Put not your sickle into another mans corne

These snippets come from The last advice of Mr. Ben. Alexander (late minister of West-Markham, in the county of Nottingham) to his children (1659). Its charm, for me, lies in the certainty of the advice, and in the author’s employment of the odd curious metaphor.

Take heed of wantonnesse, in word or deed, for the snuffe of lust goeth out with the stinke of loathing.

The Cordiall woundings of a faithfull friend will keep thee from the wounding cordialls of a flattering foe.

Regard not vaine talke, they are light leaves that do wagge with every winde.

Put not your sickle into another mans corne, least you cut your fingers.

Weare your cloathes neat, but suitable to your fortune, least on the one hand you be accounted a sloven, or on the other, proud, and vain glorious.

Ride not hastily through a Town, men do think that either the horse, or your braines are not your own.

Make not Musicke your study, for, besides the unprofitableness of it, it rendreth a man suspected of Levity.

Eate not so long as you are able, meates in England, which do most inveagle the stomach, are stewed up in great houses.

Provide not roome in your breast for the passion of feares, by a tedious expectation of what may come; ill fortune, it is as unconstant as good, and a wet day may be as short, as a faire day is pleasant.

Marry not for beauty or unendowed handsomeness, lest you bury your judgement in sensuall affection.

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4 Comments

  • June 26, 2010 - 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Hi Susan

    Thanks for the link, and for sharing your interests! I’ve added a link to your site, which is wonderful may I say!

  • June 19, 2010 - 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks for sharing your research and discoveries (and especially mentioning the text on EBBO, which makes hunting a good deal more agreeable.)
    I’ve linked to “Fragments” over on my own blog today, plus it has a permanent place on our blog-roll: http://twonerdyhistorygirls.blogspot.com/2010/06/words-of-wisdom-mr-ben-alexander-1659.html

  • January 19, 2010 - 10:57 am | Permalink

    I’m pleased you enjoyed it. The entire text is available via EBBO.

  • January 18, 2010 - 8:31 pm | Permalink

    This is a most excellent source you’ve copied here.

  • Comments are closed.

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