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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.

Care for Thyself


CARE for thy soul as thing of greatest price,

Made to the end to taste of power divine,

Devoid of guilt, abhorring sin and vice,

Apt by God’s grace to virtue to incline:

Care for it so that by thy reckless train

It be not brought to taste eternal pain.

Care for thy corps, but chiefly for soul’s sake;

Cut off excess, sustaining food is best;

To vanquish pride, but comely clothing take;

Seek after skill, deep ignorance detest:

Care so (I say) the flesh to feed and clothe,

That thou harm not thy soul and body both.

Care for the world, to do thy body right;

Rack not thy wit to win by wicked ways;

Seek not to oppress the weak by wrongful might;

To pay thy due do banish all delays:

Care to dispend according to thy store,

And in like sort be mindful of the poor.

Care for thy soul as for thy chiefest stay;

Care for thy body for the soul’s avail;

Care for the world for body’s help alway;

Care yet but so as virtue may prevail:

Care in such sort as thou beware of this—

Care keep thee not from heaven and heavenly bliss.