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Short poem

Abraham Cowley (1618-1667)

A Vote



            65  This only grant me: that my means may lie
            66Too low for envy, for contempt too high.
            67      Some honour I would have,
            68Not from great deeds, but good alone;
            69Th' ignote are better than ill-known,
            70      Rumour can ope the grave.
            71Acquaintance I would hug, but when 't depends
            72Not from the number, but the choice of friends.

            73  Books should, not bus'ness, entertain the light,
            74And sleep, as undisturb'd as death, the night.
            75      My house a cottage, more
            76Than palace, and should fitting be
            77For all my use, no luxury.
            78      My garden painted o'er
            79With Nature's hand, not Art's, and pleasures yield
            80Horace might envy in his Sabine field.

            81  Thus would I double my life's fading space,
            82For he that runs it well, twice runs his race.
            83      And in this true delight,
            84These unbought sports and happy state
            85I would not fear, nor wish my fate,
            86      But boldly say each night,
            87To-morrow let my sun his beams display,
            88Or in clouds hide them; I have liv'd to-day.


65] Republished, with the title "Of My Self," in Essays in Verse and Prose, 1668.

69] ignote: unknown.

80] Maecenas, Horace's patron, gave him a farm in the country surrounding Rome inhabited by the Sabine peoples.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Abraham Cowley, Poeticall blossomes, enlarged edn. (1636). STC 5908.
First publication date: 1636
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP 1.450.
Recent editing: 4:2002/2/10

Form: Horatian Ode
Rhyme: aabccbdd

Other poems by Abraham Cowley