A cruel mind intent on strife,
Envying his neighbour's gold and wife,
Hating the virtuous and his kin,
Denotes and brands the man of sin.
What though the scoundrel learned be, avoid him, cut him dead:
Men shudder at the snake that wears a jewel in his head.
The modest man's accounted dull, the pure a prudish knave,
Th' austere a sour-faced hypocrite, the meek a heartless slave,
The orator is tedious, the ascetic but a fool,
The dignified is haughty, stolid and obtuse the cool,
The hero savage; thus the bad do all things good despise,
Each virtue with its kindred vice is tainted in their eyes.
Treachery is of crimes the blackest,
Avarice is a world of vice.
Truth is nobler far than penance,
Purity than sacrifice.
Charity's the first of virtues,
Dignity doth most adorn,
Knowledge triumphs unassisted,
Better death than public scorn.
The moon when dimmed by daylight, and a maid whose charms have fled,
A lake with faded lotuses, a good man ill bested,
A speechless mouth, a grasping king, a scoundrel in his train,
Are seven thorns that fret my soul with never-ending pain.
I would not be the kinsman of a monarch prone to ire,
Not e'en the sacrificing priest unharmed can touch the fire.
Not e'en a wonder-working saint
Can hope to please the great,
The silent man is said to sulk,
The eloquent to prate,
Patience is held but cowardice,
Officiousness is impudence,
And modesty neglect.
Those do not lead an easy life who fall into the power
Of one in whom the seed of vice matures in perfect flower,
Who with a herd of fawning rogues delights t' engird his throne,
Whose lawless will no bonds of faith nor ties of blood doth own.
The kindness of the bad at first
Is great, and then doth wane;
The good man's love, at th' outset small,
Slowly doth bulk attain;
Such difference between these two
In nature doth abide,
As 'twixt the shadow of the morn
And that of eventide.
Hunters entrap the harmless deer,
Fishers the finny brood,
So bad men causeless interfere
To persecute the good.