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Cowley's Poems:

But I within me bear alas too great allays.

What does this 'allay' mean?

This poet says, I wish I could be overheat with praise!, so this man is unhappy. However, allay means 'to soothe'.

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Allay (Al·lay) noun Alleviation; abatement; check. [Obsolete]

Ah! gracious God ! that I might see
A time when it were dangerous for me
To be o'er-heat with praise !
But I within me bear, alas ! too great allays.

It would have been dangerous for me to go overboard with praise. However, there are forces within holding me back from doing so.

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  • I'm not sure why this was downvoted. It is completely correct. The speaker in the passage is essentially saying, "I wish it were possible for me to have too much praise but, unfortunately, it isn't." – MrHen Jan 22 '14 at 15:46

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