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Let thy discourse be such, that thou may'st give
Profit to others, or from them receive.
Instruct the ignorant; to those that live 195
Under thy care good rules and patterns give:
Nor is't the least of virtues to relieve
Those whom afflictions or oppressions grieve,
Commend but sparingly whom thou dost love;
But less condemn whom thou dost not approve.
Thy friend, like fatt’ry, too much praise doth wrong,
And too sharp censure shows an evil tongue: 202.
But let inviolate truth be always dear
To thee; ev'n before friendship truth prefer.
Than what thou mean’st to give still promise less:
Hold fast the pow'r thy promise to increase. 206
Look forward what's to come, and back what's past,
Thy life will be with praise and prudence grac'd:
What loss or gain may follow thou may'st guess,
Thou then wilt be secure of the success:
Yet be not always on affairs intent,
But let thy thoughts be easy and unbent:
When our minds' eyes are disengag'd and free,
They clearer, farther, and distinctly see;
They quicken sloth, perplexities untye, 215
Make roughness smooth, and hardness mollify;
And tho' our hands from labour are releast,
Yet our minds find (ev’n when we sleep) no rest,
Search not to find how other men offend,
But by that glass thy own offences mend; 220
Still seek to learn, yet care not much from whom,
(So it be learning,) or from whence it come,
Of thy own actions others' judgments Icarn;
Often by small great matters we discern.
Youth what man's age is like to be, doth show; 223
We may our ends by our beginnings know.
Let none direct thee what to do or say,
Till thee thy judgment of the matter sway.
Let not the pleasing many thee delight; [right.
First judge if those whom thou dost please judge
Search not to find what lies too deeply hid, 231
Nor to know things whose knowledge is forbid;
Nor climb on pyramids, which thy head turn round
Standing, and whence no safe descent is found.
In vain his nerves and faculties he strains
To rise, whose raismg unsecure remains.
They whom desert and favour forwards thrust,
Are wise when they their measures can adjust.
When well at ease, and happy, live content,
And then consider why that life was lent. 2.10
When wealthy, show thy wisdom not to be
To wealth a servant, but make wealth serve thce,
Tho' all alone, yet nothing think or do
Which nor a witness nor a judge might know.
The highest hill is the most slipp’ry place, 215
And Fortune mocks us with a smiling face;
And her unsteady hand hath often plac d
Men in high pow'r, but seldom holds them fast;
Against her then her forcés Prudence joins,
And to the golden mcan herself confines. 250
More in prosperity is reason tost
Than ships in storms, their helms and anchors lost:
Before fair gales not all our sails we bear,
But with side-winds into safe harbours steer:
More ships in calms on a deceitful coast, 235
Or unseen rocks, than in high storms are lost.
Who casts out threats and frowns, no man deceives;
Time for resistance and defence he gives;
But flatt'ry still in sugar'd words betrays,
And poison in high-tasted meats conveys:
So Fortune's smiles unguarded man surprise,
But when she frowns he arms, and her defies. 262
is the first sanction Nature gave to man, Each other to assist in what they can; Just or unjust, this law for ever stands; All things are good by law which she commands. The first step, man towards Christ must justly live, Who tus himself, and all we have, did give. In vain doth man the name of Just expect, If his devotions he to God neglect, So must ive rev'rence God, as first to know Justice from him, not from ourselves, doth flow. God those accepts who to mankind are friends, Whose Justice far as their own pow'r extends; In that they imitate the Pow'r divine ; The sun alike on good and bad doth shine;
And lie that doth no good, altho' no ill,
Does not the office of the just fulfil.
Virtue doth man to virtuous actions steer;
'Tis not enough that he should vice forbear:
We live not only for ourselves to care,
Whilst they that want it are deny'd their share.
Wise Plato said, the world with men was stor’d,
That succour each to other might afford;
Nor are those succours to one sort contin’d,
But sev'ral parts to sev'ral men consign’d.
He that of his own stores no part can give;
Nay with his counsel or his hand; relieve..
If Fortame make thee pow'sful, give defence
'Gainst fraud and force, to naked innocence:
And when our justice doth her tributes pay,
Method and order must direct the way.
First, to our God we must with rev'rence bow;
The second honour to our prince we owe;
Next to wives, parents, children, tit respect,
And to our friends and kindred we direct:
Then we must those who groan beneath the weight
Of age, disease, or want, commiserate.
'Mongst those whom honest lives can recommend,
Our justice more compassion should extend:
To such who thee in some distress did aid,
Thy debt of thanks with int’rest should be paid.
As Hesiod sings, spread waters o'er thy field,
And a inost just and glad increase t'will yield.
But yet take lieed, lest doing good to one,
Mischief and wrong be to another done :
Such moderation with thy bounty join,
That thou may'st nothing give that is not thine :
That liberality's but cast away
Which makes us borrow what we cannot pay.
And no access to wealth let rapine bring;
Do nothing that's unjust to be a king.
Justice inust be from violence exempt,
But fraud's her only object of contempt.
Fraud in the fox, force in the lion, dwells,
But justice both from human hearts expels;
But he's the greatest monster (without doubt)
Who is a wolf within, a sheep without.
Nor only ill injurious actions are,
But evil words and slanders bear their share.
Truth justice loves, and truth injustice fears;
Truth above all things a just man reveres.
Tho' not by oaths we God to witness call,
He sees and hears, and still remembers all;
And yet our attestations we may wrest
Sometimes, to make the truth more manifest,
If by a lie a man preserve his faith,
He pardon, leave, and absolution hath;
Or it I break my promise, which to thee
Would bring no good, but prejudice to me.
All things committed to thy trust, conceal,
Nor what's forbid by any means reveal.
Express thyself in plain not doubtful words,
That ground for quarrels or dispute affords.
Unless thou find occasion, hold thy tongue;
Thyself or others, careless talk may wrong.