Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. II. Love
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume II. Love.  1904.
V. Cautions and Complaints
The Chronicle
Abraham Cowley (1618–1667)
MARGARITA first possessed,
If I remember well, my breast,
  Margarita first of all;
But when awhile the wanton maid
With my restless heart had played,        5
  Martha took the flying ball.
Martha soon did it resign
To the beauteous Catharine.
  Beauteous Catharine gave place
(Though loath and angry she to part        10
With the possession of my heart)
  To Eliza’s conquering face.
Eliza till this hour might reign,
Had she not evil counsels ta’en;
  Fundamental laws she broke,        15
And still new favorites she chose,
Till up in arms my passions rose,
  And cast away her yoke.
Mary then, and gentle Anne,
Both to reign at once began;        20
  Alternately they swayed;
And sometimes Mary was the fair,
And sometimes Anne the crown did wear,
  And sometimes both I obeyed.
Another Mary then arose,        25
And did rigorous laws impose;
  A mighty tyrant she!
Long, alas! should I have been
Under that iron-sceptred queen,
  Had not Rebecca set me free.        30
When fair Rebecca set me free,
’T was then a golden time with me:
  But soon those pleasures fled;
For the gracious princess died
In her youth and beauty’s pride,        35
  And Judith reignèd in her stead.
One month, three days and half an hour
Judith held the sovereign power:
  Wondrous beautiful her face!
But so weak and small her wit,        40
That she to govern was unfit,
  And so Susanna took her place.
But when Isabella came,
Armed with a resistless flame,
  And the artillery of her eye;        45
Whilst she proudly marched about,
Greater conquests to find out,
  She beat out Susan, by the by.
But in her place I then obeyed
Blackeyed Bess, her viceroy maid,        50
  To whom ensued a vacancy:
Thousand worse passions then possessed
The interregnum of my breast;
  Bless me from such anarchy!
Gentle Henrietta then,        55
And a third Mary, next began;
  Then Joan, and Jane, and Audria;
And then a pretty Thomasine,
And then another Catharine,
  And then a long et cætera.        60
But I will briefer with them be,
Since few of them were long with me.
  An higher and a nobler strain
My present emperess does claim.
Heleonora, first o’ th’ name,        65
  Whom God grant long to reign!

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