Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
 
In Praise of the Contented Minde
XVII. Humphrey Gifford
 
IF all the ioyes that worldly wightes posesse
Were throughly scand, and pondred in their kindes,
No man of wit but iustly must confesse
That they ioy most that haue contented mindes;
And other ioyes, which beare the name of ioyes,        5
Are not right ioyes, but sunneshines of anoyes.
 
In outward view we see a number glad,
Which make a shew as if mirth did abound,
When pinching grief within doth make them sad:
And many a one in these dayes may bee found,        10
Which faintly smile to shroud their sorowes so,
When oftentimes they pine in secreet woe.
 
But euery man that holdes himselfe content,
And yeeldes God thankes, as dutie doth require,
For all his giftes that hee to vs hath sent,        15
And is not vext with ouer great desire:
And such, I say, most quietly doe sleepe,
When fretting cares doth others waking keepe.
 
What doth auaile huge heapes of shining golde,
Or gay attyre, or stately buildinges braue,        20
If worldly pelfe thy heart in bondage holde?
Not thou thy goodes—thy goodes make thee their slaue.
For greedie men like Tantalus doe fare—
In midst of wealth they needie are and bare.
 
A warie heede that thinges go not to losse        25
Doth not amisse, so that it keepe the meane:
But still to toyle and moyle for worldly drosse,
And tast no ioy nor pleasure for our paine;
In carke and care both day and night to dwell,
Is nothing els but euen a very hell.        30
 
Wherefore, I say, as erst I did beginne,
Contented men enioy the greatest blisse:
Let vs content ourselues to flye from sinne,
And still abide what God’s good pleasure is.
If ioy or paine, if wealth or want befall,        35
Let vs bee pleasde, and giue God thankes for all.
 
 
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