Walking abroad, once in a summer’s day,
And (as I well remember) ’twas in May,
Being tired with fancies, and my panting breast
Being full of trouble, I looked where I might rest.
Then down I threw myself upon the grass;
Some solitary hours I thought to pass.
Leaning my head against a sycamore,
My heavy eyes upon the ground did pore.
Musing and looking on my Mother Earth,
To which I must, from whence I drew my breath,
Then did I think how I to dust must turn,
And lie forgotten in my silent urn,
Where I should lose the comfortable sight
Of my dear friends, and all-discovering light.
As I these thoughts within my mind revolved,
Sighs fills my heart, till they in tears dissolved;
Then, clearing of mine eyes, I looked about
What I could see to put these sorrows out
Of my sad heart; where instantly I spied
A hill of pismires, who their labor plied,
Some luggered up and down their flatious issue,
And some with glitt’ring wings that shone like tissue;
The rest their wheat and other nibbled grain
Did lay in store from winter’s storms and rain;
And only those with shining wings did play,
Seeming to keep perpetual holiday.
Then instantly my busy mind was hurled,
Thinking they were an emblem of the world.
For all which from this earth do draw their breath
Still moil and labour in this dunghill earth.
From kings, who earth’s elixir seem to have,
Unto the naked, sunburnt female slave,
Who with her sweaty, knotty locks unbound
About the giddy mill, doth trot around.
For who is free, until his soul doth spring
From’s earthly clog, and joyfully takes wing:
Then, from that distance, we perceive (most plain)
That all our moiling here is but in vain.
For earthly glory is our sight’s delusion,
It proving but a chaos of confusion.
O then, as I in Heaven have placed my love,
So I’m ambitious of those joys above;
Grant me the wings of some unspotted dove,
To ease the troubles of my throbbing breast,
That I may fly to my eternal rest.