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Nor is ’t the least of virtues, to relieve
Those whom afflictions or oppressions grieve.
Commend but sparingly whom thou dost love :
But lefs condemn whom thou doft not approve;
Thy friend, like flattery, too much praise doth wrong,
And too sharp censure shews an evil tongue :
But let inviolate truth be always dear
To thee; e'en before friendship, truth prefer.
Than what thou mean'st to give, still promise less :
Hold fast thy power thy promise to increase.
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 fee;
They quicken sloth, perplexities unty,
Make roughness smooth, and hardness mollify;
And though our hands from labour are releas'd,
Yet our minds find (ev'n when we neep) no rest.
Search not to find how other men offend,
But by that glass thy own offences mend;
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 learn ;
Often by small, great matters we discern :
Youth, what man's age is like to be, doth show;
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.
First judge, if those whom thou dost please, judge right.
Search not to find what lies too deeply hid,
Nor to know things, whose knowledge is forbid ;
Nor climb on pyramids, which thy head turn round
Standing, and whence no fafe descent is found ::
In vain his nerves and faculties he strains
To rise, whose raising unsecure remains :
They whom desert and favour forwards thrust,
Are wife, when they their measures can adjust.
When well at ease, and happy, live content,
And then consider why that life was lent ;
When wealthy, show thy wisdom not to be
To wealth a servant, but make wealth serve thee.
Though all alone, yet nothing think or do,
Which nor a witness nor a judge might know.
The highest hill is the most slippery place,
And Fortune mocks us with a smiling face.
And her unsteady hand hath often plac'd
Men in high power, but feldom holds them fast;
Against her then her forces Prudence joins,
And to the golden mean herself confines.
More in prosperity is reason tost,
Than fhips in storms, their helms and anchors loft:
Before fair gales not all our fails we bear,
But with side winds into safe harbours steer;
More ships in calms on a deceitful coast,
Or unseen rocks, than in high storms are loft.
Who casts out threats and frowns, no man deceives,
Time for resistance and defence he gives ;
But flattery still in sugar'd words betrays,
And poison in high-tasted meats conveys ;
So Fortune's smiles unguarded man surprize,
But when she frowns, he arms, and her defies.
TIS the first fanction nature gave to man, 'TS
Each other to assist in what they can;
Just or unjust, this law for ever stands,
All things are good by law which the commands;
The first step, man towards Christ must justly live,
Who t us himself, and all we have, did give;
In vain doth man the name of just expcet,
If his devotions he to God neglcet;
So must we reverence 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 power extends ;
In that they imitate the power divine,
The sun alike' on good and bad doth shine;
And he that doth no good, although no ill,
Does not the office of the jutt fulfill.
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.
Wife Plato faid, the world with men was stor'd,
That succour each to other might afford;
Nor are those succours to one fort confin'd,
But several parts to several men consign’d;
He that of his own stores no part can give,
May with his counsel or his hands relieve.
If fortune make thee powerful, 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 reverence bow;
The second honour to our prince we owe ;
Next to wives, parents, children, fit 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 interest should be paid :
As Hefiod sings, fpread waters o'er thy field,
And a moft just and glad increase 'twill yield.
take heed, left 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 unjusi, to be a king.
Justice must 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 monfter (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 :
Though 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 manifeft;
If bý a lye a man preserve his faith,
He pardon, leave, and absolution hath;
Or if 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 disputes affords :
Unless thou find occasion, hold thy tongue;
Thyself or others, carelefs talk may wrong.
When thou art called into public power,
And when a crowd of suitors throng thy door,
Be sure no great offenders 'scape their dooms;
Small praise from lenity and remissness comes :
Crimes pardon'd, others to those crimes invite,
Whilst lookers-on severe examples fright: