Verse > Anthologies > Robert Bridges, ed. > The Spirit of Man: An Anthology

Robert Bridges, ed. (1844–1930).  The Spirit of Man: An Anthology.  1916.
III. 57

Thomas à Kempis (1379/80–1471)
HUMILITY 1 and patience in adversity more please me, my son,
  than much comfort and devotion in prosperity.
And why should a little thing spoken against thee make thee sad?
  had it been greater, thou shouldst not have been disturbed.
But now let it pass: ’tis nothing strange; it hath happed before;        5
  and if thou live longer, it will happen again.
Thou art manly enough while there is nought to oppose thee:
  thou canst give good counsel, and hast encouraged others with words:
But when suddenly the trouble cometh to thine own door,
  thou lackest to thyself both in courage and counsel.        10
Consider thy great weakness, which thou discoverest often in trifling concerns:
  and yet it is all for thy good, when these or such like things befal thee.
Put the matter as well as thou canst out of thy mind;
  and if the tribulation hath touched thee, let it not cast thee down nor entangle thee.
Bear it patiently, if gladly thou canst not:        15
  or even if thou resent this saying and feel indignation, yet govern thyself;
  nor suffer an unchastened word to escape thee, whereby the little ones may stumble.
The storm that hath arisen will quickly subside:
  and thy hidden pain will be soothed by returning grace.
I still Am, saith the Lord, ready to aid thee and console thee more than ever,        20
  if thou but trust me, and beseech me with all thy heart.
Be more tranquil in mind, and brace thyself to better fortitude;
  All is not lost, even though again and again thou feel thyself broken or well-nigh spent.
Note 1. Thos. a Kempis. III. 57. [Trans. R. Bridges.] [back]

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