Littell's Living Age/Volume 126/Issue 1627/The Praise of Poverty

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Great should be our love for thee,
Sweetest love of poverty!

Little is enough for thee,
Sister of humility,
Just a little drink and food,
Just a dish, however rude.

Poverty hath scanty store.
Bread and water — nothing more
But some herbs — unless, indeed,
These a little salt should need.

Very safely doth she fare,
Having neither thought nor care;
Dread of thieves she cannot feel
Who has nothing they can steal.
Humbly at the door she knocks,
Carries neither bag nor box;
Other burden has she none.
Save the bit she lives upon.

Poverty has not a bed.
Nor a roof above her head.
Cloth nor table for her meat.
On the ground she sits to eat.

Ne'er a will to make hath she,
So in peace dies poverty;
Kin nor friends can raise a suit,
There is nothing to dispute.

Poverty is full of mirth.
Scorning everything on earth;
None will court or speak her fair
In the hope to be her heir.

Very poor indeed art thou.
Yet thy home is heaven, I trow;
Sweetest lady, there can be
Nothing earthly dear to thee.

Those who crave for worldly gear,
They are dull and sad of cheer.
Always cumbered and distrest.
Never knowing ease nor rest.

Poverty is always gay,
Teaching man the perfect way.
Earthly things she holds in thrall.
Just because she spurns them all.

Hoarding up and laying by
Never troubleth poverty,
Free from carking care or sorrow
For the evening or the morrow.

Light of foot is she, I ween,
Glad of heart, and meek of mien.
Not a burden will she bear,
She — a stranger everywhere.

Poverty is frank and free,
Fareth well where'er she be,
For she knoweth that a room
Waits her in her heavenly home.

Poverty, thou hast a throne,
And the world is all thine own,
For the things thou dost disdain
Must obey thy sovereign reign.

Poverty, supremely wise.
Wealth and treasures doth despise,
And the more she bends her will
Higher soars in freedom still.

To the very truly poor
God's high kingdom is secure:
This we know — for Christ has spoken.
And His word is never broken.

Poverty, most perfect state.
Thou alone are really great.
For the eternal life divine
Is, in truth, already thine.

Poverty, most full of grace,
Free from care, and bright of face,
How can any blush to be
Faithful lovers unto thee?

More and more their thirst doth grow
As thy sweetness more they know.
For thy waters cannot dry,
Fairest fount of poverty!

Through the streets aloud she cries.
Earthly treasure to despise,
Bids us turn from worldly pride.
Casting riches quite aside.

All these glories of the earth,
What — I ask you — are they worth?
Where is now the wealth and gear
Of the men who once were here?

Poverty, if thou would'st gain
Quit this world so poor and vain;
More than this, too, must thou do
Scorn thyself supremely too.

This is poverty — to be
Stripped and beggared utterly,
Self to conquer and disdain,
Then, at last, with Christ to reign.

The Month.