Sweet Are the Uses of Adversity
The above statement is made by the exiled Duke in As. You Like It (Act II, Scene I). He is in the Forest of Arden. He likes the pastoral atmosphere there. The Duke draws a moral from everything he sees. He finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones and good in everything.
Adversity makes men realize the difficulties and sufferings of others. It develops in them compassion for them. William Quarrier founded, an orphanage near Glasgow When he became prosperous. As an orphan he had suffered adversity. Very early in life Louis Braille became blind. His sympathy for the blind was very great. He was, therefore, bent on inventing a system of writing and reading for the blind. In 1834 he succeeded in his mission.
Adversity was a blessing in disguise to some poor men. We are reminded of Morris. He was born in a poor family in Worcester, North of Gloucester, England. For some time he worked as an errand-boy. Then he began to do business as a cycle-maker and repairer at Cowley. Gradually, by dint of thrift and diligence, he was able to become one of the multimillionaires of the United Kingdom. He began to manufacture cars. It seems man’s extremity is god’s opportunity.
We know some famous men who made use of the solitude in prison to write books. Adverse circumstances proved favourable to them. Sir Walter Raleigh, adventurer and writer, was in the Tower of London for about twelve years. He spent his time in writing a history of the world. His History of the World is famous: John Bunyan was in prison for more than a decade. He devoted his time to writing books. They made him famous. It was while in prison: that Nehru wrote The Discovery of India and Glimpses of World History.
Adverse circumstances created by physical handicaps or disease made several persons work hard. Demosthenes used to stammer, but by constant practice he was able to become the greatest orator in ancient Greece. Fitted with two artificial legs Douglas Bader not only learned to walk again, but taught himself to swim, dance and play tennis. Helen Keller became famous, though she became blind and deaf at the age of two. “It is highly probable,” says Dale Carnegie, “that Milton wrote better poetry because he was blind and Beethoven composed better music because he was deaf”
Adversity enables persons with literary talent-to write great poems, novels etc. since it makes them get a greater vision and understanding of human nature and human life. The wearer alone knows where the shoe pinches. More often than not, adversity smolders their feelings. Their creative power becomes very active. At times their ‘saddest thought’ produces ‘Sweetest songs’. Poems like Break, Break, Break by Tennyson and O Captain! My Captain by Walt Whitman are effusions of agonized souls. The sadness we notice in the poem Ode to a Nightingale is really the manifestation of the anguish in Keat’s mind. For him life was not a bed of roses. In fact it was in extreme adversity that Keats wrote some of his greatest poems.
There is no education like adversity. Discipline is taught, says Gandhiji, in the school of adversity. When Lear faces the storm, he realizes the misery of the poor living in hovels. Adversity makes clear to us the undesirability of rashness in life. We are reminded of Lear and Hemilard. Adversity also helps us to think of God. When we are faced with adversity, we should not get disheartened. Every cloud has a silver lining. We should also work hard with fortitude. Tennyson declared when he lost his most intimate friend, Arthur Hallam, “I must lose myself in action lest I wither in despair.”