William Cowper

26 November 1731 – 25 April 1800 / Hertfordshire

On Envy (From The Greek)

Pity, says the Theban bard,
From my wishes I discard;
Envy, let me rather be,
Rather far, a theme for thee.
Pity to distress is shown.
Envy to the great alone--
So the Theban -- But to shine
Less conspicuous be mine!
I prefer the golden mean,
Pomp and penury between;
For alarm and peril wait
Ever on the loftiest state
And the lowest to the end
Obloquy and scorn attend.
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