Cordula's Web. NOAA. Grounded tabular iceberg at Cape Washington in the Ross Sea, Antartica.
NOAA Photo Library: corp2655. Grounded tabular iceberg at Cape Washington in the Ross Sea. Michael Van Woert. HiRes. Gallery 8

Lord Nevil's Advice

Ada Cambridge

"Friend," quoth Lord Nevil, "thou art young
To face the world, and thou art blind
To subtle ways of womankind;
The meshes thou wilt fall among."

"Take an old married man's advice;
Use the experience I have earned;
Watch well where women are concerned,
They're not all birds of paradise!"

"Be circumspect, or thou mayst fall;
Abjure a blind faith, nay, trust none
Till thou hast chosen, proven one;
Then trust her truly, trust in all."

"Keep a calm brain and quiet eye,
And watch. The doll of powder and paint,
The flirt, the artificial saint,
The loud man-woman pass them by."

"The innocent one, who craves thy cares
To shield her from life's fret and fray;
Lad, watch her, maybe she'll betray
Some doubtful knowledge, unawares."

"The pensive one, who droops and sighs,
Wait till her dreaming comes to test;
Be gentle, yet be wary, lest
'Tis but a graceful grey disguise."

"The world-wise husband-hunter, she
Who knows no love but love of gold,
And lands and titles, empty, cold,
Pity her, lad, and let her be."

"And the rich heiress, let her pass.
Belike she's stupid, drugged with wealth,
And just enjoys her life and health
As some fat cow in clover grass."

"Or insolent with prosperity,
Unsharpened, shallow, unrefined;
And thou art poor, and thou wilt mind
That proud blood cometh down to thee."

"The gushing gossip, she who rains
Incessant chatter in thine ears;
She may be worth thy keenest fears,
She may be simply lacking brains,"

"And lacking grace and modesty.
She will make mischief, at the best;
She may be wily, like the rest;
Keep thy tongue still when she is by."

"They that would master thee, if they could,
In brain and muscle, flaring lights,
The clamorous for false woman's rights;
Snub them, my friend, it does them good"

"And do not think of them for wives.
Fit mates for such seem somewhat rare;
But when two odd ones make a pair,
They spoil at least four precious lives."

"But shouldst thou chance to meet a girl
With brave, bright eyes, that front thee straight,
A kindly tongue that does not prate,
And quiet lips that cannot curl;"

"With fine sense, quick to understand,
With dignity that is not cold,
Sweet, sunny mirth that is not bold,
A ready ear, a willing hand;"

"One skilled in household arts, and skilled
In little courteous, graceful ways,
That make no show and win no praise,
Wherewith discordant jars are stilled:"

"One who will never touch a sore;
One who sheds sunshine round about,
And draws life's hidden comfort out;
One whom the boys and babes adore:"

"One with an intellect to reach
The highest range that thou canst rise;
Who will aye help thee, woman-wise,
And yet not set herself to teach:"

"One of whom women love to speak,
In honest kindness, and whose name
Men let alone; whose chiefest fame
Lies hidden where men may not seek;"

"Friend, woo her, as a good knight can,
And win her. Lay thou at her feet
Faith, love, and honour, true and sweet;
And count thyself a happy man."

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