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If any man can convince me and bring home to me that I do not think or act aright, gladly will I change; for I search after truth, by which man never yet was harmed. But he is harmed who abideth on still in his deception and ignorance.
Do not think that what is hard for thee to master is impossible for man; but if a thing is possible and proper to man, deem it attainable by thee.
Persevere then until thou shalt have made these things thy own.
Like a mariner who has doubled the promontory, thou wilt find calm, everything stable, and a waveless bay.
-Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.
TO LOUIS CORNARO
JOHN WITT RANDALL *
O thou that for an hundred years
Didst lightly tread the ancestral hall, Yet sawest thy brethren bathed in tears, Cut down ere ripe, and round thee fall,—
Well didst thou deem long life the measure Of long enjoyment to the wise,
To fools alone devoid of pleasure;
Thou wouldst not die as the fool dies.
Robbed of thy titles, lands, and health,
With thine eleven grandchildren met,
Couldst lose thyself in others' joy,
*See Note B
Couldst mount thy horse when past fourscore,
In summer, thou wast friend of flowers,
Thus, while thy calm and thoughtful mind
Three generations of mankind
Dropped round thee, joyless and short-lived.
Thou sawest the flowers of youth decay,
Thou sawest life's barque on troubled seas
Life's evening, wherein most behold
Became for thee an age of gold,
And gave thee all thy happiest years.
As gentle airs and genial sun
Stay winter's march when leaves grow sere,
And, when the summer's race is run,
With a new summer crown the year;
So temperance, like that lingering glow
What useful lessons might our race
Would man but reverence nature's law.
Soar folly, self, and sense above;
No wondrous works of hand or mind
Were thine; God bade thee stand and wait,
A living proof to all thy kind
That a wise man may master fate.
Happy that life around whose close
The virtues all their rainbows cast,
While wisdom and the soul's repose
HERE* is a story in the "Arabian Nights' Tales"
of a king who had long languished under an
ill habit of body, and had taken abundance of remedies to no purpose. At length, says the fable, a physician cured him by the following method: he took a hollow ball of wood, and filled it with several * See Note C