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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

A Picture of Domestic Happiness

By Juan Boscán (d. 1542)

From ‘Epistle to Mendoza’

’TIS peace that makes a happy life,—

And that is mine through my sweet wife;

Beginning of my soul, and end,

I’ve gained new being through this friend;—

She fills each thought and each desire,

Up to the height I would aspire.

This bliss is never found by ranging;

Regret still springs from saddest changing;

Such loves, and their beguiling pleasures,

Are falser still than magic treasures,

Which gleam at eve with golden color,

And change to ashes ere the morrow.

But now each good that I possess,

Rooted in truth and faithfulness,

Imparts delight to every sense;

For erst they were a mere pretense,

And long before enjoyed they were,

They changed their smiles to grisly care.

Now pleasures please; love being single,

Evils with its delights ne’er mingle.


And thus, by moderation bounded,

I live by my own goods surrounded,

Among my friends, my table spread

With viands we may eat nor dread;

And at my side my sweetest wife,

Whose gentleness admits no strife,—

Except of jealousy the fear,

Whose soft reproaches more endear;

Our darling children round us gather,—

Children who will make me grandfather.

And thus we pass in town our days,

Till the confinement something weighs;

Then to our village haunt we fly,

Taking some pleasant company,—

While those we love not never come

Anear our rustic, leafy home.

For better ’tis to philosophize,

And learn a lesson truly wise

From lowing herd and bleating flock,

Than from some men of vulgar stock;

And rustics, as they hold the plough,

May often good advice bestow.

Of love, too, we may have the joy:

For Phœbus as a shepherd-boy

Wandered once among the clover,

Of some fair shepherdess the lover;

And Venus wept, in rustic bower,

Adonis turned to purple flower,

And Bacchus ’midst the mountains drear

Forgot the pangs of jealous fear;

And nymphs that in the water play

(’Tis thus that ancient fables say),

And Dryads fair among the trees,

Fain the sprightly Fauns would please.

So in their footsteps follow we,—

My wife and I,—as fond and free,

Love in our thoughts and in our talk;

Direct we slow our sauntering walk

To some near murmuring rivulet,

Where ’neath a shady beech we sit,

Hand clasped in hand, and side by side,—

With some sweet kisses, too, beside,—

Contending there, in combat kind,

Which best can love with constant mind.


Thus our village life we live,

And day by day such joys receive;

Till, to change the homely scene,

Lest it pall while too serene,

To the gay city we remove,

Where other things there are to love;

And graced by novelty, we find

The city’s concourse to our mind;

While our new coming gives a joy

Which ever staying might destroy.

We spare all tedious compliment;

Yet courtesy with kind intent,

Which savage tongues alone abuse,

Will often the same language use.


And Monleon, our dearest guest,

Will raise our mirth by many a jest;

For while his laughter rings again,

Can we to echo it refrain?

And other merriment is ours,

To gild with joy the lightsome hours.

But all too trivial would it look,

Written down gravely in a book:

And it is time to say adieu,

Though more I have to write to you.

Another letter this shall tell:

So now, my dearest friend, farewell.