I said to my soul, be still, and wait
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
From The Vanity of Human Wishes:
Still raise for good the supplicating
But leave to heav’n the measure and the choice,
Safe in his pow’r, whose eyes discern afar
The secret ambush of a specious pray’r.
Implore his aid, in his decisions rest,
Secure whate’er he gives, he gives the best....
Pour forth thy fervours for a healthful mind,
Obedient passions, and a will resign’d;
For love, which scarce collective man can fill;
For patience sov’reign o’er transmuted ill;
For faith, that panting for a happier seat,
Counts death kind Nature’s signal of retreat:
These goods for man the laws of heav’n ordain,
These goods he grants, who grants the pow’r to gain;
With these celestial wisdom calms the mind,
And makes the happiness she does not find.
The Vanity of Human Wishes is reproduced from a copy in the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library; the Rambler papers from copies in possession of Professor E.N. Hooker. The lines from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets are quoted with the permission of Harcourt, Brace and Company.
Bertrand H. Bronson University of California Berkeley
THE VANITY OF HUMAN WISHES.
Tenth Satire of Juvenal,
By SAMUEL JOHNSON.
Printed for R. DODSLEY at Tully’s Head in Pall-Mall,
and Sold by M. COOPER in Pater-noster Row.
Let[a] Observation with extensive View,
Survey Mankind, from China to Peru;
Remark each anxious Toil, each eager Strife,
And watch the busy Scenes of crouded Life;
Then say how Hope and Fear, Desire and Hate,
O’erspread with Snares the clouded Maze of Fate,
Where wav’ring Man, betray’d by venturous Pride,
To tread the dreary Paths without a Guide;
As treach’rous Phantoms in the Mist delude,