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Poem by Anne Bradstreet

Meditations Divine and Moral

A ship that bears much sail, and little ballast, is easily 
overset; and that man, whose head hath great abilities, and his 
heart little or no grace, is in danger of foundering. 
The finest bread has the least bran; the purest honey, the 
least wax; and the sincerest Christian, the least self-love. 
Sweet words are like honey; a little may refresh, but too much 
gluts the stomach. 
Divers children have their different natures: some are like 
flesh which nothing but salt will keep from putrefaction; some 
again like tender fruits that are best preserved with sugar. Those 
parents are wise that can fit their nurture according to their 
Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, 
fitter to bruise than polish. 
The reason why Christians are so loath to exchange this world 
for a better, is because they have more sense than faith: they see 
what they enjoy, they do but hope for that which is to come. 
Dim eyes are the concomitants of old age; and short- 
sightedness, in those that are the eyes of a Republic, foretells a 
declining State. 
Wickedness comes to its height by degrees. He that dares say 
of a less sin, Is it not a little one? will erelong say of a 
greater, Tush, God regards it not. 
Fire hath its force abated by water, not by wind; and anger 
must be allayed by cold words and not by blustering threats. 
The gifts that God bestows on the sons of men, are not only 
abused, but most commonly employed for a clean contrary end than 
that which they were given for; as health, wealth, and honor, which 
might be so many steps to draw men to God in consideration of his 
bounty towards them, but have driven them the further from him, 
that they are ready to say, We are lords, we will come no more at 
thee. If outward blessings be not as wings to help us mount 
upwards, they will certainly prove clogs and weights that will pull 
us lower downward.

Anne Bradstreet

Anne Bradstreet's other poems:
  1. To Her Most Honoured Father Thomas Dudley Esq; These Humbly Presented
  2. For the Restoration of My Dear Husband from a Burning Ague, June, 1661
  3. Deliverance from a Fit of Fainting
  4. For Deliverance from a Feaver
  5. Upon Some Distemper of Body

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