Instructions of Prudence
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In the spring of thy youth, in the morning of thy days, when the eyes of men gaze on thee with delight and nature whispereth in thine ear the meaning of their looks, ah! hear with caution their seducing words, guard well thine heart, nor listen to their soft persuasions.
Remember thou art man's reasonable companion, not the slave of his passion; the end of thy being is not merely to gratify his loose desire, but to assist him in the toils of life, to soothe him with thy tenderness, and to recompense his care with soft endearments.
Who is she that winneth the heart of man, that subdueth him to love and reigneth in his breast?
Lo! yonder she walketh in maiden sweetness, with innocence in her mind and modesty on her cheek.
Her hand seeketh employment, her foot delighteth not in gadding abroad.
She is clothed in neatness, she is fed with temperance, humility and meekness are as a crown of glory circling her head.
On her tongue dwelleth music, the sweetness of honey floweth from her lips.
Decency is in all her words; in her answers are mildness and truth.
Submission and obedience are the lessons of her life, and peace and happiness are her reward.
Before her steps walketh prudence, and virtue attendeth at her right hand.
Her eye speaketh softness and love; but discretion with a sceptre sitteth on her brow.
The tongue of the licentious is dumb in her presence: the awe of her virtue keepeth him silent.
When scandal is busy, and the fame of her neighbour is tossed from tongue to tongue; if charity and good-nature open not her mouth, the finger of silence resteth on her lip.
Her breast is the mansion of goodness, and therefore she suspecteth no evil in others.
Happy were the man that should make her his wife; happy the child that shall call her mother.
She presideth in the house, and there is peace; she commandeth with judgment, and is obeyed.
She riseth in the morning, she considereth her affairs, and appointeth to every one their proper business.
The care of her family is her whole delight: to that alone she applieth her study; and elegance with frugality is seen in her mansions.
The prudence of her management is an honour to her husband, and he heareth her praise with a secret delight.
She informeth the minds of her children with wisdom: she fashioneth their manners from the example of her own goodness.
The word of her mouth is the law of their youth; the motion of her eye commandeth their obedience.
She speaketh and her servants fly; she pointeth and the thing is done; for the law of love is in their hearts, and her kindness addeth wings to their feet.
In prosperity she is not puffed up; in adversity she healeth the wounds of fortune with patience.
The troubles of her husband are alleviated by her counsels and sweetened by her endearments; he putteth his heart in her bosom and receiveth comfort.
Happy is the man that hath made her his wife; happy the child that calleth her mother.