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Do not, if one but lightly thee offend,
The punishment beyond the crime extend;
Ör after warning the offence forget;
So God himself our failings doth remit.
Expect not more from fervants than is juft,"
Reward them well, if they obferve their trust;
Nor them with cruelty or pride invade,
Since God and nature them our brothers made;
If his offence be great, let that fuffice;
If light, forgive, for no man's always wife.
In vain on study time away we throw,
When we forbear to act the things we know.
The foldier that philofopher well blam'd,
Who long and loudly in the schools declaim'd;
Tell (faid the foldier) venerable fir,
Why all these words, this clamour, and this ftir?
Why do difputes in wrangling fpend the day?
Whilft one fays only yea, and t'other nay.
Oh, faid the doctor, we for wisdom toil'd,
For which none toils too much: the foldier fmil'd;
You 're grey and old, and to fome pious use
This mass of treasure you should now reduce :
But you your store have hoarded in some bank,
For which th' infernal fpirits fhall you thank.
Let what. thou learneft be by practice shown,
'Tis faid that wifdom's children make her known.
What's good doth open to th' enquirer ftand,
And itfelf offers to th' accepting hand;
All things by order and true measures done,
Wifdom will end, as well as she begun.
Let early care thy main concerns fecure,
Things of less moment may delays endure:
Men do not for their fervants first prepare,
And of their wives and children quit the care;
Yet when we 're fick, the doctor 's fetcht in hafte,
Leaving our great concernment to the last.
When we are well, our hearts are only fet
(Which way we care not) to be rich, or great;
What fhall become of all that we have got;
We only know that us it follows not;
And what a trifle is a moment's breath,
Laid in the scale with everlasting death!
What's time, when on eternity we think?
A thousand ages in that fea muft fink;
Time 's nothing but a word, a million
Is full as far from infinite as one.
To whom thou much doft owe, thou much muft pay,
Think on the debt against th' accompting-day;
God, who to thee reafon and knowledge lent,
Will ask how these two talents have been spent.
Let not low pleasures thy high reason blind,
He's mad, that feeks what no man e'er could find.
Why should we fondly please our fenfe, wherein
Beasts us exceed, nor feel the stings of fin?
What thoughts man's reafon better can become,
Than th' expectation of his welcome home?
Lords of the world have but for life their leafe,
And that to (if the leffer please) must cease.
Death cancels nature's bonds, but for our deeds
(That debt firft paid) a ftrict account fucceeds;
If here not clear'd, no suretyship can bail
Condemned debtors from th' eternal gaol.
Chrift's blood 's our balfam; if that cure us here,
Him, when our judge, we shall not find fevere ;
His yoke is eafy when by us embrac❜d,
But loads and galls, if on our necks 'tis cast.
Be juft in all thy actions; and if join'd
With those that are not, never change thy mind:
If aught obftruct thy course, yet stand not still,
But wind about, till you have topp'd the hill;
To the fame end men feveral paths may tread,
As many doors into one temple lead ;
And the fame hand into a fift may close,
Which inftantly a palm expanded fhows :
Justice and faith never forfake the wife,
Yet may occafion put him in disguise;
Not turning like the wind, but if the state
Of things must change, he is not obstinate;
Things paft, and future, with the present weighs,
Nor credulous of what vain rumour fays.
Few things by wisdom are at first believ'd;
An eafy ear deceives, and is deceiv'd:
For many truths have often paft for lies,
And lies as often put on truth's disguise :
As flattery too oft like friendship shows,
So them who fpeak plain truth we think our foes.
No quick reply to dubious questions make,
Sufpence and caution still prevent mistake.
When any great defign thou doft intend,
Think on the means, the manner, and the end :
All great concernments must delays endure;
Rashness and hafte make all things unfecure;
And if uncertain thy pretenfions be,
Stay till fit time wear out uncertainty ;
But if to unjust things thou doft pretend,
Ere they begin let thy pretenfions end.
Let thy discourse be such, that thou may'st give
Profit to others, or from them receive :
Inftruct the ignorant; to those that live
Under thy care, good rules and patterns give ;
Nor is 't the leaft of virtues, to relieve
Those whom afflictions or oppreffions grieve.
Commend but fparingly whom thou dost love:
But lefs condemn whom thou doft not approve;
Thy friend, like flattery, too much praise doth wrong,
And too fharp cenfure fhews an evil tongue :
But let inviolate truth be always dear
To thee; e'en before friendship, truth prefer.
Than what thou mean'ft to give, still promise less:
Hold faft 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 fecure of the fuccefs;
Yet be not always on affairs intent,
But let thy thoughts be eafy and unbent:
When our minds eyes are difengag'd and free,
They clearer, farther, and diftinctly fee;
They quicken floth, 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 fleep) no reft.
Search not to find how other men offend,
But by that glass thy own offences mend ;
Still feek 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 fhow;
We may our ends by our beginnings know.