Saturday, September 03, 2011


Hug Yourself in Perfect Ease

The Lark. Containing a Collection of above Four Hundred and Seventy Celebrated English and Scotch Songs (London: John Osborne, 1740), pp. 389-390 (Song CCCCXXV):
To hug your self in perfect Ease,
What wou'd you wish for more than these?
A healthy, clean, Paternal Seat,
Well shaded from the Summer's Heat.

A little Parlour-Stove, to hold     5
A constant Fire from Winter's Cold;
Where you may Sit and Think, and Sing,
Far off from Court, God bless the King!

Safe from the Harpies of the Law,
From Party-Rage, and Great Man's Paw;     10
Have few choice Friends to your own Taste;
A Wife agreeable and Chaste;

An open, but yet cautious Mind,
Where guilty Cares no Entrance find;
Nor Misers Fears, nor Envy's Spight,     15
To break the Sabbath of the Night.

Plain Equipage, and temp'rate Meals,
Few Taylors, and no Doctor's Bills;
Content to take, as Heav'n shall please,
A longer or a shorter Lease.     20
I've followed later editors in changing the final words of 11-12 from "Chaste...Caste" to "Taste...Chaste," although "Cast...Chaste" (in the 1742 edition of The Lark) is also a possibility. The poem is sometimes attributed to William Bedingfield. Whoever wrote it, it's a paraphrase of Martial 10.47:
Vitam quae faciant beatiorem,
iucundissime Martialis, haec sunt:
res non parta labore sed relicta;
non ingratus ager, focus perennis;
lis numquam, toga rara, mens quieta;
vires ingenuae, salubre corpus;
prudens simplicitas, pares amici;
convictus facilis, sine arte mensa;
nox non ebria sed soluta curis;
non tristis torus et tamen pudicus;
somnus qui faciat breves tenebras:
quod sis esse velis nihilque malis;
summum nec metuas diem nec optes.
Other translations of Martial's poem:
Isaak Levitan, Small Hut in a Meadow

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?