Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
 
Careless Content
By John Byrom (1692–1763)
 
I AM content, I do not care,
  Wag as it will the world for me;
When fuss and fret was all my fare,
  It got no ground, as I could see:
So when away my caring went,        5
I counted cost, and was content.
 
With more of thanks and less of thought,
  I strive to make my matters meet;
To seek what ancient sages sought,
  Physic and food, in sour and sweet:        10
To take what passes in good part,
And keep the hiccups from the heart.
 
With good and gentle humour’d hearts,
  I choose to chat where’er I come,
Whate’er the subject be that starts;        15
  But if I get among the glum,
I hold my tongue to tell the troth,
And keep my breath to cool my broth.
 
For chance or change of peace or pain;
  For fortune’s favour or her frown;        20
For lack of glut, for loss or gain,
  I never dodge, nor up nor down:
But swing what way the ship shall swim,
Or take about, with equal trim.
 
I suit not where I shall not speed,        25
  Nor trace the turn of every tide;
If simple sense will not succeed,
  I make no bustling, but abide:
For shining wealth, or scaring woe,
I force no friend, I fear no foe.        30
 
I love my neighbour as myself,
  Myself like him too, by his leave;
Nor to his pleasure, pow’r, or pelf,
  Came I to crouch, as I conceive:
Dame Nature doubtless has design’d        35
A man, the monarch of his mind.
 
Now taste and try this temper, sirs,
  Mood it, and brood it in your breast;
Or if ye ween, for wordly stirs,
  That man does right to mar his rest;        40
Let me be deft, and debonair,
I am content, I do not care.
 
 
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