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Poem by Robert Southwell
Content and Rich
I dwell in Grace's court, Enriched with Virtue's rights; Faith guides my wit, Love leads my will, Hope all my mind delights. In lowly vales I mount To pleasure's highest pitch; My silly shroud true honour brings; My poor estate is rich. My conscience is my crown, Contented thoughts my rest; My heart is happy in itself; My bliss is in my breast. Enough, I reckon wealth; That mean, the surest lot, That lies too high for base contempt, Too low for envy's shot. My wishes are but few All easy to fulfil; I make the limits of my power The bounds unto my will. I fear no care for gold; Well-doing is my wealth; My mind to me an empire is, While grace affordeth health. I clip high-climbing thoughts, The wings of swelling pride; Their fall is worst that from the heigh Of greatest honour slide. Since sails of largest size The storm doth soonest tear; I bear so low and small a sail As freeth me from fear. I wrestle not with rage, While fury's flame doth burn; It is in vain to stop the stream Until the tide doth turn. But when the flame is out, And ebbing wrath doth end, I turn a late enraged foe Into a quiet friend. And, taught with often proof, A temper'd calm I find To be most solace to itself, Best cure for angry mind. Spare diet is my fare, My clothes more fit than fine; I know I feed and clothe a foe, That pamper'd would repine. I envy not their hap Whom favour doth advance; I take no pleasure in their pain That have less happy chance. To rise by others' fall I deem a losing gain; All states with others' ruin built, To ruin run amain. No change of fortune's calm Can cast my comforts down; When fortune smiles, I smile to think How quickly she will frown. And when, in froward mood, She prov'd an angry foe; Small gain I found to let her come, - Less loss to let her go.
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