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The knight full gladly soone agreed thereto, [go.
XVIII. Tho when they had their hunger slaked well, And the fayre mayd the tables ta’ne away, The gentle knight, as he that did excell In courtesie, and well could doe and say, For so great kindnesse as he found that day, Gan greately thanke his host and his good wife, And drawing thence his speach another way, Gan highly to commend the happie life Which shepheards lead without debate or bitter strife.
XIX. “ How much,” sayd he “ more happie is the state “ In which ye, Father, here doe dwell at ease, “ Leading a life so free and fortunate « From all the tempests of these worldly seas, “ Which tosse the rest in daungerous disease; “ Where warres, and wreckes, and wicked enmitie “ Doe them afflict, which no man can appease ? “That certes I your happinesse envie, “And wish my lot were plast in such felicitie.”
XX. “ Surely, my Sonne," then answer'd he againe, “ If happie, then it is in this intent, “ That having small, yet doe I not complaine “Of want, ne wish for more it to augment, “ But doe myselfe with that I have content; “ So taught of Nature, which doth litle need “ Of forreine helpes to life's due nourishment; “ The fields my food, my flocke my rayment breed; “ Na better doe I weare, no better doe I feed.
XXI. 6. Therefore I doe not any one'envy, “ Nor am envyde of any one therefore ; “They that have much, feare much to loose thereby, « And store of cares doth follow riches store : " The litle that I have grows dayly more “ Without my care, but onely to attend it; “My lambes doe every yeare increase their score, « And my flockęs father daily doth amend it. “ What have I but to praise th’ Almighty that doth
(send it? « To them that list the world's gay showes I leave, « And to great ones such follies doe forgive, “Which oft through pride doe their owne perill weave, “ And through ambition downe themselves doe drive “ To sad decay, that inight contented live : “Me no such cares nor combrous thoughts offend, “ Ne once my mind's unmoved quiet grieve, “ But all the night in silver sleepe I spend, « And all the day to what I list I doe attend.
XXIII. 66 Sometimes I hunt the fox, the vowed foe “ Unto my lambes, and him dislodge away ; “ Sometime the fawne I practise from the doe, 66 Or from the goat her kidde how to convay; « Another while I baytes and nets display, “ The birds to catch, or fishes to beguyle : “ And when I wearie am, I downe doe lay “ My limbes in every shade, to rest from toyle, “And drinke of every brooke, when thirst my throte
XXVII. Yet to occasion meanes to worke his mind, And to insinuate his hart's desire, He thus replyde; “ Now surely, Syre, I find « That all this world's gay showes, which we admire, " Be but vaine shadows to this safe retyre “ Of life, which here in lowlinesse ye
lead, “ Fearelesse of foes, or Fortune's wrackfull yrę, “ Which tosseth states, and under foot doth tread “The mightieones, affrayd of every chaunge's dread.
XXVIII. “ That even I, which daily doe behold “ The glorie of the great, mongst whom I won, " And now have prov'd what happinesse ye hold “ In this small plot of your dominion, “ Now loath great lordship and ambition, " And wish th' heavens so much had graced mee, “As graunt me live in like condition, “ Or that my fortunes might transposed bee “ From pitch of higher place unto this low degree."
XXIX. “ In vaine," said then old Melibee,“ doe men, • The heavens of their fortune's fault accuse, “ Sith they know best what is the best for them; “ For they to each such fortune doe diffuse, “ As they doe know each can most aptly use : 6. For not that which men covet most is best, « Nor that thing worst which men do most refuse; " But fittest is that all contented rest [brest. “ With that they hold : each hath his fortune in his