To Cardinal Richelieu. From Malherbe
Thou mighty Prince of Church and State,
Richelieu! until the hour of death,
Whatever road man chooses, Fate
Still holds him subject to her breath.
Spun of all silks, our days and nights
Have sorrows woven with delights;
And of this intermingled shade
Our various destiny appears,
Even as one sees the course of years
Of summers and of winters made.
Sometimes the soft, deceitful hours
Let us enjoy the halcyon wave;
Sometimes impending peril lowers
Beyond the seaman's skill to save,
The Wisdom, infinitely wise,
That gives to human destinies
Their foreordained necessity,
Has made no law more fixed below,
Than the alternate ebb and flow
Of Fortune and Adversity.
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