Abraham Cowley (1618 – July 28, 1667) was an English poet, one of the leading English poets of the 17th century.
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;
The sea itself (which one would think
Should have but little need of drink)
Drinks twice ten thousand rivers up,
So filled that they o’erflow the cup.
The busy Sun (and one would guess
by’s drunken fiery face no less)
Drinks up the sea, and when he’s done,
The Moon and Stars drink up the Sun:
They drink and dance by their own light,
They drink and revel all the night:
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 but I?
Why, man of morals, tell me why?
Life’s a name
That nothing here can truly claim;
This wretched inn, where we scarce stay to bait,
We call our dwelling-place!
And mighty voyages we take,
And mighty journeys seem to make,
O’er sea and land, the little point that has no space.
Because we fight and battles gain,
Some captives call, and say, ‘the rest are slain’;
Because we heap up yellow earth, and so
Rich, valiant, wise, and virtuous seem to grow;
Because we draw a long nobility
From hieroglyphic proofs of heraldry-
We grow at last by Custom to believe,
That really we Live;
Whilst all these Shadows, that for Things we take,
Are but the empty Dreams which in Death’s sleep we make.