Of Humility

When with returning thoughts I do1 behold
Myself, I find all creatures2 of that mould,
And for the mind, which some say is like gods,
I do not find ’twixt man and beast such odds.
Only the shape of man3 is fit for use,                                    5
Which makes him seem much wiser than a goose.
For had a goose (which seems of simple kind)4
A shape to form and fit things to her5 mind,
To make such creatures as her would6 obey,
Could hunt and shoot those that would ’scape away,        10
As wise would7 seem as man, be as much feared,
As8 when the goose comes near the man be scared.
Who knows but beasts may wiser than men be?
We no such errors or mistakes can see.
Like quiet men they do enjoy their9 rest;                             15
To eat and drink in peace, they think it best.
Their food is all they seek, the rest think vain
If not unto10 eternity remain.
Despise not beasts,11 nor yet be proud of art,
But Nature thank for forming so each part.                        20
And since all knowledge by your form you gain,12
Then let not pride above your reason reign.13
For if that14 motion in your brain works best,
Despise not beast ’cause motion is15 depressed.
Nor boast16 of speech ’cause reason it17 can show,            25
For beasts18 hath reason too for aught19 we know.
Shape doth inform the mind of what we20 find,
Which being taught, man’s21 wiser than beast-kind.22

  1. I do] my selfe 1653
  2. Myself, I find all creatures] I find all Creatures else made 1653
  3. man] Men 1653
  4. (which seems of simple kind)] which seems of Simple Kind, 1664
  5. her] his 1653
  6. her would] himselfe 1653; would her 1668
  7. would] she’ld 1664, 1668
  8. As] And 1664; And, 1668
  9. they do enjoy their] besides they joy in 1653
  10. not unto] they not to 1664, 1668
  11. beasts,] Beast, 1653
  12. all knowledge by your form you gain,] your Knowledge is begot by form, 1653
  13. Then let not pride above your reason reign.] Let not your Pride that Reason overcome. 1653
  14. For if that] When you find 1664, 1668
  15. Despise not beast ‘cause motion is] Then slight not Beasts, for being in them 1664, 1668
  16. boast] proud 1653
  17. it] you 1653
  18. beasts] Beast 1653
  19. aught] all 1653
  20. Shape doth inform the mind of what we] But Shape the Mind informes with what doth 1653
  21. man’s] is 1653
  22. beast-kind.] Beast kind. 1664