Page images
PDF
EPUB

208 GOOD TEMPER. VIRTUE. KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM. — Cowper.

and Wisdom, far from being one, Have oft times no connection. Knowledge dwells In heads replete with thoughts of other men; Wisdom, in minds attentive to their own. Knowledge, — a rude, unprofitable mass, The mere materials with which Wisdom builds, — Till smoothed, and squared, and fitted to its place, Does but encumber whom it seems to enrich! Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much, Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.

GOOD TEMPER. — More.

Since trifles make the sum of human things,
And half our misery from our foibles springs;
Since life's best joys consist in peace and ease,
And though but few can serve, yet all may please;
O, let the ungentle spirit learn from hence,
A small unkindness is a great offence!

VIRTUE. — Old English Poetry.

The sturdy rock, for all his strength,
By raging seas is rent in twain;

The marble stone is pierced at length
With little drops of drizzling rain;

The ox doth yield unto the yoke;

The steel obeyeth the hammer stroke.

Yea, man himself, unto whose will All things are bounden to obey,
For all his wit, and worthy skill, Doth fade at length, and fall away.
There is no thing but time doth waste;The heavens, the earth, consume at last.

But Virtue sits, triumphing still,
Upon the throne of glorious Fame;

Though spiteful Death man's body kill,
Yet hurts he not his virtuous name.

By life or death, whatso betides,

The state of Virtue never slides.

CONSTANCY. — George Herbert.

Who is the honest man? He that doth still and strongly good pursue, To God, his neighbor, and himself, most true;

Whom neither force nor frowning can
Unpin, or wrench from giving all their due.

Whose honesty is not
So loose or easy, that a ruffling wind
Can blow away, or glittering look it blind;

Who rides his sure and even trot,
While the world now rides by, now lags behind.

Who, when great trials come,
Nor seeks nor shuns them; but doth calmly stay
Till he the thing and the example weigh;

All being brought into a sum,
What place or person calls for, he doth pay.
210 TIMES GO BY TURNS. Whom none can work or woo
To use in anything a trick or sleight;
Far above all things he abhors deceit;

His words, and works, and fashion, too,
All of a piece, and all are clear and straight.

Who never melts or thaws
At close temptations! when the day is done
His goodness sets not, but in dark can run;

The sun to others writeth laws
And is their virtue; virtue is his sun.

Who, when he is to treat With sick folks, women, those whom passions sway, Allows for that, and keeps his constant way;

Whom others' faults do not defeat, But, though men fail him, yet his part doth play.

Whom nothing can procure, When the wide world runs bias from his will, To writhe his limbs, and share, not mend, the ill.

This is the marksman, safe and sure, Who still is right and prays to be so still.

TIMES GO BY TURNS. — Southwell, bora in 1560.

The lopped tree in time may grow again,
Most naked plants renew both fruit and flower;
The sorriest wight may find release of pain;
The driest soil suck up some moistening shower;
Times go by turns, and chances change by course,
From foul to fair, from befte hap to worse.

The sea of Fortune doth not ever flow;
She draws her favors to the lowest ebb;
Her tides have equal times to come and go;
Her loom doth weave the fine and coarsest web;
No joy so great but runneth to an end,
No hap so hard but may in fine amend.

Not always fall of leaf, nor ever spring;
Not endless night, nor yet eternal day;
The saddest birds a season find to sing;
The roughest storm a calm may soon allay;
Thus with succeeding turns God tempereth all,
That man may hope to rise, yet fear to fall.

A chance may win that by mischance was lost;

That net that holds no great, takes little fish;

In some things all, in all things none, are crossed;

Few all they need, but none have all they wish.

Unmingled joys here to no man befall;

Who least, have some; who most, have never all.

TO SORROW. — Milnes.

Sister Sorrow! sit beside me,
Or, if I must wander, guide me;
Let me take thy hand in mine,
Cold alike are mine and thine.

Think not, Sorrow, that I hate thee, -
Think not I am frightened at thee, —
Thou art come for some good end,
I will treat thee as a friend.

212 TO SORROW.

I will say that thou art bound
My unshielded soul to wound
By some force without thy will,
And art tender-minded still.

I will say thou givest scope
To the breath and light of hope;
That thy gentle tears have weight
Hardest hearts to penetrate:

That thy shadow brings together
Friends long lost in sunny weather,
With an hundred offices
Beautiful and blest as these.

Softly takest thou the crown
From my haughty temples down;
Place it on thine own pale brow,
Pleasure wears one — why not thou?

Let the blossoms glitter there
On thy long, unhanded hah",
And, when I have borne my pain,
Thou wilt give them me again.

If thou goest, sister Sorrow!
I shall look for thee to-morrow, —
I shall often see thee drest
As a masquerading guest:

And, howe'er thou hid'st the name,
I shall know thee still the same,
As thou sit'st beside me now,
With my garland on thy brow.

« PreviousContinue »