Lad! Remember that no man ought to forget
a child’s tender youth is like tempering of wax
apt to receive form – discipline before affection
mix threats with a fair look, manner with wit.
A potter fashions his lay when it’s soft
a sparrow taught to come when young
hot iron by a hammer’s stroke begets form
and keeps it forever when cold.
Wise husbandman sow hemp before wheat
a seasoned gardener mix hyssop with thyme
a cunning painter for the whitest work
casts the canvass a black background.
Things past are past; Time’s hand turns not back
too late ‘ts to shut the stable door
when a steed tiptoes off
be not a Trojan – repent before your town is in ruin.
Nothing lasts forever; wounds heal,
broken hearts mend; grey skies turn blue
the sun shines where there used to be rain
Death renews creation; Birth renews death.
Know the difference, my son:
staring and stark blind, wit and wisdom, love, and lust.
Oh, be merry but with modesty
sober but not too solemn; valiant not too venturous.
Remembrance of past follies breeds guilt
love God, serve God, and fear God
his blessings will be beyond your heart
and the wishes of your friends and foes.
Fine crystal is sooner crazed than hard marble
the greenest beech burns faster than the driest oak
fairest of silk soil than the skin ‘t covers
the sweetest of wine turns to the sharpest of vinegar.
The caterpillar cleaves unto the ripest fruit
the most delicate wit bewitched with vice
one drop of poison infects the whole tun of wine
one strand of bitter leaf sours a pot of porridge.
Mistrust no man without cause
be not credulous without proof
light to follow every man’s opinion
nor obstinate to stand in your conceit.
I end my counsel, beseeching
heed my words; heed them faithfully
still do not to take to heart
all that comes to your ear,
Ignorance is kind; Wisdom pain
sometimes Truth is talking craze
othertimes a Lie the best medicine
for a grieving heart.
© Ugo Nkwoala | Spilledwoords.org | 2020
Photo by Sebastián León Prado