I never yet could see that face Which had no dart for me; From fifteen years, to fifty's space, They all victorious be. Love, thou'rt a devil, if I may call thee one, For sure in me thy name is Legion. Colour, or shape, good limbs, or face, Goodness, or wit, in all I find; In motion or in speech a grace; If all fail, yet 't is woman-kind; And I'm so weak, the pistol need not be Double or treble charg'd to murder me. If tall, the name of proper slays; If fair, she's pleasant as the light; If low, her prettiness does please; If black, what lover loves not night? If yellow-hair'd, I love, lest it should be Th' excuse to others for not loving me. The fat, like plenty, fills my heart; The lean, with love makes me too so: If straight, her body 's Cupid's dart To me ; if cropked, 't is his bow : Nay, age itself does me to rage incline, And strength to women gives, as well as wine. Just half as large as Charity My richly-landed Love 's become ; And, judg'd aright, is Constancy, Though it take up a larger room : Him, who loves always one, why should they call More constant than the man loves always all? Thus with unwearied wings I flee Through all love's gardens and his fields; And, like the wise, industrious bee No weed but honey to me yields! Honey still spent this diligence still supplies, Though I return not home with laden thighs. My soul at first indeed did prove Of pretty strength against a dart, Till I this habit got of love; But my consum'd and wasted heart, Once burnt to tinder with a strong desire, Since that, by every spark is set on fire.
Confirmed with Abraham Cowley, The Works of Mr. A. Cowley: In Prose and Verse, London: John Sharpe, Volume 2, 1809, pages 88-90.
- by Abraham Cowley (1618 - 1667), "The inconstant" [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- [ None yet in the database ]
Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:
- Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Josef Franz von Ratschky (1757 - 1810) , "Der Weiberfreund", subtitle: "Nach dem Englischen des Cowley", written 1794, first published 1795 [an adaptation] CAT DUT FRE ITA ; composed by Franz Peter Schubert.
Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):
- GER German (Deutsch) (Josef Franz von Ratschky) , "Der Weiberfreund", subtitle: "Nach dem Englischen des Cowley. Wien im April 1794", written 1794 [an adaptation]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2003-11-05
Line count: 42
Word count: 304