Wednesday, November 21, 2012



Rowland Watkyns (1614?-1664), "Contentment," in his Flamma Sine Fumo: or, Poems Without Fictions (London: Printed for William Leake, 1662), pp. 22-23:
Ex animo rem stare aequum puto, non animum ex re.

Sad discontent like some unwholsom blast
The fairest blossomes, and best fruit thou hast,
Will soon destroy: Like leaven it will soure
The lump of all thy joyes: No golden shoure
Can help the wounded conscience, and no Art,
But onely grace can cure the cankred heart:
O sweet contentment, from which spring do flow
Pure streames of joy: when I am poor, and low,
Thou make'st me rich; when sick without relief,
Thou art the balsome to expel my grief.
I do not long for Quailes, or dainty fish,
To court my palat with a curious dish.
I am no slave to gold; an empty chest
Disquiets not my conscience, nor my rest:
I am not puft in mind; ambitious eyes
Look often higher than their merits rise.
My clothes shall decent be, not gay: I doubt,
That velvet slippers, cannot cure the gout,
Nor can a golden crown the head-ach cure,
Nor purple Robes from Feavers us secure.
I love my freedom: yet strong prisons can
Vex but the bad, and not the virtuous man?
Imprisonment, sicknesse, persecution, losse,
Are but the chips of Christ his sacred crosse:
I am content; nor do I greatly care,
Whether the heavens fair, or cloudy are.
The Latin motto comes from Ausonius, Idylls 3.1.11, and means "Upon the soul—it is my balanced judgment—wealth depends, and not a man's soul upon his wealth" (tr. Hugh G. Evelyn White).

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