Contentment

"Man wants but little here below"

Little I ask; my wants are few;
   I only wish a hut of stone,
(A very plain brown stone will do,)
   That I may call my own;--
And close at hand is such a one,
In yonder street that fronts the sun.

Plain food is quite enough for me;
   Three courses are as good as ten;--
If Nature can subsist on three,
   Thank Heaven for three. Amen!
I always thought cold victual nice;--
My choice would be vanilla-ice.

I care not much for gold or land;--
   Give me a mortgage here and there,--
Some good bank-stock, some note of hand,
   Or trifling railroad share,--
I only ask that Fortune send
A little more than I shall spend.

Honors are silly toys, I know,
   And titles are but empty names;
I would, perhaps, be Plenipo,--
   But only near St. James;
I'm very sure I should not care
To fill our Gubernator's chair.

Jewels are baubles; 't is a sin
   To care for such unfruitful things;--
One good-sized diamond in a pin,--
   Some, not so large, in rings,--
A ruby, and a pearl, or so,
Will do for me; - I laugh at show.

My dame should dress in cheap attire;
   (Good, heavy silks are never dear;)--
I own perhaps I might desire
   Some shawls of true Cashmere,--
Some marrowy crapes of China silk,
Like wrinkled skins on scalded milk.

I would not have the horse I drive
   So fast that folks must stop and stare;
An easy gait - two forty-five--
   Suits me; I do not care;--
Perhaps, for just a single spurt,
Some seconds less would do no hurt.

Of pictures, I should like to own
   Titians and Raphaels three or four,--
I love so much their style and tone,
   One Turner, and no more,
(A landscape, - foreground golden dirt,--
The sunshine painted with a squirt.)

Of books but few, - some fifty score
    For daily use, and bound for wear;
The rest upon an upper floor;--
    Some little luxury there
Of red morocco's gilded gleam
And vellum rich as country cream.

Busts, cameos, gems, -- such things as these,
    Which others often show for pride,
I value for their power to please,
    And selfish churls deride;--
One Stradivarius, I confess,
Two Meerschaums, I would fain possess.

Wealth's wasteful tricks I will not learn,
    Nor ape the glittering upstart fool;--
Shall not carved tables serve my turn,
    But all must be of buhl?
Give grasping pomp its double share,--
I ask but one recumbent chair.

Thus humble let me live and die,
    Nor long for Midas' golden touch;
If Heaven more generous gifts deny,
    I shall not miss them much,--
Too grateful for the blessing lent
Of simple tastes and mind content!