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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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  • Nothing in Nature's sober found,
    But an eternal health goes round.
    Fill up the bowl, then, fill it high,
    Fill all the glasses there—for why
    Should every creature drink...
    Abraham Cowley (1618-1667), British poet. Drinking (l. 15-20). . . Seventeenth-Century Verse and Prose, Vols. I-II. Vol. I: 1600-1660; Vol. II: 16...
  • ''The thirsty earth soaks up the rain,
    And drinks, and gapes for drink again.
    The plants suck in the earth, and are
    With constant drinking fresh and fair.''
    Abraham Cowley (1618-1667), British essayist, poet. Drinking, Anacreon (1656).
  • ''The thirsty earth soaks up the rain,
    And drinks and gapes for drink again;''
    Abraham Cowley (1618-1667), British poet. Drinking (l. 1-2). . . Seventeenth-Century Verse and Prose, Vols. I-II. Vol. I: 1600-1660; Vol. II: 1660...
  • Even Lust the Master of a hardned Face,
    Blushes if thou beest in the place,
    To darkness' Curtains he retires,
    In Sympathizing Night he rowls his smoaky Fires.

    When,...
    Abraham Cowley (1618-1667), British poet. Hymn: To Light (l. 57-64). . . Seventeenth-Century Verse and Prose, Vols. I-II. Vol. I: 1600-1660; Vol. ...
  • 'Tis not such lines as almost crack the stage
    When Bajazet begins to rage;
    Nor a tall met'phor in the bombast way,
    Nor the dry chips of short-lunged Seneca.
    Nor upon all th...
    Abraham Cowley (1618-1667), British poet. Ode: Of Wit (l. 49-56). . . Oxford Anthology of English Literature, The, Vols. I-II. Frank Kermode and J...
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