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To his Friend under Affliction.

1 None lives in this tumultuous State of things,
2 Where ev'ry Morning some new Trouble brings;
3 But bold Inquietudes will break his rest,
4 And gloomy Thoughts disturb his anxious Breast.
5 Angelick Forms, and happy Spirits are
6 Above the Malice of perplexing Care:
7 But that's a Blessing too sublime, too high
8 For those who bend beneath Mortality.
9 If in the Body there was but one part
10 Subject to Pain, and sensible of Smart,
11 And but one Passion could torment the Mind,
12 That Part, that Passion busy Fate would find,
13 But since Infirmities in both abound,
14 Since Sorrow both so many ways can wound,
15 'Tis not so great a wonder that we grieve
16 Sometimes, as 'tis a miracle we live.
17 The happiest Man that ever breath'd on Earth,
18 With all the Glories of Estate and Birth,
19 Had yet some anxious Care to make him know
20 No Grandeur was above the reach of Woe.
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21 To be from all things that disquiet, free,
22 Is not consistent with Humanity.
23 Youth, Wit, and Beauty, are such charming things,
24 O'er which, if Affluence spreads her gaudy Wings,
25 We think the person, who enjoys so much,
26 No Care can move, and no Affliction touch.
27 Yet could we but some secret Method find
28 To view the dark Recesses of the Mind,
29 We there might see the hidden Seeds of Strife,
30 And Woes in Embryo rip'ning into Life;
31 How some fierce Lust, or boist'rous Passion, fills
32 The lab'ring Spirit with prolific Ills
33 Pride, Envy, or Revenge, distract his Soul,
34 And all Right-reason's Godlike Pow'rs controul.
35 But if she must not be allow'd to sway
36 Tho' all without, appears serene and gay,
37 A cank'rous Venom on the Vitals preys,
38 And poisons all the Comforts of his Days.
39 External Pomp, and visible Success,
40 Sometimes contribute to our Happiness;
41 But that, which makes it genuine, refin'd,
42 Is a good Conscience, and a Soul resign'd:
43 Then, to whatever End Affliction's sent,
44 To try our Virtues, or for Punishment,
45 We bear it calmly, tho' a pond'rous Woe,
46 And still adore the Hand that gives the Blow.
47 For in Misfortunes this Advantage lies,
48 They make us humble, and they make us wise.
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49 And he that can acquire such Virtues, gains
50 An ample Recompence for all his Pains.
51 Too soft Caresses of a prosp'rous Fate
52 The pious Fervours of the Soul abate;
53 Tempt to luxurious Ease our careless Days,
54 And gloomy Vapours round the Spirits raise.
55 Thus lull'd into a Sleep, we dosing lie,
56 And find our Ruin in Security;
57 Unless some Sorrow comes to our Relief,
58 And breaks th' Inchantment by a timely Grief.
59 But as we are allow'd, to chear our sight,
60 In blackest Days, some Glimmerings of Light:
61 So in the most dejected Hours we may,
62 The secret Pleasure have, to weep and pray.
63 And those Requests, the speediest passage find
64 To Heaven, which flow from an afflicted Mind:
65 And while to him we open our Distress,
66 Our Pains grow lighter, and our Sorrows less.
67 The finest Musick of the Grove, we owe
68 To mourning Philomel's harmonious Woe;
69 And while her Grief's in charming Notes exprest,
70 A thorny Bramble pricks her tender Breast:
71 In warbling Melody she spends the Night,
72 And moves at once Compassion and Delight.
73 No Choice had e'er so happy an Event,
74 But he that made it, did that Choice repent.
75 So weak's our Judgment, and so short's our Sight,
76 We cannot level our own Wishes right:
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77 And if sometimes we make a wise advance,
78 T'our selves we little owe, but much to chance,
79 So that when Providence, for secret Ends,
80 Corroding Cares, or sharp Affliction sends
81 We must conclude it best it should be so,
82 And not desponding, or impatient grow.
83 For he that will his confidence remove,
84 From boundless Wisdom, and eternal Love,
85 To place it on himself, or human Aid,
86 Will meet those Woes he labours to evade.
87 But in the keenest Agonies of Grief,
88 Content's a Cordial that still gives Relief.
89 Heaven is not always angry when he strikes,
90 But most Chastises those, whom most he likes,
91 And if with humble Spirits they complain,
92 Relieves the Anguish, or rewards the Pain.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): To his Friend under Affliction.
Author: John Pomfret
Themes: advice; moral precepts; hopelessness; vanity of life; grief; sadness; melancholy; fate; fortune; providence
Genres: heroic couplet; philosophic poetry; address

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Source edition

Pomfret, John, 1667-1702. Poems upon Several Occasions. By the Reverend Mr. John Pomfret [poems only]. The Sixth Edition, Corrected. With some Account Of his Life and Writings. To which are added, His Remains. London: printed for D. Brown without Temple Bar, J. Walthoe in the Temple Cloysters, A. Bettesworth, and E. Taylor, in Pater-Noster-Row, and J. Hooke in Fleetstreet, 1724, pp. 57-60. [12], 132, vi, 17p. (ESTC N21233)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.