Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, IN EMULATION OF MR. COWLEYS POEM CALL'D THE MOTTO, by MARY ASTELL

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

First Line: What shall I do? Not to be rich or great
Last Line: I'le be at lest a martyr in desire.
Subject(s): Cowley, Abraham (1618-1667); Love; Martyrs; Nature; Soul


What shall I do? not to be Rich or Great,
Not to be courted and admir'd,
With Beauty blest, or Wit inspir'd,
Alas! these merit not my care and sweat,
These cannot my Ambition please,
My high born Soul shall never stoop to these;
But something I would be thats truly great
In'ts self, and not by vulgar estimate.


If this low World were always to remain,
If th' old Philosophers were in the right,
Who wou'd not then, with all their might
Study and strive to get themselves a name?
Who wou'd in soft repose lie down,
Or value ease like being ever known?
But since Fames trumpet has so short a breath,
Shall we be fond of that wch must submit to Death?


Nature permits not me the common way,
By serving Court, or State, to gain
That so much valu'd trifle, Fame;
Nor do I covet in Wits Realm to sway:
But O ye bright illustrious few,
What shall I do to be like some of you?
Whom this misjudging World dos underprize,
Yet are most dear in Heav'ns all-righteous eyes!


How shall I be a Peter or a Paul?
That to the Turk and Infidel,
I might the joyfull tydings tell,
And spare no labour to convert them all:
But ah my Sex denies me this,
And Marys Priviledge I cannot wish;
Yet hark I hear my dearest Saviour say,
They are more blessed who his Word obey.


Up then my sluggard Soul, Labour and Pray,
For if with Love enflam'd thou be,
Thy Jesus will be born in thee,
And by thy ardent Prayers thou can'st make way,
For their Conversion whom thou may'st not teach,
Yet by a good Example always Preach:
And tho I want a Persecuting Fire,
I'le be at lest a Martyr in desire.

Discover our Poem Explanations and Poet Analyses!

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net