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Is not, at length, more certain to be made
Ridiculous, and wretched by the trade,
Than he who sells a solid good to buy
The painted goods of pride and vanity.
If thou be wise, no glorious fortune choose,
Which 't is but pain to keep, yet grief to lose?
For, when we place ev'n trifles in the heart,
With trifles, too, unwillingly we part.
An humble roof, plain bed, and homely board,
More clear, untainted pleasures do afford,
Than all the tumult of vain greatness brings
To kings, or to the favourites of kings.
The horned deer, by nature arm'd so well,
Did with the horse in common pasture dwell;
And, when they fought, the field it always wan,
Till the ambitious horse begg'd help of man,
And took the bridle, and thenceforth did reign
Bravely alone, as lord of all the plain:
But never after could the rider get
From off his back, or from his mouth the bit.
So they, who poverty too much do fear,
T avoid that weight, a greater burthen bear;
That they might power above their equals have,
To cruel masters they themselves enslave.
For gold, their liberty exchang'd we see,
That fairest flower which crowns humanity *.
• The poet, as usual, expresses his avnfetling: but he does more, he expresses it very classically. The allusion is to the ancient custom of wearing wreaths or garlands of flowers on any occasion of joy and festivity. Kurd.
And all this mischief does upon them light,
THE COUNTRY LIFE.
Lib. IV. Plantarum.
BLESS'D be the man (and bless'd he is) whom e'er
(Plac'd far out of the roads of hope or fear)
A little field, and little garden, feeds:
The field gives all that frugal nature needs;
The wealthy garden liberally bestows .
All she can ask, when she luxurious grows.
The specious inconveniencies, that wait .:
Upon a life of business, and of state,
He sees (nor does the sight disturb his rest)
By fools desir'd, by wicked men possess'd.
Thus, thus (and this deserv'd great Virgil's praise)
The old Corycian yeoman pass'd his days;
Thus his wise life Abdolonymus spent:
Th' ambassadors which the great emperor sent
To offer him a crown, with wonder found
The reverend gardener hoeing of his ground;
Unwillingly, and slow, and discontent,
From his lov'd cottage to a throne he went;
And oft he stopp'd, in his triumphant way,
And oft look'd back, and oft was heard to say,
Not without sighs, Alas ! I there forsake
A happier kingdom than I go to take!
Thus Aglaiis (a man unknown to men,
But the gods knew, and therefore lov'd him then)
Thus liv'd obscurely then without a name,
Aglaiis, now consign'd t' eternal fame.
For Gyges, the rich king, wicked and great,
Presum'd, at wise Apollo's Delphick seat
Presum'd, to ask, Oh thou, the whole world's eye,
See'st thou a man that happier is than I?
The god, who scorn'd to flatter man, reply'd,
Aglaiis happier is. But Gyges cry'd,
In a proud rage, Who can that Aglaiis be!
We have heard, as yet, of no such king as he.
And true it was, through the whole earth around
No king of such a name was to be found.
Is some old hero of that name alive,
Who his high race does from the gods derive?
Is it some mighty general, that has done
So, gracious God! (if it may lawful be,
TO J. EVELYN, ESQ.
I NEVER had any other desire so strong and so like to covetousness, as that one which I have had always, that I might be master at last of a small house and large garden, with very moderate conveniencies joined to them, and there dedicate the remainder of my life only to the culture of them, and study of nature;
And there (with no design beyond my wall) whole
and intire to lie, In no unactive ease, and no unglorious poverty.
Or, as Virgil has said, shorter and better for me, that I might there
"Studiis florere ignobilis oti *:"
(though I could wish that he had rather said, " nobilis oti," when he spoke of his own). But several accidents of my ill-fortune have disappointed me
* Virg. Georg. iv. 564.
Vol. in. a