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I joy not in no earthly bliss ;
I weigh not Croesus' wealth a straw ;
I fear not fortune's fatal law :
I wish but what I have at will ;
I wander not to seek for more ;
In greatest storms I sit on shore,
I kiss not where I wish to kill ;
I feign not love where most I hate ;
I wait not at the mighty's gate ;
I fear no rich;
The court, ne cart, I like ne loath ;
Extremes are counted worst of all :
Doth surest sit, and fears no fall;
[In an early manuscript copy of this celebrated song, among Rawlinson's MSS. in the Bodleian library, Oxford, it is, ascribed to Sir Edward Dyer, a poetical friend of Sir Philip Sidney. That manuscript contains the following stanza, neither printed here by Rit. son, nor by Dr. Percy in his Reliques. (See vol. i. p. 309.)
BY THE COUNTESS OF WINCHELSEA.
Would we attain the happiest state,
That is design'd us here;
No grief beget despair.
No injury fierce anger raise,
No honour tempt to pride;
Must in the soul abide.
Some weigh their pleasure by their lust,
Their wisdom by their rage of will;
A cloaked craft their store of skill:
Is to maintain a quiet mind.
In Byrd's ' Psalmes, Sonets, and Songs of Sadness and Pietie,' 1589, the second stanza was thus printed :
I press to bear no haughty sway,
I wish no more than may suffice;
The old copies contain inany other variations from the reprints.]
No charms of youth or beauty move
The constant settled breast: Who leaves a passage free to love,
Shall let in all the rest.
In such a heart soft peace will live,
Where none of these abound; "The greatest blessing Heaven does give,
Or can on earth be found.
BY MR. W. BEDINGFIELD,
To hug yourself in perfect ease,
A little parlour stove, to hold
Safe from the harpies of the law,
An open, but yet cautious mind,
Plain equipage, and temp'rate meals, Few taylors', and no doctors' bills; Content to take, as Heaven shall please, A longer or a shorter lease.
BY MRS. PILKINGTON.
I envy not the proud their wealth,
Their equipage and state ;
I ask not to be great.
I in this sweet retirement find
A joy unknown to kings; For sceptres to a virtuous mind
Seem vain and empty things.
Great Cincinnatus at his plough,
With brighter lustre shone
Though seated on a throne.
Tumultuous days, and restless nights,
Ambition ever knows,
Of study and repose.
Then free from envy, care, and strife,
Keep me, ye powers divine ! And pleas’d, when ye demand my life,
May I that life resign.
THE CHARACTER OF A HAPPY LIFE.
BY SIR HENRY WOTTON.
How happy is he born and taught,
That serveth not another's will ; Whose armour is his honest thought,
And simple truth his utmost skill :
Whose passions not his masters are,
Whose soul is still prepar’d for death; Untied unto the world by care
Of public fame, or private breath :
Who envies none that chance doth raise,
Nor vice hath ever understood ; How deepest wounds are given by praise,
Nor rules of state, but rules of good:
Who hath his life from rumours freed,
Whose conscience is his strong retreat ; Whose state can neither flatterers feed,
Nor ruin make oppressors great:
Who God doth late and early pray,
More of his grace than gifts to lend : And entertains the harmless day
With a religious book or friend.