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Defer not till to-morrow to be wise,

To-morrow's sun to thee may never rise.


But what is strength, without a double share
Of wisdom? Vast, unweildy, burthensome,
Proudly secure, yet liable to fall

By weakest subtilties; not made to rule

But to subserve where wisdom bears command.

Where ignorance is bliss

'Tis folly to be wise.



Can gold calm passion, or make reason shine?
Can we dig peace, or wisdom, from the mine?
Wisdom to gold prefer.



Eight things are proofs of folly ill-timed wrath, misplaced bounty, ill-judged exertion, the confounding of friend with foe, confidence in those untried, reliance on the foolish, trust in the faithless, and garrulity.


The disease that is most incurable is folly.


The first degree of folly is to hold one's self wise, the second to profess it, the third to despise counsel.

On the heels of folly treadeth shame.


* From Ancient Iranian and Zoroastrian Morals, by D. J. Medhora.


When Adam was created, God commanded Gabriel to take the three most precious pearls of the divine treasury, and offer them in a golden salver to Adam, to choose for himself one of the three. The three pearls were: Wisdom, Faith, and Modesty. Adam chose the pearl of Wisdom. Gabriel then proceeded to remove the salver with the remaining two pearls in order to replace them in the divine treasury. With all his mighty power, he found he could not lift the salver. The two pearls said to him: "We will not separate from our beloved Wisdom. We could not be happy and quiet away from it. From all eternity, we three have been the three compeers of God's Glory, the pearl of His power. cannot be separated." A voice was now heard to proceed from the divine presence, saying, "Gabriel, leave them and come away." From that time, Wisdom has taken its seat on the summit of the brain of Adam; Faith took up its abode in his heart; Modesty established itself in his countenance. Those three pearls have remained as the heirlooms of the chosen children of Adam. For, whoever, of all his descendants, is not embellished and enriched with those three jewels, is lacking of the sentiment and lustre of his divine origin.*



Jupiter, in order to please mankind, directed Mercury to give notice that he had established a Lottery, in which there were no blanks; and that amongst a variety of other valuable chances, Wisdom was the highest prize.

*From "the Mesnevi" of Mevlânâ Jelâlud-din Muhammed ErRumi, by James W. Redhouse.

It was Jupiter's command, that in this Lottery some of the Gods should also become adventurers. The tickets being disposed of, and the wheels placed, Mercury was employed to preside at the drawing. It happened that the best prize fell to Minerva: upon which a general murmur ran through the assembly, and hints were thrown out that Jupiter had used some unfair practices to secure this desirable lot to his daughter. Jupiter, that he might at once, both punish and silence these impious clamours of the human race, presented them with Folly in the place of Wisdom; with which they went away perfectly wellcontented. And from that time, the greatest fools have always looked upon themselves as the wisest men.*

*From Bewick's Select Fables.


That man is sapient who knows how to suit
His words to each occasion, his kind acts
To each man's worth, his anger to his power.

The wise man is he who hopes not for what is wrong, who begs not for what he fears may be refused, and who undertakes not what he cannot perform.


That man is truly wise

Who is content with what he has, and seeks
Nothing beyond, but in whatever sphere,

Lowly or great, God placed him, works in faith.‡


A man possessing Wisdom is like a diamond ever brilliant, and is able to throw light into the gloom of ignorance wherever he goes.§

Own him as prudent and as thoroughly wise,
Who founds his actions on a base secure.

But in whose caution aught defective lies,
His ground of action is most weak, be sure.


Prof. Johnson's edition.

From Ancient Iranian and Zoroastrian Morals, by D. J.


From Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustân.

§ From a Paper read by Manmohandas D. Shroff, F. T. S.

| Translated by Eastwick,

A wise man's kingdom is his own breast; or, if he ever looks farther, it will only be to the judgment of a select few, who are free from prejudices, and capable of examining his work.


The wise man reigns in the souls and hearts of



The wise knows that he does not know; the ignorant thinks he knows.


Every condition sits well upon a wise man.

No worldly fears can daunt the heart of the wise man, however nearest they may approach to him. Just as no arrow can pierce through a huge solid stone.


Not as adventitious will the wise man regard the faith which is in him. The highest truth he sees he will fearlessly utter; knowing that, let what may come of it, he is thus playing his right part in the world; knowing that, if he can effect the change he aims at-well; if not-well also: though not so well.


The wise and prudent conquer difficulties by daring

to attempt them.

* Translated by Vihâri Lâlâ Mitra.


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