Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MODEST WISH, by JOHN BARCLAY (1582-1621)

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THE MODEST WISH, by            
First Line: Reach incense, boy! Thou pious flamen, pray!
Last Line: And crackling laurel triumphs in the fire.
Alternate Author Name(s): Barclaii, Joannis
Subject(s): Wishes

REACH incense, boy! thou pious Flamen, pray!
To genial Deities these rites we pay.
Fly far from hence, such as are only taught
To fear the Gods by guilt of crime or thought!
This is my suit; grant it, Celestial Powers,
If what my will affects, oppose not yours.
First, pure before your altars may I stand,
And practise studiously what you command;
My parents' faith devoutly let me prize,
Nor what my ancestors esteem'd, despise;
Let me not vex'd inquire (when thriving ill
Depresseth good) why thunder is so still?
No such ambitious knowledge trouble me;
Those curious thoughts advance not Piety:
Peaceful my house, in wife and children bless'd,
Nor these beyond my fortunes be increas'd:
None cozen me with Friendship's specious gloss;
None dearly buy my friendship with their loss:
To suits nor wars my quiet be betray'd;
My quiet, to the Muses justly paid:
Want never force me court the rich with lies,
And intermix my suit with flatteries:
Let my sure friends deceive the tedious light,
And my sound sleeps, with debts not broke, the night:
Cheerful my board, my smiles shar'd by my wife,
O Gods! yet mindful still of human life,
To die nor let me wish nor fear; among
My joys mix griefs, griefs that not last too long:
My age be happy; and when Fate shall claim
My thread of life, let me survive in fame.
Enough: the gods are pleas'd; the flames aspire,
And crackling laurel triumphs in the fire.

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