CONTENT AND RICH.
My conscience is my crown,
Contented thoughts my rest;
My heart is happy in itself,
My bliss is in my breast.
My wishes are but few,
All easy to fulfil;
- make the limits of my power
The bounds unto my will.
Sith sails of largest size
The storm doth soonest tear,
- bear so small and low a sail
As freeth me from fear.
And taught with often proof,
A tempered calm I find
To be most solace to itself,
Best cure for angry mind.
No chance of Fortune's calms
Can cast my comforts down;
When Fortune smiles I smile to think
How quickly she will frown.
And when in froward mood
She proves an angry foe:
Small gain I found to let her come,
Less loss to let her go.
There is just one stanza in a poem of Daniel, who belongs by birth to
this group, which I should like to print by itself, if it were only for
the love Coleridge had to the last two lines of it. It needs little
stretch of scheme to let it show itself amongst religious poems. It
occurs in a fine epistle to the Countess of Cumberland. Daniel's writing
is full of the practical wisdom of the inner life, and the stanza which I
quote has a certain Wordsworthian flavour about it. It will not make a
complete sentence, but must yet stand by itself:
Knowing the heart of man is set to be
The centre of this world, about the which
These revolutions of disturbances
Still roll; where all th' aspects of misery
Predominate; whose strong effects are such
As he must bear, being powerless to redress;
And that unless above himself he can
Erect himself, how poor a thing is man!
Later in the decade, comes Sir Henry Wotton. It will be seen that I have
arranged my singers with reference to their birth, not to the point of
time at which this or that poem was written or published. The poetic
influences which work on the shaping fantasy are chiefly felt in youth,
and hence the predominant mode of a poet's utterance will be determined
by what and where and amongst whom he was during that season. The kinds
of the various poems will therefore probably fall into natural sequence
rather after the dates of the youth of the writers than after the years
in which they were written.
Wotton was better known in his day as a politician than as a poet, and
chiefly in ours as the subject of one of Izaak Walton's biographies.
Something of artistic instinct, rather than finish, is evident in his
verses. Here is the best and the best-known of the few poems recognized