Be not ashamed to do Justice ! for all that is done
without it, is Tyranny.
Fortify thy Soul with good works ; and flee from
Plato. Endeavour to learn, to know, and to follow. Truth !
If thou intend not to do good ; yet, at the least, refrain
from evil !
Give not thyself much to Pleasure and Ease ! For if
thou use [accustoni] thyself thereto ; thou shalt not be able
to sustain the Adversity that may afterwards chance unto
Endeavour thyself, in thy youth, to learn ; although it
be painful : for it is less pain for a man to learn in his
youth, than, in his age, to be uncunning Ito have a lack of
Jcnoivledge, to be tinsJcilfuT] I
When thou art weary of study ; sport [recreate] thyself
with reading of good Stories !
Covet not to have thy business hastily done ; but rather
desire that it may be well done ! •
Rejoice, without great laughter !
Desire not to be wise in Words ; but in Works ! for.
Wisdom of Speech wasteth [passeth aivay~\ with the world :
but Works, wrought by Wisdom, increase into the world to
If thou doubt in anything, ask counsel of wise men ;
and be not angry, although they reprove thee !
Worship good men ! so shalt thou obtain the people's
Keep no company with him that knoweth not himself !
Be not like the Bolter \_Sieve'] ! that casteth out the
flour, and keepeth in the bran.
Commit not the governance of people to a Child ! to a
Fool ! to a Covetous Man ! nor to any Hasty Person, that is
desirous of revenge !
If thou desire to be good ; endeavour thyself to learn,
to know, and to follow. Truth : for he that is ignorant
therein, and will not learn, cannot be good !
Keep a measure in thy communication ! For if thou be
too brief, thou shalt not be well understanded [iindet^stooct] :
and if thou be too long, thou shalt not be well borne in
* So talk with God, as if men heard thee ! ' Socrates.
To him that is too full of his Questions ; give no
Answer at all !
Use examples ; that such as thou teachest may, under-
stand thee the better !
Reason not with him, that will deny the principal
Take good heed, at the beginning, to what thou
grantest ! for, after one inconvenience, another followeth !
If thou desire to have Delight without Sorrow ; apply
thy mind to study Wisdom !
Marry a young maid ; that thou mayest teach her good
Keep company with them that may make thee better !
Be bound unto Wisdom, that thou mayest obtain the
true liberty !
Love ; if thou wilt be loved !
So live with men, as if GOD saw thee !
So talk with GOD, as if men heard thee !
Fear followeth Hope ! wherefore if thou wilt not fear,
hope not !
Desire not to dwell nigh a rich man ! for that shall
make thee covetous !
Eschew [avoid] Anger! though [if] not for Wisdom's
sake ; yet for thy bodily health's sake.
If thou desire to be quiet minded ; thou must either be
a poor man indeed, or else like to a poor man !
Take not thought to live long ; but to live well !
Forsomuch as thou art not certain in what place Death
abideth thee ; be thou ready prepared, in each place, to
meet him !
Praise a man for that which may neither be given
him, nor taken away from him ! which is not his fair
house, nor his goodly garments, nor his great household ;
but his Wit and perfect Reason.
Labour not for [a] great number of books ; but for
the goodness of them !
Use thine ears more than thy tongue !
Desire nothing that thou wouldest deny, if it were
asked thee !
Socrates. * Be gentle and loving to everybody ! '
Whatsoever thou wilt speak ; before thou shew it to
another, shew it secretly to thyself !
Whatsoever thou wilt have kept secret ; shew it to
Search forth the Cause of every deed !
Let not thy thoughts depart from the Truth !
Promise, with consideration ; and perform faithfully !
Praise little ; but dispraise less !
Let not the authority of the speaker persuade thee ;
nor regard thou his person that speaketh : but mark well
what it is that is spoken !
Perform more fully, than thou hast promised !
Such things as thou hast, use thou as thine own ! and
keep them not, as if they were another body's !
Be gentle and loving to everybody !
Flatter none !
Be familiar with few !
Be indifferent \_hnpartial] and equal towards every man !
Be slow to wrath ! swift to mercy and pity !
Be constant and patient in adversity ; and in prosperity
wary and lowly !
Worship gentleness ; and hate cruelty !
Flee and eschew [avoicf\ thine own vices ; and be not
curious to search out other men's !
Be not busy to upbraid men with their faults ; for so
shalt thou be hated of everybody !
Sometimes, among earnest things, use merry conceits ;
but measurably !
Live with thine underlings, as thou wouldest thy
betters should live with thee : and do to all men, as thou
wouldest be done by !
Think not thyself to be that, which thou art not ; nor
desire to seem greater than thou art indeed !
Think [that] all things may be suffered ; save filthiness
and vice !
Eat rather for hunger ; than for pleasure and delight.
Be apt to learn Wisdom ; and diligent to teach it !
Be merry, without laughter !
Thou shalt be loved of GOD, if thou follow him in this
point ! In desire to do good to all men ; and to hurt
'Sow Good Works, and tliou shalt reap Joy and Gladness!'
Believe him not, that saith he loveth Truth; and
followeth it not.
See that thy gifts be according to thine ability ! For if
they be too big ; thou shalt be thought a Waster ; and again
if they be too small, thou shalt be thought a Niggard !
Let thy gifts be such, as he to whom thou givest them
doth delight in !
Give no vain and unmeet gifts ! as armour to Women,
books to a Ploughman, or nets to a Student.
Give to the needy ; yet so that thou need not thyself !
Succour them that perish ; yet not so that thou thyself
perish thereby !
If thou bestow a benefit, keep it secret ; but if thou
receive any, publish it abroad !
Speak not to him, that will not hear; for else thou
shalt but vex him !
Give at the first asking ! for it is not freely given, that
is often craved.
Boast not thyself of that which is another man's !
Blame not Nature ! for she doth for every man alike.
If thou wilt i)raise aiQy man, because he is a gentle man;
praise his parents also ! If thou praise him for his Riches ;
that appertaineth to Fortune ! If thou praise him for his
Strength ; remember that Sickness will make him weak ! If
thou praise him for his Swiftness of body ; remember that
Age will take it away ! If, for his Beauty ; it will soon
vanish ! But if thou wilt praise him for Manners and
Learning ; then as much as appertaineth to a man, praise
thou him ! For that is his own : which neither cometh by
Heritage ; neither altereth with Fortune ; nor is changed by
Age: but is always one with him.
Flee the company of a Liar : but if thou must needs
keep company with him ; beware that, in any case, thou
believe him not !
Give part of thy goods to the needy; so shall GOD
increase them !
Sow Good Works ; and thou shalt reap the flowers of
Joy and Gladness !
Boast not of thy good deeds ; lest thine evil, be also
laid to thy charge !
' Be thoughtful ! for that is the token of a prudent man !
Company not with him, that knoweth not himself !
Be not ashamed to hear the Truth, of whomsoever it
he ! For Truth is so noble of itself, that it maketh them
honourable that pronounce it.
If thou have not so much power as to refrain thine
Ire : yet dissemble it, and keep it secret ; and so by little
and little forget it !
Honor Wisdom ; and deny it not to them that would
learn ; and shew it unto them that dispraise it !
Sow not the sea fields !
Give not too light [a] credence to a man's words ; nor
laugh thou them to scorn ! for the one is the property of a
Fool ; and the other the condition of a Madman.
Think not such things honest to be spoken of, that
are filthy to be done !
Accustom not thyself to be heavy and sad ! for if thou
do, thou shalt be thought fierce. Yet, be thoughtful ! for
that is a token of a prudent man.
So do all things, as if every man should know them :
yet keep them close a while ; and, at length, discover them!
Learn diligently the goodness that is taught thee ! For
it is as great shame for a man not to learn the good doctrine
that is taught him, as to refuse a gift proferred him of
Let it not grieve thee to take pains to go to learn of a
cunning [shilfuV] man ! For it were great shame for young
men not to travel a little by land, to increase their Know-
ledge ; since merchants sail so far by sea, to augment their
Be gentle in thy behaviour, and familiar in communi-
cation ! It belongeth to gentleness, to salute gladly them
that we meet ; and to familiarity, to talk with them gently
Behave thyself gently to everybody ! So shalt thou
Hiake the good thy friends ; and keep the bad from being
Use thyself to labour, by thine own accord ! that if it
chance thee to be compelled thereto, thou mayst away with
[endure, put up ivith] it the better.
' Fix not thy mind upon Worldly Pleasure ! ' Socrates.
Perform thy promise as justly as thou wouldest pay
thy debts ! For a man ought to be more faithful than his
For two causes, if thou be constrained, thou mayest
swear ! as to discharge thyself from any great offence, or to
save thy friends from great danger. But for money, thou
shalt not swear any oath ! For if thou do, thou shalt of some
be thought forsworn [^perjured] ; and of some others, to
be desirous of money.
Think it as great a shame to be overcome with thy
friends' benefits, as with the injury of thine enemies !
Allow them for thy friends, that be as joyous for thy
prosperity as they seem sorrowful for thy misfortune ! For
there be many that lament a man's misery, that would
have envy to see him prosper.
Desire to be cleanly, and not gorgeous, in thine apparel !
If thou do good to the evil ; it shall happen to thee, as
it doth to them that feed other men's dogs ; which bark as
well at their feeder, as at another stranger.
Do not such things thyself, as thou wouldest dispraise
in another !
Enforce thyself to refrain thy evil lusts ; and follow
the good ! For the good mortiheth and destroyeth the evil.
Speak ever of GOD ; and GOD will always put good
words in thy mouth !
Set thine own works always before thine eyes ; but
cast other men's behind thy back !
Fix not thy mind upon Worldly Pleasure ; nor trust
to the World ! for it deceiveth all that put their trust
Be content with little ; and covet not another man's
Be sober in thy living ; and replenish thine heart with
Dread GOD ; and keep thyself from vain glory !
Mock not another man for his misery : but take heed
by him, how to avoid the like misfortune !
Let no man persuade thee, by flattery, to do any evil ;
nor to believe otherwise of thyself, than thou art indeed !
Socrates, Prayer is like a ship in the sea.
Receive patiently the words of correction ; though they
seem grievous !
Fear the vengeance of GOD all that thou mayest ; and
consider the greatness of his puissance and might !
Beware of Spies, and Talebearers !
Tell nothing to him that will not believe thee ! nor
demand anything, which thou knowest before will not
be granted !
Fear GOD above all things ! for that is rightful and
profitable : and so order thyself, that thy thoughts and
words be always of him ! For the speaking and thinking
of GOD surmounteth so much all other words and
thoughts, as GOD himself surmounteth all other creatures :
and therefore men ought to obey him ; though they should
be constrained to the contrary.
Make thy prayers perfect, in the sight of GOD. For
Prayer is like a ship in the sea : which, if it be good,
saveth all therein ; but if it be nought, suffereth them to
Pray not to GOD to give thee sufficient ; for that, he
will give to each man unasked : but pray that thou mayest
be content and satisfied with that which he giveth thee !
Believe him not, which telleth thee a lie by another
body ! For he will, in like manner, make a lie of thee to
If thou desire to be beloved of everybody ; salute each
man gladly ! be liberal in giving ! and thankful in receiving !
Forget thine Anger lightly [easily^ ; and desire not to
be revenged !
If thou desire to continue long with another man ;
pain thee \tahe pains^ to instruct him well .in Good
THESE ARE PART of the Precepts and Counsels
of the heathen men : which, taken and used as
they should be, are not unmeet for Christian men
to follow. Of which I could have made a greater
book : but forsomuch as these few contain the
effect of all, and because also that men will be soon weary
of tedious matters, be they never so good ; it seemed good,
for fear of driving men from it before they saw it, to be as
brief as might be ; wishing that these few might be well
To the which I have set no Summaries [Headings] ;
because I would that they should be read thoroughly. And
although they be so easy, plain, and common, that every
child can say the same : yet being so little followed of men
(which should know them best), I thought it no shame at
all to write them — which mind not, in this Book, to teach
them to speak ; but to do the things which they can speak
Wherein, peradventure, some will muse why I have
attributed so many Sentences to Socrates ; which they,
perhaps, know to have been written of other men : in which
doing, I followed the Proverb, ' Doubtful things ought to be
interpreted to the best.' And therefore such things as I
have found written, without certainty of any certain
Author, I have ascribed unto him : not only because they
be things meet for him to speak; but because they be
written by some of his scholars, which learned them of him.
Among whom, the most excellent setteth forth such things,
in his Master's name, that the authority of the Speaker
might cause the matter to be more regarded. I mean,
Plato ; whose example in this point I have followed : yet
not so desirous to persuade with the authority of the
Speaker, as with [the] goodness of the thing which he hath
spoken. The which, with all the rest, I would wish all men
to learn and follow.
The End of the Second Book.
THE THIRD BOOK.
The use of Proverbs and Adages,
LIKE AS A LOVER, delighted in the goodly beauty
of his Love, can never be satisfied in beholding her,
neither can take any rest until he have, by praising,
inflamed others to delight in the same ; labouring
to the uttermost to set forth his Beloved : even so,
the Philosophers, ravished in the love of Wisdom, have not
only laboured to know it to the uttermost ; but have also
devised, by all manner [of] means, to provoke and entice
all men to delight in the same. And because they considered
men's minds to be variable, and diversely delighting ; they
devised to set out Wisdom in sundry kinds of Writing : that
every man might find wherein to delight ; and so be caught
in his own pleasure.
Among which kinds of Teaching, although Precepts
and Counsels be the most plain and easy ; yet lack they the
grace of Delight, which in their Proverbs they have supplied :
and that so finely and so wittily, that they both delight and
persuade exceedingly, mixed with such pithiness in words
and sentence, as may minister occasion to muse and study ;
a cause to fix them the better in memory ; and, like a Plaster
both corrosive [caustic] and incarnative [healing] , taunting
vices, and shewing the remedies ; being therewithal so brief,
that, without trouble, they may be contained.
As for example, this little Proverb :
Wrath leadeth Shaine in a leash ^
•What might there be said to cause a man more to refrain
his wrath ? For every man naturally hateth Shame : which,
since it is the follower and end of Anger, and thereto joined
inseparably, even as the shadow is to the body ; what man,
considering the end, will use himself thereto ?
This Third Book consists of Proverbs and Metres.
And to make him ashamed, lo, here [is] another !
He that to his Wrath and Anger is thrall,
Over his Wit hath no power at all !
Now what may make a man more ashamed of himself, than
to be thought a very fool ? I suppose. Nothing.
Wherefore since this kind is so witty and so pleasant ;
I have endeavoured, in this Book, to gather together part of
their Proverbs ; and have sundered [separated] them into
Chapters, that they might the easilier be had, and found out,
for all manner [of] purposes.
And such things, as I thought most proper, I have
drawn into Metre; and joined with them divers others, by
other men done already : to the intent that such as delight
in English Metre, and can retain it in memory better than
Prose, might find herein somewhat according to their
Which Book and Metres I submit to the correction of
all fine-witted and well-learned men : desiring them herein
to pardon my ignorance, and to bear with my boldness ;
which thought it better, though rudely, to do somewhat,
than to be idle and to do nothing.
For by Idleness no goodness may come : but all wicked-
ness hath grown thereof, according to the Proverb.
Idleness is the cause of Igno^^ance ; and Ignorance the
cause of Error.
Whereas by this my labour, though simple and rude,
I may chance to stir up some, by occasion herein given, to
handle the matter as I would I could myself. Once [Of one
thing] I am sure, that, by my labour, can come none evil :
whereas good may chance thereby divers ways. Yet to
MoMUS and his scornful meiny [company] (which, I am
sure, will despise this, before they know it ; as it is their
custom in all manner [of] matters, be they never so good)
I will object this saying of Hokace,
If ye can do better ; my friends, set it forth !
If not ; with me take this well in tvorth I
Of Wisdom^ Learning^ and Understanding,
NDERSTANDING IS a light, which GOD poureth
into Man's Soul.
Wisdom is the knowledge of divine things ;
and is the head of all other Sciences.
Wisdom is Life ; and Ignorance is Death. Wherefore
the wise man liveth, for why [because'] he understandeth
what he doeth : but the ignorant is dead ; because he doth
he knoweth not what.
Of all the gifts of GOD, Wisdom is chiefest. Wisdom
ordereth the mind. She directeth the life, and ruleth the
works thereof ; teaching what ought to be done, and what
to be left undone : without which no man may be safe.
Wisdom teacheth to do, as well as to speak.
Of all the gifts of GOD, Wisdom is [the] most excellent.
She giveth goodness to the good ; and forgiveth the wicked
To men of low degree, Wisdom is an honour ; and
Foolishness is a shame to men of high degree.
Wisdom garnisheth [adorneth] Riches ; and shadoweth
[casteth into the shadow] Poverty.
Wisdom is the defence of the Soul, and the mirror of
Reason ; and therefore blessed is he that travaileth [labours]
\m get her: for she is the ground and root of all noble deeds.
By her, we obtain the Chief Good, that is. Eternal Felicity.
Prudence is the guide of all other good Virtues.
Intelligence is King both of heaven and earth. Hermes,
Of all the good gifts of GOD, Wisdom is the purest. She
giveth goodness to good people ; and obtaineth for the
wicked pardon for their wickedness. She maketh the poor
rich ; and the rich honourable : and such as unfeignedly
embrace her, she maketh like to GOD.
Wisdom and Justice are honourable, both to GOD and
Intelligence is King both of heaven and earth.
Wisdom is the messenger of Reason.
Wisdom, at the beginning, seemeth a great wonder.
Wisdom is like a thing fallen into the water ; which no
man can find, except he search [for] it at the bottom.
Wisdom thoroughly learned, will never be forgotten.
Science is got by diligence; but Discretion and Wisdom
Cometh of GOD.
In the company of Wise Men is rest ; but in the fellow-
ship of Fools is nothing but labour.
A wise man ought not to sorrow for his losses ; but to
be careful to keep the rest of his goods.
A wise man is known by two points. He will not
lightly [easily^ be angry for the wrong that is done him :
neither is [he] proud, when he is praised.
He that seeketh Wisdom the right way, findeth her :
but many err, because they seek her not duly ; and blame
her without cause.
A wise man is known by three points. In making his
enemies his friends : in making the rude learned : and in
reforming the evil-disposed unto goodness.
He is wise that acknowledgeth his ignorance : and he
is ignorant that knoweth not himself.
There is none happy, but the wise man.
Wise men, for the Truth's sake, ought to contrary
[^oppose^ one another ; that, by their contention, the Truth
may the better be known.
It is better to be wise, and not to seem so ; than to
Hermes. Wisdom teacheth Man to know his Creator.
seem wise, and not to be so : yet men, for the most part,
desire the contrary.
A wise man understandeth both the things that are
above him ; and those also that are beneath him. He
knoweth the things that are above him, by the benefits
which he receiveth thereby ; and [the] things beneath him,
by the use and profit that he hath by them.
Wisdom teacheth Man to know his Creator.
A perfect wise man mortifieth his worldly desires ; by
means whereof he subdueth both his Soul and body.
He that desireth Wisdom, desireth the most high and
He that findeth Wisdom, findeth Life ; both in this
world, and in the world to come.
It is not possible for him to be wise, that desireth not
to be good.
A young man cannot be perfectly wise. For Wisdom
requireth Experience ; which, for lack of time, young men
may not have.
A wise man ought to repute his error great ; and his
The wise man, and not the rich, is void of misery.
He shall be wise, that enhaunteth \_frequenteth'] wise
It is not uncomely, for Wisdom's sake, for a man to be
in subjection, to whomsoever it be.
A wise man is known by silence ; and a fool, by much
Learning maketh young men sober. It comforteth old
men. It is riches to the poor ; and it garnisheth \_ado7ms^
^ It is a shame for a wise man to say, ' I thought not so
much ! '
Much babbling is [a] sign of small knowledge.
Knowledge is better in Youth than in Age.
3 Baldwin. 9 129
Learning is Study's sister. piato.
The best kind of Learning is to unlearn our evils.
No man may refrain from doing amiss ; but a wise
man, by one peril, will avoid another.
Wisdom in the heart of a Fool is like a flying thing,
that cannot long continue in one place.
A man of perfect wisdom cannot die ; and a man of
good understanding cannot be poor.
Learning is Study's sister.
Wisdom is a tree which springeth in the heart ; and
beareth fruit in the tongue.
Without study of Wisdom, the mind is sick.
Early rising and much watching are profitable to keep
a man in health ; and to increase his riches and wisdom.
A man without Science is like a realm without a King.
Science, separate from Justice and Virtue, is not
Wisdom ; but Subtilty.
Nothing becometh a wise man so much as Temperance.
He that is worshipped for wisdom, is angry with them
that despise it.
Of all things, the least quantity is easiest to be borne ;
save of Knowledge and Science : of which the more that a
man hath, the better he may bear it.
A wise man knoweth what Ignorance is ; because he
himself, before time, hath been ignorant : but the ignorant
[man] was never wise ; and therefore he knoweth not what
The true lovers of Wisdom shall see GOD !
Power and Might is in young men ; but Wisdom and
Prudence is in the aged.
Of Justice, Laws, Cities, and Governors.
EXCEPT WISE MEN be made Governors, or Gover-
nors be made wise men ; Mankind shall never have
quiet rest, nor Virtue be able to defend herself.
The City is well ordered ; where ambitious