Foes

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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;
   "'Tis 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 where'er I go.

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

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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