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WITH such unshaken temper of the soul
To bear the swelling tide of prosp'rous fortune,
Is to deserve that fortune. In adversity
The mind grows tough by buffeting the tempest,
But in success dissolving sinks to ease
And loses all her firmness.
LORENZO, Fortune makes her court to thee;
Thy fond heart dances while the syren sings.
Dear is thy welfare; think me not unkind;
I would not damp, but to secure thy joys.
Think not that fear is sacred to the storm :
Stand on thy guard against the smiles of fate;
Is heav'n tremendous in its frowns ? Most sure;
And in its favour formidable too;
Its favours here are trials not rewards,
A call to duty not discharge from care ;
And should alarm us full as much as woes ;
Awake us to their cause and consequence;
And make us tremble, weigh'd with our desert;
Awe Nature's tumult, and chastise her joys,
Lest while we clasp, we kill them, nay invert
To worse than simple misery their charms.
Revolted joys like foes in civil war,
Like bosom friendships to resentment sour'd
With rage envenom'd rise against our peace.
Beware what earth calls happiness; beware
All joys but joys that never can expire.
Who builds on less than an immortal base
Fond as he seems, condemns his joys to death,
Young. Night Thoughts. Night 1.
HERE feel we but the penalty of Adam,
The seasons' difference; as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind;
Which when it bites and blows upon my body,
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile, and say,—
This is no flattery; these are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.
Sweet are the uses of adversity;
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.
As You Like It, Act II.
PROSPERITY gains friends and Adversity tries them.
Thou chiefest good !
Bestow'd by Heav'n but seldom understood.
Who hath not known ill-fortune, never knew
Himself, or his own virtue.
IF misfortune comes she brings along
The bravest virtues.* And so many great
Illustrious spirits have convers'd with woe,
Have in her school been taught, as are enough
To consecrate distress, and make ambition
E’en wish the frown beyond the smile of fortune.
A HARDER lesson to learne continence
In joyous pleasure than in grievous paine :
For sweetnesse doth allure the weaker sence
So strongly, that uneathes it can refraine
From that which feeble nature covets faine :
But griefe and wrath, that be her enemies
And foes of life, she better can restraine :
Yet Vertue vaurtes in both her victories.
Faëry Queen, Book II., Canto 6.
As at th' approach of winter all
The leaves of great trees use to fall,
And leave them naked to engage
With storms and tempests when they rage,
While humbler plants are found to wear
Their fresh green liv'ries all the year;
So when the glorious season's gone
With great men, and hard times come on,
The great'st calamities oppress
The greatest still, and spare the less.
BUTLER. Miscellaneous Thoughts.
* The effect of supreme and irrevocable misfortune is to elevate those souls which it does not deprive of all virtue.
Consolation in Misfortune.
His only solace was, that now
His dog-bolt fortune was so low,
That either it must quickly end,
Or turn about again and mend.
Hudibras, Part II., Canto 1.
A Man's Happiness or Misery not always rightly estimated by
the world. BESIDES the several pieces of morality to be drawn out of this vision, I learnt from it never to repine at my own misfortune or to envy the happiness of another, since it is impossible for any man to form a right judgment of his neighbour's sufferings, for which reason also I have determined never to think lightly of another's complaints, but to regard the sorrows of my fellow creatures with sentiments of humanity and compassion.
Spectator, No. 599.
FULL many a stoic eye and aspect stern
Mask hearts where grief hath little left to learn;
And many a withering thought lies hid, not lost,
In smiles that least befit who wear them most.
BYRON. The Corsair, Canto III.
As a beam o'er the face of the waters may glow,
While the tide runs in darkness and coldness below;
So the cheek may be ting'd with a warm sunny smile,
While the cold heart to ruin runs darkly the while.
Not oft to smile descended he,
And when he doth 'tis sad to see
That he but mocks at misery.
BYRON. The Giaour.
Thou art the wine whose drunkenness is all
We can desire, O Love! and happy souls
Ere from thy vine the leaves of Autumn fall
Catch thee and feed from their o'erflowing bowls,
Thousands who thirst for thy Ambrosial dew.
Thou art the radiance which where ocean rolls
Investeth it, and when the heavens are blue
Thou fillest them; and when the earth is fair
The shadows of thy moving wings imbue
Its deserts, and its mountains, till they wear
Beauty like some bright robe—thou ever soarest
Among the towers of men; and as soft air
In spring, which moves the unawakened forest,
Clothing with leaves its branches bare and bleak,
Thou floatest among men; and aye implorest
That which from thee they should implore; the weak
Alone kneel to thee, offering up the hearts
The strong have broken-yet where shall any seek
A garment whom thou clothest not?
THE crown of these
Is made of love and friendship, and sits high
Upon the forehead of humanity.
All its more ponderous and bulky worth
Is friendship, whence there ever issues forth
A steady splendour; but at the tip-top,
There hangs by unseen film, an orbed drop
Of light, and that is love: its influence
Thrown in our eyes genders a novel sense,
At which we start and fret; till in the end,
Melting into its radiance we blend,
Mingle and so become a part of it.-
Nor with aught else can our souls interknit
So wingedly :
Ay, so delicious is the unsating food,
That men, who might have tower'd in the van
Of all the congregated world, to fan
And winnow from the coming step of time
All chaff of custom, wipe away all slime
Left by men-slugs and human serpentry,
Have been content to let occasion die,
Whilst they did sleep in love's Elysium.
And, truly, I would rather be struck dumb
Than speak against this ardent listlessness :
For I have ever thought that it might bless
The world with benefits unknowingly;
As does the nightingale, up-perched high,
And cloister'd among cool and bunched leaves-
She sings but to her love, nor e'er conceives
How tip-toe Night holds back her dark-grey hood.
KEATS. Endymion, Book I.
Most sacred Fyre, that burnest mightily
In living brests, ykindled first above
Emongst th' eternall spheres and lamping sky,
And thence pourd into Men, which Men call Love;
Not that same, which doth base affections move
In brutish mindes, and filthy lust inflame;
But that sweete fit that doth true beautie love,
And choseth Vertue for his dearest dame,
Whence spring all noble deedes and never-dying fame.
SPENSER, Faëry Queen, Book III., Canto 3.
In loving thou dost well, in passion not,
Wherein true love consists not: love refines
The thoughts, and heart enlarges; hath his seat
* and is judicious; is the scale
By which to heavenly love thou may'st ascend,
Not sunk in carnal pleasure ; for which cause,
Among the beasts no mate for thee was found.
Paradise Lost, Book VIII. · SUCH ones ill judge of Love, that cannot love,
Ne in their frosen hearts feele kindly flame;
Forthy they ought not thing unknowne reprove,
Ne naturall affection faultlesse blame
For fault of few that have abus'd the same:
For it of honor and all vertue is
The roote, and brings forth glorious flowres of fame,
That crowne true lovers with immortall blis,
The meed of them that love, and do not love amisse.
Faëry Queen, Book IV.
A WORLD of things must curiously be sought,
A world of things must be together brought,
To make up charms which have the pow'r to move
Through a discerning eye true love;
That is a masterpiece above
What only looks and shape can do,
There must be wit and judgment too;
Greatness of thought and worth, which draw
From the whole world, respect and awe.
* That which is to be loved long, must be loved
With reason rather than with passion.
DR. JOHNSON. Idler.