I consecrate a never-dying flame.
The Assyrian king did none i’ the furnace throw
But those that to his image did not bow,—
With bended knees I daily worship her,        15
Yet she consumes her own idolater.
Of such a goddess no times leave record,
That burned the temple where she was adored.
 
 
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