Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
 
Times Go by Turns
By Robert Southwell (c. 1561–1595)
 
THE LOPPED tree in time may grow again;
Most naked plants renew both fruit and flower;
The sorest wight may find release of pain,
The driest soil suck in some moist’ning shower;
Times go by turns and chances change by course,        5
From foul to fair, from better hap to worse.
 
The sea of Fortune doth not ever flow,
She draws her favours to the lowest ebb;
Her time hath equal times to come and go,
Her loom doth weave the fine and coarsest web;        10
No joy so great but runneth to an end,
No hap so hard but may in fine amend.
 
Not always fall of leaf nor ever spring,
No endless night yet not eternal day;
The saddest birds a season find to sing,        15
The roughest storm a calm may soon allay;
Thus with succeeding turns God tempereth all,
That man may hope to rise yet fear to fall.
 
A chance may win that by mischance was lost;
The well that holds no great, takes little fish;        20
In some things all, in all things none are cross’d,
Few all they need, but none have all they wish;
Unmeddled joys here to no man befall,
Who least hath some, who most hath never all.
 
 
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