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
 
Extracts from The Mistress: The Wish
By Abraham Cowley (1618–1667)
 
    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,        5
Who for it can endure the stings,
The crowd, and buzz, and murmurings
    Of this great hive, the city.
 
    Ah, yet, ere I descend to th’ grave
May I a small house and large garden have!        10
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,        15
    Only belov’d, and loving me!
 
    O fountains, when in you shall I
Myself, eased of unpeaceful thoughts, espy?
O fields! O woods! when, when shall I be made
    The happy tenant of your shade?        20
    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-fetched metaphors appear;        25
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,        30
    That ’tis the way too thither.
 
    How happy here should I,
And one dear she live, and embracing die!
She who is all the world, and can exclude
    In deserts solitude.        35
    I should have then this only fear,
Lest men, when they my pleasures see,
Should hither throng to live like me,
    And make a city here.
 
 
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