1 Beware faire Maides of Musky Courtiers oathes,
Take heede what gifts and fauours you receiue,
Let not the fading glosse of Silken Clothes,
Dazell your vertues, or your fame bereaue.
For loose but once the hould you haue of Grace,
Who will regard your fortune, or your face ?
2 Each greedy hand will striue to catch the Flower,
When none regards the stalke it growes vpon :
Each nature seekes the Fruit still to deuoure,
And leaue the Tree to fall or stand alone.
Yet this aduise (faire Creatures) take of mee,
Let none take Fruit vnlesse he take the Tree.
3 Beleeue no othes, nor much protesting men,
Credit no vowes, nor their bewayling songs :
Let Courtiers sweare, forsweare, and sweare againe,
Their hearts doe liue tenne regions from their tongues.
For, when with othes they make thy heart to bremble,
Beleeue them least, for then they most dissemble.
4 Beware least Cesar doe corrupt thy minde,
And fond Ambition sell thy modestie :
Say though a King thou euer courteous finde,
He cannot pardon thine impuritie.
Beginne with King, to Subiect thou wilt fall,
From Lord to Lackey, and at last to all.
words by: Joshua Sylvester
Online text copyright © Harald Lillmeyer