The Discontent

Original Text: 
Anne Killigrew, Poems (1686). Facs. edn., ed. R. E. Morton (Gainesville, Florida: Scholars, 1967): 51. PR 3539 K3 1686A Robarts Library
I
1    Here take no Care, take here no Care, my Muse,
2Nor ought of Art or Labour use:
3    But let thy Lines rude and unpolisht go,
4Nor Equal be their Feet, nor Num'rous let them flow.
5    The ruggeder my Measures run when read,
6They'l livelier paint th'unequal Paths fond Mortals tread.
7    Who when th'are tempted by the smooth Ascents,
8        Which flatt'ring Hope presents,
9    Briskly they clime, and Great Things undertake;
10    But Fatal Voyages, alas, they make:
11        For 'tis not long before their Feet,
12        Inextricable Mazes meet,
13        Perplexing Doubts obstruct their Way,
14        Mountains with-stand them of Dismay;
15    Or to the Brink of black Dispaire them lead,
16        Where's nought their Ruine to impede,
17    In vain for Aide they then to Reason call,
18    Their Senses dazle, and their Heads turn round,
19        The sight does all their Pow'rs confound,
20And headlong down the horrid Precipice they fall:
21        Where storms of Sighs for ever blow,
22        Whre raped streams of Tears do flow,
23        Which drown them in a Briny Floud.
24My Muse pronounce aloud, there's nothing Good,
25            Nought that the World can show,
26            Nought that it can bestow.
II
27    Not boundless Heaps of its admired Clay,
28        Ah, too successful to betray,
29        When spread in our fraile Vertues way:
30    For few do run with so Resolv'd a Pace,
31That for the Golden Apple will not loose the Race.
32    And yet not all the Gold the Vain would spend,
33        Or greedy Avarice would wish to save;
34    Which on the Earth refulgent Beams doth send,
35        Or in the Sea has found a Grave,
36    Joyn'd in one Mass, can Bribe sufficient be,
37    The Body from a stern Disease to free,
38            Or purchase for the Minds relief
39One Moments sweet Repose, when restless made by grief,
40But what may Laughter, more than Pity, move:
41    When some the Price of what they Dear'st Love
42    Are Masters of, and hold it in their Hand,
43    To part with it their Hearts they can't command:
44    But chose to miss, what miss't does them torment,
45    And that to hug, affords them no Content.
46    Wise Fools, to do them Right, we these must hold,
47    Who Love depose, and Homage pay to Gold.
III
48    Nor yet, if rightly understood,
49    Does Grandeur carry more of Good;
50To be o'th' Number of the Great enroll'd,
51A Scepter o're a Mighty Realm to hold.
52              For what is this?
53              If I not judge amiss.
54But all th'Afflicted of a Land to take,
55And f one single Family to make?
56    The Wrong'd, the Poor, th'Opprest, the Sad,
57    The Ruin'd, Malecontent, and Mad?
58    Which a great Part of ev'ry Empire frame,
59    And Interest in the common Father claime.
60    Again what is't, but always to abide
61    A Gazing Crowd? upon a Stage to spend
62    A Life that's vain, or Evil without End?
63And which is yet not safely held, nor laid aside?
64And then, if lesser Titles carry less of Care,
65Yet none but Fools ambitious are to share
66Such a Mock-Good, of which 'tis said, 'tis Best,
67When of the least of it Men are possest.
IV
68    But, O, the Laurel'd Fool! that doats on Fame,
69    Whose Hope's Applause, whose Fear's to want a Name;
70              Who can accept for Pay
71              Of what he does, what others say;
72    Exposes now to hostile Arms his Breast,
73To toylsome Study then betrays his Rest;
74    Now to his Soul denies a just Content,
75    Then forces on it what it does resent;
76    And all for Praise of Fools: for such are those,
77    Which most of the Admiring Crowd compose.
78    O famisht Soul, which such Thin Food can feed!
79    O Wretched Labour crown'd with such a Meed!
80    Too loud, O Fame! thy Trumpet is, too shrill,
81              To lull a Mind to Rest,
82              Or calme a stormy Breast,
83            Which asks a Musick soft and still.
84            'Twas not Almaleck's vanquisht Cry,
85            Nor Israels shout of Victory,
86            That could in Saul the rising Passion lay,
87'Twas the soft strains of David's Lyre the Evil Spirit chace't away.
V
88    But Friendship fain would yet it self defend,
89              And Mighty Things it does pretend,
90    To be of this Sad Journey, Life, the Baite,
91The Sweet Refection of our toylsome State.
92    But though True Friendship a Rich Cordial be,
93              Alas, by most 'tis so alay'd,
94              Its Good so mixt with Ill we see,
95              That Dross for Gold is often paid.
96    And for one Grain of Friendship that is found,
97    Falshood and Interest do the Mass compound,
98Or coldness, worse than Steel, the Loyal heart doth wound.
99    Love in no Two was ever yet the same,
100    No Happy Two ere felt an Equal Flame.
VI
101    Is there that Earth by Humane Foot ne're prest?
102    That Aire which never yet by Humane Breast
103    Respir'd, did Life supply?
104              Oh, thither let me fly!
105              Where from the World at such a distance set,
106All that's past, present, and to come I may forget:
107    The Lovers Sighs, and the Afflicted Tears,
108    What e're may wound my Eyes or Ears.
109              The grating Noise of Private Jars,
110              The horrid sound of Publick Wars,
111              Of babling Fame the Idle Stories,
112              The short-liv'd Triumphs Noysy-Glories,
113              The Curious Nets the subtile weave,
114              The Word, the Look that may deceive.
115No Mundan Care shall more affect my Breast,
116              My profound Peace shake or molest:
117But Stupor, like to Death, my Senses bind,
118              That so I may anticipate that Rest,
119Which only in my Grave I hope to find.
Publication Start Year: 
1686
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1996-2000.