Abraham Cowley

The Wish              

WELL then !  I now do plainly see
This busy world and I shall ne'er agree.
The very honey of all earthly joy
Does of all meats the soonest cloy ;
          And they, methinks, deserve my pity
Who for it can endure the stings,
The crowd and buzz and murmurings,
          Of this great hive, the city.

Ah, yet, ere I descend to the grave
May I a small house and large garden have ;
And a few friends, and many books, both true,
Both wise, and both delightful too !
          And since love ne'er will from me flee,
A Mistress moderately fair,
And good as guardian angels are,
          Only beloved and loving me.

O fountains !  when in you shall I
Myself eased of unpeaceful thoughts espy?
O fields !  O woods !  when, when shall I be made
The happy tenant of your shade?
          Here's the spring-head of Pleasure's flood :
Here's wealthy Nature's treasury,
Where all the riches lie that she
          Has coin'd and stamp'd for good.

Pride and ambition here
Only in far-fetch'd metaphors appear ;
Here naught but winds can hurtful murmurs scatter,
And naught but Echo flatter.
          The gods, when they descended, hither
From heaven did always choose their way :
And therefore we may boldly say
          That 'tis the way too thither.

How happy here should I
And one dear She live, and embracing die !
She who is all the world, and can exlude
In deserts solitude.
          I should have then this only fear :
Lest men, when they my pleasures see,
Should hither throng to live like me,
          And so make a city here.

The Oxford Book of English Verse.
Arthur Quiller-Couch, Ed.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1919.  379-380.

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