“Ho here! Ho there! Has no man seen

The king?” The cry ran to and fro;
Beggar and king, they laughed, I ween,

The laugh that free men know.
On the king's gate the moss grew gray;

The king came not. They called him dead;
And made his eldest son one day
Slave in his father's stead.

Helen Hunt Jackson (1831-1885]

How happy is he born and taught

That serveth not another's will;
Whose armor is his honest thought,

And simple truth his utmost skill!

Whose passions not his masters are;

Whose soul is still prepared for death,
Not tied unto the world by care

Of public fame or private breath;
Who envies none that chance doth raise,

Nor vice; who never understood
How deepest wounds are given by praise;

Nor rules of state, but rules of good;

Who hath his life from rumors freed;

Whose conscience is his strong retreat; Whose state can neither flatterers feed,

Nor ruin make oppressors great; Who God doth late and early pray

More of His grace than gifts to lend; And entertains the harmless day

With a well-chosen book or friend;

-This man is freed from servile bands

Of hope to rise, or fear to fall: Lord of himself, though not of lands, And having nothing, yet hath all.

Henry Wotton (1568–1639)



My mind to me a kingdom is,

Such present joys therein I find, That it excels all other bliss

That earth affords or grows by kind: Though much I want which most would have, Yet still my mind forbids to crave.

No princely pomp, no wealthy store,

No force to win the victory,
No wily wit to salve a sore,

No shape to feed a loving eye;
To none of these I yield as thrall:
For why? My mind doth serve for all.

I see how plenty (surfeits] oft,

And hasty climbers soon do fall; I see that those which are aloft

Mishap doth threaten most of all; They get with toil, they keep with fear: Such cares my mind could never bear.

Content to live, this is my stay;

I seek no more than may suffice;

to bear no haughty sway;
Look, what I lack my mind supplies:
Lo, thus I triumph like a king,
Content with that my mind doth bring.

Some have too much, yet still do crave;

I little have, and seek no more.
They are but poor, though much they have,

And I am rich with little store:
They poor, I rich; they beg, I give;
They lack, I leave; they pine, I live.

I laugh not at another's loss;

I grudge not at another's gain;
No worldly waves my mind can toss;

My state at one doth still remain:

I fear no foe, I fawn no friend;
I loathe not life, nor dread my end.

Some weigh their pleasure by their lust,

Their wisdom by their rage of will;
Their treasure is their only trust;

A cloaked craft their store of skill:
But all the pleasure that I find
Is to maintain a quiet mind.

My wealth is health and perfect ease;

My conscience clear my chief defense; I neither seek by bribes to please,

Nor by deceit to breed offense: Thus do I live; thus will I die; Would all did so as well as I!

Edward Dyer (15507-1607]


To thee, fair freedom! I retire

From flattery, cards, and dice, and din; Nor art thou found in mansions higher

Than the low cot, or humble inn.

'Tis here with boundless power I reign;

And every health which I begin, Converts dull port to bright champagne;

Such freedom crowns it, at an inn.

I fly from pomp, I fly from plate!

I fly from falsehood's specious grin! Freedom I love, and form I hate,

And choose my lodgings at an inn.

Here, waiter! take my sordid ore,

Which lackeys else might hope to win; It buys, what courts have not in store;

It buys me freedom at an inn.

Whoe er has traveled life's dull round,

Where'er his stages may have been, May sigh to think he still has found The warmest welcome, at an inn.

William Shenstone (1714-1763]


I Am content, I do not care,

Wag as it will the world for me!
When fuss and fret was all my fare

It got no ground that I could see;
So when away my caring went
I counted cost and was content.

With more of thanks and less of thought

I strive to make my matters meet; To seek what ancient sages sought,

Physic and food in sour and sweet; To take what passes in good part And keep the hiccups from the heart.

With good and gently-humored hearts

I choose to chat where'er I come,
Whate'er the subject be that starts;

But if I get among the glum
I hold my tongue to tell the troth,
And keep my breath to cool my broth.

For chance or change of peace or pain,

For Fortune's favor or her frown,
For lack or glut, for loss or gain,

I never dodge nor up nor down,
But swing what way the ship shall swim,
Or tack about with equal trim.

I suit not where I shall not speed,

Nor trace the turn of every tide. If simple sense will not succeed

I made no bustling, but abide.

For shining wealth or scaring woe
I force no friend, I fear no foe.

Of ups and downs, of ins and outs,

Of they're-i'-th'-wrong and we're-i'-th'-right, I shun the rancors and the routs;

And, wishing well to every wight,
Whatever turn the matter takes,
I deem it all but ducks and drakes.

With whom I feast I do not fawn,

Nor if the folks should flout me, faint.
If wonted welcome be withdrawn

I cook no kind of a complaint.
With none disposed to disagree,
I like them best who best like me.

Not that I rate myself the rule

How all my betters should behave;
But fame shall find me no man's fool,

Nor to a set of men a slave;
I love a friendship free and frank,
But hate to hang upon a hank.

Fond of a true and trusty tie,

I never loose where'er I link,
Though if a business budges by

I talk thereon just as I think;
My word, my work, my heart, my hand,
Still on a side together stand.

If names or notions make a noise,

Whatever hap the question hath
The point impartially I poise,

And read and write, but without wrath;
For, should I burn or break my brains,
Pray, who will pay me for my pains?
I love my neighbor as myself,

Myself like him too, by his leave!
Nor to his pleasure, power or pelf

Came I to crouch, as I conceive!

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