Let no persuasive art tempt you to place
Your confidence in crafty minds and base.
How can it answer? Will their help avail,
When danger presses, and your foes assail?
The blessing, which the gods in bounty send,
Will they consent to share it with a friend?
No. To bestrew the waves with scattered grain,
To cultivate the surface of the main,
Is not a task more absolutely vain,
Than cultivating such allies as these,
Fickle, and unproductive as the seas.
Such are all baser minds. Never at rest,
With new demands importunately prest,
A new pretension or a new request;
Till foiled with the refusal of the last,
They disavow their obligations past.
But brave and gallant hearts are cheaply gained,
Faithful adherents easily retained;
Men that will never disavow the debt
Of gratitude or cancel or forget.
Never engage with a poltroon or craven;
Avoid him, Kurnos, as a treacherous haven;
Those friends and hearty comrades, as you think,
Ready to join you, when you feast and drink,
Those easy friends from difficulty shrink.
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