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Friends and Flatterers

People who flatter us all the time are not real friends. They flatter us to receive our favors. When we have money and power, they will stand with us but when we have nothing left, they will disappear. The real friend is the one who stand with us in our ups and downs but flatterers stand with us only when we stand. So let’s be careful about choosing friends. Let’s befriend true friends.

Stanza 1

Every one that flatters thee
Is no friend in misery.
Words are easy, like the wind;
Faithful friends are hard to find:

Meaning

  • Flatter – Praise
  • Thee – You
  • Misery – Struggle; trouble; pain; difficulty
  • Faithful – Committed; loyal

Questions & Answers

  1. Why shouldn’t we trust a flattering friend like a real friend?
    We should not trust a flattering friend primarily because a flatterer is not genuine. Such a friend should not be trusted because when we are through troubled times, he or she will not stand with us.
  2. Why are words compared to wind?
    Wind is aimless. It comes from one direction and leaves through another. Wind has no commitments. Like wind blows, some people give us hollow advice but they are not honest. They sound like the blowing wind but they do not make any sense.
  3. What do you mean by ‘a friend in misery?’
    A friend in misery is a real friend who stands with us in our good and bad times alike. True friendship is proved during troubled times because those who stand us to strengthen us during our bad days are real friends while others who used to praise us were never true.

Stanza 2

Every man will be thy friend
Whilst thou hast wherewith to spend;
But if store of crowns be scant,
No man will supply thy want.

Meaning

  • Thy – Your
  • Whilst – While
  • Hast – Has
  • Wherewith – Money
  • Store of crowns – Money
  • Scant – Low
  • Supply – Give
  • Thy want – Your need

Questions & Answers

  1. When do we find ourselves surrounded by friends?
    We find ourselves surrounded by friends when we have wealth and money to spend for them.
  2. When do fake friends abandon us?
    Fake friends abandon us when we have spent our wealth. They stand with us as long as we have riches to spend for them.
  3. How does Shakespeare define flatterers?
    In Shakespeare’s words, flatterers are those people who pretend like our friends and praise us to please us. In fact they have no love for us. All they want is our money and company, not our love. When we become poor, they leave us and disappear. Their flattery will turn to blames.

Stanza 3

If that one be prodigal,
Bountiful they will him call,
And with such-like flattering,
‘Pity but he were a king;’

Meaning

  • Prodigal – Spendthrift; over-spending; black-sheep; reckless
  • Bountiful – Abundant
  • Such-like – As if
  • Pity – Sympathy
  • But he were a king – As if he were a king

Questions & Answers

  1. What does prodigal mean? OR Who is a prodigal person?
    Prodigal is characterized by over-spending without being worried about the possibility of being a pauper/poor. A prodigal person is a spendthrift so he has a lot of friends.
  2. Whose company do people generally like?
    People generally like the company of those who are prodigal with their wealth for friendship.
  3. How do people flatter a prodigal friend?
    Crafty friends flatter their prodigal friends by saying that they are sorry he is not a king. They repeatedly say that such qualities as his could only be found in kings.

Stanza 4

If he be addict to vice,
Quickly him they will entice;
If to women he be bent,
They have at commandement:

Meaning

  • If he be – If he is
  • Addict – Addicted
  • Vice – Sins
  • Entice – Tempt; Lure
  • If he be bent – If he is addicted to
  • At commandment – In power

Questions & Answers

  1. What kind of people attract false friends?
    People who are inclined to vicious character and engage in bad deeds easily attract false friends. When these false friends see that someone is attracted to women, they lure him by supplying him with the kind of women he likes.

Stanza 5

But if Fortune once do frown,
Then farewell his great renown
They that fawn’d on him before
Use his company no more.

Meaning

  • Fortune – Luck
  • Frown – Be angry
  • Farewell – Depart, lose
  • Renown – Fame
  • Fawn’d – Flattered

Questions & Answers

  1. What happens to your flatterers when your luck turns bad?
    When luck turns bad, our flatterers will bid farewell to us. They will not stay with us any more.
  2. What does the frown of fortune indicate?
    Frown of fortune means bad luck.

Stanza 6

He that is thy friend indeed,
He will help thee in thy need:
If thou sorrow, he will weep;
If thou wake, he cannot sleep;

Meaning

  • Sorrow – Worry
  • Weep – Cry

Questions & Answers

  1. What are the qualities of real friends according to the stanza? (1 mark)
    The real friend is the one who cannot watch his friend go through trouble. He is so much concerned that he cannot sleep if he is wakened by his friend for help. He shares his friend’s worries and suffers as if it is his own worry.

Stanza 6

Thus of every grief in heart
He with thee doth bear a part.
These are certain signs to know
Faithful friend from flattering foe.

Meaning

  • Grief – Sadness
  • Doth – Does
  • Bear – Suffer
  • Foe – Enemy

Questions & Answers

  1. What does a true friend do for his friend?
    A true friend bears the grief of his friend as much as he can. For a true friend, his friend’s pains are his own pains.
  2. What does ‘he with thee’ bear?
    He, the true friend, bears all the grief of his friend.
  3. How does the last two lines explain the true intention of this poem? (Out of Syllabus)
    The true intention of this poem is to teach us the reality about friendship. We have so many friends on facebook and whatsapp. In fact how many are real friends? Imagine facebook charged an amount of 10 bucks for every LIKE and 100 bucks for a birthday wish. How many of us will LIKE and WISH on facebook? There we get to know how many really like us and how many really care for us.

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  • Question of

    A true friend stands with us when we are:

    • Rich
    • happy
    • Sad
  • Question of

    ‘Flatterer” is someone who:

    • is fond of praising
    • finds fault
    • scolds
  • Question of

    “Whilst thou hast wherewith to spend” means:

    • “when you have money”
    • “when you have lost all wealth…”
    • “when you are trying hard to earn money…”

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