Saturday, November 09, 2013


The Stoic's Creed

John Leicester Warren (1835-1895), "The Stoic's Creed," The Collected Poems of Lord De Tabley (London: Chapman & Hall Limited, 1903), pp. 431-432:
Hoard not up the yellow dross,
    Spurn the deadly discs of gold;
Let the miser turn and toss
    Sleepless on his wealth untold.

Life requires a crust of bread,
    A bowl of wine, a dish of meat.
Wilt thou toil thyself half dead
    To pile a heap thou canst not eat?

Who would break his rest to guard
    What a thief can steal away?
Will thy ducats bring reward
    To dim eyes or hair of gray?

Of thy hoard what lust abides,
    When to end thy selfish greed
Comes the bony knight who rides
    Dark upon his steel-white steed?

Will thy money-bags avail,
    Speak him soft and gain reprieve?
Then thy gold will melt and fail
    As Danaid's water thro' the sieve.

Will thy bullion beam as bright
    To palsied grasp and horny eye,
In the horror of the night,
    When Croesus hears the doom to die?

Honest work will bring enough;
    Work, and have no further heed.
Life is made of sterling stuff,
    Love expands a nobler creed.

Purple fleeces scare repose:
    Slumber loves the cabin door:
To sleep exempt from care and foes,—
    'Tis the treasure of the poor.

Fate with blameless mind defy;
    Rest and Labour, wisely blent,
Bring with happy usury
    The increase of a fair content.

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