A Country Life

How sacred and how innocent
A countrey life appeares,
How free from tumult, discontent,
From flatterye and feares.
That was the first and happiest life,
When man enjoy'd himselfe;
Till pride exchanged peace for strife,
And happinesse for pelfe.
'Twas here the poets were inspired,
And sang their mysteries,
And while the list'ning world admired,
Men's minds did civilize
That golden age did entertaine
No passion but of love;
The thoughts of ruling or of gaine
Did ne're their fancyes move.
None then did envy neighbour's wealth,
Nor plott to wrong his bed:
Happy in friendship and in health,
On rootes, not beasts, they fed.
They knew no law nor phisique then,
Nature was all their witt;
And if there yet remaine to men
Content, sure this is it
What blessing doth this world afford
To tempt or bribe desire?
Her courtship is all fire and sword,
Who would not then retire?
Then wellcome dearest solitude,
My great felicity;
Though some are pleas'd to call thee rude,
Thou art not so, but we
Such as do covett only rest,
A cottage will suffice:
It is not brave to be possest
Of Earth, but to despise
Opinion is the rate of things,
From hence our peace doth flow;
I have a better fate then Kings,
Because I thinke it so
When all the stormy world doth roare,
How unconcern'd am I?
I can not feare to tumble lower
That never would be high.
Secure in these unenvyed walls
I think not on the state,
And pitty no man's case that falls
From his ambition's height.
Silence and Innocence are safe;
A heart that's nobly true
At all these little arts can laugh
That do the world subdue
While others revell it in state,
Here I'le contented sit,
And thinke I have as good a fate.
As wealth or pompe admitt.
Let some in Courtship take delight,
And to th'exchange resort;
There revell out a winter's night,
Not making love, but sport
These never knew a noble flame,
'Tis lust, scorne, or designe:
While Vanity playes all their game,
Let peace and honour mine
When the inviting spring appeares,
To Hide parke let them go,
And hasting thence be full of feares
To loose Spring garden show.
Let others (nobler) seeke to gaine
In knowledge happy fate,
And others busy them in vaine
To study wayes of state.
But I, resolved from within,
Confirmed from without,
In privacie intend to spin
My future minuts out.
I from this hermitage of mine
Do banish all wild toyes,
And nothing that is not divine
Shall dare to tempt my joyes
There are below but two things good,
Friendship and honestie,
And only these of all I would
Aske for felicitie.
In this retir'd integritie,
Free from both warre and noise,
I live not by necessitie,
But wholly by my choice.
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