Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses, and disappointments.

Joseph Addison

When, in 1702, British, Dutch, and Austrian troops beat the French at the Battle of Blenheim during the War of the Spanish Succession, English poet, essayist, and playwright Joseph Addison was asked to commemorate the occasion with a poem. The finished work was a wild success, and eventually led Addison to a career in politics. He wrote essays and plays throughout his later life, even as he moved through various government positions. He retired just a year before his death in 1719, but his prose lives on in lines like this one, cementing his position as one of the most influential writers of his time.