Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
 
III. The Seasons
In Praise of Angling
Sir Henry Wotton (1568–1639)
 
QUIVERING fears, heart-tearing cares,
Anxious sighs, untimely tears,
      Fly, fly to courts,
      Fly to fond worldlings’ sports,
Where strained sardonic smiles are glozing still,        5
And grief is forced to laugh against her will,
      Where mirth ’s but mummery,
      And sorrows only real be.
 
Fly from our country pastimes, fly,
Sad troops of human misery;        10
      Come, serene looks,
      Clear as the crystal brooks,
Or the pure azured heaven that smiles to see
The rich attendance on our poverty;
      Peace and a secure mind,        15
      Which all men seek, we only find.
 
Abusèd mortals! did you know
Where joy, heart’s ease, and comforts grow,
      You ’d scorn proud towers
      And seek them in these bowers,        20
Where winds, sometimes, our woods perhaps may shake,
But blustering care could never tempest make;
      Nor murmurs e’er come nigh us,
      Saving of fountains that glide by us.
 
Here ’s no fantastic mask or dance,        25
But of our kids that frisk and prance;
      Nor wars are seen,
      Unless upon the green
Two harmless lambs are butting one the other,
Which done, both bleating run, each to his mother,        30
      And wounds are never found,
      Save what the ploughshare gives the ground.
 
Here are no entrapping baits
To hasten to too hasty fates;
      Unless it be        35
      The fond credulity
Of silly fish, which (worldling like) still look
Upon the bait, but never on the hook;
      Nor envy, ’less among
      The birds, for price of their sweet song.        40
 
Go, let the diving negro seek
For gems, hid in some forlorn creek:
      We all pearls scorn
      Save what the dewy morn
Congeals upon each little spire of grass,        45
Which careless shepherds beat down as they pass;
      And gold ne’er here appears,
      Save what the yellow Ceres bears.
 
Blest silent groves, O, may you be,
Forever, mirth’s best nursery!        50
      May pure contents
      Forever pitch their tents
Upon these downs, these meads, these rocks, these mountains!
And peace still slumber by these purling fountains,
      Which we may every year        55
      Meet, when we come a-fishing here.
 
 
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