The Good Thing
The good things of life, if to all we should look
Would swell our poor ballad quite up to a book;
The mere calls of nature contrasted are sma
'Tis greedy ambition that gapes at them all;
Then keep within bounds and limit the ring,
And contentment you'll find is a very good thing.
A competent income, enough to supply,
All we want, we can modestly wish to enjoy,
Is a very good thing, with sufficient in store
To relieve modest merit or give to the poor;
No matter though fortune deny her full swing,
Enough and to spare, is a very good thing.
The Parson himself, who holds self denial,
As a very good thing, when prov'd in the trial,
That by loosing the world we gain the grand prize!
Neglected by souls, thought the wish of the wise;
The money he says is of evil the spring,
Will grant a good living's a very good thing.
When plied with good liquors your Poet will sing
Ambitious of soaring aloof on the wing,
Still aiming at rising in fancy sublime,
To catch nothing less than the laurel in time,
Then carols away, like a bird in the spring,
That a butt of old sack is a very good thing.
Our Lawyers and Doctors in one point agree,
The marrow of practice lies all in the fee;
Both Clients and Patients may find out the cause,
When Physic has drench'd 'em, or drain'd by the laws;
The fee to the palm so attractive will cling,
Your sensitive touch is a very good thing.
With rev'rence an authoriz'd passage we bring,
"He that hath a good wife, has got a good thing."
And the proverb says plainly, "A wife in her shift,
Is allow'd on all hands as a heavenly gift!"
To the queen of good wives then strike ev'ry string,
Ye Bards, a good wife is a very good thing.
But of all the good things while in life we exist,
The blessing of health stand she first on the list;
All orders of men will subscribe to the test,
That 'tis health, florid health, far passes the rest,
Then granting good health such a very good thing,
Let us wish it to all from Peasant to King.
Weekly Museum May 25, 1799 Vol. XI No. 41
Photo courtesy of Telegraph.co.uk