A Moral Discourse of Corn


The yellow-bearded2 corn bows down each head,
Like gluttons when their stomach’s overfed.
Or like to3 those whose wealth makes4 heavy cares,
So doth the full-ripe corn hang5 down their ears.
For6 plenty makes oppression, gives small ease,                     5
And superfluity is a disease.
Yet all that Nature makes doth still aspire7
Forward to get, never doth back retire,8
Until the scythe9 of Death doth lay them low
Upon the Earth, from whence they first did10 grow.              10
Then who would hoard up wealth, and take such pains,
Since nothing but the Earth has11 all the gains?
No riches are, but what i’th’mind is found;12
They are but13 poor, who seek them under ground.14
For Time, that feeds on life, makes all things fall,                  15
Is never satisfied, but15 eats up all.
Then let the minds of men in peace take16 rest,
And count a moderation still the best,
And grumble not, nor17 covet Nature’s store—
For those that are content can ne’er be poor—                       20
And18 bless the gods, submit to their decree,
Think all things best, what they are pleased shall19 be.
He that doth grumbl’at what he20 cannot mend
Is one that takes a thing at the wrong end.

  1. Discourse of Corn] Description of Corne. 1653
  2. yellow-bearded] yellow Bearded 1653
  3. to] as 1664, 1668
  4. makes] make 1653
  5. hang] bow 1653
  6. For] Thus 1653
  7. doth still aspire] aspiring runs 1653
  8. Forward to get, never doth back retire,] Still forward for to get, nere backward turnes; 1653
  9. scythe] Sight 1653
  10. they first did] at first they 1653
  11. has] hath 1653
  12. i’th’mind is found;] the Mind doth keep: 1653
  13. They are but] And they are 1653
  14. seek them under ground.] from the Earth do seek. 1653
  15. but] yet 1653
  16. take] to 1653
  17. And grumble not, nor] Nor grumble not, nor 1653 And do not Grumble, or 1664
  18. And] But 1664, 1668
  19. shall] must 1664, 1668
  20. He that doth grumbl’at what he] For he that murmures at what 1653