Abraham Cowley

(1618 – 28 July 1667 / London)

Abraham Cowley
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His father, a wealthy citizen, who died shortly before his birth, was a stationer. His mother was wholly given to works of devotion, but it happened that there lay in her parlour a copy of The Faerie Queene. This became the favourite reading of her son, and he had twice devoured it all before he was sent to school.

As early as 1628, that is, in his tenth year, he composed his Tragicall History of Piramus and Thisbe, an epic romance written in a six-line stanza, a style of his own invention. It is not too much to say that this work is the most astonishing feat of imaginative precocity on record; it is marked by no great faults of immaturity, and possesses constructive merits of a ... more »

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Quotations

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  • ''God the first garden made, and the first city Cain.''
    Abraham Cowley (1618-1667), British essayist, poet. The Garden, Essays in Verse and Prose (1668).
  • ''Life is an incurable disease.''
    Abraham Cowley (1618-1667), British essayist, poet. To Dr. Scarborough, st. 6 (1656).
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Best Poem of Abraham Cowley

Beauty

LIBERAL Nature did dispence
To all things Arms for their defence;
And some she arms with sin'ewy force,
And some with swiftness in the course;
Some with hard Hoofs, or forked claws,
And some with Horns, or tusked jaws.
And some with Scales, and some with Wings,
And some with Teeth, and some with Stings.
Wisdom to Man she did afford,
Wisdom for Shield, and Wit for Sword.
What to beauteous Woman-kind,
What Arms, what Armour has she'assigne'd?
Beauty is both; for with the Faire
What Arms, what Armour can compare?
What Steel, what Gold, or Diamond,
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