Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
Abraham Cowley. 1618–1667
  
353. 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         5
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;  10
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,  15
    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?  20
    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  25
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:  30
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  35
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.  40
 
 
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