14. The Possession of Decorum

Chapter. 14. The Possession of Decorum
'Decorum' gives especial excellence; with greater care
'Decorum' should men guard than life, which all men share.
Meaning : Propriety of conduct leads to eminence, it should therefore be preserved more carefully than life.
Searching, duly watching, learning, 'decorum' still we find;
Man's only aid; toiling, guard thou this with watchful mind.
Meaning : Let propriety of conduct be laboriously preserved and guarded; though one know and practise and excel in many virtues, that will be an eminent aid.
'Decorum's' true nobility on earth;
'Indecorum's' issue is ignoble birth.
Meaning : Propriety of conduct is true greatness of birth, and impropriety will sink into a mean birth.
Though he forget, the Brahman may regain his Vedic lore;
Failing in 'decorum due,' birthright's gone for evermore.
Meaning : A Brahman though he should forget the Vedas may recover it by reading; but, if he fail in propriety of conduct even his high birth will be destroyed.
The envious soul in life no rich increase of blessing gains,
So man of 'due decorum' void no dignity obtains.
Meaning : Just as the envious man will be without wealth, so will the man of destitute of propriety of conduct be without greatness.
The strong of soul no jot abate of 'strict decorum's' laws,
Knowing that 'due decorum's' breach foulest disgrace will cause.
Meaning : Those firm in mind will not slacken in their observance of the proprieties of life, knowing, as they do, the misery that flows from the transgression from them.
'Tis source of dignity when 'true decorum' is preserved;
Who break 'decorum's' rules endure e'en censures undeserved.
Meaning : From propriety of conduct men obtain greatness; from impropriety comes insufferable disgrace.
'Decorum true' observed a seed of good will be;
'Decorum's breach' will sorrow yield eternally.
Meaning : Propriety of conduct is the seed of virtue; impropriety will ever cause sorrow.
It cannot be that they who 'strict decorum's' law fulfil,
E'en in forgetful mood, should utter words of ill.
Meaning : Those who study propriety of conduct will not speak evil, even forgetfully.
Who know not with the world in harmony to dwell,
May many things have learned, but nothing well.
Meaning : Those who know not how to act agreeably to the world, though they have learnt many things, are still ignorant.