Who mindes to bring his shippe to happy shore, Must care to knowe the lawes of wysdomes lore by Jasper Heywood

My freend, yf thou wylt credite me in ought,
To whom the trueth by tryall well appeares;
Nought woorth is wit, till it be dearer bought,
There is no wysedome but in hoarie heares.
Yet yf I may of wysedome oft define,
As well as others have of happinesse;
Then to my woordes, my freende, thy eare encline;
The thinges that make thee wyse, are these, I gesse.

Feare God, and knowe thy selfe in eche degree,
Be freend to all, familier but to fewe;
Too light of credite, see thou never be,
For tryal oft in trust dooth treason shewe.
To others faultes cast not so much thy eye,
Accuse no man of gilt, amend thy owne;
Of medling much dooth mischiefe oft aryse,
And oft debate by tickle tongue is sowne.

What thing thou wilt have bid, to none declare;
In woorde or deede, beware of had I wist:
So spend thy good, that some thou ever spare,
For freendes like Haukes doo soare from emptie fist.
Cut out thy coate, according to thy cloth,
Suspected persons see thou alwayes flee:
Beleeve not him who once hath broke his troth,
Nor yet of gift, without desart, be free.

Time quickly slips; beware how thou it spend,
Of wanton youth repentes a painefull age:
Beginne nothing without an eye to thend,
Nor bowe thyne care from counsell of the sage;
If thou to farre let out thy fancie slip,
And witlesse wyll from reasons rule outstart;
Thy folly shall at length be made thy whippe,
And sore the stripes of shame shall cause thee smart.

To doo too much for olde men is but lost,
Of freendship had to women comes like gaine:
Bestowe not thou on children to much cost,
For what thou dooest for these is all in vayne.
The olde man, or he can requite, he dyes;
Unconstant is the womans waveryng minde:
Full soone the boy thy freendship wyl despise,
And him for love thou shalt ungratefull finde.

The aged man is like the barren ground,
The woman like the Reede that wagges with Winde:
There may no trust in tender yeeres be found,
And of the three, the boy is most unkinde.
If thou have found a faithful freend in deede,
Beware thou lose not love of such a one:
He shall sometime stand thee in better steede,
Then treasure great of golde or precious stone.

From: Stevens, George and Brydges, Egerton, The Paradise of Dainty Devices, Reprinted from a Transcript of the First Edition, 1576, in the hand writing of the late George Stevens, Esq. With an Appendix: Containing Additional Pieces from the Editions of 1580 & 1600. And Introductory Remarks, Biographical and Critical, 1810, Robert Triphook and William Sancho: London, pp. 6-8.

Date: 1576

By: Jasper Heywood (1535-1598)

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