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The truest characters of ignorance Are vanity, pride, and arrogance; As blind men use to bear their noses higher Than those that have their eyes and sight entire.
All wit and fancy, like a diamond, The more exact and curious ?tis ground, Is forced for every carat to abate As much of value as it wants in weight.
A man of quick and active wit For drudgery is more unfit, Compared to those of duller parts, Than running nags are to draw carts.
All love, at first, like generous wine, Ferments and frets until ?tis fine; But when ?tis settled on the lee, And from th? impurer matter free, Becomes the richer still the older, And proves the pleasanter the colder.
All smatterers are more brisk and pert Than those who understand an art; As little sparkles shine more bright Than glowing coals that gave them light.
An ass will with his long ears fray The flies that tickle him away; But man delights to have his ears Blown maggots in by flatterers.
Authority intoxicates, And makes mere sots of magistrates; The fumes of it invade the brain, And make men giddy, proud, and vain; By this the fool commands the wise, The noble with the base complies, The sot assumes the rule of wit, And cowards make the base submit.
Hypocrisy will serve as well To propagate a church as zeal; As persecution and promotion Do equally advance devotion: So round white stones will serve, they say, As well as eggs, to make hens lay.
In all the world there is no vice Less prone t?excess than avarice; It neither cares for food nor clothing: Nature?s content with little, that with nothing.
Law does not put the least restraint Upon our freedom, but maintain?st; Or, if it does, ?tis for our good, To give us freer latitude: For wholesome laws preserve us free, By stinting of our liberty.
Man is supreme lord and master Of his own ruin and disaster, Controls his fate, but nothing less In ordering his own happiness: For all his care and providence Is too feeble a defence To render it secure and certain Against the injuries of Fortune; And oft, in spite of all his wit, Is lost by one unlucky hit, And ruined with a circumstance, And mere punctilio of a chance.
Most virgins marry, just as nuns The same thing the same way renounce; Before they?ve wit to understand The bold attempt, they take in hand; Or, having stayed and lost their tides, Are out of season grown for brides.
There needs no other charm, nor conjuror, To raise infernal spirits up, but Fear, That makes men pull their horns in, like a snail, That?s both a prisoner to itself and jail; Draws more fantastic shapes than in the grains Of knotted wood, in some men?s crazy brains, When all the cocks they think they are, and bulls, Are only in the insides of their skulls.