1 NO Ill on Earth we tim'rous Mortals fly
2 With so much Dread, as abject Poverty:
3 O despicable Name! We, thee to shun,
4 On ev'ry other Evil blindly run.
5 For fear of thee, distrustful Niggards go
6 In tatter'd Rags, and starve their Bodies too,
7 And still are poor, for fear of being so.
8 For fear of thee, the cheating Trader vows,
9 His Wares are good, altho' his Conscience knows,
10 He has employ'd his utmost Skill and Care,
11 To hide their Faults, and make their Beauties glare.
12 The Sailor, terrify'd with Thoughts of thee,
13 Boldly attempts the Dangers of the Sea;[Page 6]
14 From East to West, o'er Rocks and Quicksands steers;
15 'Tis Poverty, and that alone, he fears;
16 The Soldier too, whom nought but thee can scare,
17 In Hopes of Plunder, bravely meets the War;
18 To fly from Poverty, he runs on Death,
19 And shews he prizes Riches more than Breath.
20 Strange Terror of Mankind! By thee misled,
21 Not Conscience, Quicksands, Rocks, or Death they dread!
22 And yet thou art no formidable Foe,
23 Except to little Souls, who think thee so:
24 Who thro' the Glass of Prejudice survey
25 Thy Face, a thousand frightful Forms display.
26 THUS Men, at Night, in foolish Fears grown old,
27 Who mind the Fairy Tales their Nurses told,
28 Start at a Goblin, which their Fancy made,
29 And, for a Spectre, often take a Shade.
30 CONTENTED Poverty's no dismal Thing,
31 Free from the Cares unwieldy Riches bring:
32 At Distance both alike deceive our View;
33 Nearer approach'd, they take another Hue.
34 The poor Man's Labour relishes his Meat;
35 His Morsel's pleasant, and his Rest is sweet:
36 Not so the Rich, who find their weary'd Taste
37 Pall'd with the Prospect of the cumb'rous Feast;
38 For what they have more than they can enjoy,
39 Instead of satisfying, does but cloy.
40 BUT let us state the Case another way:
41 Were Poverty so hideous as they say,
42 'Tis nobler chearfully to bear our Fate,
43 Than murmur and repine beneath its Weight.
44 That Man deserves the Praise of human Kind,
45 Who bears ill Fortune with a Christian Mind:[Page 8]
46 How does his great heroic Soul aspire
47 Above that sordid Wealth the rest admire!
48 His nobler Thoughts are fix'd on Things above;
49 His faithful Eyes survey the GOD of Love
50 Hold forth the heav'nly Prize, which makes him run
51 His mortal Race, to gain th'immortal Crown.
52 Not all the Snares a crafty Dev'l can lay,
53 Can intercept, or daunt him in his Way.
54 Not all the scornful Insults of the Proud,
55 Not all the Censures of the grov'ling Croud,
56 Not Poverty, in all her Terrors drest,
57 Can shake the solid Quiet of his Breast:
58 Unmov'd he stands against the worst of Foes,
59 And mocks the Darts, which adverse Fortune throws,
60 Calm and compos'd, amidst or Ease or Pain;
61 And finds Content, which others seek in vain.
62 So stands a steady Rock, sublimely steep,
63 Within the Confines of the briny Deep;
64 Lash'd by the foaming Surge on ev'ry Side,
65 Yet can't be shaken by the furious Tide.
66 THEN why should Phantoms discompose the Mind;
67 Or Woes, so far from real, fright Mankind?
68 Since Wealth can never make the Vicious blest,
69 Nor Poverty subdue the virtuous Breast;
70 Since both from Heav'n's unerring Hand are sent,
71 LORD, give me either; give me but CONTENT.
About this text
Title (in Source Edition): On POVERTY.
Author: Stephen Duck
Genres: heroic couplet; complaint; topical verse
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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.
Other works by Stephen Duck
- The ABSENT LOVER. ()
- Ad JOANNEM MILTONUM. ()
- The ANSWER. ()
- AVARO and AMANDA. A POEM, in FOUR CANTO's, Taken from the Spectator, Vol. I. No. xi. ()
- CHLOE's CONQUEST. ()
- CONTENTMENT. ()
- A Description of a Journey To Marlborough, Bath, Portsmouth, &c. To the Right Honourable the Lord Viscount PALMERSTON. ()
- An EPIGRAM. ()
- FELIX and CONSTANCE. A POEM, taken from BOCCACE. ()
- GRATITUDE. A PASTORAL. ()
- Imitated from CLAUDIAN. ()
- An IMITATION Of the Sixteenth Ode Of the Second Book of HORACE. ()
- An Imitation of the Sixteenth Ode of the Third Book of HORACE. ()
- An Imitation of the Tenth Ode of the Second Book of HORACE. To the Right Hon. the Lord Viscount PALMERSTON. ()
- Occasion'd by a Dispute with a LADY. ()
- An ODE, presented to their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of WALES, in Richmond Gardens, on Thursday, May 6. 1736. ()
- Of FRIENDSHIP. To CELIA. ()
- On a GOOD CONSCIENCE. ()
- On a Screen, work'd in Flowers by Her Royal Highness ANNE, Princess of ORANGE. ()
- On Celia's Picture, drawn by Sir Godfrey Kneller. ()
- On Delia singing, and playing on Music. ()
- On FLORELLA's Birth-Day. ()
- On MITES. To a LADY. ()
- On Mrs. L—s. ()
- On MUSIC. ()
- On RICHMOND PARK, and ROYAL GARDENS. ()
- On the Hon. Mrs. HORNER's Travelling for the Recovery of her Health. ()
- On the Marriage of his Serene Highness the Prince of Orange. ()
- On the QUEEN's Grotto, in RICHMOND Gardens. ()
- On Two Young Ladies leaving the Country. ()
- A PASTORAL ELEGY. ()
- PENELOPE to ULYSSES. Paraphras'd from OVID. ()
- A Poem on Her MAJESTY's Birth-Day. ()
- Proper Ingredients to make a Sceptic. ()
- The SHUNAMMITE. To Mrs. STANLEY. ()
- The THRESHER's LABOUR. To the Revd. Mr. STANLEY. ()
- To a Gentleman, who requested a Copy of Verses from the Author. ()
- To a Young LADY, who had a CUPID given Her. ()
- To DEATH. An IRREGULAR ODE. ()
- To His ROYAL HIGHNESS The DUKE of CUMBERLAND, On His BIRTH-DAY. ()
- To Mr. Winder, (now Fellow) of Corpus-Christi, Oxford; in Answer to a Latin Epistle, which he sent me. ()
- To Mr. WORSDALE: Occasion'd by seeing CELIA's Picture unfinish'd. Writ extempore at Kensington. ()
- To the Author of a Poem on the Duke of Lorrain's Arrival at the British Court. ()
- To the Rev. Dr. Freind, on his quitting Westminster School. ()
- To the Right Honourable William Clayton, Esq (now Lord Sundon) on his being Elected Representative in Parliament for Westminster without Opposition. ()
- TRUTH and FALSHOOD. A FABLE. ()
- The Two Beavers. A FABLE. ()
- VERSES to the Author, In IMITATION of HORACE's ODE on PINDAR. Apply'd to the Marriage of his Highness the Prince of Orange with ANNE, Princess Royal of Great Britain. ()