Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
For Hope
By Abraham Cowley (1618–1667)
  HOPE, of all ills that men endure,
The only cheap and universal cure!
Thou captive’s freedom, and thou sick man’s health;
Thou loser’s victory, and thou beggar’s wealth;
  Thou manna, which from Heav’n we eat,        5
  To every taste a several meat.
Thou strong retreat! thou sure entail’d estate,
  Which nought has power to alienate.
Thou pleasant, honest flatterer! for none
Flatter unhappy men, but thou alone.        10
  Hope, thou first-fruits of happiness;
Thou gentle dawning of a bright success;
Thou good preparative, without which our joy
Does work too strong, and whilst it cures, destroy;
  Who out of fortune’s reach dost stand,        15
  And art a blessing still in hand.
Whilst thee, her earnest-money we retain,
  We certain are to gain,
Whether she her bargain break, or else fulfill;
Thou only good, not worse, for ending ill!        20
  Brother of faith, ’twixt whom and thee
The joys of Heaven and Earth divided be!
Though faith be heir, and have the fixt estate,
Thy portion yet in moveables is great.
  Happiness it self’s all one        25
  In thee, or in possession.
Only the future’s thine, the present his.
  Thine’s the more hard and noble bliss;
Best apprehender of our joys, which hast
So long a reach, and yet canst hold so fast.        30
  Hope, thou sad lover’s only friend!
Thou way that mayst dispute it with the end;
For love I fear’s a fruit that does delight
The taste itself less than the smell and sight.
  Fruition more deceitful is        35
  Than thou canst be, when thou dost miss;
Men leave thee by obtaining, and strait flee
  Some other way again to thee;
And that’s pleasant country, without doubt,
To which all soon return that travel out.        40

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