The Quiet Neighbour

By John Heywood

Accounted our commodities,
Few more commodious reason sees
Than is this one commodity,
Quietly neighbourèd to be.
Which neighbourhood in thee appears.
For we two having ten whole years
Dwelt wall to wall, so joiningly,
That whispering soundeth through well-nigh,
I never heard thy servants brawl
More than thou hadst had none at all.
Nor I can no way make avaunt
That ever I heard thee give them taunt.
Thou are to them and they to thee
More mild than mute – mum ye be.
I hear no noise mine ease to break,
Thy butt’ry door I hear not creak.
Thy kitchen cumbreth not by heat,
Thy cooks chop neither herbs nor meat.
I never heard thy fire once spark,
I never heard thy dog once bark.
I never heard once in thy house
So much as one peep of one mouse.
I never heard thy cat once mew.
These praises are not small nor few.
I bear all water of thy soil,
Whereof I feel no filthy foil,
Save water which doth wash thy hands,
Wherein there none annoyance stands.
Of all thy guests set at thy board
I never heard one speak one word.
I never heard them cough nor hem.
I think thence to Jerusalem,
For this neighbourly quietness
Thou art the neighbour neighbourless.
For ere thou wouldst neighbour annoy
These kinds of quiet to destroy,
Thou rather wouldst to help that matter
At home alone fast bread and water.