An Order Prescribed, by Is. W., to two of her Younger Sisters Serving in London

written by

« Reload image

Good sisters mine, when I shall further from you dwell,Peruse these lines, observe the rules which in the same I tell.So shall you wealth possess, and quietness of mind:And all your friends to see the same, a treble joy shall find.


In mornings when you rise, forget not to commendYour selves to God, beseeching him from dangers to defendYour souls and bodies both, your parents and your friends,Your teachers and your governers. So pray you that your endsMay be in such a sort as God may pleasèd be:To live to die, to die to live, with him eternally.


Then justly do such deeds as are to you assigned:All wanton toys, good sisters now, exile out of your mind.I hope you give no cause whereby I should suspect,But this I know, too many live that would you soon infect.If God do not prevent, or with his grace expell,I cannot speak, or write too much, because I love you well.


Your business soon dispatch and listen to no lies,Nor credit every fained tale, that many will devise.For words they are but wind, yet words may hurt you so,As you shall never brook the same, if that you have a foe.God shield you from all such as would by word or billProcure your shame, or never cease till they have wrought you ill.


See that you secrets seal, tread trifles under ground:If to rehearsal oft you come, it will your quiet wound.Of laughter be not much, nor over solemn seem,For then be sure they'll compt you light or proud will you exteem.Be modest in a mean, be gentle unto all:Though cause they give of contrary yet be to wrath no thrall.Refer you all to him, that sits above the skies:Vengeance is his, he will revenge, you need it not devise.


And sith that virtue guides, where both of you do dwell:Give thanks to God, and painful be to please your rulers well.For fleeting is a foe, experience hath me taught:The rolling stone doth get no moss your selves have heard full oft.Your business being done, and this my scroll perused,The day will end, and that the night by you be not abused.I something needs must write: take pains to read the same.Henceforth my life as well as pen shall your examples frame.


Your Masters gone to bed, your Mistresses at rest,Their daughters all with haste about to get themselves undrest.See that their plate be safe, and that no spoon do lack,See doors and windows bolted fast for fear of any wrack.Then help if need there be, to do some household thing:If not, to bed, referring you unto the heavenly King.Forgetting not to pray as I before you taught,And giving thanks for all that he hath ever for you wrought.Good Sisters, when you pray, let me remembered be:So will I you, and thus I cease, till I your selves do see.

(quoth) IS. W.

© Isabella Whitney