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I can go no where but I meet
O senseless man! that murmurs still
Is it true happiness to be
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 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,
For he by those desires misled,
Quits his own vine's securing shade,
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,
Destroys whom she was made to save.
O fruitful grief! the world's disease,
There are no ills but what we make,
That causes all our sufferings.
We call that sickness which is health,
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,
'Tis true content, and that alone,
A very little satisfies
An honest and a grateful heart;
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,
To crooked and forbidden ways.
The world is full of beaten roads,
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