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Who is more happy, when, with heart's content,
John Keats [1795-1821]
THE QUIET LIFE
WHAT pleasure have great princes
Than herdsmen wild, who careless
And fortune's fate not fearing
Their dealings plain and rightful,
They never know how spiteful
On favorite, presumptuous,
Whose pride is vain and sumptuous.
All day their flocks each tendeth;
Where gold and pearl are plenty;
For lawyers and their pleading,
They 'steem it not a straw;
They think that honest meaning
Whence conscience judgeth plainly,
They spend no money vainly.
O happy who thus liveth!
Yet merry it is, and quiet.
William Byrd [1538?-1623]
WELL then, I now do plainly see
This busy world and I shall ne'er agree;
Ah, yet, ere I descend to the grave,
May I a small house and large garden have;
And since Love ne'er will from me flee,
A mistress moderately fair,
And good as guardian-angels are,
Only beloved, and loving me!
O fountains! when in you shall I
Myself eased of unpeaceful thoughts espy?
O fields! O woods! when, when shall I be made
Here's the spring-head of pleasure's flood!
Here's wealthy Nature's treasury,
Where all the riches lie, that she
Has coined and stamped for good.
Pride and ambition here
Only in far-fetched metaphors appear;
Here naught but winds can hurtful murmurs scatter,
The gods, when they descended, hither From heaven did always choose their way; And therefore we may boldly say
That 'tis the way too thither.
How happy here should I
And one dear She live, and embracing die!
I should have then this only fear:
And so make a city here.
Abraham Cowley [1618-1667]
EXPOSTULATION AND REPLY
"WHY, William, on that old gray stone,
Why, William, sit you thus alone,
"Where are your books?—that light bequeathed
To beings else forlorn and blind!
Up! up! and drink the spirit breathed
"You look round on your Mother Earth,
One morning thus, by Esthwaite lake,
"The eye-it cannot choose but see;
The Tables Turned
"Nor less I dream that there are Powers Which of themselves our minds impress; That we can feed this mind of ours
In a wise passiveness.
"Think you, 'mid all this mighty sum Of things forever speaking,
That nothing of itself will come,
But we must still be seeking?
"Then ask not wherefore, here, alone, Conversing as I may,
I sit upon this old gray stone,
And dream my time away."
William Wordsworth (1770-1850]
THE TABLES TURNED
AN EVENING SCENE ON THE SAME SUBJECT
Up! up! my friend, and quit your books;
Up! up! my friend, and clear your looks;
The sun, above the mountain's head,
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.
Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life
There's more of wisdom in it.
And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.
She has a world of ready wealth,
One impulse from a vernal wood
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.
Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Misshapes the beauteous forms of things:
We murder to dissect.
Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.
William Wordsworth (1770-1850]
BE it not mine to steal the cultured flower
Yet, like the lilies gladly growing there,
I have not toiled, but take what God has made. My Lord Ambition passed, and smiled in scorn; I plucked a rose, and, lo! it had no thorn.
George John Romanes [1848-1894]