Abraham Cowley (1618 – 28 July 1667 / London)
A 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,
Rumour can ope the grave.
Acquaintance I would hug, but when 't depends
Not from the number, but the choice of friends.
Books should, not bus'ness, entertain the light,
And sleep, as undisturb'd 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 liv'd to-day.
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