Time Goes by Turns

THE lopped tree in time may grow again,
   Most naked plants renew both fruit and flower;
The sorriest wight may find release of pain,
   The driest soil suck in some moistening shower.
       Times go by turns, and chances change by course,
       From foul to fair, from better hap to worse.

The sea of Fortune doth not ever flow,
   She draws her favours to the lowest ebb.
Her tides hath equal times to come and go,
   Her loom doth weave the fine and coarsest web.
       No joy so great but runneth to an end,
       No hap so hard but may in fine amend.

Not always fall of leaf, nor ever spring,
   No endless night, yet not eternal day;
The saddest birds a season find to sing,
   The roughest storm a calm may soon allay.
       Thus, with succeeding turns, God tempereth all,
       That man may hope to rise, yet fear to fall.

A chance may win that by mischance was lost;
   The net, that holds no great, takes little fish;
In some things all, in all things none are crossed;
   Few all they need, but none have all they wish.
       Unmeddled joys here to no man befall;
       Who least, hath some; who most, hath never all.

Robert Southwell

Life has been a bit strange recently and I have been repeatedly reminded of the sentiments of this poem, which I love. I know that it was written by a Roman Catholic, recusant priest in the Sixteenth Century, but for me, it is as apt and appropriate as if it had been written four hundred years later.

I think it speaks for itself, and doesn't need me to ramble on about it any longer! Just suffice to say, that it gives me comfort in difficult times.