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Poem by Joshua Sylvester

The Fruits of a Clear Conscience

To shine in silk, and glister all in gold,  
      To flow in wealth, and feed on dainty fare.  
To have thy houses stately to behold,  
      Thy princes favour, and the peoples care:  
The groaning gout, the colic, or the stone,  
Will mar thy mirth, and turn it all to moan!  
But, be it that thy body subject be  
      To no such sickness or the like annoy,  
Yet if thy Conscience be not firm and free,  
      Riches are trash, and Honours but a toy!  
      This Peace of Conscience is the perfect joy  
Wherewith Gods children in the world be blest:  
Wanting the which, as good want all the rest!  
The want thereof made Adam hide his head!  
      The want of this made Cain to wail and weep!  
This want, alas, makes many go to bed,  
      When they, God wot, have little list to sleep.  
      Strive, oh, then strive, to entertain and keep  
So rich a jewel, and so rare a guest!  
Which being had, a rush for all the rest!   

Joshua Sylvester

Joshua Sylvester's other poems:
  1. They Say That Shadows Of Deceased Ghosts
  2. A Contented Mind
  3. The Glorious Stars Of Heaven
  4. To His Coy Love
  5. The Father

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