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I see how plenty surfeits oft,
And hasty climbers soon do fall; I see that those which are aloft,
Mishap doth threaten most of all; These get with toil, they keep with fear, Such cares my mind could never bear.
Content I live, this is my stay;
I seek no more than may suffice ;
I press to bear no haughty sway;
Look, what I lack my mind supplies ;
Lo! thus I triumph like a king,
Content with that my mind doth bring.
Some have too much, yet still do crave;
I little have and seek no more.
They are but poor, though much they have,
And I am rich with little store :
They poor, I rich; they beg, I give;
They lack, I leave ; they pine, I live.
I laugh not at another's loss;
I grudge not at another's gain;
No worldly waves my mind can toss ;
My state at one doth still remain :
I fear no foe, I fawn no friend ;
I loathe not life, nor dread my end.
Some weigh their pleasure by their lust,
Their wisdom by their rage of will ;
Their treasure is their only trust;
A cloaked craft their store of skill;
But all the pleasure that I find,
Is to maintain a quiet mind.
My wealth is health and perfect ease;
My conscience clear my chief defence;
I neither seek by bribes to please,
Nor by deceit to breed offence : Thus do I live ; thus will I die; Would all did so as well as I !
DYER, JOHN, an English poet, born at Aberglasney, Carmarthenshire, Wales, in 1700; died at Kirkby-on-Bane, July 24, 1758. He was educated at Westminster School, practised painting with indifferent success, and at the age of forty entered the Church, and received several valuable livings. He wrote poetry both before and after he took Orders. His longest poem, The Fleece, a successful imitation of Virgil's Georgics, was published just before his death. This poem treats of the very prosy subject of the rearing of sheep and the manufacture of woollen goods, and this, coupled with the stately measure of the lines, made the work the subject of ridicule. It consists of four books, the first of which discourses on the tending of sheep, the second on the shearing and preparation of the wool, the third on weaving, and the fourth on trade in the manufactured goods. His best-known poem, Grongar Hill, was written in his twenty-sixth year. It describes a mountain not far from the place of his birth.
Silent nymph, with curious eye,
Who, the purple evening, lie
On the mountain's lonely van,
Beyond the noise of busy man:
Painting fair the form of things,
While the yellow linnet sings,
Or the tuneful nightingale
Charms the forest with her tale ;
Come, with all thy various hues,
Come, and aid thy sister muse;
Now, while Phæbus, riding high,
Gives lustre to the land and sky !
Grongar Hill invites my song,
Draw the landscape bright and strong.
Wide and wider spreads the vale,
As circles on a smooth canal :
The mountains round, unhappy fate !
Sooner or later, of all height,
Withdraw their summits from the skies,
And lessen as the others rise :
Still the prospect wider spreads,
Adds a thousand woods and meads;
Still it widens, widens still,
And sinks the newly risen hill.
Now I gain the mountain's brow,
What a landscape lies below!
No clouds, no vapors intervene,
But the gay, the open scene,
Does the face of nature show,
In all the hues of heaven's bow ;
And, swelling to embrace the light,
Spreads around beneath the sight.
Below me trees unnumbered rise,
Beautiful in various dyes :
The gloomy pine, the poplar blue,
The yellow beech, the sable yew,
The slender fir that taper grows,
The sturdy oak with broad-spread boughs.
And beyond the purple grove,
Haunt of Phyllis, queen of love!
Gaudy as the opening dawn,
Lies a long and level lawn,
On which a dark hill, steep and high,
Holds and charms the wandering eye!
Deep are his feet in Towy's flood,
His sides are clothed with waving wood,
And ancient towers crown his brow,
That cast an awful look below;
Whose ragged walls the ivy creeps,
And with her arms from falling keeps :
So both a safety from the wind
On mutual dependence find.
'Tis now the raven's bleak abode ;
'Tis now the apartment of the toad;
And there the fox securely feeds,
And there the poisonous adder breeds,
Concealed in ruins, moss, and weeds;
While, ever and anon, there falls
Huge heaps of hoary mouldered walls.
Yet Time has seen—that lifts the low,
And level lays the lofty brow-
Has seen this broken pile complete,
Big with the vanity of state;
But transient is the smile of Fate !
A little rule, a little sway,
A sunbeam in a winter's day,
Is all the proud and mighty have
Between the cradle and the grave.
And see the rivers, how they run
Through woods and meads, in shade and sun.
Sometimes swift, sometimes slow,
Wave succeeding wave, they go
A various journey to the deep,
Like human life, to endless sleep!
Thus is Nature's vesture wrought,
To instruct our wandering thought;
Thus she dresses green and gay,
To disperse our cares away.
See, on the mountain's southern side,
Where the prospect opens wide,
Where the evening gilds the tide,
How close and small the hedges lie!
What streaks of meadows cross the eye :
A step, methinks, may pass the stream,
So little distant dangers seem ;
So we mistake the future's face,
Eyed through hope's deluding glass ;
As yon summits soft and fair,
Clad in colors of the air,
Which to those who journey near,
Barren, brown, and rough appear;
Still we tread the same coarse way,
The present's still a cloudy day.
Now, even now, my joys run high,
As on the mountain turf I lie ;
While the wanton zephyr sings,
And in the vale perfumes his wings;
While the waters murmur deep,
While the shepherd charms his sheep,
While the birds unbounded fly,
And with music fill the sky,
Now, even now, my joys run high.
Be full, ye courts; be great who will ;
Search for Peace with all your skill ;
Open wide the lofty door,
Seek her on the marble floor :
In vain you search, she is not there ;
In vain you search the domes of Care !
Grass and flowers Quiet treads,
On the meads and mountain heads,
Along with Pleasure close allied,
Ever by each other's side :
And often, by the murmuring rill,
Hears the thrush, while all is still,
Within the groves of Grongar Hill.