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Yet in thy thriving still misdoubt some evil ;
Lest gaining gain on thee, and make thee dim
To all things else. Wealth is the conjurer's devil;
Whom when he thinks he hath, the devil hath him.
Gold thou may'st safely touch ; but if it stick
Unto thy hands, it woundeth to the quick.
What skills it, if a bag of stones or gold
About thy neck do drown thee ? raise thy head;
Take stars for money ; stars not to be told
By any art, yet to be purchased.
None is so wasteful as the scraping dame :
She loseth three for one ; her soul, rest, fame.
By no means run in debt : take thine own measure.
Who cannot live on twenty pound a year,
Cannot on forty : he's a man of pleasure,
A kind of thing that's for itself too dear.
The curious unthrift makes his clothes too wide,
And spares himself, but would his tailor chide. .
Spend not on hopes. They that by pleading clothes
Do fortunes seek, when worth and service fail,
Would have their tale believed for their oaths,
And are like empty vessels under sail.
Old courtiers know this; therefore set out so,
As all the day thou may'st hold out to go.
In clothes, cheap handsomeness doth bear the bell.
Wisdom's a trimmer thing than shop e'er gave.
Say not then, This with that lace will do well ;
But, This with my discretion will be brave.
Much curiousness is a perpetual wooing,
Nothing with labour, folly long a doing.
Play not for gain, but sport. Who plays for more
Than he can lose with pleasure, stakes his heart :
Perhaps his wife's too, and whom she hath bore :
Servants and churches also play their part.
Only a herald, who that way doth pass,
, Finds his crack'd name at length in the Church-glass.
If yet thou love game at so dear a rate,
Learn this, that hath old gamesters dearly cost :
Dost lose? rise up ; dost win ? rise in that state.
Who strive to sit out losing hands, are lost.
Game is a civil gunpowder, in peace
Blowing up houses with their whole increase.
In Conversation boldness now bears sway.
But know, that nothing can so foolish be,
As empty boldness: therefore first assay
To stuff thy mind with solid bravery ;
Then march on gallant: get substantial worth :
Boldness gilds finely, and will set it forth.
Be sweet to all. Is thy complexion sour ?
Then keep such company; make them thy allay :
Get a sharp wife, a servant that will lour.
A stumbler stumbles least in rugged way.
Command thyself in chief. He life's war knows,
Whom all his passions follow, as he goes.
Catch not at quarrels. He that dares not speak
Plainly and home, is coward of the two.
Think not thy fame at every twitch will break :
By great deeds show, that thou canst little do ;
And do them not : that shall thy wisdom be;
And change thy temperance into bravery.
If that thy fame with every toy be posed,
'Tis a thin web, which poisonous fancies make;
But the great soldier's honour was composed
Of thicker stuff, which would endure a shake.
Wisdom picks friends ; civility plays the rest.
A toy shunn'd cleanly passeth with the best.
Laugh not too much : the witty man laughs least :
For wit is news only to ignorance.
Less at thine own things laugh ; lest in the jest
Thy person share, and the conceit advance.
Make not thy sport, abuses : for the fly,
That feeds on dung, is coloured thereby.
Pick out of mirth, like stones out of thy ground,
Profaneness, filthiness, abusiveness.
These are the scum, with which coarse wits abound :
The fine may spare these well, yet not go less.
All things are big with jest : nothing that's plain
may be witty, if thou hast the vein.
Wit's an unruly engine, wildly striking
Sometimes a friend, sometimes the engineer :
Hast thou the knack? pamper it not with liking :
But if thou want it, buy it not too dear.
Many affecting wit beyond their power,
Have got to be a dear fool for an hour.
A sad wise valour is the brave complexion,
That leads the van, and swallows up the cities.
The giggler is a milk-maid, whom infection,
Or a fired beacon frighteth from his ditties.
Then he's the sport : the mirth then in him rests,
And the sad man is cock of all his jests.
Towards great persons use respective boldness :
That temper gives them theirs, and yet doth take
Nothing from thine : in service, care, or coldness,
Doth ratably thy fortunes mar or make.
Feed no man in his sins : for adulation
Doth make thee parcel-devil in damnation.
Envy not greatness : for thou makest thereby
Thyself the worse, and so the distance greater.
Be not thine own worm : yet such jealousy,
As hurts not others, but may make thee better,
Is a good spur. Correct thy passion's spite ;
Then may the beasts draw thee to happy light
When baseness is exalted, do not bate
The place its honour for the person's sake.
The shrine is that which thou dost venerate;
And not the beast, that bears it on his back.
I care not though the cloth of State should be
Not of rich arras, but mean tapestry.
Thy friend put in thy bosom : wear his eyes
Still in thy heart, that he may see what's there.
If cause require, thou art his sacrifice;
Thy drops of blood must pay down all his fear;
But love is lost; the way of friendship’s gone ;
Though David had his Jonathan, Christ his John.
Yet be not surety, if thou be a father.
Love is a personal debt. I cannot give
My children's right, nor ought he take it : rather
Both friends should die, than hinder them to live.
Fathers first enter bonds to nature's ends ;
And are her sureties, ere they are a friend's.
If thou be single, all thy goods and ground
Submit to love ; but yet not more than all.
Give one estate, as one life. None is bound
To work for two, who brought himself to thrall.
God made me one man ; love makes me no more,
Till labour come, and make my weakness score.
In thy Discourse, if thou desire to please :
All such is courteous, useful, new, or witty :
Usefulness comes by labour, wit by ease ;
Courtesy grows in court; news in the city.
Get a good stock of these, then draw the card
That suits him best, of whom thy speech is heard.
Entice all neatly to what they know best ;
For so thou dost thyself and him a pleasure :
(But a proud ignorance will lose his rest,
Rather than show his cards), steal from his treasure
What to ask further. Doubts well-raised do lock
The speaker to thee, and preserve thy stock.
If thou be Master-gunner, spend not all
That thou canst speak, at once; but husband it,
And give men turns of speech : do not forestall
By lavishness thine own, and others' wit,
As if thou madest thy will. A civil guest
Will no more talk all, than eat all the feast.
Be calm in arguing : for fierceness makes
Error a fault, and truth discourtesy.
Why should I feel another man's mistakes
More, than his sicknesses or poverty ?
In love I should : but anger is not love,
Nor wisdom neither; therefore gently move.