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NATHANIEL COTTON
English poet and physician
(1705 - 1788)

All my ambition is, I own,
  To profit and to please unknown;
    Like streams supplied from springs below,
      Which scatter blessings as they go.
      - [Ambition]

Be mine that silent calm repast,
  A conscience cheerful to the last:
    That tree which bears immortal fruit,
      Without a canker at the root;
        That friend which never fails the just,
          When other friends desert their trust.
      - [Conscience]

Though fools spurn Hymen's gentle pow'rs,
  We who improve his golden hours,
    By sweet experience know,
      That marriage, rightly understood,
        Gives to the tender and the good
          A paradise below.
      - [Marriage]

'Tis reason's part
  To govern and to guard the heart,
    To lull the wayward soul to rest,
      When hopes and fears distract the breast;
        Reason may calm this doubtful strife,
          And steer thy bark through various life.
      - [Reason]

Yet still we hug the dear deceit.
      - [Deceit]

If solid happiness we prize,
  Within our breast this jewel lies,
    And they are fools who roam;
      The world has nothing to bestow,
        From our own selves our bliss must flow,
          And that dear hut,--our home.
      - The Fireside [Happiness]

We'll therefore relish with content,
  Whate'er kind providence has sent,
    Nor aim beyond our pow'r;
      For, if our stock be very small,
        'Tis prudent to enjoy it all,
          Nor lose the present hour.
      - The Fireside (st. 10) [Contentment]

To be resign'd when ills betide,
  Patient when favours are denied,
    And pleased with favours given;--
      Dear Chloe, this is wisdom's part,
        That is that incense of the heart
          Whose fragrance smells to heaven.
      - The Fireside (st. 11) [Resignation]

To-morrow, didst thou say?
  Methought I heard Horatio say, To-morrow!
    Go to--I will not hear it. To-morrow!
      'Tis a sharper--who stakes his penury
        Against thy plenty--takes thy ready cash,
          And pays thee naught but wishes, hopes, and promises,
            The currency of idiots--injurious bankrupt,
              That gulls the easy creditor!
      - To-morrow [Tomorrow]

Hold the fleet angel fast until he bless thee.
      - To-morrow (l. 36) [Angels]

I stew all night in my own grease.
      - Virgil Travestie (p. 35), (ed. 1807)
        [Punishment]


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