It gave a piteous groan

It gave a piteous  groan, and so it broke;

In vain it something would have spoke:

The love within too strong for’t was,

Like poison put into a Venice-glass.


I thought that this some remedy might prove,

But, oh, the mighty serpent Love,

Cut by this chance in pieces small,

In all still liv’d, and still it  stung in all.

And now, alas! each little broken part

Feels the whole pain of all my heart:

And every smallest corner still

Lives with that torment which the whole did  kill.

Even so rude armies when the field they quit,

And into several quarters get;

Each troop does spoil and ruin more,

Then all join’d in one body did before.

How many Loves reign in my bosom now?

How many loves, yet all of you?

Thus have I chang’d with evil fate

My  Monarch-Love into a Tyrant-State.

Abraham Cowley

Cowley, Abraham. “The Heart-breaking.” The Works of the English Poets,With Prefaces, Biographical and Critical, by Samuel Johnson. 58 vols. Vol 1. London: H. Hughs, 1779.

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