Abraham Cowley

The Vote (excerpt) 
.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    

This only grant me that my means may lie
Too low for envy, for contempt too high.
       Some honour I would have,
Not from great deeds, but good alone ;
Th' ignote are better than ill-known,
       Rumor can ope the grave.
Acquaintance I would hug, but when 't depends
Not from the number, but the choice of friends.

Books should, not business, entertain the light,
And sleep, as undisturbed as death, the night.
       My house a cottage more
Than palace, and should fitting be
For all my use, no luxury.
       My garden painted o'er
With nature's hand, not art's, and pleasures yield
Horace might envy in his Sabine field.

Thus would I double my life's fading space,
For he that runs it well twice runs his race.
       And in this true delight,
These unbought sports and happy state
I would not fear, nor wish my fate,
       But boldly say each night,
To-morrow let my sun his beams display,
Or in clouds hide them I have lived to-day. 

* This excerpt from the longer poem is also known
   freestanding as "Of My self" in the 1668 version. —A.J.

Poetry of the English Renaissance 1509-1660.
J. William Hebel and Hoyt H. Hudson, eds.
New York: F. S. Crofts & Co., 1941. 829-830.

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