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This man is freed from servile hands,
Of hope to rise, or fear to fall :
Lord of himself, though not of lands
And having nothing, yet hath all.




I ENVY not the mighty great,
Those powerful rulers of the state,
Who settle nations as they please,
And govern at th' expence of ease.

Far happier the shepherd-swain,
Who daily drudges on the plain,
And nightly in some humble shed
On rushy pillows lays his head.

No curs'd ambition breaks his rest,
No factious wars divide his breast;
His flock, his pipe, and artless fair,
Are all his hope, and all his care.



WHAT man in his wits, had not rather be poor,
Than for lucre his freedom to give?

Ever busy the means of his life to secure,
And so ever neglecting to live?

Environ'd from morning to night in a crowd,
Not a moment unbent, or alone :

Constrain❜d to be abject, though never so proud,
And at every one's call but his own:

Still repining and longing for quiet each hour,
Yet studiously flying it still;

With the means of enjoying his wish in his pow'r,
But accurst with his wanting the will.

For a year must be past, or a day must be come,
Before he has leisure to rest :

He must add to his store this, or that pretty sum;
And then will have time to be blest.

But his gains, more bewitching the more they increase,
Only swell the desire of his eye :

Such a wretch let mine enemy live, if he please;
Let not even mine enemy die.



No glory I covet, no riches I want,

Ambition is nothing to me;

The one thing I beg of kind Heaven to grant,
Is a mind independent and free.

With passions unruffled, untainted with pride,
By reason my life let me square;

The wants of my nature are cheaply supplied,
And the rest are but folly and care.

The blessings which Providence freely has lent,
I'll justly and gratefully prize;

Whilst sweet meditation, and cheerful content,
Shall make me both healthful and wise.

In the pleasures the great man's possessions display,
Unenvied I'll challenge my part;

For every fair object my eyes can survey,
Contributes to gladden my heart.

How vainly, through infinite trouble and strife,
The many their labours employ !

Since all that is truly delightful in life,
Is what all, if they please, may enjoy.


SOME hoist up Fortune to the skies,
Others debase her to a bubble:

I nor her frowns nor favours prize,

Nor think the changeling worth my trouble.

If at my door she chance to light,

I civilly my guest receive :

The visit paid, I bid good night;

Nor murmur when she takes her leave.

Though prosperous gales my canvas crowd,
Though smooth the waves, serene the sky,
I trust not calms; they storms forebode,
And speak th' approaching tempest nigh.

Then, Virtue, to the helm repair,

Thou, Innocence, shalt guide the oar;
Now rage, ye winds! storms, rend the air!
My bark, thus man'd, shall gain the shore.



THE glories of our birth and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;

There is no armour against fate ;
Death lays his icy hand on kings:
Sceptre and crown

Must tumble down,

And in the dust be equal made

With the poor crooked scythe and spade.

Some men with swords may reap the field,

And plant fresh laurels where they kill;
But their strong nerves at last must yield,
They tame but one another still;
Early or late

They stoop to fate,

And must give up their murm'ring breath,
When the pale captive creeps to death.

* These fine moral stanzas were originally intended for a solemn funeral song in The Contention of Ajax and Ulysses.' It is said to have been a favourite song with King Charles II. Percy, i. 270.

The laurel withers on your brow,

Then boast no more your mighty deeds,
Upon Death's purple altar now

See where the victor-victim bleeds;
All heads must come

To the cold tomb :

Only the actions of the just

Smell sweet, and blossom in the dust.*



NOR on beds of fading flowers,
Shedding soon their gaudy pride
Nor with swains in syren-bowers
Will true pleasure long reside.

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On awful Virtue's hill sublime,
Enthroned sits th' immortal fair;
Who wins her height must patient climb,
The steps are peril, toil, and care.

So from the first did Jove ordain,
Eternal bliss for transient pain.

* [Coincident with a passage in Psalm cxii. See new version.

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'The sweet remembrance of the just

Shall flourish, when he sleeps in dust.']

In the Masque of Comus.'-It seems to be imitated from a passage in the 17th book of Tasso's Jerusalem.'

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