by Elizabeth Bentley
FAR from contention, envy, strife,
Be mine the tranquil path of life,
To lift the cottage simple latch,
Where woodbines climb the lowly thatch;
Not dazzled by Ambition's blaze,
Nor whirl'd in Folly's endless maze;
To seek the haunts Religion loves,
Or sacred Wisdom's inmost groves,
There with a serious book or friend,
The leisure hours delightful spend;
There oft let Milton's holy page,
Or Young the pensive thoughts engage.
Yet not to genuine pleasure blind,
But now and then to chear the mind,
Beguile the tedious winter nights,
In following Shakspeare's daring flights;
Where, big with imitative rage,
The buskin'd hero treads the stage;
There snatch a ray of living fire,
The languid fancy to inspire.
Or rove in Spenser's fairy fields,
Where plumy crests and blazon'd shields
Are borne by many a dauntless knight,
With lady on her palfrey white.
Where virtuous love, or Friendship's flame,
Prompt to deeds of deathless name.
To break some vile magician's pow'r,
Dissolve in air th' enchanted tow'r,
And free some beauty there detain'd,
Or youth tyrannically chain'd.
When summer suns intensely glow,
I'd seek the spot where streamlets flow,
Or 'neath the close enveloped shade,
By trees impenetrable made,
In airy sports indulge the Muse,
Or some descriptive bard peruse,
Till vesper comes, with milder ray,
To lengthen out the joys of day;
Then view the empress of the night,
Moving in stately splendour bright,
While myriad stars attendants keen,
Beam vivid lustre round their queen.
Here let me bless my humble lot,
Nor wish to change the peaceful spot,
Happier far than those who roam,
In search of bliss, best found at home.
Last updated January 14, 2019