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Thou hast seen many sorrows, travel-stained pilgrim of the world.
But that which hath vexed thee most hath been the looking for evil;
And though calamities have crossed thee, and misery been heaped on thy head,
Yet ills, that never happened, have chiefly made thee wretched.
The sting of pain and the edge of pleasure are blunted by long expectation,
For the gall and the balm alike are diluted in the waters of patience:
And often thou sippest sweetness, ere the cup is dashed from thy lip;
Or drainest the gall of fear, while evil is passing by thy dwelling.
A man too careful of danger liveth in continual torment,
But a cheerful expecter of the best hath a fountain of joy within him:
Yea, though the breath of disappointment should chill the sanguine heart,
Speedily gloweth it again, warmed by the have embers of hope;
Though the black and heavy surge close above the head for a moment,
Yet the happy buoyancy of Confidence riseth superior to Despair.
Verily, evils may be courted, may be wooed and won by distrust:
For the wise Physician of our weal loveth not an unbelieving spirit;
And to those giveth He good, who rely on His hand for good;
And those leaveth He to evil, who fear, but trust Him not.
Ask for good, and hope it, for the ocean of good is fathomless;
Ask for good, and have it; for thy Friend would see thee happy;
But to the timid heart, to the child of unbelief and dread.
That leaneth on his own weak staff, and trusteth the sight of his eyes,
The evil he feared shall come, for the soil is ready for the seed.
And suspicion hath coldly put aside the hand that was ready to help him.
Therefore look up, sad spirit; be strong, thou coward heart.
Or fear will make thee wretched, though evil follow not behind:
Cease to anticipate misfortune; there are still many chances of escape;
But if it come, be courageous: face it, and conquer thy calamity.
There is not an enemy so stout, as to storm and take the fortress of the mind,
Unless its infirmity turn traitor, and Fear unbar the gates.
The valiant standeth as a rock, and the billows break upon him;
The timorous is a skiff unmoored, tost and mocked at by a ripple:
The valiant holdeth fast to good, till evil wrench it from him;
The timorous casteth it aside, to meet the worst half way:
Yet oftentimes is evil but a braggart, that provoketh and will not fight;
Or the feint of a subtle fencer, who measiureth his thrust elsewhere:
Or perchance a blessing in a masque, sent to try thy trust,
The precious smiting of a friend, whose frowns are all in love:
Often the storm threateneth, but is driven to other climes.
And the weak hath quaUed in fear, while the firm hath been glad in his confidence.
Transcribed from Proverbial Philosophy by Mick Puttock (Spelling, punctuation and grammer left mostly unchanged from the 25th edition)
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"Of Anticipation. from Proverbial Philosophy" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 18 Sep. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/56148/of-anticipation.-from-proverbial-philosophy>.