Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PROVERBS OF HENDYNGE, by HENDYNGE



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THE PROVERBS OF HENDYNGE, by            
First Line: Who would learn of wisdom's rede / let him take to hendynge heed
Last Line: Grant us good ending.
Subject(s): Proverbs; Maxims; Adages


WHO would learn of Wisdom's rede
Let him take to Hendynge heed,
Marcolf's son was he;
Laws and customs, not a few,
Did he teach to many a shrew,
As his wise should be.

Jesu Christ, Our Help in thrall,
Who hath died to save us all
Nailed to the Tree,
Teach us Wisdom's way to wend
That we serve thee to the end,
Amen, par Charitie.
"Good beginning maketh good ending,"
quoth Hendynge.

Wit and Wisdom learn full fain,
See none other thee restrain,
Be in Wisdom free;
Better walk in Wisdom's way
Than go clad in rich array
Wheresoe'er thou be.
"Wit and Wisdom be a good garrison,"
quoth Hendynge.

Here on earth is ne'er a man,
Let him try as try he can,
If he bide at home,
Who such knowledge may attain
As that man, for learning fain,
Who afar doth roam.
"So many Folk, so many Fashions,"
quoth Hendynge.

Tho' the child be dear, I wis
An it doeth aught amiss,
Spare the rod for naught;
An its way it goeth free,
Willy, nilly, it shall be
But a good-for-naught.
"Lief child behoveth lore,"
quoth Hendynge.

Wisdom thou shalt win to thee
From what thou dost hear and see
Man, in this thy youth,
Thou in age shalt surely follow,
Both at eve, and on the morrow,
Thine it is, in sooth.
"What thou young dost hold, thou shalt lose not old,"
quoth Hendynge.

If thou list a sin to do,
And thy thoughts be turned thereto,
Good 't is to refrain;
For when heat be overcome,
And thy wit again hast won,
Thou shalt count it gain.
"Let lust overgo, liking shall follow,"
quoth Hendynge.

Art thou light of thought withal,
That thou should'st thro' weakness fall
In a wicked sin,
Be that fault so rarely told
That in sin thou grow not old,
Nor shalt die therein.
"Better be eye-sore than blind,"
quoth Hendynge.

Men may teach a simple child
Teachable of mood, and mild,
With but little lore;
But an ye would further go
Pain and trouble shall ye know
Ere ye teach him more.
"The simple son is taught right soon,"
quoth Hendynge.

Would'st from fleshly lusts be free
Thou must fight, and swiftly flee
Both with eye and heart.
Fleshly lust, it bringeth shame,
What the Body thinketh game
Makes the Soul to smart.
"He fights well who flees well,"
quoth Hendynge.

Wise men ne'er of words are free,
For they will begin no glee
Ere they tune their pipe;
Fools be fools, as may be seen
By their words, they speak them green,
Ere that they be ripe.
"A Fool's bolt is soon shot,"
quoth Hendynge.

See thou ne'er thy foeman tell
Shame or loss that thee befell,
Nor thy care nor woe;
He will try, an so he may,
Both by night, and eke by day
One woe to make two.
"Tell never thy foe if thy foot acheth,"
quoth Hendynge.

Hast of bread and ale no lack
Put it not all in thy sack,
Deal it freely out;
If thy meals dost freely share
Then where men have meat to spare,
Thou go'st not without.
"Better an apple given than eaten,"
quoth Hendynge.

Yet, the while I lived on earth,
I have deemed of little worth
Wine from other's store;
That which I may call mine own,
Wine and water, stock and stone,
That doth please me more.
"Best be our own Brand,"
quoth Hendynge.

If thou lackest meat or cloth
Be not for that cause too wroth
Tho' thy debtor stay;
He that still hath his good plough
And of worldly good enow,
Knoweth no care alway.
"Good-less is greedy,"
quoth Hendynge.

Art thou rich in house and hold
Be not thou for that too bold,
Nor wax wood and wild;
Measure shew in everything,
That shall sure a blessing bring,
Be thou meek and mild.
"Full cup needs steady hand,"
quoth Hendynge.

If an old man thou shalt be
Take no young maid unto thee
For to be thy spouse,
Tho' thou shew her love, I trow,
She shall flout thee oft enow
E'en in thine own house.
"Oft a man doth sing
When he home doth bring
His young wife;
Did he know what he brought
He had wept, methought,
The rest of his life,"
quoth Hendynge.

Tho' thou thinkest much, withal,
Guard thy tongue as with a wall,
Speak not all thy rede;
He who swallows down his speech
Ere unto his lips it reach,
Findeth friends at need.
"The tongue breaketh bone, tho' itself it hath none,"
quoth Hendynge.

Many a knave, I trow, there be,
Who, if men but little fee
Give him, wrath doth show,
I say: 'He doth well by me
Who doth give a little fee
When he naught doth owe.'
"Who little doth give is fain I should live,"
quoth Hendynge.

If it please thee to do ill
When the world is at thy will,
Then of this take heed,
If from thine estate thou fall
That which thou hast brewed withal,
Shalt thou drink at need.
"The better thou be, the better thee be-see,"
quoth Hendynge.

Tho', forsooth, 't would please thee well
In a goodly house to dwell
Thou must need abide;
Best within a hut to be
Till thou feel that thou art free
From all taint of pride.
"Neath a bush may ye hide, and the storm abide,"
quoth Hendynge.

No man wretched do I hold
Tho' unto his lot be told
That which makes him smart;
When man goeth most in fear
God, I trow, the prayer shall hear
Offered from true heart.
"When Bale is highest, Boot is nighest,"
quoth Hendynge.

Draw thy hand back with all speed
When they do thee an ill deed,
Whom didst help with store;
So that child withdraws his hand
From the fire, and from the brand,
Who was burnt afore.
"A burnt child dreads the fire,"
quoth Hendynge.

To some men I've lent my cloth
Who have made me feel right wroth
Ere it came again;
He that served me so, i-fay,
Tho' such loan right oft he pray,
He shall lose his pain!
"Seldom comes loan laughing home,"
quoth Hendynge.

If thou trust to borrowing
Thou shalt lack for many a thing,
Tho' thou like it ne'er;
But if thou thine own hast won
All thy woe is overcome,
Thou hast no more care.
"A man's ain is his ain, another's, but blame,"
quoth Hendynge.

This world's love I hold not dear,
Little reck I who may hear
What I speak on high;
Well I see that oft one brother
Careth little for the other,
Be he out of eye.
"Far from eye, far from heart,"
quoth Hendynge.

That man who betrayeth me
And of my goods maketh free
His own fame to win,
For the veriest cur I take
Who at board the bread shall break
His own hall within.
"Of unbought hide ye may make thongs wide,"
quoth Hendynge.

Many say: "An rich I were
No man should with me compare
For my gifts so free;
But when he much goods hath gotten,
This free hand is all forgotten,
And laid under knee.
"He is free of his horse who never had none,"
quoth Hendynge.

Many a man of poor estate
Doth his daughter lightly mate
Nor is better sped,
Who, if he a wise man were,
Might, with but a little care,
Have her better wed.
"Lightly won is lightly held,"
quoth Hendynge.

Riches, hard to get they be,
And their going ill to see,
Wise man, think on this;
All too dear is bought the ware
That may never, free from care,
Please man's heart, I wis.
"Dear is bought the honey that is licked off the thorn,"
quoth Hendynge.

Ye who fain would cross the flood
If the wind be wild and wood
Bide ye quiet and still;
Bide thee still, if so thou may,
Thou shalt have, another day,
Weather to thy will.
"He abideth well who waiteth well,"
quoth Hendynge.

But an ill hap his shall be
Who a-ship shall set to sea
When the wind is wood;
Be he come unto the deep
He may wring his hands and weep
In right dreary mood.
"Rashness oft rueth,"
quoth Hendynge.

Trow ye well, an evil man
May do wonders, an he can,
All the world affright;
Yet he fares as doth the knave
Whom men with a trusty stave
Ever smartly smite.
"Tho' the thief master be he hangs highest on tree,"
quoth Hendynge.

Wicked man, and wicked wife,
If they led a sinful life,
Ever evil wrought,
Never they such road might wend
But they needs must, at the end,
Show their inmost thought.
"An ill-spun web aye ravels out,"
quoth Hendynge.

Better is the rich man sped
Who doth a good woman wed
Tho' her purse be bare,
Than to bring into his house
A proud maiden for his spouse
Who is false as fair.
"For land and name many wed them to shame,"
quoth Hendynge.

Let no man trust child or wife
When he needs must leave this life,
Nigh to death be brought;
When his bones be laid in mold
They will take to them his gold,
Of his soul reck naught.
"Friendless is the dead,"
quoth Hendynge.

When the glutton finds good ale
He to drink it shall not fail,
And for naught will stay --
Drink he will with one and all --
Seeks his home when night doth fall,
Lies dead by the way.
"Drink less alway, and go home by day,"
quoth Hendynge.

Rich and poor, and young and old,
While that wit to you is told,
Seek ye your soul's bliss;
For when ye shall hope the best
To rejoice in peace and rest
The tree falls, I wis.
"Hope of long life beguiles many good-wife,"
quoth Hendynge.

Mickle sooth he spake, Hendynge --
Jesu Christ, of Heaven the King
Us to gladness bring;
And for His sweet Mother's love,
Who doth sit in Heaven above
Grant us good ending.





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