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.
 
A Wish
By Abraham Cowley (1618–1667)
 
THIS only grant me, that my means may lie
Too low for envy, for contempt too high.
      Some honour I would have,
Not from great deeds, but good alone.
The unknown are better, than ill known;        5
      Rumour can ope the grave.
Acquaintance I would have, but when’t depends
Not on the number, but the choice of friends.
 
Books should, not business, entertain the light,
And sleep, as undisturb’d as death, the night.        10
      My house a cottage more
Than palace, and should fitting be,
For all my use, no luxury.
      My garden painted o’er
With nature’s hand, not art’s; and pleasures yield,        15
Horace might envy in his Sabine field.
 
Thus would I double my life’s fading space,
For he that runs it well, twice runs his race.
      And in this true delight,
These unbought sports, this happy state,        20
I would not fear nor wish my fate,
      But boldly say each night,
To-morrow let my sun his beams display,
Or, in clouds hide them; I have liv’d to-day.
 
 
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