"Take them, and me, in them acknowledging How much my Summer waits upon thy Spring."
Cowley was able afterwards to help Crashaw materially, and wrote some lines upon his early death.
In 1639 Cowley took the degree of B.A. In 1640 he was chosen a Minor Fellow, and in 1642 a Major Fellow, of Trinity, and he proceeded to his M.A. in due course. In March, 1641, when Prince Charles visited Cambridge, a comedy called "The Guardian," hastily written by Cowley, was acted at Trinity College for the Prince's entertainment. Cowley is said also to have written during three years at Cambridge the greater part of his heroic poem on the history of David, the "Davideis." One of the occasional poems written at this time by Cowley was on the early and sudden death of his most intimate friend at the University, William Hervey, to whom he was dearer than all but his brothers and sisters, and, says Cowley:
"Even in that we did agree, For much above myself I loved them too."
Hervey and Cowley had walked daily together, and had spent nights in joint study of philosophy and poetry. Hervey "had all the light of youth, of the fire none."
"With as much zeal, devotion, piety, He always lived as other saints do die. Still with his soul severe account he kept, Weeping all debts out ere he slept; Then down in peace and innocence he lay, Like the sun's laborious light, Which still in water sets at night, Unsullied with the journey of the day."
Cowley's friendship with this family affected the course of his life. He received many kindnesses from his friend's brother John Hervey, including introduction to Henry Jermyn, one of the most trusted friends of Queen Henrietta Maria, the friend who was created by her wish Baron Jermyn of St. Edmondsbury, who was addressed by Charles I. as "Harry," and was created by Charles II., in April, 1660, Earl of St. Albans. He was described in Queen Henrietta's time by a political scandal-monger, as "something too ugly for a lady's favourite, yet that is nothing to some." In 1643 Cowley was driven from Cambridge, and went to St. John's College, Oxford. To Oxford at the end of that year the king summoned a Parliament, which met on the 22nd of January, 1644. This brought to Oxford many peers and Royalists, who deserted the Parliament at Westminster for the king's Parliament at Oxford. It continued to sit until the 16th of April, by which time the king had found even his own Parliament to be in many respects too independent. In 1644 the queen, about to become a mother, withdrew to Exeter from Oxford, against which an army was advancing; and the parting at Oxford proved to be the last between her and her husband. A daughter was born at Exeter on the 16th of June. Within two weeks afterwards the advance of an army towards Exeter caused the queen to rise from her bed in a dangerous state of health, and, leaving her child in good keeping, escape to Plymouth, where she reached Pendennis Castle on the 29th of June. On the 2nd of July the king's forces were defeated at Marston Moor. On the 14th of July the queen escaped from Falmouth to Brest. After some rest at the baths of Bourbon, she went on to Paris, where she was lodged in the Louvre, and well cared for. Jermyn was still her treasurer, her minister, and the friend for whose counsel she cared most.
It was into the service of this Lord Jermyn that Cowley had been introduced through his friendship with the Herveys. He went to Paris as Lord Jermyn's secretary, had charge of the queen's political correspondence, ciphered and deciphered letters between Queen Henrietta and King Charles, and was thus employed so actively under Lord Jermyn that his work filled all his days, and many of his nights. He was sent also on journeys to Jersey, Scotland, Flanders, Holland, or wherever else the king's troubles required his attendance. In 1647 Cowley published his volume of forty-four love poems, called "The Mistress." He was himself no gallant, neither paid court to ladies, nor married. His love poetry was hypothetical; and of his life at this time he says: "Though I was in a crowd of as good company as could be found anywhere; though I was in business of great and honourable trust; though I ate at the best table, and enjoyed the best convenience for present subsistence that ought to be desired by a man of my condition in banishment and public distresses, yet I could not abstain from renewing my old schoolboy's wish in a copy of verses to the same effect:-