Brian Fairfax (1633-1711), "Ego Sorte Mea Contentus," in The Fairfax Correspondence. Memoirs of the Reign of Charles the First
, ed. George W. Johnson, Vol. I (London: Richard Bentley, 1848), pp. cxxi-cxxii (line numbers added):
Sweet Content, where dost thou dwell?
In prince's court, or hermit's cell?
In the country, or the town?
Dost thou wear a sword or gown?
Art thou rich, or art thou poor? 5
This I know, thou need'st no more.
Stands a porter at thy gate,
Where the men of business wait?
Who from thy levee date the day,
Not from Aurora's golden ray. 10
I have sought thee far and near;
Thou like my shadow dost appear:
Why so cruel, so unkind,
Still before me or behind?
Sweet Content, O dwell with me, 15
A virtuous wife shall welcome thee;
Not in a palace or a cell,
Where neither wealth nor want doth dwell.
Three olive plants, from Heaven sent,
(As guardian angels innocent) 20
Support our cruse; 'tis open ever,
Though seldom full, tis empty never.
A conscience pure's our constant guest,
This is our continual feast.
19-24: cf. 1 Kings 17.10-16:
10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.
12 And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.
13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.
14 For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.
15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.
16 And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.