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Give me my scallop shell of quiet,
Sir Walter Raleigh
How happy is he born and taught.
That serveth not another's will; Whose armour is his honest thought,
And simple truth his utmost skill;
Whose passions not his masters are,
Untied unto the worldly care
Who envies none that chance doth raise,
Or vice; who never understood
Nor rules of state, but rules of good;
Who hath his life from rumours freed,
Whose state can neither flatterers feed,
Who God doth late and early pray,
And entertains the harmless day,
This man is freed from servile bands
Of hope to rise, or fear to fall; Lord of himself, though not of lands,
And having nothing, yet hath all.
Sir Henry Wotton
xciv THE GOOD LIFE—LONG LIFE.
It is not growing like a tree In bulk doth make men better be; Or standing long an "oak three hundred year, To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere; A lily of a day Is fairer far in May, Although it fall and die that night, It was the plant and flower of light. In small proportions we just beauties see, And in short measures life may perfect be.
Lord, with what care hast thou begirt us round!
Parents first season us: then schoolmasters Deliver us to laws; they send us bound
To rules of reason, holy messengers.
Pulpits and Sundays, sorrow dogging sin,
Fine nets and stratagems to catch us in
Blessings beforehand, ties of gratefulness,
Without, our shame—within, our consciences;
Yet all these fences, and their whole array,
Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
Sweet rose, whose hue, angry and brave,
Sweet Spring, full of sweet days and roses
Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
Slowly fashioned, link by link,
Slowly waxing strong, Till the spirit never shrink,
Save from touch of wrong.
Holy habits are thy wealth,
Golden, pleasant chains; Passing earth's prime blessing—health,
Endless, priceless gains;
Holy habits give thee place
With the noblest, best,
And with seraphs blest;
Holy habits are thy joy,
Wisdom's pleasant ways, Yielding good without alloy,
Lengthening, too, thy days.
Seek them, Christian, night and morn,
Seek them till thy soul be born
The flower is small that decks the field,
But flower and bee alike may yield
Essence and attributes of each
And all they are, and all they teach,
Is there who scorneth little things?
As wisely might he scorn to eat
In little grains of wheat.
Methinks, indeed, that such an one
Where well nigh every good is won
The lark that in the morning air
What lifted her so lightly there ?—