Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
Golden Precepts
XXX. Arthur Bourcher
PERHAPS 1 you thinke me bolde
That dare presume to teach,
As one that runs beyonde his race,
And rowes beyond his reach.
Sometime the blinde doo goe        5
Where perfect sights do fall;
The simple may sometimes instruct
The wisest heads of all.
If needfull notes I giue
That vnto vertue tend,        10
Methinkes you should of right vouchsafe
Your listning eares to lend.
A whetstone cannot cut,
Yet sharpes it wel, we see;
And I, though blunt, may whet your wit,        15
If you attentiue be.
First, these among the rest,
I wish you warely heede,
That God be serued, your prince obayed,
And freendes releeu’d at neede:        20
Then looke to honest thrift,
Both what and how to haue:
At night examine so the day,
That bed be thought a graue.
Seeke not for other’s goods,        25
Be iust in woord and deede;
For “got with shifts” are spent with shame—
Beleeue this as thy creede.
Boast not of nature’s gifts,
Nor yet of parent’s name;        30
For vertue is the onely meane
To win a woorthie fame.
Ere thou doost promise make,
Consider well the end;
But promise past be sure thou keepe        35
Both with thy foe and freende.
Threat nor reuenge too much—
It shewes a crauen’s kinde;
But to preuaile, and then forgiue,
Declares a noble minde.        40
Forget not friendship’s debt;
Wish to requite at least;
For God and man, yea, all the world,
Condemnes the vngratefull beast.
Beare not a friendly face        45
With harte of Judas kisse:
It shewes a base and vile conceit,
And not where valure is.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *
The motions of the flesh
And choler’s heate restraine;        50
For heapes of harmes doo daily hap,
Where lust or rage dooth raigne.
In diet, deed, and wordes,
A modest meane is best:
Enough sufficeth for a feast,        55
But riot findes no rest.
Note 1. XXX. Arthur Bourcher.—He is author of a poem entitled “Golden Precepts,” which appeared in the edition of “The Paradise of Dayntie Deuises,” published in 1600. Previous to this he published a fable of Æsop, versified, and he has a poem to the reader before Geoffrey Whitney’s “Divine Emblemes.” Beyond this nothing is known of this author. [back]

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