|These are precepts for those whose work
keeps them near kings, tolling them how to escape the dangers of courts.
A courtier should not absent himself too
often, nor indulge in too great proximity to the king. Not too far, not too near, like one
who warms himself near a fire, this is the rule of conduct for those who have to be near
princes whose minds are changeful and undependable.
Avoid casting your desire on things desired
by the prince himself, if you wish to prosper.
Once suspicion enters the prince's mind, it
is hard even for the cleverest to set himself right with him. So avoid all cause for it if
you desire to be safe.
Avoid, in the presence of your prince,
whispering to someone else or smiling to someone as if you and he understood something