That scarce a piece I publish in a year,
Idle perhaps to you I may appear.
But rather, that I write at all, admire,
When I am often robbed of days entire.
Now with my friends the evening I must spend:
To those preferred my compliments must send.
Now at the witnessing a will make one:
Hurried from this to that, my morning’s gone.
Some office must attend; or else some ball;
Or else my lawyer’s summons to the hall.
Now a rehearsal, now a concert hear;
And now a Latin play at Westminster.
Home after ten return, quite tir’d and dos’d.
When is the piece, you want, to be compos’d?
WHAT IS GIVEN TO FRIENDS IS NOT LOST
Your slave will with your gold abscond,
The fire your home lay low,
Your debtor will disown his bond
Your farm no crops bestow;
Your steward a mistress frail shall cheat;
Your freighted ship the storms will beat;
That only from mischance you’ll save,
Which to your friends is given;
The only wealth you’ll always have
Is that you’ve lent to heaven.
They tell me, Cotilus, that you’re a beau:
What this is, Cotilus, I wish to know.
“A beau is one who, with the nicest care,
In parted locks divides his curling hair;
One who with balm and cinnamon smells sweet,
Whose humming lips some Spanish air repeat;
Whose naked arms are smoothed with pumice-stone,
And tossed about with graces all his own:
A beau is one who takes his constant seat
From morn till evening, where the ladies meet;
And ever, on some sofa hovering near,
Whispers some nothing in some fair one’s ear;
Who scribbles thousand billets-doux a day;
Still reads and scribbles, reads, and sends away;
A beau is one who shrinks, if nearly pressed
By the coarse garment of a neighbor guest;
Who knows who flirts with whom, and still is found
At each good table in successive round:
A beau is one—none better knows than he
A race-horse, and his noble pedigree”—
Indeed? Why Cotilus, if this be so,
What teasing trifling thing is called a beau!
THE HAPPY LIFE
To Julius Martialis
The things that make a life to please,
(Sweetest Martial), they are these:
Estate inherited, not got:
A thankful field, hearth always hot:
City seldom, law-suits never:
Equal friends, agreeing forever:
Health of body, peace of mind:
Sleeps that till the morning bind:
Wise simplicity, plain fare:
Not drunken nights, yet loos’d from care:
A sober, not a sullen spouse:
Clean strength, not such as his that plows;
Wish only what thou art, to be;
Death neither wish, nor fear to see.