There’s a moral in this: tho’ I own that the preaching
Of moral and maxim in season and out
Grows stale; yet these days of depressions far-reaching
Demand any means to put worry to rout.
So in that menagerie now populated
By home-coming chickens and wolves upon mats
Consider, when finally doubt’s dissipated
How often our tigers turn out to be cats.
Three-fourths of our troubles some Frenchman has told us,
But seldom occur. Tho’ the ills of the mind
Loom forth as fierce tigers while doubts yet unfold us,
They turn into cats once we’ve put them behind.
How often the dread of some darkened tomorrow
Has ruined today; till, at Time’s urgent call,
Tomorrow’s false fears become yester’s small sorrow
Innocuous cats, and not tigers at all.
So, here is the moral – just take it or leave it.
It doesn’t much matter, you’ll scorn it, no doubt.
Yet here is a truth and, if men don’t receive it
I’ve still done my duty in pointing it out.
False troubles, false tigers engender false fearing;
So use the grey matter close under your hat
And, as you fare forth thro’ life’s dark forests peering,
Go armed against tigers – but still expect cats.
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