The Hundred Best Poems (lyrical) in the English language - second series/The Wish

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29.
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,
Who for it can endure the stings,
The crowd, and buz, and murmurings,
 Of this great hive, the city.

 Ah, yet, ere I descend to th' grave,
May I a small house and large garden have!
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,
 Only belov'd, and loving me!

 Oh, fountains! when in you shall I
Myself, eas'd of unpeaceful thoughts, espy?
Oh fields! oh woods! when, when shall I be made
 The happy tenant of your shade?
 Here's the spring-head of Pleasure's flood;
Where all the riches lie, that she
 Has coin'd and stamp'd for good.

 Pride and ambition here
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;
And therefore we may boldly say,
 That 'tis the way too thither.

 How happy here should I,
And one dear she, live, and embracing die!
She, who is all the world, and can exclude
 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.

1810 Edition.