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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

François Villon (1431–1463?)

Ballad of Proverbs

GOATS scrape so long they spoil their bed;

Pitchers till split to wells are ta’en;

Iron is heated till ’tis red,

And hammered till it bursts in twain;

Man’s worth, just how the child we train;

Who travel far will disappear;

Ill bred will ill through life remain;

We call out Christmas till ’tis here.

Men jest till power to laugh has fled;

Who leans on others, hopes in vain;

Waste leads to want is truly said;

One bird in hand beats chance of twain;

God’s love doth love of Church sustain;

Much giving is to borrowing near;

The wind shifts till it brings the rain;

We call out Christmas till ’tis here.

Dogs lick the hands by which they’re fed;

Songs run till all the tune retain;

Fruit kept too long does mold o’erspread;

Towns long besieged the foes will gain;

Who wait too long no luck obtain;

With overhaste you get not near;

By clutching long you overstrain;

We call out Christmas till ’tis here.

Prince, fools live on till wit they gain;

Men voyage till they homeward steer;

Those cheated long from rogues refrain;

We call out Christmas till ’tis here.