Foes

Thank Fate for foes! I hold mine dear
As valued friends. He cannot know
The zest of life who runneth here
His earthly race without a foe.

I saw a prize, "Run," cried my friend;
"'T is thine to claim without a doubt."
But ere I half-way reached the end,
I felt my strength was giving out.

My foe looked on the while I ran;
A scornful triumph lit his eyes.
With that perverseness born in man
I nerved myself, and won the prize.

All blinded by the crimson glow
Of sin's disguise I tempted Fate.
"I knew thy weakness!" sneered my foe,
I saved myself, and balked his hate.

For half my blessings, half my gain,
I needs must thank my trusty foe;
Despite his envy and disdain,
He serves me well wher'er I go.

So may I keep him to the end,
Nor may his enmity abate;
More faithful that the fondest friend,
He guards me with his hate.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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