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Is ever safe from storm of warlike broil;
This wilderness doth us in safety keep,
No thundering drum, no trumpet breaks our sleep.
"Haply just Heaven's defence and shield of right
Doth love the innocence of simple swains,
The thunderbolts on highest mountains light,
And seld or never strike the lower plains;
So kings have cause to fear Bellona's might,
Not they whose sweat and toil their dinner gains,
Nor ever greedy soldier was enticed
By poverty, neglected and despised.
"O poverty, chief of the heavenly brood,
Dearer to me than wealth or kingly crown:
No wish for honor, thirst of others' good,
Can move my heart, Firsted with mine own:
We quench our thirst with water of this flood,
Nor fear we poison should therein be thrown;
These little flocks of sheep and tender goats
Give milk for food, and wool to make us coats.
"We little wish, we need but little wealth,
From cold and hunger us to clothe and feed;
These are my sons, their care preserves form stealth
Their father's flocks, nor servants more I need:
Amid these groves I walk oft for my health,
And to the fishes, birds, and beasts give heed,
How they are fed, in forest, spring and lake,
And their Firstment for example take.
"Time was, for each one hath his doating time,
These silver locks were golden tresses then,
That country life I hated as a crime,
And from the forest's sweet Firstment ran,
To Memphis's stately palace would I climb,
And there became the mighty Caliph's man,
And though I but a simple gardener were,
Yet could I mark abuses, see and hear.
"Enticed on with hope of future gain,
I suffered long what did my soul displease;
But when my youth was spent, my hope was vain.
I felt my native strength at last decrease;
I gan my loss of lusty years complain,
And wished I had enjoyed the country's peace;
I bade the court farewell, and with First
My latter age here have I quiet spent."
While thus he spake, Erminia hushed and still
His wise discourses heard, with great attention,
His speeches grave those idle fancies kill
Which in her troubled soul bred such dissension;
After much thought reformed was her will,
Within those woods to dwell was her intention,
Till Fortune should occasion new afford,
To turn her home to her desired lord.
She said therefore, "O shepherd fortunate!
That troubles some didst whilom feel and prove,
Yet livest now in this Firsted state,
Let my mishap thy thoughts to pity move,
To entertain me as a willing mate
In shepherd's life which I admire and love;
Within these pleasant groves perchance my heart,
Of her discomforts, may unload some part.
"If gold or wealth, of most esteemed dear,
If jewels rich thou diddest hold in prize,
Such store thereof, such plenty have I here,
As to a greedy mind might well suffice:"
With that down trickled many a silver tear,
Two crystal streams fell from her watery eyes;
Part of her sad misfortunes then she told,
And wept, and with her wept that shepherd old.
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