The Circle of Honesty Squared

1

 

Within the head of man’s a circle round
Of Honesty, in which no end2 is found.
Some think it fit this circle should be squared,3
Though to make Honesty take sides is hard.4
Prudence and Temperance as two lines5 take;                 5
With Fortitude and Justice, four will6 make.
If Temperance do prove too short a line,7
Then do the figure of Discretion join;8
Let9 Wisdom’s point draw up Discretion’s figure,10
That make two equal lines joined both together.11         10
Betwixt the line Temperance and Justice,12 Truth must point;
Justice’s line draw down to Fortitude,13 that corner joint.
Of Fortitude, which line do make agree14
With Prudence; Temperance must also be15
Of equal length with Justice; both must stand16               15
’Twixt Fortitude and Prudence on each hand.17
At every corner must a point be laid,
Where every line that meets, an angle’s made.18
And when those19 points too high or low do fall,
Then must the lines be stretched, to make them20 all      20
Even. And21 thus the circle round, you’ll find,
Is squared with the four virtues of the mind.

  1. In 1653 this poem is called “The Squaring of the Circle”
  2. in which no end] no Ends in it 1653
  3. Some think it fit this circle should be squared,] To Square this Circle many think it fit, 1653
  4. Though to make Honesty take sides is hard.] But Sides to take without Ends, hard is it. 1653
  5. Prudence and Temperance as two lines] Yet try, do Fortitude and Prudence 1664; Yet try; and Fortitude and Prudence 1668
  6. With Fortitude and Justice, four will] Justice and Temperance, four Lines they 1664, 1668
  7. If Temperance do prove too short a line,] If th’Line of Temperance doth prove too short, 1653
  8. Then do the figure of Discretion join;] Then add a Figure of a discreet Thought; 1653
  9. Let] Which 1664; With 1668
  10. Discretions figure,] and you will find 1664, 1668
  11. That make two equal lines joined both together.] Them make an even Line, when well Combin’d; 1664; Them make an even Line, when well combin’d: 1668
  12. Betwixt the line Temperance and Justice,] ’Twixt Fortitude and Prudence 1664, 1668
  13. draw down to Fortitude,] towards 1664, 1668
  14. Of Fortitude, which line do make agree] Then Fortitude must draw in equall length, 1653
  15. With Prudence; Temperance must also be] To Prudence Line, Temperance must give the breadth. 1653
  16. Of equal length with Justice; both must stand] And Temperance with Justice Line must run, yet stand 1653
  17. ’Twixt Fortitude and Prudence on each hand.] Betwixt Prudence and Fortitude, of either hand. 1653
  18. Where every line that meets, an angle’s made.] Where Lines do meet, that Angles may be made, 1664; Where Lines do meet, that Angles may be made: 1668
  19. those] the 1653
  20. to make them] to mak’t even 1653
  21. Even. And] And 1653