There were two hearts an hundred acres wide,
Hedged round about,2 and ditched on every side.
The one was very rich and fertile ground,
The other barren, where small good was found.
In pasture,3 grass of virtue grew up high, 5
Where noble thoughts did feed continually.
Some grew like horses, nimble, strong, and4 large,
Fit for the manage, or in war to charge.
Others, like kine, did5 give the milk of wit,
And cream of wisdom for grave counsels fit. 10
The sheep of patience had wool6 thick and long
Upon their backs and sides, to keep out wrong.
Rich meadows, where the hay of faith doth7 grow,
Which with the scythes of reason down we8 mow;
Devotion9 stacked it up on haycocks high, 15
Lest in the wint’r of10 death the soul should die.
The barren ground nothing but weeds did bear.11
No fruit, no corn, no seed that’s good grew there,12
But sour rye of ill nature up did spring,13
Which doth the colic of displeasure bring,14 20
And cruel hempseed, hanging ropes to make,
And treacherous linseed, little birds15 to take,
And many such like seeds this ground doth bear,16
As coal black brank, and melancholy tare.
Nay, some parts so insipid were, and17 dry, 25
That neither furse nor ling would18 grow, but die.
The rich ground, by19 good education plowed,
Deep furrows of discretion had20 allowed,
And several sorts of seeds about did sow,21
Where crops of actions good in full ears22 grow: 30
First,23 wheat of charity, a fruitful seed—
It makes24 the bread of life the poor to feed—
Barley, whose spirits strong do25 courage make,
For he that drinks them26 no affront will take;
And hospitable pease27 firm friendship breeds;28 35
And grateful oats, restoring still good deeds.29
This corn by fame’s sharp scythe is reaped30 and cut,
And into large great barns of honor put.
Where Truth doth thresh it out from gross abuse,
And31 Honesty doth grind it fit for use. 40
- Of Two Hearts] Nature’s Fields and Meadows. 1664; Nature’s Fields and Meadows. 1668. The title in 1664 and 1668 is similar to a marginal note in Cavendish’s 1653 text, which reads, “Nature’s Arable, and Meadow.”
- Hedged round about,] Which hedg’d were round, 1653
- pasture,] Pastures 1664; Pastures, 1668
- Some grew like horses, nimble, strong, and] There they grew nimble, strong, and very 1653
- Others, like kine, did] Or like good Kine, that 1653
- The sheep of patience had wool] And Sheep of Patience, whose Wool is 1653
- Rich meadows, where the hay of faith doth] Meadows of Grace, where Hay of Faith did 1664; Meadows of Grace, where Hay of Faith did 1668
- with the scythes of reason down we] Hay the Sithes of Reason down did 1664; Hay, the Sithes of Reason down did 1668
- Devotion] Devotions 1653
- Lest in the wint’r of] For feare in the Winter 1653
- The barren ground nothing but weeds did bear.] On Barren Ground there nothing well will grow; 1653
- No fruit, no corn, no seed that’s good grew there,] Which is the cause I no good Seed will sow. 1653
- But sour rye of ill nature up did spring,] First, soure Rye of crabbed Nature ill, 1653
- doth the colic of displeasure bring,] gives the Collick of displeasure still. 1653
- little birds] small Birds for 1653
- And many such like seeds this ground doth bear,] These and such many other Seeds grew there 1664; These, and such many other Seeds grew there, 1668
- Nay, some parts so insipid were, and] The other parts so sipid, and so 1653
- would] will 1653
- The rich ground, by] Rich Arable 1653
- had] well 1653
- several sorts of seeds about did sow,] then of several sorts Seeds thrown into, 1664; then, of several sorts, Seeds thrown into 1668
- Where crops of actions good in full ears] Crops of good Actions in full Ears made 1664; Crops of good Actions, in full Ears made 1668
- First,] The 1664, 1668
- It makes] Making 1664, 1668
- Barley, whose spirits strong do] Ripe valiant Barley, which strong 1653
- For he that drinks them] Drinking the Spirits 1653
- And hospitable pease] Pease Hospitable which 1664; Pease Hospitable, which 1668
- breeds;] breed, 1664; breed; 1668
- still good deeds.] a good Deed: 1664; a good Deed. 1668
- by fame’s sharp scythe is reaped] is reapt by Fames sharp Sithe, 1653
- And] Then 1653