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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
From the ‘Maxims of Any’
Egyptian Literature
 
Revised from the German of Professor Adolf Erman’s translation

“KEEP thyself from the strange woman who is not known in her city. Look not upon her when she cometh, and know her not. She is like unto a whirlpool in deep water, the whirling vortex of which is not known. The woman whose husband is afar writeth unto thee daily. When none is there to see her, she standeth up and spreadeth her snare; sin unto death is it to hearken thereto.” Hence he who is wise will renounce her company and take to himself a wife in his youth. A man’s own house is “the best thing,” and also “she will give unto thee a son who shall be as the image of thyself.”…  1
 
  [Thy debt to thy mother.]  2
  Thou shalt never forget thy mother and what she hath done for thee, “that she bore thee, and nurtured thee in all ways.” Wert thou to forget her then might she blame thee, “lifting up her arms unto God, and he would hearken unto her complaint. For she carried thee long beneath her heart as a heavy burden, and after thy months were accomplished she bore thee. Three long years she carried thee upon her shoulder and gave thee her breast to thy mouth.” She nurtured thee, nor knew offense from thine uncleanness. “And when thou didst enter the school and wast instructed in the writings, daily she stood by the master with bread and beer from her house.”  3
 
  [Be not drunken with beer.]  4
  Drink not beer to excess! That which cometh forth from thy mouth thou canst no longer speak. Thou fallest down, thou breakest thy limbs, and none stretcheth out a hand to thee. Thy companions drink on; they arise and say, “Away with this one who hath drunken.” When one cometh to seek thee, to seek counsel of thee, he findeth thee lying in the dust like a little child.  5
 
  [Of inward piety.]  6
  “Clamor is abhorrent to the sanctuary of God; let thy prayers for thyself come forth out of a loving heart, whose words remain secret, that he may grant thee thy needs, may hear thy prayer, and accept thine offering.”  7
 
  [Of diligence and discretion.]  8
  Be diligent; “let thine eye be open that thou mayest not go forth as a beggar, for the man who is idle cometh not to honor.” Be not officious and indiscreet, and “enter not [uninvited] into the house of another; if thou enter at his bidding thou art honored. Look not around thee, look not around thee in the house of another. What thine eye seeth, keep silence concerning it, and tell it not without to another, that it be not in thee a crime to be punished by death when it is heard.” Speak not overmuch, “for men are deaf to him who maketh many words; but if thou art silent thou art pleasing, therefore speak not.” Above all be cautious in speech, for “the ruin of a man is on his tongue. The body of a man is a storehouse, which is full of all manner of answers. Wherefore choose thou the good and speak good, while the evil remaineth shut up within thy body.”  9
 
  [Of manners.]  10
  Behave with propriety at table and “be not greedy to fill thy body.” And “eat not bread while another standeth by and thou placest not thy hand on the bread for him. The one is rich and the other is poor, and bread remaineth with him who is open-handed. He who was prosperous last year, even in this may be a vagrant.”[?] Never forget to show respect, “and sit not down while another is standing who is older than thou, or who is higher than thou in his office.”  11
 
 
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