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WOULD you be free ? 'T is your chief wish, you
say; Come on; I'll shew thee, friend, the certain way : If to no feasts abroad thou lov'st to go, While bounteous God does bread at home bestow; If thou the goodness of thy clothes dost prize By thine own use, and not by others' eyes ; If (only safe from weathers) thou canst dwell In a small house, but a convenient shell ; If thou, without a sigh, or golden wish, Canst look upon thy beechen bowl and dish If in thy mind such power and greatness be, The Persian king's a slave compard with thee.
LIB. II. EP. LXVIII.
“ Quod te nomine," &c.
THAT I do you with humble bows no more,
By loss of all things, by all others sought,
ODE UPON LIBERTY.
FREEDOM with Virtue takes her seat;
Is in the golden mean,
And they 're in Fortune's bridewell whipt
To the laborious task of bread ; These are by various tyrants captive led. Now wild Ambition with imperious force Rides, reins, and spurs, them, like th' unruly horse;
And servile Avarice yokes them now,
Like toilsome oxen, to the plough;
From these insulting passions free,
Yet we ev'n those, too, fetter'd see By custom, business, crowds, and formal decency;
And, wherésoe'er they stay, and wheresoe'er they go,
Impertinencies round them flow :
And rather it molest than wound:
stings: As, when the honey does too open lie,
A thousand wasps about it fly: Nor will the master even to share admit; The master stands aloof, and dares not taste of it.
'Tis morning : well; I fain would yet sleep on. You cannot now ; you
The stream of business does begin,
Will they not suffer him to sleep ?
And much of mirth and moderate wine.
Has such a freedom always given !
Why, mighty madman, what should hinder thee
From being every day as free?
In all the freeborn nations of the air,
When and wherever he thought good,
Nor ever did ambitious rage
Make him into a painted cage,
For honour and preferment, come.
Though men and angels fell !
To you is justly given ;
To boast, that we look up to it. Ev'n to the universal tyrant, Love,
You homage pay but once a-year :
As his perpetual yoke to bear;
Whom human lordship does control;
Who from their birth corrupted were By bondage, and by man's example here.
He's no small prince, who every day
Thus to himself can say: Now will I sleep, now eat, now sit, now walk, Now meditate alone, now with acquaintance talk; This I will do, here I will stay, Or, if my fancy call me away, My man and I will presently go ride (For we, before, have nothing to provide, Nor, after, are to render an account) To Dover, Berwick, or the Cornish mount.
If thou but a short journey take,
As if thy last thou wert to make,
Nor canst thou stir, unless there be
Where honour, or where conscience does not
Slave to myself I will not be,
By my own present mind.