Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
 
Affliction
By Henry Vaughan (1621–1695)
 
PEACE! peace! it is not so. Thou dost miscall
  Thy physic: pills that change
Thy sick accessions into settled health;
This is the great elixir, that turns gall
To wine and sweetness, poverty to wealth;        5
  And brings man home when he doth range.
  Did not He, Who ordain’d the day,
        Ordain night too?
  And in the greater world display
  What in the lesser He would do?        10
All flesh is clay, thou know’st; and but that God
        Doth use His rod,
And by a fruitful change of frosts and showers
  Cherish, and bind thy pow’rs,
Thou wouldst to weeds and thistles quite disperse,        15
  And be more wild than is thy verse.
Sickness is wholsome, and crosses are but curbs
  To check the mule, unruly man;
They are heaven’s husbandry, the famous fan,
  Purging the floor which chaff disturbs.        20
Were all the year one constant sunshine, we
        Should have no flowers;
All would be drought and leanness; not a tree
        Would make us bowers.
Beauty consists in colours; and that’s best        25
  Which is not fix’d, but flies and flows;
The settled red is dull, and whites that rest
  Something of sickness would disclose.
    Vicissitude plays all the game;
      Nothing that stirs,        30
        Or hath a name,
    But waits upon this wheel;
Kingdoms too have their physic, and for steel
    Exchange their peace and furs.
Thus doth God key disorder’d man,        35
        Which none else can,
    Tuning his breast to rise or fall;
    And by a sacred, needful art
    Like strings stretch ev’ry part,
    Making the whole most musical.        40
 
 
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