I. O kind adversity, thou friend to truth!
By these to virtue form’d, the human mind
Disdains the vanities of heedless youth;
How roving else, and ignorant and blind!
II. When flatt’ring fortune shines with gaudy blaze,
In fascinating chains she holds the eye;
The mind is lost in error’s fatal maze,
And dreams of lasting bliss below the sky.
III. Thy friendly admonitions rouse the soul,
Conviction rises strong to break the snare;
Truth, (heav’nly guide!) appears with kind controul,
And fortune’s painted scenes are lost in air.
IV. Tho’rough thy aspect, and thy frown severe,
‘Tis but to bend the proud, the stubborn heart;
A soft emollient, is thy briny tear,
And thy corrosives pain with healing smart.
V. The kindest, gentlest virtues form thy train;
Reflection comes with pensive musing eye,
And humble penitence, that not in vain
Presents to heav’n the supplicating sigh.
VI. Meek patience looks unmov’d on pain and care;
While chearful with peace-inspiring smile,
Points forward thro’ the gloom, celestial fair!
The woes of life, her whisper can beguile.
VII. Beyond the woes of life she lifts her eyes,
And often meditates a joyful flight;
By faith, her radiant sister, taught to rise,
To distant prospects of immense delight.
VIII. O kind adversity, without thy aid,
How faintly would these virtues warm the breast!
Why should I tremble at thy darksome shade?
For who without adversity is blest?
IX. Thy wholesome cold, like winter, kills the weeds
Which in th’ uncultur’d mind luxuriant rise;
Then heav’nly wisdom sows her precious seeds,
Nor shall they want the blessing of the skies.
X. But O may heav’n thy rig’rous hand restrain,
May’st thou correct and teach, but not destroy!
Thy needful lessons then shall not be in vain,
And thy short sorrows work my lasting joy.