Provide always for a tempest, and other seventeenth-century advice

November 12, 2011

“[T]ake these few cautions—Know thyself. Be contented with thy lot. Trust not wealth, beauty, nor parasites: they will bring thee to destruction. Have peace with all men, war with vice. Be not idle. Look before you leap. Beware of “Had I wist.” Honour thy parents: speak well of friends. Be temperate in four things: lingua, loculis, oculis, et poculis. Watch thine eye. Moderate thine expences. Hear much: speak little. Sustine et abstine. If thou seest ought amiss in another, mend it in thyself. Keep thine own counsel; reveal not thy secrets; be silent in thine intentions. Give not ear to tale-tellers, bablers: be not scurrilous in conversation: jest without bitterness: give no man cause of offence. Set thine house in order. Take heed of suretyship. Fide et diffide: as a fox on the ice, take heed whom you trust. Live not beyond thy meanes. Give chearfully. Pay thy dues willingly. Be not a slave to thy mony. Omit not occasion; embrace opportunity; lose no time. Be humble to thy superiours, respective to thine equals, affable to all, but not familiar. Flatter no man. Lye not: dissemble not. Keep thy word and promise, be constant in a good resolution. Speak truth. Be not opinative: maintain no factions. Lay no wagers: make no comparisons. Finde no faults, meddle not with other mens matters. Admire not thyself. Be not proud or popular. Insult not. Fortunam reverenter habe. Feare not that which cannot be avoided. Grieve not for that which cannot be recalled. Undervalue not thyself. Accuse no man, commend no man, rashly. Go not to law without great cause. Strive not with a greater man. Cast not off an old friend. Take heed of a reconciled enemy. If thou come as a guest, stay not too long. Be not unthankful. Be meek, merciful, and patient. Do good to all. Be not fond of faire words. Be not a neuter in a faction. Moderate thy passions. Think no place without a witness. Admonish thy friend in secret; commend him in publick. Keep good company. Love others, to be beloved thy self. Ama, tanquam osurus. Amicus tardo fias. Provide for a tempest. Noli irritare crabrones. Do not prostitute thy soule for gain. Make not a fool of thy self, to make others merry. Marry not an old crony, or a fool, for mony. Be not over sollicitous or curious. Seek that which may be found. Seem not greater than thou art. Take thy pleasure soberly. Ocymum ne terito. Live merrily as thou canst. Take heed by other mens examples. Go as thou wouldst be met: sit as thou wouldst be found. Yeeld to the time; follow the stream. Wilt thou live free from feares and cares? Live innocently, keep thy self upright; thou needst no other keeper, &c. Look for more in Isocrates, Seneca. Plutarch, Epictetus, &c. and, for defect, consult with cheese-trenchers and painted cloths.”

Richard Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy [1621], London: Vernon & Hood, 1806: 82-83. Italics and spelling retained.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: