A Dialogue betwixt Anger and Patience

Anger, why are you hot1 and fiery red?
Or else so pale, as if you were quite dead?
Your spirits are disturbed; you senses lack,2
Your joints unset, flesh shakes; your nerves grow slack.3
Your tongue doth move, but speaks no word that’s plain,4    5
Or else they flow like torrents caused by rain.5

Lord,6 what a bead-roll of dislike you tell!
If you were stung with wrong, your mind would swell.
Your spirits would be set on flame with fire,
Or else grow chill with cold, and back retire.                           10

Alas,7 it is for some supposed wrong;8
Sometimes you have no ground to build upon.
Suspicion is deceitful, runs about,
And often for a truth9 takes wrong, no doubt.
If you take falsehood up, ne’er search things10 through,       15
You do great11 wrong to truth, and yourself too.
Besides, you’re12 blind, and undiscerning fly
On everything,13 though innocence is14 by.

O Patience!15 You are strict and seem precise,
And counsels give as if you were so wise.                                  20
But you are cruel, and fit times will take
For your revenge, though you16 no show do make.
Your brows unknit, your heart seems not to burn,
Yet on suspicion will do a shrewd turn.
But I am sudden, and do all in haste,                                          25
Yet in short time my fury all is past.
Though anger be not right, but sometimes wrong,
The greatest mischief lies but in the tongue.
But you do mischief, and your time you’ll17 find
To work revenge, though quiet in your mind.                          30

If I take time, I clearly then can see
To view the cause, and seek for remedy.
If I have wrong, myself I well may right,
But I do wrong if innocence I smite.18
The knot of anger by degrees unties;                                          35
Then falls19 that muffler from discretion’s eyes.
My thoughts run clear and smooth as crystal brooks,
That every face may see that20 therein looks.
Though I run low, yet wisely do I wind,
And many times through mountains passage find,                 40
When you swell high, like to a flowing sea,
For windy passions cannot in rest21 be,
Where you are rolled in waves, and tossed about,
Tormented, and can find no passage22 out.

Patience, your mouth with good words you do fill,                 45
And preach morality, but you act ill.
Besides, you seem a coward full of fear,
Or like an ass which doth great burdens bear,
Let every poltroon strike and give you24 blows,
And every fool in scorn to wring your nose.                             50
Most of the world do think you have no sense
Because not angry, nor do take25 offence,
When I am thought right wise, and of great merit,
Heroic, valorous, and of great spirit.
For26 everyone doth fear me to offend,                                     55
And for to please me all their forces bend.
I flattered am, make fear away to run;27
Thus am I28 master wheresoe’er I come.29
Away, you foolish Patience, give me rage,
That I in wars may all the30 world engage.                               60

O Anger, thou art31 mad!32 There’s none will care
For your great brags but fools and cowardly fear,33
Which in weak34 women and small children dwell.
That you more talk than fight, wisdom knows well.35
Besides, great courage takes me by the hand,                          65
That whilst he fights I close by him may36 stand.
I want no sense misfortunes to espy,37
Although I silent am and do not cry.
Ill accidents and grief I strive to cure;
What cannot help, with courage I38 endure,                            70
Whilst you do vex yourself with grievous pains,
And nothing but disturbance have for39 gains.
Let me advise you,40 Anger, take’t not ill
That I do offer you my patience still.
For you in danger live still all your life,                                    75
And mischief do when you are hot in strife.

  1. hot] so hot, 1653
  2. Your spirits are disturbed; you senses lack,] Joynts seem unset, Flesh shakes, the Nerves grow Slack, 1653
  3. Your joints unset, flesh shakes; your nerves grow slack.] Your Spirits all disturb’d, your Senses lack. 1653
  4. speaks no word that’s plain,] not a plaine word speak, 1653
  5. they flow like torrents caused by rain.] words flow so thick, like Torrents great. 1653
  6. Lord,] Lord! 1668
  7. Alas,] Alas! 1668
  8. it is for some supposed wrong;] ’tis but your own Suspicion, 1664; ’tis but your own Suspition: 1668
  9. often for a truth] for a Truth, it oft 1653
  10. things] them 1653
  11. great] a 1653
  12. you’re] you 1664, 1668
  13. everything,] every Object, 1653
  14. is] be 1664, 1668
  15. Patience!] Patience, 1653, 1664
  16. though you] and yet 1653
  17. you’ll] will 1664, 1668
  18. smite.] strike. 1653
  19. Then falls] Take of 1653
  20. that] which 1664, 1668
  21. ne’er in rest can] cannot in rest 1653
  22. and can find no passage] is, no passage can find 1653
  23. Anger] Angry. 1653
  24. Let every poltroon strike and give you] Lets every Poultron at his will give 1653
  25. do take] take no 1653
  26. For] And 1653
  27. away to run;] to run away: 1664; to run away; 1668
  28. am I] I am 1653
  29. come.] stay. 1664, 1668
  30. all the] this great 1653
  31. thou art] you are 1664, 1668
  32. mad!] mad, 1653; Mad, 1664
  33. fools and cowardly fear,] such as Cowards are; 1664; such as Cowards are. 1668
  34. Which in weak] Fear doth in 1664; Fear doth in 1668
  35. That you more talk than fight, wisdom knows well.] Wisdome knowes you talk, more then fight, right well. 1653
  36. may] must 1664, 1668
  37. I want no sense misfortunes to espy,] I Patience want, not Sense, Misfortunes t’espie, 1653
  38. What cannot help, with courage I] With Courage, what I cannot help, 1664; With Courage; what I cannot help, 1668
  39. have for] is your 1653
  40. advise you,] give counsell, 1653