Of the Courtier's Life

To join the mean with each extremity,
With nearest virtue aye to clothe the vice;
And, as to purpose likewise it shall fall,
To press the virtue that it may not rise.
As drunkenness good fellowship to call;
The friendly foe, with his fair double face,
Say he is gentle, and courteous therewithal;
Affirm that favel hath a goodly grace
In eloquence; and cruelty to name
Zeal of justice; and change in time and place.
And he that suffereth offence without blame,
Call him pitiful; and him true and plain,
That raileth rechless unto each man's shame.
Say he is rude, that cannot lie and feign;
The lecher a lover; and tyranny
To be the right of a prince's reign:
I cannot, I, no, no! it will not be.
This is the cause that I could never yet
Hang on their sleeves that weigh, as thou mayst see,
A chip of chance more than a pound of wit.
This maketh me at home to hunt and hawk,
And in foul weather at my book to sit;
In frost and snow, then with my bow to stalk;
No man doth mark whereso I ride or go;
In lusty leas at liberty I walk.
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