A Happy Life
O what a life is this I lead,
Far from the hum of human greed;
Where Crows, like merchants dressed in black,
Go leisurely to work and back;
Where Swallows leap and dive and float,
And Cuckoo sound his cheerful note;
Where Skylarks now in clouds do rave,
Half mad with fret that their souls have
By hundreds far more joyous notes
Than they can manage with their throats.
The ploughman's heavy horses run
The field as if in fright - for fun,
Or stand and laugh in voices shrill;
Or roll upon their backs until
The sky's kicked small enough - they think;
Then to a pool they go and drink.
The kine are chewing their old cud,
Dreaming, and never think to add
Fresh matter that will taste - as they
Lie motionless, and dream away.
I hear the sheep a-coughing near;
Like little children, when they hear
Their elders' sympathy - so these
Sheep force their coughs on me, and please;
And many a pretty lamb I see,
Who stops his play on seeing me,
And runs and tells his mother then.
Lord, who would live in towns with men,
And hear the hum of human greed -
With such a life as this to lead?