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Nec Curo. *
THEN, to vouchsafe me yet more favour here,
Why, if He all things needful doth bestow,
I care for no man's countenance or grace, Unless he be as good, as great in place.
* This clause of Wither's Motto is most delightfully pourtrayed. The whole secret of his happiness seems to have consisted in the art of an innocent self-pleasing. His poems are generally so many professions of a generous egotism. Whatever he does, it is to please himself; if he writes, it is to please himself: he would have you think, he never casts a care upon his readers. This way of talking certainly requires a known warmth of heart, in the person who uses it, to make it palatable. But egotist as Wither is, the extensive benevolence of his heart betrays itself in every line. By selt, he means a great deal: his friends, his principles, his country; all of which he sometimes includes in himself. EDITOR.
For no man's spite or envy do I care ;
I care not for their praise, who do not shew
I care not for that goodly precious stone,
I care for no more knowledge, than to know
For outward beauties I do nothing care, So I within may fair to God appear. No other liberty I care to win, But to be wholly freed from my sin; Nor more ability, whilst I have breath, Than strength to bear my crosses to my death; Nor can the earth afford a happiness That shall be greater than this carelessness.
For such a life I soon should careless grow, In which I had not leisure more to know. Nor care I in a knowledge pains to take, Which doth not those who get it wiser make. Nor for that wisdom do I greatly care, Which would not make me somewhat honester; Nor for that moral honesty, that shall Refuse to join religion therewithal ; Nor for that zealous seeming piety, Which wanteth love and moral honesty ; Nor for their loves, whose base affections be More for their lust than for ought good in me. Nor for ought good within me should I care, But that they sprinklings of God's goodness are. For many
books I care not; and my store Might now suffice me, though I had no more Than God's two Testaments, and therewithal That mighty volume which the World we call ;
For these well look'd on, well in mind preserv'd,
I care not, though a sight of idle gulls,
I care not, though a vain and spungy crew Of shallow critics, in each tavern, spew 'Their drunken censures on my poesy, Until among their cups they sprawling lie : These poor betatter'd rhymers, now and then, With wine and impudence inspired, can
Some fustian language utter, which doth seem,
Those needy poetasters, to prefer
Satires have been sold ; Yet, ere a twelvemonth, by the walls it lies, Or to the kitchen or the pastry hies. Sometime, that these men's rhymes may heeded be, They give, forsooth, a secret jerk at me, But so obscurely, that no man may know Who there was meant, until they tell them so. For, fearing me, they dare not to be plain; And yet my vengeance they suspect in vain : For I can keep my way, and careless be, Though twenty snarling curs do bark at me; And while
fame those fools do murmur at, And vex themselves, with laughing I am fat.
I am not much inquisitive to know