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The good or ill hap of a good or ill life, is the good or ill choice of a good or ill wife. Before you run in double harness look well to the other horse. It is not every couple that is a pair. Choose a wife rather by your ear than your eye. Before your youth with marriage is oppressed, Make sure of one who suits your humor best; Such choicest damsel drops not from the sky, She must be sought for with a studious eye. Who weds a sot to get his cot Will lose his cot and keep the sot. Don't be in a hurry to tie what you can't untie. Be sure before you marry of a house wherein to tarry. Take heed that what charmeth thee is real, nor springeth of thine own imagination; and suffer not trifles to win thy love. Beauty without merit and virtue is a bait for fools. Beauty and folly are often companions. You must judge a maiden at the kneading trough, and not in a dance. Take a vine of good soil, and a daughter of a good mother. "If all lovers were to marry," said Don Quixote, "parents would lose their right of marrying their children when and to whom they choose. And if the choice of husband were left to the daughter's pleasure, there would be one who would pick her father's groom, and another some passer-by in the street, whom she might fancy a brave and fine fellow though he might be a debauched swashbuckler. For love and fancy easily blind the eyes of the understanding which are so necessary in choosing one's estate. The state of matrimony is in great danger from errors, and it needs much circumspection and the particular favour of Heaven to make a good choice. For if a prudent man wants to take a long journey he seeks a safe and peaceful companion to go with him, before setting out on the road. Why then should not he do the same when he has to travel all his life, right up to the resting place of death; all the more so since his companion must be with him at bed and at board and everywhere, as the wife is with her husband. The companionship of one's own wife is not merchandise which, once bought, can be returned or bartered or exchanged; for marriage is an inseparable condition which lasts as long as life endures. It is a noose which becomes a Gordian knot once you put it around your neck, for if Death's scythe does not cut it, there is no untying it." Cervantes. Don Quixote.