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Rule of Oneself

[He rewllis weill that weill himself can gyd]

To dwell in court, my freind, gife that thow list,
For gift of fortoun invy thow no degrй.
Behold and heir, and lat thy tung tak rest –
In mekle speiche is pairt of vanitie;
And for no malyce preis thee nevir to lie.
Als trubill nevir thyself, sone, be no tyd
Uthiris to reiwll that will not rewlit be:
He rewlis weill that weill himself can gyd.

Be war quhome to thy counsale thow discure,
For trewth dwellis nocht ay for that trewth appeiris.
Put not thyne honour into aventeure –
Ane freind may be thy fo, as fortoun steiris.
In cumpany cheis honorable feiris,
And fra vyle folkis draw thee far on syd.
The Psalme sayis, Cum sancto sanctus eiris:
He rewlis weill that weill himself can gyd.

Haif pacience thocht thow no lordschip posseid,
For hie vertew may stand in law estait.
Be thow content, of mair thow hes no neid;
And be thow nocht, desyre sall mak debait
Evirmoir, till Deth say to thee than “Chakmait!”
Thocht all war thyne this warld within so wyd,
Quha can resist the serpent of dispyt?
He rewlis weill that weill himself can gyd.

Fle frome the fallowschip of sic as ar defamit,
And fra all fals tungis fulfild with flattry,
Als fra all schrewis, or ellis thow art eschamit.
Sic art thow callit as is thy cumpany.
Fle parrellus taillis foundit of invy.
With wilfull men, son, argown thow no tyd,
Quhome no ressone may seis nor pacify:
He rewlis weill that weill himself can gyd.

And be thow not ane roundar in the nuke,
For gif thow be, men will hald thee suspect.
Be nocht in countenance ane skornar, nor by luke,
Bot dowt siclyk sall stryk thee in the neck.
Be war also to counsall or coreck
Him that extold hes far himself in pryd,
Quhair parrell is but proffeit or effect:
He rewlis weill that weill himself can gyd.

And sen thow seyis mony thingis variand,
With all thy hart treit bissines and cure.
Hald God thy freind, evir stabill be Him stand;
He will thee confort in all misaventeur.
And be no wayis dispytfull to the peure,
Nor to no man do wrang at ony tyd.
Quhoso dois this, sickir I yow asseure,
He rewlis weill that sa weill him can gyd.

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Rule of Oneself - WILLIAM DUNBAR