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            Abraham Cowley (1618-1667)
After the Anacreontea (Anonymous c.100 BC-600 AD)

                       I I I.  BEAUTY.

    LIberal Nature did dispence
    To all things Arms for their defence;
    And some she arms with sin'ewy force,
    And some with swiftness in the course;
    Some with hard Hoofs, or forked claws,
    And some with Horns, or tusked jaws.
    And some with Scales, and some with Wings,
    And some with Teeth, and some with Stings.
    Wisdom to Man she did afford,
    Wisdom for Shield, and Wit for Sword.
    What to beauteous Woman-kind,
    What Arms, what Armour has she'assigne'd?
    Beauty is both; for with the Faire
    What Arms, what Armour can compare?
    What Steel, what Gold, or Diamond,
    More Impassible is found?
    And yet what Flame, what Lightning ere
    So great an Active force did bear?
    They are all weapon, and they dart
    Like Porcupines from every part.
    Who can, alas, their strength express,
    Arm'd when they themselves undress,
    Cap a pe with Nakedness?


Cap a pe = from head to foot

While Cowley claims his Anacreontiques are "some
copies of verses, translated paraphrastically out of
Anacreon", the original were not actually written by
Anacreon. Instead, they were the Anacreontea -
anonymous poems written between AD 100 and 600
BC in imitation of Anacreon's work. Cowley's version
approximately doubles the length of the original. It can
be found in:

  • Cowley, Abraham. The Complete Works in Verse
    and Prose of Abraham Cowley, Volume I
    . Alexander
    B. Grosart, ed. New York: AMS Press, Inc., 1967.
  • Poole, Adrian, and Jeremy Maul, eds. The Oxford
    Book of Classical Verse in Translation
    . New York:
    Oxford University Press, 1995.

    An overview of Anacreon's life and imitators and a
    translation of the Anacreontea (the above is based on
    number 24) can be found in:

  • Rosenmeyer, Patricia A. The Poetics of Imitation:
    Anacreon and the Anacreontic Tradition
    . Cambridge:
    Cambridge University Press, 1992.