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Poem by Abraham Cowley
The Given Love
I'LL on; for what should hinder me From loving and enjoying thee? Thou canst not those exceptions make, Which vulgar, sordid mortals takeЧ That my fate's too mean and low; 'T were pity I should love thee so, If that dull cause could hinder me In loving and enjoying thee. It does not me a whit displease, That the rich all honours seize; That you all titles make your own, Are valiant, learned, wise, alone: But, if you claim o'er women too The power which over men ye do; If you alone must lovers be; For that, Sirs, you must pardon me. Rather than lose what does so near Concern my life and being here, I'll some such crooked ways invent, As you, or your forefathers, went: I'll flatter or oppose the king, Turn Puritan, or any thing; I'll force my mind to arts so new: Grow rich, and love as well as you. But rather thus let me remain, As man in paradise did reign; When perfect love did so agree With innocence and poverty, Adam did no jointure give; Himself was jointure to his Eve: Untouch'd with avarice yet, or pride, The rib came freely back t' his side. A curse upon the man who taught Women, that love was to be bought! Rather dote only on your gold, And that with greedy avarice hold; For, if woman too submit To that, and sell herself for it, Fond lover! you a mistress have Of her that's but your fellow-slave. What should those poets mean of old That made their God to woo in gold? Of all men, sure, they had no cause To bind love to such costly laws; And yet I scarcely blame them now; For who, alas! would not allow, That women should such gifts receive, Could they, as he, be what they give? If thou, my dear, thyself shouldst prize, Alas! what value would suffice? The Spaniard could not do't, though he Should to both Indies jointure thee. Thy beauties therefore wrong will take, If thou shouldst any bargain make; To give all, will befit thee well; But not at under-rates to sell. Bestow thy beauty then on me, Freely, as nature gave't to thee; 'T is an exploded popish thought To think that heaven may be bought. Prayers, hymns, and praises, are the way, And those my thankful Muse shall pay: Thy body, in my verse enshrin'd, Shall grow immortal as thy mind. I'll fix thy title next in fame To Sacharissa's well-sung name. So faithfully will I declare What all thy wondrous beauties are, That when, at the last great assize, All women shall together rise, Men straight shall cast their eyes on thee And know at first that thou art she.
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