The instructions of King Cormac

Tell me, O Cormac,” said his son once, “what were thy habits when thou wert a lad?” And Cormac said:

“I was a listener in woods,
I was a gazer at stars,
I pried into no man’s secrets,
I was mild in the hall,
I was fierce in the fray,
I was not given to making promises,
I reverenced the aged,
I spoke ill of no man in his absence,
I was fonder of giving than of asking.”

“If you listen to my teaching,” said Cormac:—

“Do not deride any old person though you be young
Nor any poor man though you be rich,
Nor any naked though you be well-clad,
Nor any lame though you be swift,
Nor any blind though you be keen-sighted,
Nor any invalid though you be robust,
Nor any dull though you be clever,
Nor any fool though you be wise.

“Yet be not slothful, nor fierce, nor sleepy, nor niggardly, nor feckless nor envious, for all these are hateful before God and men.

“Do not join in blasphemy, nor be the butt of an assembly; be not moody in an alehouse, and never forget a tryst.”

Taken from ‘The instructions of King Cormac’ : www.luminarium.org/mythology/ireland/cormacinstruct.htm

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