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“These are the times that try men’s souls,” Thomas Paine wrote in his pamphlet of essays, Crisis’. He was referring to the American Revolution and the harsh winter of 1776. His statement, however, could apply as well to the time of the coronavirus — indeed, to any time when a person has to  wrestle with an extraordinarily difficult or unpleasant situation. I hope the following quotes will provide some inspiration to my readers, especially those who toil at sea and take risks others don’t have to face.

Fate is a raging storm blowing over the Land. ~ Sumerian proverb, Collection II at The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (3rd millennium BCE)

Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes. ~ Francis Bacon, Essays, Of Adversity (1597)

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. ~ Helen Keller, The Open Door (1957)

We are threatened with suffering from three directions: from our own body; which is doomed to decay and dissolution and which cannot “even do without pain and anxiety as warning signals; from the external world, which may rage against us with overwhelming and merciless forces of destruction; and finally from our relations to other men. The suffering which comes from thislast source is perhaps more painful to us than any other. ~ Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents (1930)

The Signal of Distress, 1890 – 1896
Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910)
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Let me embrace thee, sour adversity,
For wise men say it is the wisest course.

~ William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part III (c. 1591)

Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men. ~ Seneca the Younger, De Providentia (AD c. 64)

If thou faint in the day of adversity thy strength is small. ~ The Bible, Proverbs 24:10

Things are not bad in themselves, but our cowardice makes them so. ~ Michel de Montaigne, Essais (1595)

The Fog Warnng, 1885
Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910)
Courtesy of WikiArt: Visual Art Encyclopedia

Facing it — always facing it — that’s the way to get through. ~ Joseph Conrad, Typhoon (1902)

There is scarcely any passion without struggle. ~ Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays (1955)

The higher man is distinguished from the lower by his fearlessness and his readiness to challenge misfortune. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power (1914)

We are all tied to Fortune, some by a loose and golden chain, and others by a tight one of baser metal: but what does it matter?… So you have to get used to your circumstances, complain about them as little as possible, and grasp whatever advantage they have to offer: no condition is so bitter that a stable mind cannot find some consolation in it. ~ Seneca, On the Shortness of Life (AD c.?49) 

Nothing happens to any man which he is not formed by nature to bear. ~ Marcus Aurelius, The Thoughts of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (1889), translated by George Long

After the Hurricane, Bahamas, 1899
Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910)
Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago

I began to understand that suffering and disappointments and melancholy are there not to vex us or cheapen us or deprive us of our dignity but to mature and transfigure us. ~ Hermann Hesse, Peter Camenzind (1904)

Have patience and endure; this unhappiness will one day be beneficial. ~ Ovid, Amorum (16 BC)

He went like one that hath been stunn’d,
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.

~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798, 1817)

~ Barista Uno

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