“Valour that parleys is near yielding”

George Herbert, “Proverbs” in The Complete English Works, 274.

This saying reminds us that sometimes it’s better to walk away than to engage a tempting situation. “Valour” refers to our courage or resolve. “Parley” means talking. “Near yielding” means giving in to someone or something.

Perhaps you’ve been given advice about not shopping for a car on a car lot unless you have a really good idea of what you’re looking for, how much you’re willing to spend, and a decent sense of your own ability to walk away from a convincing and persistent sales associate.

Perhaps, when watching a movie, you’ve yelled out loud at the hero who’s being hypnotically talked into betraying his friends or his mission by a smooth-talking villain:

“Don’t listen to him!” “Get out of there!”

Of course, there are certainly times when we should listen and talk. I’m not advocating that we go through our lives in a close-minded way with our hands clapped over our ears–or rudely walk away from someone who is truly harmless.

But when the stakes are high, and we know that in our saner moments we would never listen to the counsel before us–we have to be wise enough to cut the conversation short, and walk away if need be.