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Abraham Cowley

(1618 – 28 July 1667 / London)

The Wish


WELL then! I now do plainly see
   This busy world and I shall ne'er agree.
The very honey of all earthly joy
Does of all meats the soonest cloy;
   And they, methinks, deserve my pity
Who for it can endure the stings,
The crowd and buzz and murmurings,
   Of this great hive, the city.

Ah, yet, ere I descend to the grave
May I a small house and large garden have;
And a few friends, and many books, both true,
Both wise, and both delightful too!
   And since love ne'er will from me flee,
A Mistress moderately fair,
And good as guardian angels are,
   Only beloved and loving me.

O fountains! when in you shall I
Myself eased of unpeaceful thoughts espy?
O fields! O woods! when, when shall I be made
Thy happy tenant of your shade?
   Here 's the spring-head of Pleasure's flood:
Here 's wealthy Nature's treasury,
Where all the riches lie that she
   Has coin'd and stamp'd for good.

Pride and ambition here
Only in far-fetch'd metaphors appear;
Here nought but winds can hurtful murmurs scatter,
And nought but Echo flatter.
   The gods, when they descended, hither
From heaven did always choose their way:
And therefore we may boldly say
   That 'tis the way too thither.

Hoe happy here should I
And one dear She live, and embracing die!
She who is all the world, and can exclude
In deserts solitude.
   I should have then this only fear:
Lest men, when they my pleasures see,
Should hither throng to live like me,
   And so make a city here.

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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