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DEFAME not any publicly, though thou know them to be evil, for those that are faulty cannot endure to be taxed, but will seek to be avenged of thee, and those that are not guilty cannot endure unjust reproach: and, as there is nothing more shameful and dishonest, than to do wrong, so truth itself cutteth his throat that carrieth her publicly in every place. Remember the divine saying, "He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his "life." Do therefore right to all men, where it may profit them, and thou shalt thereby get much love; and forbear to speak evil things of men, though it be true (if thou be not constrained) and thereby thou shalt avoid malice and revenge.
SIR WALTER RALEGH.
BE careful to avoid public disputations at feasts, or at tables, among choleric or quarrelsome persons, and eschew evermore to be acquainted or familiar with ruffians; for thou shalt be in as much danger in contending with a brawler in a private quarrel, as in a battle, wherein thou mayest get honour to thyself, and safety to thy prince and country; but if thou be once engaged, carry thyself bravely, that they may fear thee after. To shun therefore private fights, be well
*There is a remarkable coincidence between the advice given by Sir Walter Ralegh to his son, and that which our immortal bard, his contemporary, has put into the mouth of Polonius, in his instructions to Laertes:
"Give thy thoughts no tongue, Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
advised in thy words and behaviour; for honour and shame is in the talk, and the tongue of a man causeth him to fall.
SIR WALTER RALEGH.
AS thou shalt be happy if thou thyself observe those things, so shall it be most profitable for thee, to avoid their companions that err in that kind; and not to hearken to tale-bearers, to inquisitive persons, and such as busy themselves with other men's estates; that creep into houses as spies, to learn news which concerns them not; for assure thyself, such persons are most base and unworthy I never knew any of them prosper, or be respected amongst worthy or wise men.
ACCORDING to SOLOMON, life and death are in the power of the tongue; and, as EURIPIDES truly affirmeth, every unbridled tongue in the end shall find itself unfortunate. In all that ever I observed in the course of worldly things, I ever found that men's fortunes are oftener made
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
The friends thou hast, and their adoption try'd,
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment," &c.
by their tongues than by their virtues, and more men's fortunes overthrown thereby also, than by their vices.
SIR WALTER RALEGH.
ALL quarrels, mischief, hatred, and destruction, ariseth from unadvised speech, and in much speech there are many errors, out of which thy enemies shall ever take the most dangerous advantage.
BE careful what company you consort with, and much more careful what persons you grow intimate with; choose sober, wise, learned, honest, religious company; you will gain learning and wisdom, and improve yourself in virtue and goodness by conversing with them; but avoid debauched, foolish, intemperate, prodigal, atheistical, profane company, as you would avoid a plague; they will corrupt and undo you, they are a sort of the most pitiful fools in the world, and familiar acquaintance and conversation with them will endanger to make you like them.
SIR MATTHEW HALE
WEIGH and consider your words before you speak them, and do not talk at random, or at a venture; let your words be few, and to the purpose; be more ready to hear others than to speak yourself; accustom yourself to speak leisurely
and deliberately, it will be a means to make you speak warily and considerately.
SIR MATTHEW HALE.
OBSERVE, and mark as well as you may, what is the temper and disposition of those persons whose speeches you hear, whether they be grave, serious, sober, wise, discreet persons; if they be such, their speeches commonly are like themselves, and well deserve your attention and observation. But, if they be light, impertinent, vain, passionate persons, their speech is for the most part according, and the best advantage that you will gain by their speech, is but thereby to learn their dispositions, to discern their failings, and to make yourself the more cautious, both in your conversation with them, and in your own speech and deportment, for in the unseemliness of their speech you may better discern and avoid the like in yourself.
SOME men are excellent in knowledge of husbandry, some of planting, some of gardening, some in the mathematics, some in one kind, some in another: in all your conversation, learn as near as you can, wherein the skill and excellence of any person lies, and put him upon talk of that subject, and observe it, and keep it in memory or writing; by this means you will glean up the worth and excellence of every person you meet with, and at
an easy rate put together that which may be for your use upon all occasions.
SIR MATTHEW HALE.
CONVERSE not with a liar, or a swearer, or a man of obscene or wanton language, for either he will corrupt you, or at least it will hazard your reputation to be one of the like making: and if it doth neither, yet it will fill your memory with such discourses that will be troublesome to you in after time, and the returns of the remembrance of the passages which you have long since heard of this nature, will haunt you when your thoughts should be better employed.
LET your words be few, especially when your betters, or strangers, or men of more experience or understanding are in place, for you do yourself at once two great mischiefs. First, you betray and discover your own weakness and folly. Second, you rob yourself of that opportunity which you might otherwise have to gain knowledge, wisdom, and experience, by hearing those that you silence by your impertinent talking.
BE very careful that you give no reproachful, bitter, menacing, or spightful words, to any person, nay, not to servants, or other persons of an infe→ rior condition. There is not the meanest person