Content and Rich, by Saint Robert Southwell

illustration of Father Robert Southwell, SJ, artist unknown, published in the Illustrated Catholic Family Annual, 1873I dwell in grace’s court,
   Enriched with virtue’s rights;
Truth guides my wit, love leads my will,
   Hope all my mind delights.

In lowly vales I mount
   To pleasure’s highest pitch;
My happy shroud true honors brings,
   My poor estate is rich.

My conscience is my crown,
   Contented thoughts my rest;
My heart is happy in itself,
   My bliss is in my breast.

Enough I reckon wealth;
   A mean the surest lot,
That lies too high for base contempt,
   Too low for envy’s shot.

My wishes are but few,
   All essay to fulfil;
I make the limits of my power
   The bounds unto my will.

I have no hopes, but one,
   Which is of heavenly reign;
Effects attained or not desired
   All lower hopes refrain.

I fetl no care of coin,
   Well-doing is my wealth;
My mind to me an empire is,
   While grace affordeth health.

I clip high-climbing thoughts,
   The wings of swelling pride;
Their fall is worst, that from the height
   Of greatest honors slide.

Since sails of largest size
   The storm doth soonest tear,
I bear so low and small a sail
   As freeth me from fear.

I wrestle not with rage
   While fury’s flame cloth burn;
It is in vain to stop the stream
   Until the tide do turn.

But when the flame is out,
   And ebbing wrath doth end,
I turn a late enraged foe
   Into a quiet friend.

And taught with often proof,
   A tempered calm I find
To be most solace to itself,
   Best cure for angry mind.

Spare diet is my fare,
   My clothes more fit than fine;
I know I feed and clothe a foe
   That pampered would repine.

I envy not their hap
   Whom favor doth advance;
I take no pleasure in their pain
   That have less happy chance.

To rise by others’ fall
   I deem a losing gain;
All states with others’ ruins built
   To ruin run amain.

No change of fortune’s calms
   Can cast my comforts down;
When fortune smiles, I smile to think
   How quickly she will frown.

And when in froward mood
   She proves an angry foe,
Small gain I found to let her come,
   Less loss to let her go.

Saint Robert Southwell