I came, I saw, and was undone;
Lightning did thro' my bones and marrow run;
A pointed pain pierc'd deep my heart,
A swift cold trembling siez'd on ev'ry part;
My head turn'd round, nor could it hear
The poison that was enter'd there.
So a destroying angel's breath
Blows in the plague and with it hasty Death;
Such was the pain did so begin,
To the poor wretch when Legion enter'd in,
"Forgive me, God," I cry'd, for I
Flatter'd myself I was to die;
But quickly to my cost I found
'Twas cruel Love, not Death had made the wound;
Death a more gen'rous rage does use,
Quarter to all he conquers does refuse,
Whilst Love with barbarous mercy saves
The vanquish'd lives to make them slaves.
I am thy slave, then let me know,
Hard master, the great task I have to do;
Who pride and scorn do undergo,
In tempests and rough seas thy gallies row,
They pant, and groan, and sigh, but find
Their sighs increase the angry wind.
Like an Egyptian tyrand, some
Thou weariest out in building but a tomb;
Other with sad and tedious art
Labour i' the quarries of a stony heart.
Of all the works thou dost assign
To all the sev'ral slaves of thine,
Employ me, mighty Love, to dig the mine.

by Abraham Cowley


The title of the poem is clearly a pun on "veni, vidi, vici" (I came, I saw, I conquered or I came, I saw, I won).
The destroying angel's breath refers to the then prevalent theory that plague was caused by bad "airs".
To the poor wretch when Legion enter'd in refers to the Gadarene swine episode, about which you may read in Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20 and Luke 8:26-39.

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