Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VI. Fancy: Sentiment
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VI. Fancy.  1904.
 
Poems of Sentiment: VI. Labor and Rest
In Prison
Sir Roger L’Estrange (1616–1704)
 
BEAT on, proud billows; Boreas, blow;
  Swell, curlèd waves, high as Jove’s roof;
Your incivility doth show
  That innocence is tempest proof;
Though surly Nereus frown, my thoughts are calm;        5
Then strike, Affliction, for thy wounds are balm.
 
That which the world miscalls a jail
  A private closet is to me;
Whilst a good conscience is my bail,
  And innocence my liberty:        10
Locks, bars, and solitude together met,
Make me no prisoner, but an anchoret.
 
I, whilst I wisht to be retired,
  Into this private room was turned;
As if their wisdoms had conspired        15
  The salamander should be burned;
Or like those sophists, that would drown a fish,
I am constrained to suffer what I wish.
 
The cynic loves his poverty;
  The pelican her wilderness;        20
And ’t is the Indian’s pride to be
  Naked on frozen Caucasus:
Contentment cannot smart; stoics we see
Make torments easier to their apathy.
 
These manacles upon my arm        25
  I as my mistress’ favors wear;
And for to keep my ankles warm
  I have some iron shackles there:
These walls are but my garrison; this cell,
Which men call jail, doth prove my citadel.        30
 
I ’m in the cabinet lockt up,
  Like some high-prizèd margarite,
Or, like the Great Mogul or Pope,
  Am cloistered up from public sight:
Retiredness is a piece of majesty,        35
And thus, proud Sultan, I ’m as great as thee.
 
 
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