A. Cowley. To Francis Bacon
From Words, which are but Pictures of the Thought,
(Though we our Thoughts from them perversly drew)
To Things, the Minds right Object, he it brought,
Like foolish Birds to painted Grapes we flew;
He sought and gather'd for our use the True;
And when on heaps the chosen Bunches lay,
He prest them wisely the Mechanic way,
Till all their juyce did in one Vessel joyn,
Ferment into a Nourishment Divine,
The thirsty Souls refreshing Wine.
Who to the Life an exact Piece would make,
Must not from others Work a Copy take;
No, not from Rubens or Vandike;
Much less content himself to make it like
Th' Idaeas and the Images which lie
In his own Fancy, or his Memory.
No, he before his sight must place
The Natural and Living Face;
The real Object must command
Each Judgment of his Eye, and Motion of his Hand.
Because your figure pleased you too much, Narcissus, [or - because your beauty (forma) was excessively pleasing to you] it was changed into a flower, a plant of known senselessness (stupor). Self-love is the WITHERING (marcor) and destruction of natural power (ingenium) which brings and has
brought ruin to many learned men, who having thrown away the method of the ancients seek new doctrines and pass on nothing but their own fantasies (phantasia).
I feel it stealing now. Sentry, are you there?
Just ease these darbies at the wrist,
And roll me over fair.