Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Enough's a Feast
I weigh not fortune's frown nor smile,This recalls a poem attributed to Edward Dyer.
I joy not much in earthly joys,
I seek not state, I reck not style,
I am not fond of fancy's toys.
I rest so pleased with what I have, 5
I wish no more, no more I crave.
I tremble not at noise of war,
I quake not at the thunder's crack,
I shrink not at a blazing star,
I sound not at the news of wrack. 10
I fear no loss, I hope no gain,
I envy none, I none disdain.
I see ambition never pleased,
I see some Tantals starve in store,
I see gold's dropsy seldom eased, 15
I see each Midas gape for more.
I neither want nor yet abound,
Enough's a feast, content is crowned.
I feign not friendship where I hate,
I fawn not on the great for grace, 20
I prize, I praise a mean estate,
Ne yet too lofty nor too base.
This, this is all my choice, my cheer,
A mind content, and conscience clear.
2 I joy not much in earthly joys: cf. Dyer 1 (I joy not in no earthly bliss)
3 style: "A legal, official, or honorific title" (Oxford English Dictionary, sense 18.a)
10 sound: swoon, faint (Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. sound, v.4)
14 Tantals starve in store: people like Tantalus starve amidst plenty
15 gold's dropsy: Physicians thought that sufferers from dropsy were always thirsty, and that drinking did nothing to alleviate their thirst and in fact made their condition worse. Naturally this led to a comparison between avarice (a disease of the soul) and dropsy (a disease of the body). See Avarice and Dropsy.
17 I neither want nor yet abound: cf. Dyer 18 (I feel no want, nor have too much)
19 I feign not friendship where I hate: cf. Dyer 14 (I feign not love where most I hate)
23 This, this is all my choice: cf. Dyer 23 (This is my choice)
There is a performance of Gibbon's madrigal by Tessa Bonner and the Rose Consort of Viols here.