By Luis G. Dato
Dear youth, be like bamboo that skyward send
Their shoots, but with their weight of leaves must bend
All pride eschew, it brings but bitter gall,
For as was writ, Pride goes before a fall,
On weddings be not rude or over-bold,
Kind courtesy observe, regard the old,
Should you an ancient see, show him your chair,
He might be father to a maiden fair;
And should the time arrive for you to spouse,
He surely would recall the wedding-house,
Your former ways to weigh he will not fail,
And even at your innocent parents rail,
My counsel heed, it is for everyone,
You need it, and, who knows? as well my son!
And you fair maidens, flowers of our sod,
Whose fragrance lauds your sires and sings to God,
Like scented jazmines wafting sweet perfume,
May Mary bless, guard well your earthly bloom!
It matters not that you wed not in haste,
If the bridegroom be harsh, ’twere well be chaste!
The manner of a man, who pray may know?
The after-marriage shows for weal or woe,
Some men before the marriage seem quite kind,
Regret comes late when all the deeds are signed,
And so the marriage warning, look you at the root,
For the tree bears naught else but its own fruit.
Dear maids and swains, to counsel be not wroth,
Embrace toil’s husbandry, eschew all sloth,
And though it be that the man seeks the fare,
The good wife charies not his sweat to share,
Believe not this; since your man has you wed,
He may depart and find you still abed.
And should he feel the pangs of hunger, thirst,
And find you cards in hand, you will be curst,
Worse yet, since he be not without some flaw,
A blow expect, to need some suit at law,
And then will love out of the window fly,
And your spouse at another cast his eye.
And thus in vain becomes the marriage-vow,
God’s grace in this and in the next, and how!
The town quite sagely hold you in ill view,
And nay be hell or murder will ensue,
So when in such predicament advice you need,
Your elders, in their stead, your sponsors heed.