Whose purchase was his pouch, his house a tun,
Critic of actions whatsoever done,
That learned dog, at noontide tinned his light,
Searching for one, whose actions were upright.
The Eagles young ones by the Sun are tried,
Men’s actions by the lamp are best espied;
For men in day time masked with wizards go,
Of truth and faith making an outward show.
But when they can nights secret silence find,
Before the lamp they do unmask their mind.
Happy is he whom Sun and Lamp sees one,
Who's honest still, though witness there be none.
~ "Moral Emblems" from Jacob Cats and Robert Farlie, 1860. Not in copyright.
Rendered in modern English orthography by Kate Marinovsky.
Image (taken from the book) is engraved by Dalziel.
Tag: Favourite Poetry
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