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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Wish

By Thomas Godfrey (1736–1763)

[From Juvenile Poems on Various Subjects. 1765.]

I ONLY ask a moderate fate,

And, though not in obscurity,

I would not, yet, be placed too high;

Between the two extremes I’d be,

Not meanly low, nor yet too great,

From both contempt and envy free.

If no glittering wealth I have,

Content of bounteous heaven I crave,

For that is more

Than all the India’s shining store,

To be unto the dust a slave.

With heart, my little I will use,

Nor let pain my life devour,

Or for a griping heir refuse

Myself one pleasant hour.

No stately edifice to rear;

My wish would bound a small retreat,

In temperate air, and furnished neat;

No ornaments would I prepare,

No costly labors of the loom

Should e’er adorn my humble room;

To gild my roof I naught require

But the stern Winter’s friendly fire.

Free from tumultuous cares and noise,

If gracious Heaven my wish would give,

While sweet content augments my joys,

Thus my remaining hours I’d live.

By arts ignoble never rise,

The miser’s ill-got wealth despise;

But blest my leisure hours I’d spend,

The Muse enjoying, and my friend.