early 15c., providen, "make provision for the future; arrange, plan; take care, relieve of needs, supply the needs of," from Latin providere "look ahead, prepare, supply, act with foresight," from pro "ahead" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward") + videre "to see" (from PIE root *weid- "to see"). Related: Provided; providing. Earlier in same sense was its doublet purvey, which is from the same Latin verb, deformed in Old French (pourvoir).
No memory of having starred
Atones for later disregard,
Or keeps the end from being hard.
Better to go down dignified
With boughten friendship at your side
Than none at all. Provide, provide!
[Robert Frost, from "Provide, Provide"]