Abraham Cowley

(1618 – 28 July 1667 / London)

The Thraldom - Poem by Abraham Cowley

I came, I saw, and was undone;
Lightning did through my bones and marrow run;
A pointed pain pierc'd deep my heart;
A swift cold trembling seiz'd on every part;
My head turn'd round, nor could it bear
The poison that was enter'd there.

So a destroying angel's breath
Blows-in the plague, and with it hasty death;
Such was the pain, did so begin,
To the poor wretch, when Legion enter'd in.
'Forgive me, God!' I cry'd; for I
Flatter'd myself I was to die.

But quickly to my cost I found,
'T was cruel Love, not Death, had made the wound;
Death a more generous rage does use;
Quarter to all he conquers does refuse:
Whilst Love with barbarous mercy saves
The vanquish'd lives, to make them slaves.

I am thy slave then; let me know,
Hard master! the great task I have to do:
Who pride and scorn do undergo.
In tempests and rough seas thy galleys row;
They pant, and groan, and sigh; but find
Their sighs increase the angry wind.

Like an Egyptian tyrant, some
Thou weariest out in building but a tomb;
Others, with sad and tedious art,
Labour i' th' quarries of a stony heart:
Of all the works thou dost assign
To all the several slaves of thine,
Employ me, mighty Love! to dig the mine.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, February 24, 2014



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