Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
What Pleasure Have Great Princes
Anonymous
 
WHAT 1 pleasure have great princes
More dainty to their choice
Than herdsmen wild, who careless
In quiet life rejoice,
And fortune’s fate not fearing        5
Sing sweet in summer morning?
 
Their dealings plain and rightful,
Are void of all deceit;
They never know how spiteful,
It is to kneel and wait        10
On favourite presumptuous,
Whose pride is vain and sumptuous.
 
All day their flocks each tendeth;
At night, they take their rest;
More quiet than who sendeth        15
His ship into the East,
Where gold and pearl are plenty;
But getting, very dainty.
 
For lawyers and their pleading,
They ’steem it not a straw;        20
They think that honest meaning
Is of itself a law:
Whence conscience judgeth plainly,
They spend no money vainly.
 
O happy who thus liveth!        25
Not caring much for gold;
With clothing which sufficeth
To keep him from the cold.
Though poor and plain his diet
Yet merry it is, and quiet.        30
 
Note 1. From William Byrd’s Psalms, Sonnets, and Songs, 1588. [back]
 
 
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