Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VI. Fancy: Sentiment
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VI. Fancy.  1904.
Poems of Sentiment: II. Life
The True Philosophy of Life
William Dunbar (1460?–1520?)
Modernized by Hugh Haliburton

Full oft I muse and hes in thocht.

THE PASSAGE of the speeding year,
And Fortune with her changing cheer,
  Are ills on ilka hand contest;
We will not mourn for that, my dear,
  But to be blythe we ’ll count it best.        5
Fast as this warld fleets awa’
As fast her wheel does Fortune ca’,
  At no time tired or takin’ rest:
What then? the limmer’s owre us a’,
  And to be blythe, I think it best.        10
Would pampered man consider weel,
Ere Fortune on him turn her wheel,
  That earthly honour canna lest,
His fa’ less painfu’ he would feel:
  But to be blythe I think it best.        15
Wha would wi’ this dour warld strive
Will a’ his days in dolour drive,
  An’, tho’ he stood o’ lands possest,
He couldna weel be said to live,
  He ’s only tholin’ at the best.        20
Wi’ a’ the treasure i’ the earth
What profit is there, wantin’ mirth?
  Wi’ a’ the craps o’ east an’ west,
Without contentment there is dearth:
  So to be blythe is surely best.        25
Let nane for tinsel droop an’ dee,
The thing is but a vanitee;
  And to the life that aye shall lest
Here ’s out the twinkling of an ee:
  So to be blythe I think it best.        30
Had I, because my lot is puir,
Tint heart an’ hope, an’ harboured fear,
  An’ been wi’ carried cares opprest,
I had been dead langsyne, I ’m sure;
  But to be blythe I think it best.        35
However Fortune change an’ veer,
Let ’s blythely live as lang ’s we ’re here;
  An’ yet be ready and addrest
To pass content, without a tear,
  Believin’ a’ thing for the best.        40

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