Monday, January 20, 2014


Let Me My Time, My Books, My Self Enjoy

John Norris (1657-1711), "Freedom," A Collection of Miscellanies: Consisting of Poems, Essays, Discourses & Letters, Occasionally Written, 3rd ed. (London: S. Manship, 1699), p. 113:
        I do not ask thee Fate, to give
        This little span a long Reprieve.
Thy pleasures here are all so poor and vain,
        I care not hence how soon I'm gone.
Date as thou wilt my Time, I shan't complain;
May I but still live free, and call it all my own.

        Let my Sand slide away apace;
        I care not, so I hold the Glass.
Let me my Time, my Books, my Self enjoy;
        Give me from Cares a sure retreat;
Let no impertinence my Hours imploy,
That's in one word, kind Heaven, let me ne're be great.

        In vain from Chains and Fetters free
        The great Man boasts of Liberty.
He's pinnion'd up by formal Rules of State;
        Can ne're from Noise and Dust retire;
He's haunted still by Crouds that round him wait,
His lot's to be in Pain, as that of Fools t' admire.

        Mean while the Swain has calm repose,
        Freely he comes and freely goes.
Thus the bright Stars whose station is more high,
        Are fix'd, and by strict measures move,
While lower Planets wanton in the Sky,
Are bound to no set Laws, but humoursomly rove.

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