Nor busy meddlers with intrigues of state;
Strangers to slander, and sworn foes to spite,
Not quarrelsome, but stout enough to fight;
Loyal and pious, friends to Caesar; true
As dying martyrs to their Makers too.
In their society I could not miss
A permanent, sincere, substantial bliss.
V. HIS LADY AND CONVERSE
Would bounteous Heaven once more indulge,
(For who would so much satisfaction lose
As witty nymphs in conversation give?)
Near some obliging modest fair to live:
For there’s that sweetness in a female mind,
Which in a man’s we cannot [hope to] find;
That, by a secret but a powerful art,
Winds up the spring of life, and does impart
Fresh, vital heat to the transported heart.
I’d have her reason all her passions
Easy in company, in private gay;
Coy to a fop, to the deserving free;
Still constant to herself, and just to me.
She should a soul have for great actions fit;
Prudence and wisdom to direct her wit;
Courage to look bold danger in the face,
Not fear, but only to be proud or base;
Quick to advise, by an emergence pressed,
To give good counsel, or to take the best.
I’d have th’ expressions of
her thoughts be such,
She might not seem reserved, nor talk too much:
That shows a want of judgment and of sense;
More than enough is but impertinence.
Her conduct regular, her mirth refined;
Civil to strangers, to her neighbours kind;
Averse to vanity, revenge, and pride;
In all the methods of deceit untried;
So faithful to her friend, and good to all,
No censure might upon her actions fall:
Then would e’en envy be compelled to say
She goes the least of womankind astray.
To this fair creature I’d sometimes
Her conversation would new joys inspire;
Give life an edge so keen, no surly care
Would venture to assault my soul, or dare
Near my retreat to hide one secret snare.
But so divine, so noble a repast
I’d seldom, and with moderation, taste:
For highest cordials all their virtue lose,
By a too frequent and too bold an use;
And what would cheer the spirits in distress,
Ruins our health when taken to excess.
VI. HIS PEACEABLE LIFE
I’d be concerned in no litigious
Beloved by all, not vainly popular.
Whate’er assistance I had power to bring
T’ oblige my company, or to serve my king,
Whene’er they called, I’d readily afford,
My tongue, my pen, my counsel, or my sword.
Lawsuits I’d shun, with as much studious care,
As I would dens where hungry lions are;
And rather put up injuries, than be
A plague to him who’d be a plague to me.
I value quiet at a price too great
To give for my revenge so dear a rate:
For what do we by all our bustle gain,
But counterfeit delight for real pain?