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 Verses Written on Several Occasions: Stanzas from The Hymn to Light
By Abraham Cowley (1618–1667)
 
THOU in the moon’s bright chariot proud and gay
      Dost thy bright wood of stars survey;
      And all the year dost with thee bring
Of thousand flow’ry lights thine own nocturnal spring.
 
  Thou Scythian-like dost round thy lands above        5
      The sun’s gilt tent for ever move,
      And still as thou in pomp dost go
The shining pageants of the world attend thy show.
 
Nor amidst all these triumphs dost thou scorn
      The humble glow-worms to adorn,        10
      And with those living spangles gild
(O greatness without pride!) the bushes of the field.
 
Night, and her ugly subjects thou dost fright,
      And sleep, the lazy owl of night;
      Ashamed and fearful to appear        15
They screen their horrid shapes with the black hemisphere.
 
With them there hastes, and wildly takes the alarm,
      Of painted dreams a busy swarm,
      At the first opening of thine eye,
The various clusters break, the antic atoms fly.        20
 
The guilty serpents, and obscener beasts,
      Creep conscious to their secret rests:
      Nature to thee does reverence pay,
Ill omens and ill sights removes out of thy way.
 
At thy appearance, grief itself is said        25
      To shake his wings, and rouse his head,
      And cloudy care has often took
A gentle beamy smile reflected from thy look.
 
At thy appearance, fear itself grows bold;
      Thy sunshine melts away his cold.        30
      Encourag’d at the sight of thee,
To the cheek colour comes, and firmness to the knee.
 
When, goddess, thou lift’st up thy waken’d head
      Out of the morning’s purple bed,
      Thy quire of birds about thee play,        35
And all the joyful world salutes the rising day.
 
  All the world’s bravery that delights our eyes
      Is but thy sev’ral liveries,
      Thou the rich dye on them bestowest,
Thy nimble pencil paints this landscape as thou goest.        40
 
  A crimson garment in the rose thou wear’st;
      A crown of studded gold thou bear’st,
      The virgin lilies in their white,
Are clad but with the lawn of almost naked light!
 
 
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