Page images

Make the best use of thy prosperity,
And then of thy reverses when they happen.
For good and evil fortune come and go,
Revolving like a wheel in sure rotation.


Three men are never distressed by adversity, or exposed to solitude and grief : the brave man, of whose prowess all men stand in need; the accomplished man, whose knowledge all men require ; the pleasant speaker, of whose eloquence all men are enamoured.


[ocr errors]

He that has never known adversity, is but half acquainted with others, or with himself. Constant successshews us but one side of the world. For, as it surrounds us with friends, who will tell us only our merits, so it silences those enemies from whom alone

we can learn our defects.


Not to be unhappy is unhappiness,
And mis’ry not to have known misery :
For the best way unto discretion is
The way that leads us by adversity.
And men are better show'd what is amiss,
By th' expert finger of calamity,
Than they can be with all that fortune brings,
Who never shows them the true face of things.


* From Ancient Iranian and Zoroastrian Morals, by D. J. Medhora. Men shut their doors against a setting sun.


Fortune does not change men ; it only brings out in clear light what's in them.

Prosperity is no just scale ; adversity is the only balance to weigh friends in.

It is generally in the season of prosperity that men discover their real temper, principles, and designs.


One should neither rejoice at obtaining what is pleasant, nor sorrow in obtaining what is unpleasant.


[ocr errors]

If rich, be not elated; if poor, be not dejected.

Whomsoever riches do not exalt, poverty will not abase, and calamity cannot cast down.


Prosperity is no test of character; it is adversity that surely finds us out. Adversity is a great educator and teaches more truly than all the schools.

In prosperity we need moderation, in adversity patience.

The virtue of prosperity is temperance; the virtue of adversity is fortitude, which in morals is the more heroical virtue.


* From Ancient Iranian and Zoroastrian Morals, by D. J. Medhora. * Translated by Platts.

There are many who encounter adversity, that are happy ; while some in the midst of riches are miserable ; every thing depends on the fortitude with which the former bear their misfortune, and on the manner in which the latter employ their wealth.


Be it happiness or sorrow, be it agreeable or disagreeable, whatever comes should be borne with an unaffected heart.

Happiness and misery, prosperity and adversity, gain and loss, death and life, in their turn, wait upon all creatures. For this reason the wise man of tranquil soul would neither be elated with joy, nor be depressed with



Receive blessings with thankfulness, and afflictions with resignation.

I have felt so many quirks of joy and grief
That the first face of neither, on the start,
Can woman me unto 't.


O poor man! murmur not at the vicissitude of fortune,
For wretched wilt thou be if in that same mood

thou diest.
O rich man! when thy heart and hand are blessed,
Enjoy, bestow, that thou mayest secure the happiness
of this world and the next.


Though from thy grasp all worldly things should flee;
Grieve not for them, for they are nothing worth :
And though a world in thy possession be,
Joy not, for worthless are the things of earth.
Since to that better world 'tis given to thee
To pass, speed on, for this is nothing worth.



Whosoever desires a succourer in the day of adversity, Bid him strive to act generously in the day of pro-sperity.


Fortune and futurity are not to be guessed at,

If fortune disregard thy claim,
By worth her slight attest,
Nor blush and hang thy head for shame
When thou hast done thy best.

Alike in joy and in distress
Oh I let me trace thy hand Divine ;
Righteous in chast’ning, prompt to bless ;
Still, Father I may Thy will be mine.



Daughter of Jove, relentless power,
Thou tamer of the human breast,
Whose iron scourge and torturing hour
The bad affright, afflict the best !

Translated by Erstwick. + Translated by Platts.

Bound in thy adamantine chain,
The proud are taught to taste of pain,
And purple tyrants vainly groan
With pangs upfelt before, un pitied and alone.
When first thy Sire to send on earth
Virtue, his darling child, design'd,
To thee he gave the heavenly birth
And bade to form her infant mind.
Stern, rugged nurse ! thy rigid lore
With patience many a year she bore ;
What sorrow was, thou bad'st her know,
And from her own she learn'd to melt at others' woe.

Scar'd at thy frown terrific, fly
Self-pleasing Folly's idle brood,
With Laughter, Noise, and thoughtless Joy,
And leave us leisure to be good.
Light they disperse, and with them go
The summer friend, the flattering foe;
By vain Prosperity receiv’d,
To her they vow their truth, and are again believ'd.

Wisdom in sable garb array’d,
Immers’d in rapturous thought profound,
And melancholy, silent maid,
With leaden eye, that loves the ground,
Still on thy solemn steps attend :
Warm charity, the general friend,
With Justice, to herself severe,
And Pity dropping soft the sadly-pleasing tear.

Oh! gently on thy suppliant's head,
Dread goddess, lay thy chastening hand !
Not in thy Gorgon terrors clad,
Not circled with the vengeful band

« PreviousContinue »