Beside his fold, and free from every care,
A Shepherd, Amphitrite′s neighbour, lived for years;
Small was his fortune, yet while skies were fair,
He was contented, vexed by cares nor fears.
At last the treasures cast upon the shore
Tempted the man; he bartered flock and fold,
And sent forth ships to bring him back the more;
But tempests sank the vessels and the gold.
Once more he went to watch the silly sheep,
No longer master as he had been long,
When his own flocks he used to ward and keep,
And poets called him Tircis in their song;
Now he was Pierrot, and that was all.
After some time he, once more well to do,
Had flocks again to answer to his call;
One day when winds were low, and vessels drew
Safely towards the shore and home, the Shepherd stood
Upon the sunny cliff: "Fair nymphs," he cried,
"Seek some one else, I pray you be so good;
Ma foi, you don′t catch me with any tide."
This story is not merely meant to please;
It′s sober truth, I say, and serves to show
That pence are better if all safe, you know,
Than pounds of promises; when once at ease,
Remain content, and closely shut your ears
To Circe′s wiles, resist her wanton smiles.
Ambition and the Sea, avoid them both,
They′re full of miseries and racking fears;
For one who wins there′s twenty thousand don′t.
Rely on that; the winds and thieves are loth
To lose their prey (and trust to them)—they won′t.