Duchess of Newcastle Margaret Cavendish

Duchess of Newcastle Margaret Cavendish
An Apology For Her Poetry
I language want to dress my fancies in,
The hair's uncurled, the garment's loose and thin.
Had they but silver lace to make them gay,
They'd be more courted than in poor array;
Or, had they art, would make a better show;
But they are plain; yet cleanly do they go.
The world in bravery doth take delight,
And glistering shows do more attract the sight:
And every one doth honor a rich hood,
As if the outside made the inside good.
And every one doth bow and give the place,
Not for the man's sake but the silver lace.
Let me intreat in my poor book's behalf,
That all will not adore the golden calf.
Consider, pray, gold hath no life therein,
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An Epilogue to the Above
Sir Charles into my chamber coming in,
When I was writing of my ‘Fairy Queen;’
‘I pray’—said he—‘when Queen Mab you do see
Present my service to her Majesty:
And tell her I have heard Fame's loud report
Both of her beauty and her stately court.’
When I Queen Mab within my fancy viewed,
My thoughts bowed low, fearing I should be rude;
Kissing her garment thin which fancy made,
I knelt upon a thought, like one that prayed;
And then, in whispers soft, I did present
His humble service which in mirth was sent;
Thus by imagination I have been
In Fairy court and seen the Fairy Queen.
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The Duchess to Her Readers
A Poet am I neither born nor bred,
But to a witty poet married:
Whose brain is fresh and pleasant as the Spring,
Where Fancies grow and where the Muses sing.
There oft I lean my head, and listening, hark,
To catch his words and all his fancies mark:
And from that garden show of beauties take
Whereof a posy I in verse may make.
Thus I, that have no gardens of my own,
There gather flowers that are newly blown.
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A Lady Dressed By Youth
Her hair was curls of Pleasure and Delight,
Which on her brow did cast a glistening light.
As lace her bashful eyelids downward hung:
A modest countenance o'er her face was flung:
Blushes, as coral beads, she strung to wear
About her neck, and pendants for each ear:
Her gown was by Proportion cut and made,
With veins embroidered, with complexion laid,
Rich jewels of pure honor she did wear,
By noble actions brightened everywhere:
Thus dressed, to Fame's great court straightways she went,
To dance a brawl with Youth, Love, Mirth, Content.
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Man's Short Life and Foolish Ambition
In gardens sweet each flower mark did I,
How they did spring, bud, blow, wither and die.

With that, contemplating of man's short stay,
Saw man like to those flowers pass away.

Yet built he houses, thick and strong and high,
As if he'd live to all Eternity.

Hoards up a mass of wealth, yet cannot fill
His empty mind, but covet will he still.

To gain or keep, such falsehood will he use!
Wrong, right or truth—no base ways will refuse.

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