Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, OBSERVATIONS ON THE LIFE OF EPICTETUS, by ELIZABETH TIPPER

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

First Line: Poor epictetus, born the slave of fate
Last Line: Of every spark of good we think or do.
Subject(s): Epicetus (60-140); Fate; Heaven; Life; Stoicism; Destiny; Paradise

Poor Epictetus, born the Slave of Fate,
Unparallel'd, for abject mean Estate,
Rapt in a Cloud of unkind Fortune's Jars,
And Destiny that seem'd to have no Stars:
Dark as the Eye of Chance, which some call blind,
Obscure from Light in all things but his Mind,
Which was enricht with Faculties could reach
The rarest things Philosophy did teach;
Yet by Laborious Burthens bath'd in Sweats,
He every Day must Earn the Bread he eats;
But he the Envy of his Fate beguiles,
And for her rigorous Frowns gives pleasing Smiles,
Contentment plain'd and smooth'd, each step was rough
And in his Wants till made him rich enough,
Set him above the Top of Fame's Renown,
And higher than the Envy of a Crown,
More happy than the Miser, whose proud Share
Of Wealth is equall'd with a Load of Care:
Thus liv'd he free, brisk, satisfi'd and gay,
As if, for Earth, he scorn'd to throw away
A single Wish; and, as he studied said,
My thoughts, just now my present State have laid
In view, and, as I look, this I behold,
In my condition I am Poor and Old,
And Happy therefore, knowing 'tis the best,
Because the GODS have chose it from the rest.
To give it me; their Wisdom cannot err,
And I the Gift before all things preferr.
O wondrous Vertue in a Heathen Man!
With what Impatience, with what Face then can
A Christian murmur, sorrow or repine,
That reads this vast Humility of thine?
But who, alas! retains a peaceful Thought,
More than by Heaven's Diviner Hand is wrought?
Heaven is the Giver and Preserver too
Of every spark of good we think or do.

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