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I can go no where but I meet
With malecontents and mutineers, As if in life was nothing sweet,
And we must blessings reap in tears.
O senseless man! that murmurs still
For happiness, and does not know, Even though he might enjoy his will,
What he would have to make him so.
Is it true happiness to be
By undiscerning fortune plac'd, In the most eminent degree,
Where few arrive, and none stand fast :
Titles and wealth are fortune's toils,
Wherewith the vain themselves ensnare ; The great are proud of borrow'd spoils;
The miser's plenty breeds his care.
The one supinely yawns to rest,
The other eternally doth toil; Each of them equally a beast,
A pamper'd horse or lab’ring moil.
The titled knave is oft disgrac'd
By public hate, or private scorn; And he whose hand the creature rais’d,
Has yet a foot to kick him down.
The drudge, who would all get, all save,
Like a brute beast both feeds and lies; Prone to the earth he digs his grave,
And in the very labour dies.
Excess of ill got, ill kept pelf,
Does only death and danger breed; While one rich worldling starves himself,
With what would thousand others feed.
By which we see that wealth and power,
Altho’ they make men rich and great, The sweets of life do often sour,
And gull ambition with a cheat.
Nor is he happier than these,
Who in a moderate estate,
Has lusts that are inordinate.
For he by those desires misled,
Quits his own vine's securing shade, T'expose his naked empty head,
To all the storms man's peace invade.
Nor is he happy who is trim,
Trick'd up in favours of the fair; Mirrors, with ev'ry breath made dim,
Birds caught in ev'ry wanton snaré.
Woman; man's greatest woe' or bliss,
Does ofter far than serve enslave, And with the magic of a kiss,
Destroys whom she was made to save.
O fruitful grief! the world's disease,
And vainer man to make it so, Who gives his miseries increase,
By cultivating his own woe.
There are no ills but what we make,
By giving shapes and names to things, Which is the dangerous mistake
That causes all our sufferings.
We call that sickness which is health,
That persecution which is grace, That poverty which is true wealth,
And that dishonour which is praise.
Providence watches over all,
And that with an impartial eye;. And if to misery we fall,
'Tis through our own infirmity.
'Tis want of foresight makes the bold
Ambitious youth to danger climb; And want of virtue when the old
At persecution do repine.
Alas! our time is here so short,
That in what state soe'er 'tis spent, Of joy or woe does not impart,
Provided it be innocent.
But we may make it pleasant too, ..
If we will take our measures right, And not what heav'n has done undo,
By an unruly appetite.
'Tis true content, and that alone,
Can make us happy here below; And when this little life is done,
Will lift us up to heav'n too.
A very little satisfies
An honest and a grateful heart;
Does covet more than is his part.
That man is happy in his share;
Who is warm clad, and cleanly fed; Whose necessaries bound his care; .
And honest labour makes his bed. ...
Who free from debt, and clear from crimes,
Honours those laws that others fear; Who ill of princes in worst times, ...
Will neither speak himself nor hear.
Who from the busy world retires, .
To be more useful to it still ; And to no greater good aspires,
But only the eschewing ill.
Who with his angle and his hooks
Can think the longest day well spent; And praises God when back he looks,
And finds that all was innocent.
This man is happier far than he,
Whom public business oft betrays Thro' labyrinths of policy
To crooked and forbidden ways.
The world is full of beaten roads,
But yet sp slippery withal,
A hundred and a hundred fall.
Untrodden paths are then the best,
When the frequented are unsure; And he comes soonest to his rest,
Whose journey has been most secure.
It is content alone that makes
Our pilgrimage a pleasure here ; : And who buys sorrow cheapest, takes
An ill commodity too dear.