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Title: Plutarch's Morals
Author: Plutarch, 46-120?
Language: English
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                _BOHN'S CLASSICAL LIBRARY_

                     PLUTARCH'S MORALS

                    GEORGE BELL & SONS,
             NEW YORK: 66, FIFTH AVENUE, AND
                BOMBAY: 53, ESILANADE ROAD
               CAMBRIDGE: DEIGHTON, BELL & CO.

                     PLUTARCH'S MORALS

                       ETHICAL ESSAYS


                    WITH NOTES AND INDEX


      _Sometime Scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge,
                  Translator of Pausanias._


                     GEORGE BELL AND SONS

                          CHANCERY LANE.

   | Transcriber's note: The original book uses often colons    |
   | instead of semicolons. Spelling of proper names is         |
   | different in different pages and some words occur in       |
   | hyphemated and unhyphenated forms. These have not been     |
   | changed. A couple of commas and periods have been added or |
   | removed to improve the reading and only obvious spelling   |
   | errors have been corrected.                                |


Plutarch, who was born at Chæronea in Boeotia, probably about A.D. 50,
and was a contemporary of Tacitus and Pliny, has written two works still
extant, the well-known _Lives_, and the less-known _Moralia_. The
_Lives_ have often been translated, and have always been a popular work.
Great indeed was their power at the period of the French Revolution. The
_Moralia_, on the other hand, consisting of various Essays on various
subjects (only twenty-six of which are directly ethical, though they
have given their name to the _Moralia_), are declared by Mr. Paley "to
be practically almost unknown to most persons in Britain, even to those
who call themselves scholars."[1] _Habent etiam sua fata libelli._

In older days the _Moralia_ were more valued. Montaigne, who was a great
lover of Plutarch, and who observes in one passage of his Essays that
"Plutarch and Seneca were the only two books of solid learning he
seriously settled himself to read," quotes as much from the _Moralia_ as
from the _Lives_. And in the seventeenth century I cannot but think the
_Moralia_ were largely read at our Universities, at least at the
University of Cambridge. For, not to mention the wonderful way in which
the famous Jeremy Taylor has taken the cream of "Conjugal Precepts" in
his Sermon called "The Marriage Ring," or the large and copious use he
has made in his "Holy Living" of three other Essays in this volume,
namely, those "On Curiosity," "On Restraining Anger," and "On
Contentedness of Mind," proving conclusively what a storehouse he found
the _Moralia_, we have evidence that that most delightful poet, Robert
Herrick, read the _Moralia_, too, when at Cambridge, so that one cannot
but think it was a work read in the University course generally in those
days. For in a letter to his uncle written from Cambridge, asking for
books or money for books, he makes the following remark: "How kind
Arcisilaus the philosopher was unto Apelles the painter, Plutark in his
Morals will tell you."[2]

In 1882 the Reverend C. W. King, Senior Fellow of Trinity College,
Cambridge, translated the six "Theosophical Essays" of the _Moralia_,
forming a volume in Bohn's Classical Library. The present volume
consists of the twenty-six "Ethical Essays," which are, in my opinion,
the cream of the _Moralia_, and constitute a highly interesting series
of treatises on what might be called "The Ethics of the Hearth and
Home." I have grouped these Essays in such a manner as to enable the
reader to read together such as touch on the same or on kindred

As is well known, the text of the _Moralia_ is very corrupt, and the
reading very doubtful, in many places. In eight of the twenty-six Essays
in this volume I have had the invaluable help of the text of Rudolf
Hercher; help so invaluable that one cannot but sadly regret that only
one volume of the _Moralia_ has yet appeared in the _Bibliotheca
Teubneriana_. Wyttenbach's text and notes I have always used when
available, and when not so have fallen back upon Reiske. Reiske is
always ingenious, but too fond of correcting a text, and the criticism
of him by Wyttenbach is perhaps substantially correct. "In nullo
auctore habitabat; vagabatur per omnes: nec apud quemquam tamdiu
divertebat, ut in paulo interiorem ejus consuetudinem se insinuaret." I
have also had constantly before me the Didot Edition of the _Moralia_,
edited by Frederic Dübner.

Let any reader who wishes to know more about Plutarch, consult the
article on Plutarch, in the Ninth Edition of the _Encyclopaedia
Britannica_, by the well-known scholar F. A. Paley. He will also do well
to read an Essay on Plutarch by R. W. Emerson, reprinted in Volume III.
of the Bohn's Standard Library Edition of Emerson's Works, and Five
Lectures on Plutarch by the late Archbishop Trench, published by Messrs.
Macmillan and Co. in 1874. All these contain much of interest, and will
repay perusal.

In conclusion, I hope this little volume will be the means of making
popular some of the best thoughts of one of the most interesting and
thoughtful of the ancients, who often seems indeed almost a modern.

    _March_, 1888.

    [1] See article _Plutarch_, in _Encyclopaedia
    Britannica_, Ninth Edition.

    [2] Grosart's _Herrick_, vol. i. p. liii. See in this
    volume, p. 180, and also note to p. 288. Richard Baxter
    again is always quoting the _Moralia_.


PREFACE.                                                      vii

    I. ON EDUCATION                                             2
   II. ON LOVE TO ONE'S OFFSPRING                              21
  III. ON LOVE                                                 29
   IV. CONJUGAL PRECEPTS                                       70
    V. CONSOLATORY LETTER TO HIS WIFE                          85
   VI. THAT VIRTUE MAY BE TAUGHT                               92
  VII. ON VIRTUE AND VICE                                      95
 VIII. ON MORAL VIRTUE                                         98
  XII. ON ABUNDANCE OF FRIENDS                                145
   XV. ON TALKATIVENESS                                       214
  XVI. ON CURIOSITY                                           238
 XVII. ON SHYNESS                                             252
XVIII. ON RESTRAINING ANGER                                   267
  XIX. ON CONTENTEDNESS OF MIND                               289
   XX. ON ENVY AND HATRED                                     312
XXIII. AGAINST BORROWING MONEY                                365
  XXV. ON EXILE                                               378
 XXVI. ON FORTUNE                                             394

INDEX                                                         401



§ I. Come let us consider what one might say on the education of free
children, and by what training they would become good citizens.

§ II. It is perhaps best to begin with birth: I would therefore warn
those who desire to be fathers of notable sons, not to form connections
with any kind of women, such as courtesans or mistresses: for those who
either on the father or mother's side are ill-born have the disgrace of
their origin all their life long irretrievably present with them, and
offer a ready handle to abuse and vituperation. So that the poet was
wise, who said, "Unless the foundation of a house be well laid, the
descendants must of necessity be unfortunate."[3] Good birth indeed
brings with it a store of assurance, which ought to be greatly valued by
all who desire legitimate offspring. For the spirit of those who are a
spurious and bastard breed is apt to be mean and abject: for as the poet
truly says, "It makes a man even of noble spirit servile, when he is
conscious of the ill fame of either his father or mother."[4] On the
other hand the sons of illustrious parents are full of pride and
arrogance. As an instance of this it is recorded of Diophantus,[5] the
son of Themistocles, that he often used to say to various people "that
he could do what he pleased with the Athenian people, for what he wished
his mother wished, and what she wished Themistocles wished, and what
Themistocles wished all the Athenians wished." All praise also ought we
to bestow on the Lacedæmonians for their loftiness of soul in fining
their king Archidamus for venturing to marry a small woman, for they
charged him with intending to furnish them not with kings but kinglets.

§ III. Next must we mention, what was not overlooked even by those who
handled this subject before us, that those who approach their wives for
procreation must do so either without having drunk any wine or at least
very little. For those children, that their parents begot in drink, are
wont to be fond of wine and apt to turn out drunkards. And so Diogenes,
seeing a youth out of his mind and crazy, said, "Young man, your father
was drunk when he begot you." Let this hint serve as to procreation: now
let us discuss education.

§ IV. To speak generally, what we are wont to say about the arts and
sciences is also true of moral excellence, for to its perfect
development three things must meet together, natural ability, theory,
and practice. By theory I mean training, and by practice working at
one's craft. Now the foundation must be laid in training, and practice
gives facility, but perfection is attained only by the junction of all
three. For if any one of these elements be wanting, excellence must be
so far deficient. For natural ability without training is blind: and
training without natural ability is defective, and practice without both
natural ability and training is imperfect. For just as in farming the
first requisite is good soil, next a good farmer, next good seed, so
also here: the soil corresponds to natural ability, the training to the
farmer, the seed to precepts and instruction. I should therefore
maintain stoutly that these three elements were found combined in the
souls of such universally famous men as Pythagoras, and Socrates, and
Plato, and of all who have won undying fame. Happy at any rate and dear
to the gods is he to whom any deity has vouchsafed all these elements!
But if anyone thinks that those who have not good natural ability cannot
to some extent make up for the deficiencies of nature by right training
and practice, let such a one know that he is very wide of the mark, if
not out of it altogether. For good natural parts are impaired by sloth;
while inferior ability is mended by training: and while simple things
escape the eyes of the careless, difficult things are reached by
painstaking. The wonderful efficacy and power of long and continuous
labour you may see indeed every day in the world around you.[6] Thus
water continually dropping wears away rocks: and iron and steel are
moulded by the hands of the artificer: and chariot wheels bent by some
strain can never recover their original symmetry: and the crooked staves
of actors can never be made straight. But by toil what is contrary to
nature becomes stronger than even nature itself. And are these the only
things that teach the power of diligence? Not so: ten thousand things
teach the same truth. A soil naturally good becomes by neglect barren,
and the better its original condition, the worse its ultimate state if
uncared for. On the other hand a soil exceedingly rough and sterile by
being farmed well produces excellent crops. And what trees do not by
neglect become gnarled and unfruitful, whereas by pruning they become
fruitful and productive? And what constitution so good but it is marred
and impaired by sloth, luxury, and too full habit? And what weak
constitution has not derived benefit from exercise and athletics? And
what horses broken in young are not docile to their riders? while if
they are not broken in till late they become hard-mouthed and
unmanageable. And why should we be surprised at similar cases, seeing
that we find many of the savagest animals docile and tame by training?
Rightly answered the Thessalian, who was asked who the mildest
Thessalians were, "Those who have done with fighting."[7] But why pursue
the line of argument further? For the Greek name for moral virtue is
only habit: and if anyone defines moral virtues as habitual virtues, he
will not be beside the mark. But I will employ only one more
illustration, and dwell no longer on this topic. Lycurgus, the
Lacedæmonian legislator, took two puppies of the same parents, and
brought them up in an entirely different way: the one he pampered and
cosseted up, while he taught the other to hunt and be a retriever. Then
on one occasion, when the Lacedæmonians were convened in assembly, he
said, "Mighty, O Lacedæmonians, is the influence on moral excellence of
habit, and education, and training, and modes of life, as I will prove
to you at once." So saying he produced the two puppies, and set before
them a platter and a hare: the one darted on the hare, while the other
made for the platter. And when the Lacedæmonians could not guess what
his meaning was, or with what intent he had produced the puppies, he
said, "These puppies are of the same parents, but by virtue of a
different bringing up the one is pampered, and the other a good hound."
Let so much suffice for habit and modes of life.

§ V. The next point to discuss will be nutrition. In my opinion mothers
ought to nurse and suckle their own children. For they will bring them
up with more sympathy and care, if they love them so intimately and, as
the proverb puts it, "from their first growing their nails."[8] Whereas
the affection of wet or dry nurses is spurious and counterfeit, being
merely for pay. And nature itself teaches that mothers ought themselves
to suckle and rear those they have given birth to. And for that purpose
she has supplied every female parent with milk. And providence has
wisely provided women with two breasts, so that if they should bear
twins, they would have a breast for each. And besides this, as is
natural enough, they would feel more affection and love for their
children by suckling them. For this supplying them with food is as it
were a tightener of love, for even the brute creation, if taken away
from their young, pine away, as we constantly see. Mothers must
therefore, as I said, certainly try to suckle their own children: but if
they are unable to do so either through physical weakness (for this
contingency sometimes occurs), or in haste to have other children, they
must select wet and dry nurses with the greatest care, and not introduce
into their houses any kind of women. First and foremost they must be
Greeks in their habits. For just as it is necessary immediately after
birth to shapen the limbs of children, so that they may grow straight
and not crooked, so from the beginning must their habits be carefully
attended to. For infancy is supple and easily moulded, and what
children learn sinks deeply into their souls while they are young and
tender, whereas everything hard is softened only with great difficulty.
For just as seals are impressed on soft wax, so instruction leaves its
permanent mark on the minds of those still young. And divine Plato seems
to me to give excellent advice to nurses not to tell their children any
kind of fables, that their souls may not in the very dawn of existence
be full of folly or corruption.[9] Phocylides the poet also seems to
give admirable advice when he says, "We must teach good habits while the
pupil is still a boy."

§VI. Attention also must be given to this point, that the lads that are
to wait upon and be with young people must be first and foremost of good
morals, and able to speak Greek distinctly and idiomatically, that they
may not by contact with foreigners of loose morals contract any of their
viciousness. For as those who are fond of quoting proverbs say not
amiss, "If you live with a lame man, you will learn to halt."[10]

§VII. Next, when our boys are old enough to be put into the hands of
tutors,[11] great care must be taken that we do not hand them over to
slaves, or foreigners, or flighty persons. For what happens nowadays in
many cases is highly ridiculous: good slaves are made farmers, or
sailors, or merchants, or stewards, or money-lenders; but if they find a
winebibbing, greedy, and utterly useless slave, to him parents commit
the charge of their sons, whereas the good tutor ought to be such a one
as was Phoenix, the tutor of Achilles. The point also which I am now
going to speak about is of the utmost importance. The schoolmasters we
ought to select for our boys should be of blameless life, of pure
character, and of great experience. For a good training is the source
and root of gentlemanly behaviour. And just as farmers prop up their
trees, so good schoolmasters prop up the young by good advice and
suggestions, that they may become upright. How one must despise,
therefore, some fathers, who, whether from ignorance or inexperience,
before putting the intended teachers to the test, commit their sons to
the charge of untried and untested men. If they act so through
inexperience it is not so ridiculous; but it is to the remotest degree
absurd when, though perfectly aware of both the inexperience and
worthlessness of some schoolmasters, they yet entrust their sons to
them; some overcome by flattery, others to gratify friends who solicit
their favours; acting just as if anybody ill in body, passing over the
experienced physician, should, to gratify his friend, call him in, and
so throw away his life; or as if to gratify one's friend one should
reject the best pilot and choose him instead. Zeus and all the gods! can
anyone bearing the sacred name of father put obliging a petitioner
before obtaining the best education for his sons? Were they not then
wise words that the time-honoured Socrates used to utter, and say that
he would proclaim, if he could, climbing up to the highest part of the
city, "Men, what can you be thinking of, who move heaven and earth to
make money, while you bestow next to no attention on the sons you are
going to leave that money to?"[12] I would add to this that such fathers
act very similarly to a person who should be very careful about his shoe
but care nothing about his foot. Many persons also are so niggardly
about their children, and indifferent to their interests, that for the
sake of a paltry saving, they prefer worthless teachers for their
children, practising a vile economy at the expense of their children's
ignorance. _Apropos_ of this, Aristippus on one occasion rebuked an
empty-headed parent neatly and wittily. For being asked how much money a
parent ought to pay for his son's education, he answered, "A thousand
drachmæ." And he replying, "Hercules, what a price! I could buy a slave
for as much;" Aristippus answered, "You shall have two slaves then, your
son and the slave you buy."[13] And is it not altogether strange that
you accustom your son to take his food in his right hand, and chide him
if he offers his left, whereas you care very little about his hearing
good and sound discourses? I will tell you what happens to such
admirable fathers, when they have educated and brought up their sons so
badly: when the sons grow to man's estate, they disregard a sober and
well-ordered life, and rush headlong into disorderly and low vices; then
at the last the parents are sorry they have neglected their education,
bemoaning bitterly when it is too late their sons' debasement. For some
of them keep flatterers and parasites in their retinue--an accursed set
of wretches, the defilers and pest of youth; others keep mistresses and
common prostitutes, wanton and costly; others waste their money in
eating; others come to grief through dice and revelling; some even go in
for bolder profligacy, being whoremongers and defilers of the marriage
bed,[14] who would madly pursue their darling vice if it cost them their
lives. Had they associated with some philosopher, they would not have
lowered themselves by such practices, but would have remembered the
precept of Diogenes, whose advice sounds rather low, but is really of
excellent moral intent,[15] "Go into a brothel, my lad, that you may see
the little difference between vice and virtue."

§ VIII. I say, then, to speak comprehensively (and I might be justly
considered in so saying to speak as an oracle, not to be delivering a
mere precept), that a good education and sound bringing-up is of the
first and middle and last importance; and I declare it to be most
instrumental and conducive to virtue and happiness. For all other human
blessings compared to this are petty and insignificant. For noble birth
is a great honour, but it is an advantage from our forefathers. And
wealth is valuable, but it is the acquisition of fortune, who has often
taken it away from those who had it, and brought it to those who little
expected it; and much wealth is a sort of mark for villanous slaves and
informers to shoot at to fill their own purses; and, what is a most
important point, even the greatest villains have money sometimes. And
glory is noble, but insecure. And beauty is highly desirable, but
shortlived. And health is highly valuable, but soon impaired. And
strength is desirable, but illness or age soon made sad inroads into it.
And generally speaking, if anyone prides himself on his bodily strength,
let him know that he is deficient in judgment. For how much inferior is
the strength of a man to that of animals, as elephants, bulls, and
lions! But education is of all our advantages the only one immortal and
divine. And two of the most powerful agencies in man's nature are mind
and reason. And mind governs reason, and reason obeys mind; and mind is
irremovable by fortune, cannot be taken away by informers, cannot be
destroyed by disease, cannot have inroads made into it by old age. For
the mind alone flourishes in age; and while time takes away everything
else, it adds wisdom to old age. Even war, that sweeps away everything
else like a winter torrent, cannot take away education. And Stilpo, the
Megarian, seems to me to have made a memorable answer when Demetrius
enslaved Megara and rased it to the ground. On his asking whether Stilpo
had lost anything, he replied, "Certainly not, for war can make no havoc
of virtue." Corresponding and consonant to this is the answer of
Socrates, who when asked, I think by Gorgias,[16] if he had any
conception as to the happiness of the King of Persia, replied, "I do not
know his position in regard to virtue and education: for happiness lies
in these, and not in adventitious advantages."

§ IX. And as I advise parents to think nothing more important than the
education of their children, so I maintain that it must be a sound and
healthy education, and that our sons must be kept as far as possible
from vulgar twaddle. For what pleases the vulgar displeases the wise. I
am borne out by the lines of Euripides, "Unskilled am I in the oratory
that pleases the mob; but amongst the few that are my equals I am
reckoned rather wise. For those who are little thought of by the wise,
seem to hit the taste of the vulgar."[17] And I have myself noticed
that those who practise to speak acceptably and to the gratification of
the masses promiscuously, for the most part become also profligate and
lovers of pleasure in their lives. Naturally enough. For if in giving
pleasure to others they neglect the noble, they would be hardly likely
to put the lofty and sound above a life of luxury and pleasure, and to
prefer moderation to delights. Yet what better advice could we give our
sons than to follow this? or to what could we better exhort them to
accustom themselves? For perfection is only attained by neither speaking
nor acting at random--as the proverb says, _Perfection is only attained
by practice_.[18] Whereas extempore oratory is easy and facile, mere
windbag, having neither beginning nor end. And besides their other
shortcomings extempore speakers fall into great disproportion and
repetition, whereas a well considered speech preserves its due
proportions. It is recorded by tradition that Pericles, when called on
by the people for a speech, frequently refused on the plea that he was
unprepared. Similarly Demosthenes, his state-rival, when the Athenians
called upon him for his advice, refused to give it, saying, "I am not
prepared." But this you will say, perhaps, is mere tradition without
authority. But in his speech against Midias he plainly sets forth the
utility of preparation, for he says, "I do not deny, men of Athens, that
I have prepared this speech to the best of my ability: for I should have
been a poor creature if, after suffering so much at his hands, and even
still suffering, I had neglected how to plead my case."[19] Not that I
would altogether reject extempore oratory, or its use in critical cases,
but it should be used only as one would take medicine.[20] Up, indeed,
to man's estate I would have no extempore speaking, but when anyone's
powers of speech are rooted and grounded, then, as emergencies call for
it, I would allow his words to flow freely. For as those who have been
for a long time in fetters stumble if unloosed, not being able to walk
from being long used to their fetters, so those who for a long time have
used compression in their words, if they are suddenly called upon to
speak off-hand, retain the same character of expression. But to let mere
lads speak extempore is to give rise to the acme of foolish talk. A
wretched painter once showed Apelles, they say, a picture, and said, "I
have just done it." Apelles replied, "Without your telling me, I should
know it was painted quickly; I only wonder you haven't painted more such
in the time." As then (for I now return from my digression), I advise to
avoid stilted and bombastic language, so again do I urge to avoid a
finical and petty style of speech; for tall talk is unpopular, and petty
language makes no impression. And as the body ought to be not only sound
but in good condition, so speech ought to be not only not feeble but
vigorous. For a safe mediocrity is indeed praised, but a bold
venturesomeness is also admired. I am also of the same opinion with
regard to the disposition of the soul, which ought to be neither
audacious nor timid and easily dejected: for the one ends in impudence
and the other in servility; but to keep in all things the mean between
extremes is artistic and proper. And, while I am still on this topic, I
wish to give my opinion, that I regard a monotonous speech first as no
small proof of want of taste, next as likely to generate disdain, and
certain not to please long. For to harp on one string is always tiresome
and brings satiety; whereas variety is pleasant always whether to the
ear or eye.

§ X. Next our freeborn lad ought to go in for a course of what is called
general knowledge, but a smattering of this will be sufficient, a taste
as it were (for perfect knowledge of all subjects would be impossible);
but he must seriously cultivate philosophy. I borrow an illustration to
show my meaning: it is well to sail round many cities, but advantageous
to live in the best. It was a witty remark of the philosopher Bion,[21]
that, as those suitors who could not seduce Penelope took up with her
maids as a _pis aller_, so those who cannot attain philosophy wear
themselves out in useless pursuits. Philosophy, therefore, ought to be
regarded as the most important branch of study. For as regards the cure
of the body, men have found two branches, medicine and exercise: the
former of which gives health, and the latter good condition of body; but
philosophy is the only cure for the maladies and disorders of the soul.
For with her as ruler and guide we can know what is honourable, what is
disgraceful; what is just, what unjust; generally speaking, what is to
be sought after, what to be avoided; how we ought to behave to the gods,
to parents, to elders, to the laws, to foreigners, to rulers, to
friends, to women, to children, to slaves: viz., that we ought to
worship the gods, honour parents, reverence elders, obey the laws,
submit ourselves to rulers, love our friends, be chaste in our relations
with women, kind to our children, and not to treat our slaves badly;
and, what is of the greatest importance, to be neither over elated in
prosperity nor over depressed in adversity,[22] nor to be dissolute in
pleasures, nor fierce and brutish in anger. These I regard as the
principal blessings that philosophy teaches. For to enjoy prosperity
nobly shows a man; and to enjoy it without exciting envy shows a
moderate man; and to conquer the passions by reason argues a wise man;
and it is not everybody who can keep his temper in control. And those
who can unite political ability with philosophy I regard as perfect men,
for I take them to attain two of the greatest blessings, serving the
state in a public capacity, and living the calm and tranquil life of
philosophy. For, as there are three kinds of life, the practical, the
contemplative, and the life of enjoyment, and of these three the one
devoted to enjoyment is a paltry and animal life, and the practical
without philosophy an unlovely and harsh life, and the contemplative
without the practical a useless life, so we must endeavour with all our
power to combine public life with philosophy as far as circumstances
will permit. Such was the life led by Pericles, by Archytas of Tarentum,
by Dion of Syracuse, by Epaminondas the Theban, one of whom was a
disciple of Plato (viz., Dion). And as to education, I do not know that
I need dwell any more on it. But in addition to what I have said, it is
useful, if not necessary, not to neglect to procure old books, and to
make a collection of them, as is usual in agriculture. For the use of
books is an instrument in education, and it is profitable in learning to
go to the fountain head.

§ XI. Exercise also ought not to be neglected, but we ought to send our
boys to the master of the gymnasium to train them duly, partly with a
view to carrying the body well, partly with a view to strength. For good
habit of body in boys is the foundation of a good old age. For as in
fine weather we ought to lay up for winter, so in youth one ought to
form good habits and live soberly so as to have a reserve stock of
strength for old age. Yet ought we to husband the exertions of the body,
so as not to be wearied out by them and rendered unfit for study. For,
as Plato says,[23] excessive sleep and fatigue are enemies to learning.
But why dwell on this? For I am in a hurry to pass to the most important
point. Our lads must be trained for warlike encounters, making
themselves efficient in hurling the javelin and darts, and in the chase.
For the possessions of those who are defeated in battle belong to the
conquerors as booty of war; and war is not the place for delicately
brought up bodies: it is the spare warrior that makes the best
combatant, who as an athlete cuts his way through the ranks of the
enemies. Supposing anyone objects: "How so? As you undertook to give
advice on the education of freeborn children, do you now neglect the
poor and plebeian ones, and give instructions only suitable to the
rich?" It is easy enough to meet such critics. I should prefer to make
my teaching general and suitable to all; but if any, through their
poverty, shall be unable to follow up my precepts, let them blame
fortune, and not the author of these hints. We must try with all our
might to procure the best education for the poor as well as the rich,
but if that is impossible, then we must put up with the practicable. I
inserted those matters into my discourse here, that I might hereafter
confine myself to all that appertains to the right education of the

§ XII. And this I say that we ought to try to draw our boys to good
pursuits by entreaties and exhortation, but certainly not by blows or
abusive language. For that seems to be more fitting for slaves than the
freeborn. For slaves try to shirk and avoid their work, partly because
of the pain of blows, partly on account of being reviled. But praise or
censure are far more useful than abuse to the freeborn, praise pricking
them on to virtue, censure deterring them from vice. But one must
censure and praise alternately: when they are too saucy we must censure
them and make them ashamed of themselves, and again encourage them by
praise, and imitate those nurses who, when their children sob, give them
the breast to comfort them. But we must not puff them up and make them
conceited with excessive praise, for that will make them vain and give
themselves airs.

§ XIII. And I have ere now seen some fathers, whose excessive love for
their children has turned into hatred. My meaning I will endeavour to
make clearer by illustration. While they are in too great a hurry to
make their sons take the lead in everything, they lay too much work upon
them, so that they faint under their tasks, and, being overburdened, are
disinclined for learning. For just as plants grow with moderate rain,
but are done for by too much rain, so the mind enlarges by a proper
amount of work, but by too much is unhinged. We must therefore give our
boys remission from continuous labour, bearing in mind that all our life
is divided into labour and rest; thus we find not only wakefulness but
sleep, not only war but peace, not only foul weather but fine also, not
only working days but also festivals. And, to speak concisely, rest is
the sauce of labour. And we can see this not only in the case of
animate, but even inanimate things, for we make bows and lyres slack
that we may be able to stretch them. And generally the body is preserved
by repletion and evacuation, and the soul by rest and work. We ought
also to censure some fathers who, after entrusting their sons to tutors
and preceptors, neither see nor hear how the teaching is done. This is a
great mistake. For they ought after a few days to test the progress of
their sons, and not to base their hopes on the behaviour of a hireling;
and the preceptors will take all the more pains with the boys, if they
have from time to time to give an account of their progress. Hence the
propriety of that remark of the groom, that nothing fats the horse so
much as the king's eye.[24] And especial attention, in my opinion, must
be paid to cultivating and exercising the memory of boys, for memory is,
as it were, the storehouse of learning; and that was why they fabled
Mnemosyne to be the mother of the Muses, hinting and insinuating that
nothing so generates and contributes to the growth of learning as
memory. And therefore the memory must be cultivated, whether boys have a
good one by nature, or a bad one. For we shall so add to natural good
parts, and make up somewhat for natural deficiencies, so that the
deficient will be better than others, and the clever will outstrip
themselves. For good is that remark of Hesiod, "If to a little you keep
adding a little, and do so frequently, it will soon be a lot."[25] And
let not fathers forget, that thus cultivating the memory is not only
good for education, but is also a great aid in the business of life. For
the remembrance of past actions gives a good model how to deal wisely in
future ones.

§ XIV. We must also keep our sons from filthy language. For, as
Democritus says, Language is the shadow of action. They must also be
taught to be affable and courteous. For as want of affability is justly
hateful, so boys will not be disagreeable to those they associate with,
if they yield occasionally in disputes. For it is not only excellent to
know how to conquer, but also to know how to be defeated, when victory
would be injurious, for there is such a thing as a Cadmean victory.[26]
I can cite wise Euripides as a witness of the truth of what I say, who
says, "When two are talking, and one of them is in a passion, he is the
wiser who first gives way."[27]

I will next state something quite as important, indeed, if anything,
even more important. That is, that life must be spent without luxury,
the tongue must be under control, so must the temper and the hands. All
this is of extreme importance, as I will show by examples. To begin with
the last case, some who have put their hands to unjust gains, have lost
all the fruits of their former life, as the Lacedæmonian Gylippus,[28]
who was exiled from Sparta for embezzling the public money. To be able
to govern the temper also argues a wise man. For Socrates, when a very
impudent and disgusting young fellow kicked him on one occasion, seeing
all the rest of his class vexed and impatient, even to the point of
wanting to prosecute the young man, said, "What! If a young ass kicked
me would you have me kick it back?" Not that the young fellow committed
this outrage on Socrates with impunity, for as all reviled him and
nicknamed him the kicker, he hung himself. And when Aristophanes brought
his "_Clouds_" on the stage, and bespattered Socrates with his gibes and
flouts, and one of the spectators said, "Aren't you vexed, Socrates, at
his exhibiting you on the stage in this comic light?" he answered, "Not
I, by Zeus, for I look upon the theatre as only a large supper
party."[29] Very similar to this was the behaviour of Archytas of
Tarentum and Plato. The former, on his return from war, where he had
been general, finding his land neglected, called his bailiff, and said
to him, "You would have caught it, had I not been very angry." And
Plato, very angry with a gluttonous and shameless slave, called his
sister's son Speusippus, and said, "Go and beat him, for I am too
angry." But someone will say, these examples are difficult and hard to
follow. I know it. But we must try, as far as possible, following these
examples, to avoid ungovernable and mad rage. For we cannot in other
respects equal those distinguished men in their ability and virtue,
nevertheless we must, like initiating priests of the gods and
torchbearers of wisdom, attempt as far as possible to imitate and nibble
at their practice. Then, again, if anyone thinks it a small and
unimportant matter to govern the tongue, another point I promised to
touch on, he is very far from the reality. For silence at the proper
season is wisdom, and better than any speech. And that is, I think, the
reason why the ancients instituted the mysteries that we, learning
therein to be silent, might transfer our secrecy to the gods to human
affairs. And no one ever yet repented of his silence, while multitudes
have repented of their speaking. And what has not been said is easy to
say, while what has been once said can never be recalled. I have heard
of myriads who have fallen into the greatest misfortunes through
inability to govern their tongues. Passing over the rest, I will mention
one or two cases in point. When Ptolemy Philadelphus married his sister
Arsinoe, Sotades said, "You are contracting an unholy marriage."[30] For
this speech he long lingered in prison, and paid the righteous penalty
for his unseasonable babbling, and had to weep a long time for making
others laugh. Theocritus the Sophist similarly cracked his jokes, and
had to pay even a greater penalty. For when Alexander ordered the Greeks
to furnish him with purple robes to wear at the sacrifices on his
triumphal return from war against the barbarians, and his subjects
contributed so much per head, Theocritus said, "Before I doubted, but
now I am sure, that this is the _purple death_ Homer speaks of."[31] By
this speech he made Alexander his enemy. The same Theocritus put
Antigonus, the King of the Macedonians, a one-eyed man, into a
thundering rage by alluding to his misfortune. For the King sent his
chief cook, Eutropio, an important person at his court, to go and fetch
Theocritus before him to confer with him, and when he had frequently
requested him to come without avail, Theocritus at last said, "I know
well you wish to serve me up raw to the Cyclops;" flouting the King as
one-eyed and the cook with his profession. Eutropio replied, "You shall
lose your head, and pay the penalty for this babbling and mad
insolence;" and reported his words to the King, who sent and had his
head taken off. Our boys must also be taught to speak the truth as a
most sacred duty; for to lie is servile, and most hateful in all men,
hardly to be pardoned even in poor slaves.

§ XV. Thus much have I said about the good conduct and self-control of
boys without any doubt or hesitation: but as to what I am now going to
say I am doubtful and undecided, and like a person weighed in the scales
against exactly his weight, and feel great hesitation as to whether I
should recommend or dissuade the practice. But I must speak out. The
question is this--whether we ought to let the lovers of our boys
associate and be with them, or on the contrary, debar them from their
company and scare them off. For when I look at fathers self-opinionated
sour and austere, who think their sons having lovers a disgrace not to
be borne, I am rather afraid of recommending the practice. But when, on
the other hand, I think of Socrates, Xenophon, Æschines, Cebes, and all
the company of those men who have approved of male loves, and who have
introduced their minions to learning, to high positions in the State,
and to good morals, I change my opinion, and am moved to emulate those
men. And Euripides seems to favour these views in the passage, "But
there is among mortals another love, that of the righteous temperate and
pure soul."[32] Nor must we omit the remark of Plato, which seems to mix
seriousness with mirth, that "those who have distinguished themselves
ought to be permitted to kiss any handsome boy they like."[33] Those
then that seek only carnal enjoyment must be kept off, but those that
love the soul must be encouraged. And while the loves common at Thebes
and Elis, and the so-called rape at Crete, must be avoided, the loves of
Athens and Lacedæmon should be emulated.

§ XVI. As to this matter, therefore, let every parent follow his
inclination. And now, as I have spoken about the good and decent
behaviour of boys, I shall change my subject and speak a little about
youths. For I have often censured the introducers of bad habits, who
have set over boys tutors and preceptors, but have given to youths full
liberty, when they ought, on the contrary, to have watched and guarded
them more than boys. For who does not know that the offences of boys are
petty and easily cured, and proceed from the carelessness of tutors or
want of obedience to preceptors; but the faults of young men are often
grave and serious, as gluttony, and robbing their fathers, and dice, and
revellings, and drinking-bouts, and deflowering of maidens, and seducing
of married women. Such outbreaks ought to be carefully checked and
curbed. For that prime of life is prodigal in pleasure, and frisky, and
needs a bridle, so that those parents who do not strongly check that
period, are foolishly, if unawares, giving their youths license for
vice.[34] Sensible parents, therefore, ought during all that period to
guard and watch and restrain their youths, by precepts, by threats, by
entreaties, by advice, by promises, by citing examples,[35] on the one
hand, of those who have come to ruin by being too fond of pleasure, on
the other hand, of those who by their self-control have attained to
praise and good report. For these are, as it were, the two elements of
virtue, hope of honour, and fear of punishment; the former inciting to
good practices, the latter deterring from bad.

§ XVII. We ought, at all hazards, to keep our boys also from association
with bad men, for they will catch some of their villany. This was the
meaning of Pythagoras' enigmatical precepts, which I shall quote and
explain, as they give no slight momentum towards the acquisition of
virtue: as, _Do not touch black tails_: that is, do not associate with
bad men.[36] _Do not go beyond the balance_: that is, we must pay the
greatest attention to justice and not go beyond it. _Do not sit on a
measure_: that is, do not be lazy, but earn tomorrow's bread as well as
to-day's. _Do not give everyone your right hand_: that is, do not be too
ready to strike up a friendship. _Do not wear a tight ring_: that is,
let your life be free, do not bind yourself by a chain. _Do not poke the
fire with a sword_: that is, do not provoke an angry person, but yield
to such. _Do not eat the heart_: do not wear away the heart by anxiety.
_Abstain from beans_: that is, do not meddle in state affairs, for the
voting for offices was formerly taken by beans. _Do not put your food in
the chamber-pot_: that is, do not throw your pearls before swine, for
words are the food of the mind, and the villany of men twist them to a
corrupt meaning. _When you have come to the end of a journey do not look
back_: that is, when people are going to die and see that their end is
near, they ought to take it easily and not be dejected. But I will
return from my digression. We must keep our boys, as I said, from
association with all bad men, but especially from flatterers. For, as I
have often said to parents, and still say, and will constantly affirm,
there is no race more pestilential, nor more sure to ruin youths
swiftly, than the race of flatterers, who destroy both parents and sons
root and branch, making the old age of the one and the youth of the
others miserable, holding out pleasure as a sure bait. The sons of the
rich are by their fathers urged to be sober, but by them to be drunk; by
their fathers to be chaste, by them to wax wanton; by their fathers to
save, by them to spend; by their fathers to be industrious, by them to
be lazy. For they say, "'Our life's but a span;'[37] we can only live
once; why should you heed your father's threats? he's an old twaddler,
he has one foot in the grave; we shall soon hoist him up and carry him
off to burial." Some even pimp for them and supply them with prostitutes
or even married women, and cut huge slices off the father's savings for
old age, if they don't run off with them altogether. An accursed tribe,
feigning friendship, knowing nothing of real freedom, flatterers of the
rich, despisers of the poor, drawn to young men by a sort of natural
logic,[38] showing their teeth and grinning all over when their patrons
laugh,[39] misbegotten brats of fortune and bastard elements in life,
living according to the nod of the rich, free in their circumstances,
but slaves by inclination, when they are not insulted thinking
themselves insulted, because they are parasites to no purpose. So, if
any father cares for the good bringing-up of his sons, he must banish
from his house this abominable race. He must also be on his guard
against the viciousness of his sons' schoolfellows, for they are quite
sufficient to corrupt the best morals.

§ XVIII. What I have said hitherto is _apropos_ to my subject: I will
now speak a word to the men. Parents must not be over harsh and rough in
their natures, but must often forgive their sons' offences, remembering
that they themselves were once young. And just as doctors by infusing a
sweet flavour into their bitter potions find delight a passage to
benefit, so fathers must temper the severity of their censure by
mildness; and sometimes relax and slacken the reins of their sons'
desires, and again tighten them; and must be especially easy in respect
to their faults, or if they are angry must soon cool down. For it is
better for a father to be hot-tempered than sullen, for to continue
hostile and irreconcilable looks like hating one's son. And it is good
to seem not to notice some faults, but to extend to them the weak sight
and deafness of old age, so as seeing not to see, and hearing not to
hear, their doings. We tolerate the faults of our friends; why should we
not that of our sons? often even our slaves' drunken debauches we do not
expose. Have you been rather near? spend more freely. Have you been
vexed? let the matter pass. Has your son deceived you by the help of a
slave? do not be angry. Did he take a yoke of oxen from the field, did
he come home smelling of yesterday's debauch? wink at it. Is he scented
like a perfume shop? say nothing. Thus frisky youth gets broken in.[40]

§ XIX. Those of our sons who are given to pleasure and pay little heed
to rebuke, we must endeavour to marry, for marriage is the surest
restraint upon youth. And we must marry our sons to wives not much
richer or better born, for the proverb is a sound one, "Marry in your
own walk of life."[41] For those who marry wives superior to themselves
in rank are not so much the husbands of their wives as unawares slaves
to their dowries.[42]

§ XX. I shall add a few remarks, and then bring my subject to a close.
Before all things fathers must, by a good behaviour, set a good example
to their sons, that, looking at their lives as a mirror, they may turn
away from bad deeds and words. For those fathers who censure their
sons' faults while they themselves commit the same, are really their own
accusers, if they know it not, under their sons' name; and those who
live a depraved life have no right to censure their slaves, far less
their sons. And besides this they will become counsellors and teachers
of their sons in wrongdoing; for where old men are shameless youths will
of a certainty have no modesty. We must therefore take all pains to
teach our sons self-control, emulating the conduct of Eurydice, who,
though an Illyrian and more than a barbarian, to teach her sons educated
herself though late in life, and her love to them is well depicted in
the inscription which she offered to the Muses: "Eurydice of Hierapolis
made this offering to the Muses, having conceived a vast love for
knowledge. For when a mother with sons full-grown she learnt letters,
the preservers of knowledge."

To carry out all these precepts would be perhaps a visionary scheme; but
to attain to many, though it would need a happy disposition and much
care, is a thing possible to human nature.[43]

    [3] Euripides, "Here. Fur." 1261, 1262.

    [4] Euripides, "Hippol." 424, 425.

    [5] Cleophantus is the name given to this lad by other

    [6] Compare Sophocles, "Oedipus Tyrannus," 112, 113.

    [7] The Thessalians were very pugnacious. Cf. Isocrates,
    "Oratio de Pace," p. 316. [Greek: ohi men (Thettaloi)
    sphisin autois haei polemousin].

    [8] A proverbial expression among the ancients for
    earliest childhood. See Erasmus, "Adagia."

    [9] Plato, "Republic," ii. p. 429, E.

    [10] See Erasmus, "Adagia."

    [11] It is difficult to know how to render the word
    [Greek: paidagôgos] in English. He was the slave who
    took the boy to school, and generally looked after him
    from his seventh year upward. Tutor or governor seems
    the best rendering. He had great power over the boy
    entrusted to him.

    [12] Plato, "Clitophon," p. 255, D.

    [13] Compare Diogenes Laertius, ii. 72.

    [14] Reading [Greek: koitophthorountes], the excellent
    emendation of Wyttenbach.

    [15] From the heathen standpoint of course, not from the
    Christian. Compare the advice of Cato in Horace's
    "Satires," Book i. Sat. ii. 31-35. It is a little
    difficult to know what Diogenes' precept really means.
    Is it that vice is universal? Like Shakespeare's
    "Measure for Measure," Act ii. Sc. ii. 5. "All sects,
    all ages smack of this vice."

    [16] He was asked by Polus, see Plato, "Gorgias," p.
    290, F.

    [17] "Hippolytus," 986-989.

    [18] Cf. Plato, "Cratylus," p. 257, E. [Greek: ô pai
    Hipponikou Hermogenes, palaia paroimia, oti chalepa ta
    kala estin opê echei mathein]. So Horace, "Sat." i. ix.
    59, 60, "Nil sine magno Vita labore dedit mortalibus."

    [19] "Midias," p. 411, C.

    [20] _i.e._, occasionally and sparingly.

    [21] Diogenes Laertius assigns the remark to Aristippus,
    while Stobæus fathers it on Aristo.

    [22] A favourite thought with the ancients. Compare
    Isocrates, "Admonitio ad Demonicum," p. 18; and
    Aristotle, "Nic. Eth.," iv. 3.

    [23] "Republic," vii. p. 489, E.

    [24] A famous Proverb. It is "the master's eye"
    generally, as in Xenophon, "Oeconom." xii. 20; and
    Aristotle, "Oeconom." i. 6.

    [25] "Works and Days," 361, 362. The lines were
    favourite ones with our author. He quotes them again, §
    3, of "How one may be aware of one's Progress in

    [26] See Pausanias, ix. 9. Also Erasmus, "Adagia."

    [27] A fragment from the "Protesilaus" of Euripides. Our
    "It takes two to make a quarrel."

    [28] See Plutarch's Lysander.

    [29] Or _symposium_, where all sorts of liberties were

    [30] I have softened his phrase. His actual words were
    very coarse, and would naturally be resented by Ptolemy.
    See Athenæus, 621, A.

    [31] See "Iliad," v. 83; xvi. 334; xx, 477.

    [32] A fragment from the "Dictys" of Euripides.

    [33] "Republ." v. 463, F. sq.

    [34] Cf. Shakespeare's "Winter Tale," Act iii. sc. iii.

    [35] As Horace's father did. See "Satires," Book i. Sat.
    iv. 105-129.

    [36] What we call _black sheep_.

    [37] From Simonides. Cf. Seneca, "Epist." xlix. "Punctum
    est quod vivimus, et adhuc puncto minus."

    [38] Reading with Wyttenbach, [Greek: hôs ek logikês

    [39] Like _Carker_ in Dombey.

    [40] Compare the character of Micio in the "Adelphi" of

    [41] This saying is assigned by Diogenes Laertius to

    [42] Compare Plautus, "Asinaria," i. l. 74. "Argentum
    accepi: dote imperum vendidi." Compare also our author,
    "Whether Vice is sufficient to cause Unhappiness," § i.

    [43] Wyttenbach thinks this treatise is not Plutarch's.
    He bases his conclusion partly on external, partly on
    internal, grounds. It is not quoted by Stobæus, or any
    of the ancients, before the fourteenth century. And its
    style is not Plutarch's; it has many words foreign to
    Plutarch: it has "nescio quid novum ac peregrinum, ab
    illa Plutarchea copia et gravitate diversum leve et
    inane." Certainly its matter is superior to its manner.


§ I. Appeals to foreign law-courts were first devised among the Greeks
through mistrust of one another's justice, for they looked on justice as
a necessity not indigenous among them. Is it not on much the same
principle that the philosophers, in regard to some of their questions,
owing to their variety of opinion, have appealed to the brute creation
as to a strange state, and submitted the decision to their instincts and
habits as not to be talked over and impartial? Or is it a general
charge against human infirmity that, having different opinions on the
most necessary and important things, we seek in horses and dogs and
birds how to marry and beget and rear children, as though we had no
means of making our own nature known, and appeal to the habits and
instincts of the brute creation, and call them in to bear witness
against the many deviations from nature in our lives, which from the
first are confused and disorderly. For among the brutes nature remains
ever the same, pure and simple, but in men, owing to reason and habit,
like oil in the hands of the perfumers, being mixed up with many added
opinions, it becomes various and loses its original simplicity. And let
us not wonder that the brutes follow nature more closely than human
beings, for in that respect even they are outstripped by inanimate
things, which, being dowered neither with imagination nor any appetite
or inclination contrary to nature, ever continue in the one path which
nature has prescribed for them, as if they were tied and bound. But in
brutes the gentleness of mood inspired by reason, the subtlety, the love
of freedom, are not qualities found in excess, but they have
unreasonable appetites and desires, and act in a roundabout way within
certain limits, riding, as it were, at the anchor of nature, and only
going straight under bit and bridle. But in man reason, which is
absolute master, inventing different modes and fashions of life, has
left no plain or evident trace of nature.[44]

§ II. Consider in their marriages how much the animals follow nature.
For they do not wait for any legislation about bachelor or late-married,
like the citizens of Lycurgus and Solon, nor do they fear penalties for
childlessness, nor are they anxious for the _jus trium liberorum_,[45]
like many of the Romans, who only marry and have children for the
privileges it bestows, not to have heirs, but to be qualified for
succeeding themselves to inheritances. Then, again, the male animal
does not go with the female at all times; for its aim is not pleasure
but procreation: so in the season of spring, the most appropriate time
for such pairings,[46] the female being submissive and tender attracts
the male by her beautiful condition of body, coming as she does from the
dew and fresh pastures, and when pregnant modestly retires and takes
thought for the birth and safety of her offspring. We cannot adequately
describe all this, but every animal exhibits for its young affection and
forethought and endurance and unselfishness. We call the bee wise, and
celebrate its "making the yellow honey,"[47] flattering it for its
tickling sweetness; but we neglect the wisdom and ingenuity of other
creatures, both as regards the birth and bringing up of their young. For
example, the kingfisher after conception weaves its nest with the thorns
of the marine needle, making it round and oblong in shape like a
fisherman's basket, and after deftly and closely weaving it together,
subjects it to the action of the sea waves, that its surface may be
rendered waterproof by this plash and cement, and it is hard for even
iron or stone to break it. And what is more wonderful still, so
symmetrically is the entrance of the nest adjusted to the kingfisher's
shape and size, that no beast either greater or smaller can enter it,
they even say that it does not admit the sea, or even the very smallest
things. And cats, when they breed, very often let their kittens go out
and feed, and take them back into their entrails again.[48] And the
bear, a most savage and ugly beast, gives birth to its young without
shape or joints, and with its tongue as with an instrument moulds its
features, so that it seems to give form as well as life to its progeny.
And the lion in Homer, "whom the hunters meet in the wood with its
whelps, exulting in its strength, which so frowns that it hides its
eyes,"[49] does it not intend to bargain with the hunters for its
whelps? For universally the love of animals for their offspring makes
timid ones bold, and lazy ones energetic, and greedy ones unselfish.
And so the bird in Homer, feeding its young "with its beak, with
whatever it has captured, even though it goes ill with itself,"[50]
nourishes its young at the cost of its own hunger, and when the food is
near its maw abstains from it, and holds it tightly in its mouth, that
it may not gulp it down unawares. "And so a bitch bestriding her tender
pups, barks at a strange man, and yearns for the fray,"[51] making her
fear for them a sort of second anger. And partridges when they are
pursued with their young let them fly on, and, contriving their safety,
themselves fly so near the sportsmen as to be almost caught, and then
wheel round, and again fly back and make the sportsmen hope to catch
them, till at last, having thus provided for the safety of their young,
they lead the sportsmen on a long way. As to hens, we see every day how
they watch over their chicks, dropping their wings over some, and
letting others climb on their backs, or anywhere about them, and
clucking for joy all the time: and though they fly from dogs and dragons
when only afraid for themselves, if they are afraid for their chicks
they stand their ground and fight valiantly. Are we to suppose then that
nature has only implanted these instincts in fowls and dogs and bears,
anxious only about their offspring, to put us mortals out of countenance
and to give us a bad name? considering these examples for us to follow,
while disgrace justly attaches to our inhumanity, for mankind only is
accused of having no disinterested affection, and of not knowing how to
love except in regard to advantage. For that line is greatly admired in
the theatres, "Man loves man only for reward," and is the view of
Epicurus, who thinks that the father so loves his son, the mother her
child, children their parents. Whereas, if the brutes could understand
conversation, and if anyone were to introduce horses and cows and dogs
and birds into a common theatre,[52] and were to change the sentiment
into "neither do dogs love their pups, nor horses their foals, nor birds
their young, out of interest, but gratuitously and by nature," it would
be recognized by the affections of all of them to be a true sentiment.
Why it would be disgraceful, great God, that birth and travail and
procreation should be gratis and mere nature among the beasts, while
among mankind they should be merely mercenary transactions!

§ III. But such a statement is not true or worthy of credit. For as
nature, in wild growths, such as wild vines, wild figs, or wild olives,
makes the fruit imperfect and inferior to the fruit of cultivated trees,
so has she given to the brutes an imperfect affection for their kind,
one neither marked by justice nor going beyond commodity: whereas to
man, a logical and social animal, she has taught justice and law, and
honour to the gods, and building of cities, and philanthropy, and has
contributed the noble and goodly and fruitful seeds of all these in love
to one's offspring, thereby following the very first elements that are
found in the construction of the body. For nature is everywhere perfect
and artistic and complete, and, to borrow the expression of
Erasistratus, has nothing tawdry about her: but one cannot adequately
describe all the processes appertaining to birth, nor would it be
perhaps decent to pry too closely into such hidden matters, and to
particularize too minutely all their wondrous ingenuity. But her
contrivance and dispensation of milk alone is sufficient to prove
nature's wonderful care and forethought. For all the superfluous blood
in women, that owing to their languor and thinness of spirit floats
about on the surface and oppresses them, has a safety-valve provided by
nature in the menses, which relieve and cleanse the rest of the body,
and fit the womb for conception in due season. But after conception
nature stops the menses, and arrests the flow of the blood, using it as
aliment for the babe in the womb, until the time arrives for its birth,
and it requires a different kind of food. At this stage the blood is
most ingeniously changed into a supply of milk, not diffused all over
the body, but externally in the breasts, so that the babe can with its
mouth imbibe the gentle and soothing nutriment.[53] But all these
various processes of nature, all this economy, all this forethought,
would be useless, had not nature also implanted in mothers love to their
offspring and anxiety for their welfare.

  "For of all things, that on the earth do breathe
   Or creep, man is by far the wretchedest."[54]

And the poet's words are especially applicable to a newborn babe. For
there is nothing so imperfect, so helpless, so naked, so shapeless, so
foul as a newborn babe: to whom almost alone nature has given an impure
outlet to the light of day: being kneaded with blood, and full of
defilement, and like one killed rather than born: which no one would
touch, or lift up, or kiss, or embrace, but from natural affection. And
that is why all the animals have their udders under the belly, women
alone have their breasts high on their bodies, that they can lift up
their babes to kiss, to dandle, and to fondle: seeing that their bearing
and rearing children comes not from necessity but love.

§ IV. Refer the question to the ancient inhabitants of the earth, to the
first mothers and fathers. There was no law ordering them to have
families, no expectation of advantage or return to be got out of them. I
should rather say that mothers would be likely to be hostile and bear
malice to their babes, owing to the great danger and pains of travail.
And women say the lines, "When the sharp pangs of travail seize on the
pregnant woman, then come to her aid the Ilithyiæ, who help women in
hard childbirth, those daughters of Hera, goddesses of travail,"[55]
were not written by Homer, but by some Homerid who had been a mother, or
was even then in the throes of travail, and who vividly felt the sharp
pain in her womb. But the love to one's offspring implanted by nature,
moves and influences the mother even then: in the very height of her
throes, she neglects not nor flees from her babe, but turns to it and
smiles at it, and takes it up and caresses it, though she derives no
pleasure or utility from it, but with pain and sorrow receives it,
"warming it and fostering it in swaddling clothes, with unintermittent
assiduity both night and day."[56] What hope of gain or advantage had
they in those days? nay, or even now? for the hopes of parents are
uncertain, and have to be long waited for. He who plants a vine in the
spring equinox, gleans its vintage in the autumnal equinox; he who sows
corn when the Pleiads set, reaps it when they rise; cattle and horses
and birds have produce at once fit for use; whereas man's bringing up is
toilsome, his growth slow; and as excellence flowers late, most fathers
die before their sons attain to fame. Neocles lived not to see
Themistocles' victory at Salamis, nor Miltiades Cimon's at the
Eurymedon, nor did Xanthippus hear Pericles haranguing, nor did Aristo
hear Plato philosophizing, nor did their fathers know of the triumphs of
Euripides and Sophocles. They heard them faltering in speech and lisping
in syllables, the poor parents saw their errors in revelling and
drinking and love-affairs, so that of all Evenus'[57] lines, that one
alone is most remembered and quoted, "to a father a son is always a
cause of fear or pain." Nevertheless, parents do not cease to bring up
sons, even when they can least need them. For it is ridiculous to
suppose that the rich, when they have sons, sacrifice and rejoice that
they will have people to take care of them and to bury them; unless
indeed they bring up sons from want of heirs; as if one could not find
or fall in with anyone who would be willing to have another's property!
Why, the sand on the sea shore, and the dust, and the wings of birds of
varied note, are less numerous than the number of would-be heirs. For
had Danaus, the father of fifty daughters, been childless, he would have
had more heirs, and of a different spirit. For sons have no gratitude,
nor regard, nor veneration for inheritance; but take it as a debt;
whereas the voices of strangers which you hear round the childless man,
are like those lines in the play, "O People, first bathe, after one
decision in the courts, then eat, drink, gobble, take the
three-obol-piece."[58] And what Euripides has said, "Money finds friends
for men, and has the greatest power among mankind," is not merely a
general truth, but is especially true in the case of the childless. For
those the rich entertain to dinner, those great men pay court to, to
those alone orators give their services gratis. "A mighty personage is a
rich man, whose heir is unknown." It has at any rate made many much
loved and honoured, whom the possession of one child would have made
unloved and insignificant. Whence we see that there is no power or
advantage to be got from children, but that the love of them, alike in
mankind as among the animals, proceeds entirely from nature.

§ V. What if this natural affection, like many other virtues, is
obscured by badness, as a wilderness chokes a garden? Are we to say that
man does not love himself by nature, because many cut their throats or
throw themselves down precipices? Did not Oedipus put out his eyes? And
did not Hegesias by his speeches make, many of his hearers to commit
suicide?[59] "Fatality has many different aspects."[60] But all these
are diseases and maladies of the soul driving a man contrary to nature
out of his wits: as men themselves testify even against themselves. For
if a sow destroys one of its litter, or a bitch one of its pups, men are
dejected and troubled, and think it an evil omen, and sacrifice to the
gods to avert any bad results, on the score that it is natural to all to
love and cherish their offspring, unnatural to destroy it. For just as
in mines the gold is conspicuous even though mixed up with earth, so
nature manifests plainly love to offspring even in instances of faulty
habits and affections. For when the poor do not rear their children, it
is from fear that if reared to man's estate they would be more than
ought to be the case servile, and have little culture, and be debarred
of all advantages: so, thinking poverty the worst of all evils, they
cannot bear to give it their children, any more than they would some bad

    [44] Much of this is very corrupt in the Greek. I have
    tried to get the best sense I could; but it is very
    obscure. Certainly Plutarch's style is often very harsh
    and crabbed.

    [45] The _jus trium liberorum_ assigned certain
    privileges to the father of three children, under the
    Roman Emperors. Frequent allusions are made to this law
    by the ancient writers.

    [46] Compare Lucretius, i. 10-20.

    [47] A quotation from Simonides.

    [48] We are not bound to swallow all the ancients tell
    us. Credat Judæus Apella!

    [49] "Iliad," xvii. 134-136.

    [50] "Iliad," ix. 324. Quoted again in "How one may be
    aware of one's Progress in Virtue," § 8.

    [51] "Odyssey," xx. 14, 15.

    [52] A theatre, that is, in which animals and birds and
    human beings should meet in common.

    [53] All that is said here about the milk, the menses,
    and the blood, I have been obliged somewhat to condense
    and paraphrase. The ancients sometimes speak more
    plainly than we can. Ever and anon one must pare down a
    phrase or word in translating an ancient author. It is
    inevitable. _Verbum sat sapienti._

    [54] Homer, "Iliad," xvii. 446, 447.

    [55] Ibid. xi. 269-271.

    [56] A fragment from Euripides, according to Xylander.

    [57] Evenus of Paros was an Elegiac Poet.

    [58] Aristophanes, "Equites," 50, 51.

    [59] See Cicero "Tuscul." i. 34.

    [60] Euripides, "Alcestis," 1159; "Helena," 1688;
    "Andromache," 1284; "Bacchæ," 1388.

    [61] The discourse breaks off abruptly. It is directed
    against the Epicureans. It throws ridicule on appealing
    to the affection of brutes for their offspring instead
    of appealing to human nature.



I. _Flavianus._--You say that it was on Mount Helicon, Autobulus, that
those conversations took place about Love, which you are now about to
narrate to us at our request, as you either wrote them down, or at least
remember them from frequently asking our father about them.

_Autobulus._--It was on Mount Helicon among the Muses, Flavianus, when
the people of Thespiæ were celebrating their Festival to the God of
Love, which they celebrate very magnificently and splendidly every five
years to that God, as also to the Muses.

_Flavianus._--Do you know what all of us who have come to this audience
intend to ask of you?

_Autobulus._--No, but I shall know if you tell me.

_Flavianus._--Remove from your discourse for this once the poet's
meadows and shades, and talk about ivy and yews, and all other
commonplaces of that kind that writers love to introduce, with more zeal
than discretion, in imitation of Plato's Ilissus and the famous willow
and the gentle slope of grass.[62]

_Autobulus._--My dear Flavianus, my narrative needs not any such
exordium. The occasion that caused the conversation simply demands a
chorus for the action and a stage, nothing else is wanting to the drama,
let us only pray to the Mother of the Muses to be propitious, and give
me memory for my narrative.

§ II. Long ago our father, before we were born, having lately married
our mother, had gone to sacrifice to the God of Love, in consequence of
a dispute and variance that broke out among their parents, and took our
mother to the Festival, for she also had her part in the vow and
sacrifice. Some of their intimate friends journeyed with them from the
town where they lived, and when they got to Thespiæ they found there
Daphnæus the son of Archidamus, a lover of Lysandra the daughter of
Simo, and of all her suitors the one who stood highest in her favour,
and Soclarus the son of Aristio, who had come from Tithorea. And there
were there also Protogenes of Tarsus, and Zeuxippus from Sparta,
strangers, and my father said most of the most notable Boeotians were
there also. For two or three days they went about the town in one
another's company, as it was likely they would do, quietly carrying on
philosophical discussions in the wrestling-schools and theatres: after
that, to avoid a wearisome contest of harpers, decided beforehand by
canvassing and cabal, most broke up their camp as if they had been in a
hostile country, and removed to Mount Helicon, and bivouacked there with
the Muses. In the morning they were visited by Anthemion and Pisias,
both men of good repute, and very great friends of Baccho, who was
surnamed the Handsome, and also rivals of one another somewhat through
their affection for him. Now you must know that there was at Thespiæ a
lady called Ismenodora, famous for her wealth and good family, and of
uncommon good repute for her virtuous life: for she had been a widow
some time without a breath of slander lighting upon her, though she was
young and good-looking. As Baccho was the son of a friend and crony of
hers, she had tried to bring about a marriage between him and a maiden
who was her own relation, but by frequently being in his company and
talking to him she had got rather smitten with him herself. And hearing
much in his favour, and often talking about him, and seeing that many
noble young men were in love with him, she fell violently in love with
him, and, being resolved to do nothing unbecoming to her fair fame,
determined to marry and live openly with him. And the matter seeming in
itself rather odd, Baccho's mother looked rather askance at the proposed
matrimonial alliance as being too high and splendid for her son, while
some of his companions who used to go out hunting with him, frightening
him and flouting him with Ismenodora's being rather too old for him,
really did more to break off the match than those who seriously opposed
it. And Baccho, being only a youth, somehow felt a little ashamed at the
idea of marrying a widow, but, neglecting the opinions of everybody
else, he submitted the decision as to the expediency of the marriage to
Pisias and Anthemion, the latter being his cousin, though older than
him, and the former the gravest[63] of his lovers. Pisias objected to
the marriage, and upbraided Anthemion with throwing the youth away on
Ismenodora. Anthemion replied that it was not well in Pisias, being a
good fellow in other respects, to imitate depraved lovers by shutting
out his friend from house and marriage and wealth, merely that he might
enjoy the sight of him as long as possible naked and in all his virgin
bloom at the wrestling-schools.

§ III. To avoid getting estranged by provoking one another on the
question, they came and chose our father and his companions as umpires
on the matter. And of the other friends, as if by concerted arrangement,
Daphnæus espoused the view of Anthemion, and Protogenes the view of
Pisias. And Protogenes inveighing somewhat too freely against
Ismenodora, Daphnæus took him up and said, "Hercules, what are we not to
expect, if Protogenes is going to be hostile to love? he whose whole
life, whether in work or at play, has been devoted to love, in
forgetfulness of letters, in forgetfulness of his country, not like
Laius, away from his country only five days, his was only a torpid and
land love: whereas your love 'unfolding its swift wings,' flew over the
sea from Cilicia to Athens, merely to gaze at and saunter about with
handsome boys. For that was the original reason, doubtless, of
Protogenes' journey abroad."

§ IV. And some laughter ensuing, Protogenes replied, "Do I really seem
to you now to be hostile to love, and not to be fighting for love
against ungovernable lust, which with most disgraceful acts and emotions
assumes the most honourable of titles?" Whereupon Daphnæus, "Do you call
the marriage and union of man and woman most disgraceful, than which no
holier tie exists nor ever did?" Protogenes replied, "Why, as all this
is necessary for the human race to continue, our legislators do not act
amiss in crying up marriage and eulogizing it to the masses, but of
genuine love there is not a particle in the woman's side of a house;[64]
and I also say that you who are sweet on women and girls only love them
as flies love milk, and bees the honey-comb, and butchers and cooks
calves and birds, fattening them up in darkness.[65] But as nature leads
one to eat and drink moderately and sufficiently, and excess in this is
called gluttony and gormandizing, so the mutual desires between men and
women are natural; but that headlong, violent, and uncontrollable
passion for the sex is not rightly called love. For love, when it seizes
a noble and young soul, ends in virtue through friendship; but these
violent passions for women, at the best, aim only at carnal enjoyment
and reaping the harvest of a beauteous prime, as Aristippus showed in
his answer to one who told him Lais loved him not, 'No more,' he said,
'do meat and wine love me, but I gladly enjoy both.'[66] For the end of
passion is pleasure and fruition: but love, when it has once lost the
promise of friendship, will not remain and continue to cherish merely
for beauty that which gives it pain, where it gives no return of
friendship and virtue. You remember the husband in the play saying to
his wife, 'Do you hate me? I can bear that hatred very easily, since of
my dishonour I make money.' Not a whit more really in love than this
husband is the one, who, not for gain but merely for the sexual
appetite, puts up with a peevish and unsympathetic wife, as Philippides,
the comic poet, ridiculed the orator, Stratocles, 'You scarce can kiss
her if she turns her back on you.' If, however, we ought to give the
name of love to this passion, then is it an effeminate and bastard love,
and like at Cynosarges,[67] taking us to the woman's side of the house:
or rather as they say there is a genuine mountain eagle, which Homer
called 'black, and a bird of prey,' and there are other kinds of
spurious eagles, which catch fish and lazy birds in marshes, and often
in want of food emit an hungry wail: so the genuine love is the love of
boys, a love not 'flashing with desire,' as Anacreon said the love of
maidens was, nor 'redolent of ointment and sprightly,' but you will see
it plain and without airs in the schools of the philosophers, or perhaps
in the gymnasiums and wrestling-schools, keenly and nobly pursuing
youths, and urging on to virtue those who are well worthy of attention:
but that soft and stay-at-home love, spending all its time in women's
bosoms and beds, always pursuing effeminate delights, and enervated by
unmanly, unfriendly, and unimpassioned pleasures, we ought to condemn as
Solon condemned it: for he forbade slaves to love boys or to anoint them
with oil, while he allowed them to associate with women. For friendship
is noble and refined, whereas pleasure is vulgar and illiberal.
Therefore, for a slave to love boys is neither liberal or refined: for
it is merely the love of copulation, as the love of women."

§ V. Protogenes was intending to go on at greater length, when Daphnæus
stopped him and said, "You do well, by Zeus, to mention Solon, and we
too may use him as the test of an amorous man. Does he not define such a
one in the lines, 'As long as you love boys in the glorious flower of
their youth for their kisses and embraces.' And add to Solon the lines
of Æschylus, 'You did not disdain the honour of the thighs, O thankless
one after all my frequent kisses.'[68] For some laugh at them if they
bid lovers, like sacrificing priests and seers, to inspect thighs and
loins; but I think this a mighty argument in behalf of the love of
women. For if the unnatural commerce with males does not take away or
mar the amorous propensity, much more likely is it that the natural love
of women will end in friendship after the favour. For, Protogenes, the
yielding of the female to the male was called by the ancients the
favour. Thus Pindar says Hephæstus was the son of Hera 'without any
favours':[69] and Sappho, addressing a girl not yet ripe for marriage,
says to her, 'You seemed to me a little girl, too young for the favour.'
And someone asks Hercules, 'Did you obtain the girl's favour by force or
by persuasion?' But the love of males for males, whether rape or
voluntary--pathicks effeminately submitting, to use Plato's words, 'to
be treated bestially'--is altogether a foul and unlovely favour. And so
I think Solon wrote the lines quoted above 'in his hot youth,' as Plato
puts it; but when he became older wrote these other lines, 'Now I
delight in Cyprus-born Aphrodite, and in Dionysus, and in the Muses: all
these give joys to men': as if, after the heat and tempest of his boyish
loves, he had got into a quiet haven of marriage and philosophy. But
indeed, Protogenes, if we look at the real facts of the case, the love
for boys and women is really one and the same passion: but if you wish
in a disputatious spirit to make any distinction, you will find that
this boy-love goes beyond all bounds, and, like some late-born and
ill-begotten bastard brat, seeks to expel its legitimate brother the
older love, the love of women. For indeed, friend, it is only yesterday
or the day before, since the strippings and exposures of the youths in
the gymnasiums, that this boy-love crept in, and gently insinuated
itself and got a footing, and at last in a little time got fully-fledged
in the wrestling-schools, and has now got fairly unbearable, and insults
and tramples on conjugal love, that love that gives immortality to our
mortal race, when our nature has been extinguished by death, kindling it
again by new births. And this boy-love denies that pleasure is its aim:
for it is ashamed and afraid to confess the truth: but it needs some
specious excuse for the liberties it takes with handsome boys in their
prime: the pretext is friendship and virtue. So your boy-lover wallows
in the dust, bathes in cold water, raises his eyebrows, gives himself
out for a philosopher, and lives chaste abroad because of the law: but
in the stillness of night

  'Sweet is the ripe fruit when the guard's withdrawn.'[70]

But if, as Protogenes says, there is no carnal intercourse in these
boy-familiarities, how is it Love, if Aphrodite is not present, whom it
is the destiny of Love to cherish and pay court to, and to partake of
just as much honour and power as she assigns to him? But if there is any
Love without Aphrodite, as there is drunkenness without wine in drinks
made from figs and barley, the disturbing it will be fruitless and
without effect, and surfeiting and disgusting."

§ VI. At the conclusion of this speech, it was clear that Pisias was
vexed and indignant with Daphnæus; and after a moment's silence he
began: "O Hercules! what levity and audacity for men to state that they
are tied to women as dogs to bitches, and to banish the god of Love from
the gymnasiums and public walks, and light of day and open intercourse,
and to restrict him to brothels[71] and philtres and incantations of
wanton women: for to chaste women, I am sure, it belongs not either to
love or be loved." At this point our father told me he interposed, and
took Protogenes by the hand, and said to him:

  "'This word of yours rouses the Argive host,'

and of a verity Pisias makes us to side with Daphnæus by his extravagant
language, charging marriage with being a loveless intercourse, and one
that has no participation in divine friendship, although we can see that
it is an intercourse, if erotic persuasion and favour fail, that cannot
be restrained by shame and fear as by bit and bridle." Thereupon Pisias
said, "I care little about his arguments; but I see that Daphnæus is in
the same condition as brass: for, just as it is not worked upon so much
by the agency of fire as by the molten and liquid brass fused with it,
so is he not so much captivated by the beauty of Lysandra as by his
association with one who is the victim of the gentle passion; and it is
plain that, if he doesn't take refuge with us, he will soon melt away
in the flame altogether. But I see, what Anthemion would very much like,
that I am offending the Court, so I stop." "You amuse us," said
Anthemion: "but you ought from the first to have spoken to the point."

§ VII. "I say then," continued Pisias, "and give it out boldly, as far
as I am concerned, let every woman have a lover; but we ought to guard
against giving the wealth of Ismenodora to Baccho, lest, if we involve
him in so much grandeur and magnificence, we unwittingly lose him in it,
as tin is lost in brass. For if the lad were to marry quite a plain and
insignificant woman, it would be great odds whether he would keep the
upper hand, as wine mixed with water; and Ismenodora seems already
marked out for sway and command; for otherwise she would not have
rejected such illustrious and wealthy suitors to woo a lad hardly yet
arrived at man's estate, and almost requiring a tutor still. And
therefore men of sense prune the excessive wealth of their wives, as if
it had wings that required clipping; for this same wealth implants in
them luxury, caprice, and vanity, by which they are often elated and fly
away altogether: but if they remain, it would be better to be bound by
golden fetters, as in Ethiopia, than to a woman's wealth."

§ VIII. Here Protogenes put in, "You say nothing about the risk we run
of unseasonably and ridiculously reversing the well-known advice of

  'If seasonable marriage you would make,
   Let about thirty be the bridegroom's age,
   The bride be in the fifth year of her womanhood:'[72]

if we thus marry a lad hardly old enough for marriage to a woman so many
years older, than himself, as dates and figs are forced. You will say
she loves him passionately: who prevents her, then, from serenading at
his doors, singing her amorous ditty, putting garlands on his statues,
and wrestling and boxing with her rivals in his affections? For all
these are what people in love do. And let her lower her eyebrows, and
give up the airs of a coquette, and assume the appearance of those that
are deeply smitten. But if she is modest and chaste, let her decorously
stay at home and await there her lovers and sweethearts; for any
sensible man would be disgusted and flee from a woman who took the
initiative in love, far less would he be likely to marry her after such
a barefaced wooing."

§ IX. When Protogenes had done speaking, my father said, "Do you see,
Anthemion, that they force us to intervene again, who have no objection
to dance in the retinue of conjugal Love?" "I do," said Anthemion, "but
pray defend Love at some length, as you are on his side, and moreover
come to the rescue of wealth,[73] with which Pisias seeks to scare us."
Thereupon my father began, "What on earth will not be brought as a
charge against a woman, if we are to reject Ismenodora because she is in
love and has money? Granted she loves sway and is rich? What then, if
she is young and handsome? And what if she plumes herself somewhat on
the lustre of her race? Have not chaste women often something of the
morose and peevish in their character almost past bearing? Do they not
sometimes get called waspish and shrewish by virtue of their very
chastity? Would it be best then to marry off the street some Thracian
Abrotonus, or some Milesian Bacchis, and seal the bargain by the present
of a handful of nuts? But we have known even such turn out intolerable
tyrants, Syrian flute-girls and ballet-dancers, as Aristonica, and
Oenanthe with her tambourine, and Agathoclea, who have lorded it over
kings' diadems.[74] Why Syrian Semiramis was only the servant and
concubine of one of king Ninus's slaves, till Ninus the great king
seeing and falling in love with her, she got such power over him that
she thought so cheap of him, that she asked to be allowed one day to sit
on the royal throne, with the royal diadem on her head, and to transact
state affairs. And Ninus having granted her permission, and having
ordered all his subjects to obey her as himself, she first gave several
very moderate orders to make trial of the guards; but when she saw that
they obeyed her without the slightest hesitation, she ordered them to
seize Ninus and put him in fetters, and at last put him to death; and
all her commands being obeyed, she ruled over Asia for a long time with
great lustre. And was not Belestiche a foreign woman off the streets,
although at Alexandria she has shrines and temples, with an inscription
as Aphrodite Belestiche, which she owes to the king's love? And she who
has in this very town[75] a temple and rites in common with Eros, and at
Delphi stands in gold among kings and queens, by what dowry got she her
lovers? But just as the lovers of Semiramis, Belestiche, and Phryne,
became their prey unconsciously through their weakness and effeminacy,
so on the other hand poor and obscure men, having contracted alliances
with rich women of rank, have not been thereby spoilt nor merged their
personality, but have lived with their wives on a footing of kindness,
yet still kept their position as heads of the house. But he that abases
his wife and makes her small, like one who tightens the ring on a finger
too small for it fearing it will come off,[76] is like those who cut
their mares' tails off and then take them to a river or pond to drink,
when they say that sorrowfully discerning their loss of beauty these
mares lose their self-respect and allow themselves to be covered by
asses.[77] To select a wife for wealth rather than for her excellence or
family is dishonourable and illiberal; but it is silly to reject wealth
when it is accompanied by excellence and family. Antigonus indeed wrote
to his officer who had garrisoned Munychia[78] to make not only the
collar strong but the dog lean, that he might undermine the strength of
the Athenians; but it becomes not the husband of a rich or handsome
woman to make his wife poor or ugly, but by his self-control and good
sense, and by not too extravagantly showing his admiration for her, to
exhibit himself as her equal not her slave, and (to borrow an
illustration from the scales) to add just so much weight to his
character as shall over-balance her, yet only just. Moreover, both
Ismenodora and Baccho are of a suitable age for marriage and procreation
of children; Ismenodora, I hear, is still in her prime, and" (here my
father smiled slily at Pisias) "she is certainly not a bit older than
her rivals, and has no grey hairs, as some of those who consort with
Baccho have. And if their union is seasonable, who knows but that she
may be a better partner for him than any young woman? For young couples
do not blend and mix well together, and it takes a long time and is not
an easy process for them to divest themselves of their pride and spirit,
and at first there's a good deal of dirty weather and they don't pull
well together, and this is oftenest the case when there's love on both
sides, and, just as a storm wrecks the ship if no pilot is on board, so
their marriage is trouble and confusion, neither party knowing how
either to rule or to give way properly. And if the baby is under the
nurse, and the boy under the master, and the lad under the master of the
gymnasium, and the youth under his lover, and the full-grown man under
the law and magistrate, and no one is his own master and exempt from
obedience to someone, what wonder would it be if a sensible woman rather
older than her husband would direct well the life of a young man, being
useful to him by reason of her superior wisdom, and acceptable to him
for her sweetness and gentleness? And to sum up the whole matter," said
he, "we Boeotians ought to revere Hercules, and so find no fault in any
inequality of age in marriages, seeing that he gave his own wife Megara
in marriage to Iolaus, though he was only sixteen and she

§ X. As the conversation was going on, our father said that a friend of
Pisias came galloping up from the town to report an act of marvellous
audacity. Ismenodora, it appears, thinking Baccho had no personal
dislike to the match, but only stood in awe of his friends who tried to
dissuade him from it, determined that she would not let the young fellow
slip through her fingers. Accordingly, she sent for the most active and
intimate[80] of her male friends, and for some of her female cronies,
and instructed them as to what part they should play, and waited for the
hour when Baccho was accustomed regularly to pass by her house on his
way to the wrestling-school. And as he passed by on this occasion with
two or three of his companions, anointed for the exercise, Ismenodora
met him at the door and just touched his cloak, and her friends rushed
out all together and prettily seized the pretty fellow as he was in his
cloak and jersey,[81] and hurried him into the house and at once locked
the doors. And the women inside at once divested him of his cloak and
put on him a bridal robe; and the servants ran about the town and put
olive wreaths and laurel garlands at the doors of Baccho's house as well
as Ismenodora's, and a flute-girl went up and down the street playing
and singing the wedding-song. And some of the inhabitants of Thespiæ and
the strangers laughed, others were indignant and tried to make the
superintendents of the gymnasium move in the matter, for they have great
power in Thespiæ over the youths, and pay great attention to their
actions. And now there was no more talk about the sports, but everyone
left the theatre for the neighbourhood of Ismenodora's house, and there
stood in groups talking and disputing about what had happened.

§ XI. Now when Pisias' friend had come up like an _aide-de-camp_ in war,
"bloody with spurring, fiery red with haste," to report this news that
Ismenodora had seized Baccho, my father said that Zeuxippus smiled, and
being a great lover of Euripides repeated the line,

  "Lady, though rich, thou hast thy sex's feelings."

But Pisias jumped up and cried out, "Ye gods, what will be the end of
license like this which will overthrow our town? Already we are fast
tending to lawlessness through our independence. And yet it is perhaps
ridiculous to be indignant about law and justice, when nature itself is
trampled upon by being thus subjected to women? Saw even Lemnos ever the
like of this?[82] Let us go," he continued, "let us go and hand over to
the women the gymnasium and council-hall, if the townsmen have lost all
their nerve." Pisias then left the company, and Protogenes went with
him, partly sympathizing with his indignation, but still endeavouring to
cool him. And Anthemion said, "'Twas a bold deed and certainly does
savour somewhat of Lemnos--I own it now we are alone--this Ismenodora
must be most violently in love." Hereupon Soclarus said, with a sly
smile, "You don't think then that this rape and detention was an excuse
and stratagem on the part of a wily young man to escape from the
clutches of his lovers, and fly of his own volition to the arms of a
rich and handsome widow?" "Pray don't say so, Soclarus," said Anthemion,
"pray don't entertain any such suspicions of Baccho, for even if he were
not by nature most simple and naïve, he would not have concealed the
matter from me to whom he divulges all his secrets, especially as he
knows that I have always been very anxious he should marry Ismenodora.
But as Heraclitus says truly, It is more difficult to control love than
anger; for whatever love has a fancy to, it will buy even at the cost of
life, money, and reputation. Who lives a more quiet life in our town
than Ismenodora? When did ever any ugly rumour attach itself to her?
When did ever any breath of suspicion sully her house? Some divine
inspiration, beyond human calculation, seems now to have possessed her."

§ XII. Then Pemptides laughed and said, "Of course you know that there
is a certain disease of the body called the sacred disease.[83] It is no
wonder, therefore, if some call the greatest and most insane passion of
the soul sacred and divine. However, as in Egypt I once saw two
neighbours disputing when a serpent passed by them on the road, both
calling it a good omen, but each claiming the blessing as his alone; so
seeing lately that some of you drag Love to the men's apartments, while
others confine it to the women's side of the house, while all of you
regard it as a divine and superlative blessing, I do not wonder, since
it is a passion that has such power and honour, that those who ought to
banish it from every quarter and clip its wings do themselves add to its
influence and power. And hitherto I held my peace, for I saw that the
discussion turned rather on private than public interests, but now that
we have got rid of Pisias, I would gladly hear from you to what they had
an eye who first called Love a god."

§ XIII. Just as Pemptides had left off, and our father was about to
answer his question, another messenger came from the town, sent by
Ismenodora to summon Anthemion, for the tumult had increased, and there
was a difference of opinion between the superintendents of the
gymnasium, one thinking they ought to demand the liberation of Baccho,
the other thinking they ought not to interfere. Anthemion got up at once
and went off. And our father, addressing Pemptides especially, said,
"You seem to me, my dear Pemptides, to be handling a great and bold
matter, or rather to be discussing things that ought not to be
discussed, in asking for a reason in each case for our opinion about the
gods. Our ancient and hereditary faith is sufficient, a better argument
than which we cannot either utter or find,

  'Not e'en if wisdom in our brains resides;'[84]

but if this common foundation and basis of all piety be disturbed, and
its stability and time-honoured ideas be unsettled, it becomes
undermined and is suspected by everybody. You have heard, of course,
what hot water Euripides got into, when he wrote at the beginning of his

  'Zeus, whosoe'er he is, I do not know
   Except by hearsay,'[85]

but if he changed the opening line, he had confidence, it seems, that
his play would go down with the public uncommonly well,[86] so he
altered it into

  'Zeus the divine, as he is truly called.'[87]

And what difference is there between calling in question the received
opinion about Zeus or Athene, and that about Love? For it is not now for
the first time that Love asks for an altar and sacrifices, nor is he a
strange god introduced by foreign superstition, as some Attis or Adonis,
furtively smuggled in by hermaphrodites and women, and secretly
receiving honours not his own, to avoid an indictment among the gods for
coming among them under false pretences. And when, my friend, you hear
the words of Empedocles,

  'Friendship is there too, of same length and breadth,
   But with the mind's eye only can you see it,
   Till with the sight your very soul is thralled,'

you must suppose that they refer to Love. For this god is invisible, but
to be extolled by us as one of the very oldest gods. And if you demand
proofs about every one of the gods, laying a profane hand on every
temple, and bringing a learned doubt to every altar, you will scrutinize
and pry into everything. But we need not go far to find Love's pedigree.

  'See you how great a goddess Aphrodite is?
   She 'tis that gave us and engendered Love,
   Whereof come all that on the earth do live.'[88]

And so Empedocles calls Aphrodite _Life-giving_,[89] and Sophocles calls
her _Fruitful_, both very appropriate epithets. And though the wonderful
act of generation belongs to Aphrodite only, and Love is only present in
it as a subordinate, yet if he be absent the whole affair becomes
undesirable, and low, and tame. For a loveless coition brings only
satiety, as the satisfaction of hunger and thirst, and has nothing noble
resulting from it, whereas by Love Aphrodite removes the cloying element
in pleasure, and produces harmonious friendship. And so Parmenides
declares Love to be the oldest of the creations of Aphrodite, writing in
his Cosmogony,

  'Of all the gods first Love she did contrive.'

But Hesiod, more naturally in my opinion, makes Love the most ancient of
all, so that all things derive their existence from him.[90] If we then
deprive Love of his ancient honours, those of Aphrodite will be lost
also. For we cannot argue that, while some revile Love, all spare
Aphrodite, for on the same stage we hear of Love,

  'Love is an idle thing and for the idle:'[91]

and again of Aphrodite,

  'Cypris, my boys, is not her only name,
   For many names has she. She is a hell,
   A power remorseless, nay a raging madness.'[92]

Just as in the case of the other gods there is hardly one that has not
been reviled, or escaped the scurrility of ignorance. Look, for example,
at Ares, who may be considered as it were the counterpart of Love, what
honours he has received from men, and again what abuse, as

  'Ares is blind, ye women, has no eyes,
   And with his pig's snout roots up all good things.'[93]

And Homer calls him 'blood-stained' and 'fickle.'[94] And Chrysippus
brings a grievous charge against him, in defining his name to mean
destroyer,[95] thereby giving a handle to those who think that Ares is
only the fighting, wrangling, and quarrelsome instinct among mankind.
Others again will tell us that Aphrodite is simply desire, and Hermes
eloquence, and the Muses the arts and sciences, and Athene wisdom. You
see what an abyss of impiety opens up before us, if we describe each of
the gods, as only a passion, a power, or a virtue!"

§ XIV. "I see it," said Pemptides, "and it is impious either to make the
gods passions, or to do just the contrary, and make the passions gods."
"What then?" said my father, "do you consider Ares a god, or only a
human passion?" And Pemptides, answering that he looked on Ares as god
of the passionate and manly element in mankind, "What," cried my father,
"shall the passionate and warlike and antagonistic instincts in man have
a god, but the affectionate and social and clubable have none? Shall
Ares, under his names of Enyalius and Stratius, preside over arms and
war and sieges and sacks of cities, and shall there be no god to witness
and preside over, to direct and guide, conjugal affection, that
friendship of closest union and communion? Why even those who hunt
gazelles and hares and deer have a silvan deity who harks and halloos
them on, for to Aristæus[96] they pay their vows when in pitfalls and
snares they trap wolves and bears,

  'For Aristæus first set traps for animals.'

And Hercules invoked another god, when he was about to shoot at the
bird, as the line of Æschylus shows,

  'Hunter Apollo, make my bolt go straight!'[97]

And shall no god or good genius assist and prosper the man who hunts in
the best chase of all, the chase of friendship? For I cannot for my
part, my dear Daphnæus, consider man a less beautiful or important plant
than the oak, or sacred olive, or the vine which Homer glorifies,[98]
seeing that man too has his growth and glorious prime alike of soul and

§ XV. Then said Daphnæus, "In the name of the gods, who thinks
differently?" "All those certainly must," answered my father, "who think
that the gods care only about ploughing and planting and sowing. Have
they not Nymphs attending upon them, called Dryads, 'whose age is coeval
with the trees they live in: and Dionysus the mirth-giving does he not
increase the yield of the trees, the sacred splendour of Autumn,' as
Pindar says?[99] And if they care about all this, is there no god or
genius who is interested in the nurture and growth of boys and youths in
all their glorious flower? is there no one that cares that the growing
man may be upright and virtuous, and that the nobility of his nature may
not be warped and corrupted, either through want of a guardian or by the
depravity of those he associates with? Is it not monstrous and thankless
to say so, seeing that we enjoy the divine bounty, which is dealt out to
us richly, and never abandons us in our straits? And yet some of these
same straits have more necessity than beauty. For example, our birth, in
spite of the unpleasant circumstances attending it, is witnessed by the
divine Ilithyia and Artemis: and it would be better not to be born at
all than to become bad through want of a good guardian and guide.
Moreover in sickness the god who is over that province does not desert
us, nor even in death: for even then there is a conductor and guide for
the departed, to lay them to sleep, and convey their souls to
Hades,[100] as the poet says,

  'Night bore me not to be lord of the lyre,
   Nor to be seer, or healer of diseases,
   But to conduct the souls of the departed.'

And yet these duties involve much unpleasantness, whereas we cannot
mention a holier work, nor any struggle or contest more fitting for a
god to attend and play the umpire in, than the guidance of the young and
beautiful in the prosecution of their love-affairs. For there is here
nothing of an unpleasant nature, no compulsion of any kind, but
persuasion and grace, truly making toil sweet and labour delightful,
lead the way to virtue and friendship, and do not arrive at that desired
goal without the deity, for they have as their leader and lord no other
god than Love, the companion of the Muses and Graces and Aphrodite. For
Love 'sowing in the heart of man the sweet harvest of desire,' to borrow
the language of Melanippides, mixes the sweetest and most beautiful
things together. But perhaps you are of a different opinion, Zeuxippus."

§ XVI. "Not I, by Zeus," replied Zeuxippus. "To have a different opinion
would be ridiculous." "Then," continued my father, "is it not also
ridiculous, if there are four kinds of friendship, for so the ancients
distinguished, the natural first, the second that to one's kindred, the
third that to one's companions, the fourth the friendship of love, and
each of the first three have a god as patron, either a god of
friendship, or a god of hospitality, or a god of the family, or a god of
the race,[101] whereas the friendship of love only, as something
altogether unholy, is left without any patron god, and that, too, when
it needs most of all attentive direction?" "It is," said Zeuxippus,
"highly ridiculous." My father continued, "The language of Plato is very
suggestive here, to make a slight digression. One kind of madness (he
says) is conveyed to the soul from the body through certain bad
temperaments or mixtures, or through the prevalence of some noxious
spirit, and is harsh, difficult to cure, and baneful. Another kind of
madness is not uninspired or from within, but an afflatus from without,
a deviation from sober reason, originated and set in motion by some
higher power, the ordinary characteristic of which is called enthusiasm.
For, as one full of breath is called [Greek: empnoos], and as one full
of sense is called [Greek: emphrôn], so the name enthusiasm is given to
the commotion of the soul caused by some Divine agency.[102] Thus there
is the prophetic enthusiasm which proceeds from Apollo, and the Bacchic
enthusiasm which comes from Dionysus, to which Sophocles alludes where
he says, 'Dance with the Corybantes;' for the rites of Cybele and Pan
have great affinities to the orgies of Bacchus. And the third madness
proceeds from the Muses, and possesses an impressionable and pure soul,
and stirs up the poetry and music in a man. As to the martial and
warlike madness, it is well known from what god it proceeds, namely,
Ares, 'kindling tearful war, that puts an end to the dance and the song,
and exciting civic strife.'[103] There remains, Daphnæus, one more kind
of madness in man, neither obscure nor tranquil, as to which I should
like to ask Pemptides here,

  'What god it is that shakes the fruitful thyrsus?'

I refer to that love-fury for modest boys and chaste women, which is
far the keenest and fiercest passion of all. For have you not observed
how the soldier, when he lays aside his arms, ceases from his warlike
fury, as the poet says,

                        'Then from him
  Right gladly did his squires remove the armour,'[104]

and sits down a peaceful spectator of others?[105] The Bacchic and
Corybantic dances one can also modulate and quell, by changing the metre
from the trochaic and the measure from the Phrygian. Similarly, too, the
Pythian priestess, when she descends from her tripod, possesses her soul
in peace. Whereas the love-fury, when once it has really seized on a man
and inflamed him, can be laid by no Muse, no charm or incantation, no
change of place; but present they burn, absent they desire, by day they
follow their loves about, by night they serenade them, sober call for
them, and drunken sing about them. And he who said that poetic fancies,
owing to their vividness, were dreams of people awake, would have more
truly spoken so of the fancies of lovers, who, as if their loves were
present, converse with them, greet them, chide them. For sight seems to
paint all other fancies on a wet ground, so soon do they fade and recede
from the memory, but the images of lovers, painted by the fancy as it
were on encaustic tiles, leave impressions on the memory, that move, and
live, and speak, and are permanent for all time. The Roman Cato, indeed,
said that the soul of the lover resided in the soul of the loved one,
and I should extend the remark to the appearance, the character, the
life, and the actions, conducted by which he travels a long journey in a
short time, as the Cynics say they have found a short cut and, as it
were, forced march to virtue, for there is also a short cut to
friendship and love when the god is propitious. To sum up, the
enthusiasm of lovers is not a thing uninspired, and the god that guides
and governs it is none other than the god whose festival we are now
keeping, and to whom we are now sacrificing. Nevertheless, as we judge
of a god mainly from his power and usefulness (as among human advantages
we reckon and call these two the most divine, dominion and virtue), it
is high time to consider, before we proceed any further, whether Love
yields to any of the gods in power. Certainly, as Sophocles says,
'Wonderful is the power which the Cyprian Queen exerts so as always to
win the victory:'[106] great also is the might of Ares; and in some sort
we see the power of all the other gods divided among these two; for
Aphrodite has most intimate connection with the beautiful, and Ares is
in our souls from the first to combat against the sordid, to borrow the
idea of Plato. Let us consider, then, to begin with, that the venereal
delight can be purchased for six obols, and that no one ever yet put
himself into any trouble or danger about it, unless he was in love. And
not to mention here such famous courtesans as Phryne or Lais,
Gnathænium, 'kindling her lamp at evening time,' on the look-out for
lovers and inviting them, is often passed by; 'yet, if some sudden whiff
arise' of mighty love and desire, it makes this very delight seem equal
to the fabled wealth of Tantalus and his domains. So feeble and cloying
is the venereal indulgence, if Love inspires it not. And you will see
this more plainly still from the following consideration. Many have
allowed others to share in their venereal enjoyments, prostituting not
only their mistresses but their wives, like that Roman Galba, who used
to ask Mæcenas to dinner, and when he saw from his nods and winks that
he had a mind to do with his wife, turned his head gently aside as if
asleep; but when one of his slaves came up to the table and stole some
wine, his eyes were wide open enough, and he said, 'Villain, don't you
know that I am asleep only for Mæcenas?'[107] But this is not perhaps so
strange, considering Galba was a buffoon. But at Argos Nicostratus and
Phayllus were great political rivals: so when King Philip visited that
city, Phayllus thought if he prostituted his wife, who was very
handsome, to the King, he would get from him some important office or
place. And Nicostratus getting wind of this, and walking about the doors
of Phayllus' house with some of his servants on the _qui vive_,
Phayllus made his wife put on men's boots, and a military cloak, and a
Macedonian broad-brimmed hat, and so smuggled her into the King, without
being detected, as one of the King's young men. But, of all the
multitude of lovers, did you ever hear of one that prostituted his
boy-love even for the honours of Zeus? I think not. Why, though no one
will generally either speak or act against tyrants, many will who find
them their rivals and are jealous about their handsome minions. You must
have heard how Aristogiton of Athens, and Antileon of Metapontum, and
Melanippus of Agrigentum, rose not against tyrants, although they saw
how badly they managed affairs, and what drunken tricks they played,
yet, when they attempted the chastity of their boy-loves, they
retaliated on them, jeoparding their lives, as if they were defending
the inviolability of temples and sanctuaries. It is also recorded that
Alexander wrote to Theodoras, the brother of Proteas, 'Send me your
singing-girl, unless you love her yourself, and I will give you ten
talents;' and when Antipatridas, one of his companions, came to revel
with him, bringing with him a female harper, he fancied the girl not a
little, and asked Antipatridas if he cared very much about her. And when
he replied that he did immensely, Alexander said, 'Plague take you,' but
nevertheless abstained from touching the girl.

§ XVII. "Consider also how Love excels in warlike feats, and is by no
means idle, as Euripides called him,[108] nor a carpet-knight, nor
'sleeping on a maiden's soft cheeks.'[109] For a man inspired by Love
needs not Ares to help him when he goes out as a warrior against the
enemy, but at the bidding of his own god is 'ready' for his friend 'to
go through fire and water and whirlwinds.' And in Sophocles' play,[110]
when the sons of Niobe are being shot at and dying, one of them calls
out for no helper or assister but his lover. And you know of course how
it was that Cleomachus the Pharsalian fell in battle?" "We certainly
don't," said Pemptides and those near him, "but we should very much like
to." "Well," said my father, "the tale's worth hearing. When the war
between the Eretrians and Chalcidians was at its height, Cleomachus had
come to aid the latter with a Thessalian force; and the Chalcidian
infantry seemed strong enough, but they had great difficulty in
repelling the enemy's cavalry. So they begged that high-souled hero
Cleomachus to charge the Eretrian cavalry first. And he asked his
boy-love, who was by, if he would be a spectator of the fight, and he
saying he would, and affectionately kissing him and putting his helmet
on his head, Cleomachus with a proud joy put himself at the head of the
bravest of the Thessalians, and charged the enemy's cavalry with such
impetuosity that he threw them into disorder and routed them; and the
Eretrian infantry also fleeing in consequence, the Chalcidians won a
splendid victory. However, Cleomachus got killed, and they show his tomb
in the market-place at Chalcis, over which a huge pillar stands to this
day, and whereas before that the people of Chalcis had censured
boy-loves, from that time forward they preferred that kind of love to
the normal love. Aristotle gives a slightly different account, namely,
that this Cleomachus came not from Thessaly, but from Chalcis in Thrace,
to the help of the Chalcidians in Euboea; and that that was the origin
of the song in vogue among the Chalcidians,

  'Ye boys, who come of noble sires and beauteous are in face,
   Grudge not to give to valiant men the joy of your embrace:
   For Love that does the limbs relax combined with bravery
   In the Chalcidian cities has fame that ne'er shall die.'

But according to the account of the poet Dionysius, in his
'Causes,'[111] the name of the lover was Anton, and that of the boy-love
was Philistus. And among you Thebans, Pemptides, is it not usual for the
lover to give his boy-love a complete suit of armour when he is enrolled
among the men? And did not the erotic Pammenes change the disposition of
the heavy-armed infantry, censuring Homer as knowing nothing about love,
because he drew up the Achæans in order of battle in tribes and clans,
and did not put lover and love together, that so

  'Spear should be next to spear, helmet to helmet,'[112]

seeing that Love is the only invincible general.[113] For men in battle
will leave in the lurch clansmen and friends, aye, and parents and sons,
but what warrior ever broke through or charged through lover and love,
seeing that even when there is no necessity lovers frequently display
their bravery and contempt of life. As Thero the Thessalian, who put his
left hand on a wall, and drew his sword, and chopped off his thumb, and
challenged his rival to do the same. And another in battle falling on
his face, as his enemy was about to give him the _coup-de-grace_, begged
him to wait a little till he could turn round, that his love should not
see him with a wound in his back. And not only are the most warlike
nations most amorous, as the Boeotians the Lacedæmonians and the
Cretans, but also of the old heroes, who were more amorous than
Meleager, Achilles, Aristomenes, Cimon, and Epaminondas. Why,
Epaminondas had as his boy-loves Asopichus and Cephisodorus, the latter
of whom fell with him at Mantinea, and is buried near him. As to ...,
who was most formidable and a source of terror to the enemy, Eucnamus of
Amphissa, who first stood up against him and smote him, received hero
honours from the Phocians for his exploit. And as to all the loves of
Hercules, it would take up too much time to enumerate them, but those
who think that Iolaus was one of them do up to this day worship and
honour him, and make their loves swear fidelity at his tomb. Hercules is
also said, having understood the art of healing, to have preserved the
life of Alcestis, when she was given up by the doctors, to gratify
Admetus, who passionately loved his wife, and was Hercules' minion. They
say also in legend that Apollo was enamoured of Admetus,

  'And was his hired slave for one long year.'

It was a happy thought our remembering Alcestis, for though women have
not much of Ares in them, yet when possessed by Love they are bold even
to the death, beyond what one would expect from their nature. For if we
may credit legendary lore, the stories about Alcestis, and Protesilaus,
and Eurydice the wife of Orpheus, show that the only one of the gods
that Hades pays attention to is Love; although to everybody else, as
Sophocles says, "he knows of no forbearance or favour, or anything but
strict justice;" yet before lovers his genius stands rebuked, and they
alone find him neither implacable nor relentless. Wherefore although, my
friend, it is an excellent thing to be initiated in the Eleusinian
mysteries, yet I see that the votaries and initiated of Love have a
better time of it in Hades than they have, * *[114] though in regard to
legendary lore I stand in the position of one who neither altogether
believes nor altogether disbelieves. For legendary lore speaks well, and
by a certain wonderful good fortune lights upon the truth, in saying
that lovers have a return from Hades to the light of day, but it knows
not by what way or how, having as it were got benighted on the road
which Plato first discovered by philosophy. There are, indeed, some
slender and obscure particles of truth scattered about in the mythology
of the Egyptians, but they require a clever man to hunt them out, a man
capable of getting great results from small data. Wherefore let that
matter pass. And now next to the mighty power of Love let us consider
its good will and favour to mankind, I do not mean as to whether it
bestows many gifts on its votaries--that is palpable to all--but whether
they derive any further advantage from it. For Euripides, though very
amorous, admired a very small matter, when he wrote the line--

  'Love teaches letters to a man unlearn'd.'[115]

For it makes one previously sluggish quick and intelligent, and, as has
been said before, it makes the coward brave, as people harden wood in
the fire and make it strong from being weak. And every lover becomes
liberal and genuine and generous, even if he was mean before, his
littleness and miserliness melting away like iron in the fire, so that
they rejoice to give to their loves more than they do to receive
themselves from others. You know of course that Anytus, the son of
Anthemion, was in love with Alcibiades, and was on one occasion
sumptuously entertaining several of his friends, when Alcibiades broke
in and took from the table half the cups and went away again; and when
some of the guests were indignant and said, 'The stripling has used you
most insolently and contemptuously,' Anytus replied, 'Nay, rather, he
has dealt kindly with me, for when he might have taken all he has left
me half.'"

§ XVIII. Zeuxippus was pleased with this story, and said, "O Hercules,
you have been within an ace of making me forget my hereditary hatred to
Anytus for his behaviour to Socrates and philosophy,[116] since he was
so mild and noble to his love." "Be it so," said my father, "Love also
makes peevish and gloomy persons kind and agreeable to those they live
with; for as 'when the fire blazes the house looks brighter,'[117] so
man, it seems, becomes more cheerful through the heat of love. But most
people are affected rather curiously; if they see by night a light in a
house, they look on it with admiration and wonder; but if they see a
little, mean, and ignoble soul suddenly filled with noble-mindedness,
freedom, dignity, grace, and liberality, they do not feel constrained to
say with Telemachus, 'Surely, some god is there within.'[118] And is it
not wonderful, Daphnæus," continued my father,[119] "in the name of the
Graces, that the lover who cares about hardly anything, either his
companions and friends, or even the laws and magistrates and kings, who
fears nothing, admires nothing, courts nothing, but can even endure to
gaze on 'the forked lightning,'[120] yet directly he looks on his love
'he crouches like a cock with drooping feathers,' and his boldness is
broken and his pride is cowed. And among the Muses it would not be
amiss to mention Sappho; for as the Romans say Cacus the son of
Hephæstus vomited out of his mouth fire and flames, so she really speaks
words that burn like fire, and in her songs shows the warmth of her
heart, as Philoxenus puts it, 'by euphonious songs assuaging the pains
of love.' And if you have not in your love for Lysandra forgot all your
old love-songs, do repeat to us, Daphnæus, the lines in which beautiful
Sappho says that 'when her love appeared her voice failed and her body
burned, and she was seized with paleness and trembling and vertigo.'"
And when Daphnæus had repeated the lines, my father resumed, "In the
name of Zeus, is not this plainly a divine seizure? Is not this a
wonderful commotion of soul? Why, the Pythian priestess on the tripod is
not moved so much as this! Who of those inspired by Cybele are made
beside themselves to this extent by the flute and the kettledrum?
Moreover, while many see the same body and the same beauty, only the
lover is taken by it. Why is this the case? We get no light on it from
Menander's words, 'Love is opportunity; and he that is smitten is the
only one wounded.' But the god is the cause of it, striking one and
letting another go scot-free. But I will not pass over now, 'since it
has come into my mouth,' as Æschylus says, what perhaps would have been
better spoken before, for it is a very important point. Perhaps, my
friend, of all other things which we do not perceive through the senses,
some got believed through legend, some through the law, some through
reason; whereas we owe our conception of the gods altogether to the
poets and legislators and philosophers: all alike teaching the existence
of gods, but greatly differing as to their number and order, nature and
power. For the gods of the philosophers 'know nothing of disease or old
age or pain, and have not to cross the resounding Acheron;' nor do the
philosophers accept as gods Strifes, or Prayers, which are found in
poetry;[121] nor will they admit Terror and Fear as gods or as the sons
of Ares. And on many points also they are at variance with the
legislators, as Xenophanes bade the Egyptians, if they regarded Osiris
as mortal, not to honour him as a god; but if they thought him a god not
to mourn for him. And, again, the poets and legislators will not listen
to, nor can they understand, the philosophers who make gods of ideas and
numbers and units and spirits. And their views generally are very
different. As there were formerly three parties at Athens, the Parali,
the Epacrii, and the Pediei, all at variance with one another, yet all
agreed to vote for Solon, and chose him with one accord as their
mediator and ruler and lawgiver, as he seemed indisputably to hold the
first place in merit; so the three parties that entertain different
views about the gods are all unanimous on one point, for poets
legislators and philosophers all alike register Love as one of the gods,
'loudly singing his praises with one voice,' as Alcæus says the people
of Mitylene chose Pittacus as their monarch. But our king and ruler and
governor, Love, is brought down crowned from Helicon to the Academy by
Hesiod and Plato and Solon, and in royal apparel rides in a chariot
drawn by friendship and intimacy (not such as Euripides speaks of in the
line, 'he has been bound in fetters not of brass,'[122] shamefully
throwing round him cold and heavy necessity), and soars aloft to the
most beautiful and divine things, about which others have spoken better
than I can."

§ XIX. When my father had spoken thus much, Soclarus began, "Do you see
that a second time you have committed the same fault, not cancelling
your debts as you ought to do--for I must speak my mind--but evading
them on purpose, and not delivering to us your promised ideas on a
sacred subject? For as some little time back you only just touched on
Plato and the Egyptians as if unwilling to enter on the subject more
fully, so now you are doing again. However, as to what has been
'eloquently told'[123] by Plato, or rather by the Muses through Plato's
mouth, do not tell us that, my good friend, even if we ask for it; but
as to your hint that the Egyptian legend about Love corresponded with
Plato's views, you need not discuss it fully and minutely, we shall be
satisfied if we hear a little of such mighty matters." And as the rest
of the company made the same request, my father said, "The Egyptians,
(like the Greeks) recognize two Loves, the Pandemian and the Celestial,
to which they add the Sun, they also highly venerate Aphrodite. We also
see much similarity between Love and the Sun, for neither is a fire, as
some think, but a sweet and productive radiance and warmth, the Sun
bringing to the body nourishment and light and growth, and Love doing
the same to the soul. And as the heat of the Sun is more powerful when
it emerges from clouds and after mist, so Love is sweeter and hotter
after a jealous tiff with the loved one,[124] and moreover, as some
think the Sun is kindled and extinguished, so also do people conceive of
Love as mortal and uncertain. Moreover, just as without training the
body cannot easily bear the heat of the Sun, so neither can the
untrained soul easily bear the yoke of Love, but both are equally out of
tune and suffer, for which they blame the deity and not their own
weakness. But in this respect they seem to differ, in that the Sun
exhibits to the eye things beautiful and ugly alike, whereas Love throws
its light only on beautiful things, and persuades lovers to concentrate
their attention on these, and to neglect all other things. As to those
that call Aphrodite the Moon, they, too, find some points in common
between them; for the Moon is divine and heavenly and a sort of
halfway-house between mortal and immortal, but inactive in itself and
dark without the presence of the Sun, as is the case with Aphrodite in
the absence of Love. So we may say that Aphrodite resembles the Moon,
and Love the Sun, more than any other deities, yet are not Love and the
Sun altogether the same, for just as body and soul are not the same, but
something different, so is it with the Sun and Love, the former can be
seen, the latter only felt. And if it should not seem too harsh a
saying, one might argue that the Sun acts entirely opposite to Love, for
it turns the mind away from the world of fancy to the world of reality,
beguiling us by its grace and splendid appearance, and persuading us to
seek for truth and everything else in and round it and nowhere else. For
as Euripides says,

  'Too passionately do we love the Sun,
   Because it always shines upon the earth,
   From inexperience of another life,'[125]

or rather from forgetfulness of those things which Love brings to our
remembrance. For as when we are woke by a great and bright light,
everything that the soul has seen in dreams is vanished and fled, so the
Sun is wont to banish the remembrance of past changes and chances, and
to bewitch the intelligence, pleasure and admiration causing this
forgetfulness. And though reality is really there, yet the soul cleaves
to dreams and is dazzled by what is most beautiful and divine. 'For
round the soul are poured sweet yet deceiving dreams,' so that the soul
thinks everything here good and valuable, unless it obtain divine and
chaste Love as its physician and preserver. For Love brings the soul
through the body to truth and the region of truth, where pure and
guileless beauty is to be found, kindly befriending its votaries like an
initiator at the mysteries. And it associates with the soul only through
the body. And as geometricians, in the case of boys who cannot yet be
initiated into the perception of incorporeal and impassive substance,
convey their ideas through the medium of spheres, cubes, and
dodecahedrons, so celestial Love has contrived beautiful mirrors of
beautiful things, and exhibits them to us glittering in the shapes
colours and appearances of youths in all their flower, and calmly stirs
the memory which is inflamed first by these. Consequently some, through
the stupidity of their friends and intimates, who have endeavoured by
force and against reason to extinguish the flame, have got no advantage
from it, but filled themselves with smoke and confusion, or have rushed
into secret and lawless pleasures and ingloriously wasted their prime.
But as many as by sober reason and modesty have abated the extravagance
of the passion, and left in the soul only a bright glow--not exciting a
tornado of passion, but a wonderful and productive diffusion, as in a
growing plant, opening the pores of complaisance and friendliness--these
in no long time cease to regard the personal charms of those they love,
and study their inward characters, and gaze at one another with
unveiled eyes, and associate with one another in words and actions, if
they find in their minds any fragment or image of the beautiful; and if
not they bid them farewell and turn to others, like bees that only go to
those flowers from which they can get honey. But wherever they find any
trace or emanation or pleasing resemblance of the divine, in an ecstasy
of pleasure and delight they indulge their memory, and revive to
whatever is truly lovely and felicitous and admired by everybody."

§ XX. "The poets indeed seem for the most part to have written and sung
about Love in a playful and merry manner, but have sometimes spoken
seriously about him, whether out of their own mind, or the god helping
them to truth. Among these are the lines about his birth,
'Well-sandalled Iris bare the most powerful of the gods to golden-haired
Zephyr.'[126] But perhaps the learned have persuaded you that these
lines are only a fanciful illustration of the variety and beauty of
love." "Certainly," said Daphnæus, "what else could they mean?" "Hear
me," said my father, "for the heavenly phenomenon compels us so to
speak. The rainbow[127] is, I suppose, a reflection caused by the sun's
rays falling on a moist cloud, making us think the appearance is in the
cloud. Similarly erotic fancy in the case of noble souls causes a
reflection of the memory, from things which here appear and are called
beautiful, to what is really divine and lovely and felicitous and
wonderful. But most lovers pursuing and groping after the semblance of
beauty in boys and women, as in mirrors,[128] can derive nothing more
certain than pleasure mixed with pain. And this seems the love-delirium
of Ixion, who instead of the joy he desired embraced only a cloud, as
children who desire to take the rainbow into their hands, clutching at
whatever they see. But different is the behaviour of the noble and
chaste lover: for he reflects on the divine beauty that can only be
felt, while he uses the beauty of the visible body only as an organ of
the memory, though he embraces it and loves it, and associating with it
is still more inflamed in mind. And so neither in the body do they sit
ever gazing at and desiring this light, nor after death do they return
to this world again, and skulk and loiter about the doors and
bedchambers of newly-married people, disagreeable ghosts of
pleasure-loving and sensual men and women, who do not rightly deserve
the name of lovers. For the true lover, when he has got into the other
world and associated with beauties as much as is lawful, has wings and
is initiated and passes his time above in the presence of his Deity,
dancing and waiting upon him, until he goes back to the meadows of the
Moon and Aphrodite, and sleeping there commences a new existence. But
this is a subject too high for the present occasion. However, it is with
Love as with the other gods, to borrow the words of Euripides, 'he
rejoices in being honoured by mankind,'[129] and _vice versa_, for he is
most propitious to those that receive him properly, but visits his
displeasure on those that affront him. For neither does Zeus as god of
Hospitality punish and avenge any outrages on strangers or suppliants,
nor as god of the family fulfil the curses of parents, as quickly as
Love hearkens to lovers unfairly treated, being the chastiser of boorish
and haughty persons. Why need I mention the story of Euxynthetus and
Leucomantis, the latter of whom is called The Peeping Girl to this day
in Cyprus? But perhaps you have not heard of the punishment of the
Cretan Gorgo, a somewhat similar case to that of Leucomantis, except
that she was turned into stone as she peeped out of window to see her
lover carried out to burial. For this Gorgo had a lover called Asander,
a proper young man and of a good family, but reduced in fortune, though
he thought himself worthy to mate with anybody. So he wooed Gorgo, being
a relation of hers, and though he had many rivals, as she was much run
after for her wealth belike, yet he had won the esteem of all the
guardians and relations of the young girl.[130] * * * *

§ XXI. * * * Now the origins and causes of Love are not peculiar to
either sex, but common to both. For those attractions that make men
amorous may as well proceed from women as from boys.[131] And as to
those beautiful and holy reminiscences and invitations to the divine and
genuine and Olympian beauty, by which the soul soars aloft, what hinders
but that they may come either from boys or lads, maidens or grown women,
whenever a chaste and orderly nature and beauteous prime are associated
together (just as a neat shoe exhibits the shapeliness of the foot, to
borrow the illustration of Aristo), whenever connoisseurs of beauty
descry in beautiful forms and pure bodies clear traces of an upright and
unenervated soul.[132] For if[133] the man of pleasure, who was asked
whether "he was most given to the love of women or boys," and answered,
"I care not which so beauty be but there," is considered to have given
an appropriate answer as to his erotic desires, shall the noble lover of
beauty neglect beauty and nobility of nature, and make love only with an
eye to the sexual parts? Why, the lover of horses will take just as much
pleasure in the good points of Podargus, as in those of Æthe,
Agamemnon's mare,[134] and the sportsman rejoices not only in dogs, but
also rears Cretan and Spartan bitches,[135] and shall the lover of the
beautiful and of humanity be unfair and deal unequally with either sex,
and think that the difference between the loves of boys and women is
only their different dress? And yet they say that beauty is a flower of
virtue; and it is ridiculous to assert that the female sex never
blossoms nor make a goodly show of virtue, for as Æschylus truly says,

  'I never can mistake the burning eye
   Of the young woman that has once known man.'[136]

Shall the indications then of a forward wanton and corrupt character be
found in the faces of women, and shall there be no gleam of chastity and
modesty in their appearance? Nay, there are many such, and shall they
not move and provoke love? To doubt it would be neither sensible nor in
accordance with the facts, for generally speaking, as has been pointed
out, all these attractions are the same in both sexes.... But, Daphnæus,
let us combat those views which Zeuxippus lately advanced, making Love
to be only irregular desire carrying the soul away to licentiousness,
not that this was so much his own view as what he had often heard from
morose men who knew nothing of love: some of whom marry unfortunate
women for their dowries, and force on them economy and illiberal saving,
and quarrel with them every day of their lives: while others, more
desirous of children than wives, when they have made those women they
come across mothers, bid farewell to marriage, or regard it not at all,
and neither care to love nor be loved. Now the fact that the word for
conjugal love differs only by one letter from the word for endurance,
the one being [Greek: stergein] the other [Greek: stegein], seems to
emphasize the conjugal kindness mixed by time and intimacy with
necessity. But that marriage which Love has inspired will in the first
place, as in Plato's Republic, know nothing of _Meum_ and _Tuum_, for
the proverb, 'whatever belongs to a friend is common property,'[137] is
especially true of married persons who, though disunited in body, are
perforce one in soul, neither wishing to be two, nor thinking themselves
so. In the second place there will be mutual respect, which is a vital
necessity in marriage. For as to that external respect which has in it
more of compulsion than choice, being forced by the law and shame and

  "Those needful bits and curbs to headstrong weeds,"[138]

that will always exist in wedlock. But in Love there is such
self-control and decorum and constancy, that if the god but once enter
the soul of a licentious man, he makes him give up all his amours,
abates his pride, and breaks down his haughtiness and dissoluteness,
putting in their place modesty and silence and tranquillity and decorum,
and makes him constant to one. You have heard of course of the famous
courtesan Lais,[139] how she set all Greece on fire with her charms, or
rather was contended for by two seas,[140] and how, when she fell in
love with Hippolochus the Thessalian, 'she left Acro-Corinthus washed by
the green sea,'[141] and deserted all her other lovers, that great army,
and went off to Thessaly and lived faithful to Hippolochus. But the
women there, envious and jealous of her for her surpassing beauty,
dragged her into the temple of Aphrodite, and there stoned her to death,
for which reason probably it is called to this day the temple of
Aphrodite the Murderess.[142] We have also heard of servant girls who
have refused the embraces of their masters, and of private individuals
who have scorned an amour with queens, when Love has had dominion in
their hearts. For as in Rome, when a dictator is proclaimed, all other
magistrates lay down their offices, so those over whom Love is lord are
free henceforward from all other lords and masters, and pass the rest of
their lives dedicate to the god and slaves in his temple. For a noble
woman united by Love to her lawful husband would prefer the embraces of
bears and dragons to those of any other man."

§ XXII. "Although there are plenty of examples of this virtue of
constancy, yet to you, that are the festive votaries of the god,[143] it
will not be amiss to relate the story of the Galatian Camma. She was a
woman of most remarkable beauty, and the wife of the tetrarch Sinatus,
whom Sinorix, one of the most influential men in Galatia, and
desperately in love with Camma, murdered, as he could neither get her by
force or persuasion in the lifetime of her husband. And Camma found a
refuge and comfort in her grief in discharging the functions of
hereditary priestess to Artemis, and most of her time she spent in her
temple, and, though many kings and potentates wooed her, she refused
them all. But when Sinorix boldly proposed marriage to her, she declined
not his offer, nor blamed him for what he had done, as though she
thought he had only murdered Sinatus out of excessive love for her, and
not in sheer villany. He came, therefore, with confidence, and asked her
hand, and she met him and greeted him and led him to the altar of the
goddess, and pledged him in a cup of poisoned mead, drinking half of it
herself and giving him the rest. And when she saw that he had drunk it
up, she shouted aloud for joy, and calling upon the name of her dead
husband, said, 'Till this day, dearest husband, I have lived, deprived
of you, a life of sorrow: but now take me to yourself with joy, for I
have avenged you on the worst of men, as glad to share death with him as
life with you.' Then Sinorix was removed out of the temple on a litter,
and soon after gave up the ghost, and Camma lived the rest of that day
and following night, and is said to have died with a good courage and
even with gaiety."[144]

§ XXIII. "As many similar examples might be adduced, both among
ourselves and foreigners, who can feel any patience with those that
reproach Aphrodite with hindering friendship when she associates herself
with Love as a partner? Whereas any reflecting person would call the
love of boys wanton and gross lasciviousness, and say with the poet:

  'This is an outrage, not an act of love.'

All willing pathics, therefore, we consider the vilest of mankind, and
credit them with neither fidelity, nor modesty, nor friendship, for as
Sophocles says:

  'Those who shall lose such friends may well be glad,
   And those who have such pray that they may lose them,'[145]

But as for those who, not being by nature vicious, have been seduced or
forced, they are apt all their life to despise and hate their seducers,
and when an opportunity has presented itself to take fierce vengeance.
As Crateus, who murdered Archelaus, and Pytholaus, who murdered
Alexander of Pheræ. And Periander, the tyrant of the Ambraciotes,
having asked a most insulting question of his minion, was murdered by
him, so exasperated was he. But with women and wives all this is the
beginning of friendship, and as it were an initiation into the sacred
mysteries. And pleasure plays a very small part in this, but the esteem
and favour and mutual love and constancy that result from it, proves
that the Delphians did not talk nonsense in giving the name of Arma[146]
to Aphrodite, nor Homer in giving the name of friendship[147] to sexual
love, and testifies to the fact that Solon was a most experienced
legislator in conjugal matters, seeing that he ordered husbands not less
than thrice a month to associate with their wives, not for pleasure, but
as states at certain intervals renew their treaties with one another, so
he wished that by such friendliness marriage should, as it were, be
renewed after any intervening tiffs and differences. But you will tell
me there is much folly and even madness in the love of women. Is there
not more extravagance in the love of boys?

  'Seeing my many rivals I grow faint.
   The lad is beardless, smooth and soft and handsome,
   O that I might in his embraces die,
   And have the fact recorded on my tomb.'

Such extravagant language as this is madness not love. And it is absurd
to detract from woman's various excellence. Look at their self-restraint
and intelligence, their fidelity and uprightness, and that bravery
courage and magnanimity so conspicuous in many! And to say that they
have a natural aptitude for all other virtues, but are deficient as
regards friendship alone, is monstrous. For they are fond of their
children and husbands, and generally speaking the natural affection in
them is not only, like a fruitful soil, capable of friendship, but is
also accompanied by persuasion and other graces. And as poetry gives to
words a kind of relish by melody and metre and rhythm, making
instruction thereby more interesting, but what is injurious more
insidious, so nature, investing woman with beautiful appearance and
attractive voice and bewitching figure, does much for a licentious woman
in making her wiles more formidable, but makes a modest one more apt
thereby to win the goodwill and friendship of her husband. And as Plato
advised Xenocrates, a great and noble man in all other respects, but too
austere in his temperament, to sacrifice to the Graces, so one might
recommend a good and modest woman to sacrifice to Love, that her husband
might be a mild and agreeable partner, and not run after any other
woman, so as to be compelled to say like the fellow in the comedy, 'What
a wretch I am to ill-treat such a woman!' For to love in marriage is far
better than to be loved, for it prevents many, nay all, of those
offences which spoil and mar marriage.

§ XXIV. As to the passionate affection in the early days of
marriage,[148] my dear Zeuxippus, do not fear that it will leave any
sore or irritation, though it is not wonderful that there should be some
friction at the commencement of union with a virtuous woman, just as at
the grafting of trees, as there is also pain at the beginning of
conception, for there can be no complete union without some suffering.
Learning puts boys out somewhat when they first go to school, as
philosophy does young men at a later day, but the ill effects are not
lasting, either in their cases or in the case of lovers. As in the
fusion of two liquors, love does indeed at first cause a simmering and
commotion, but eventually cools down and settles and becomes tranquil.
For the union of lovers is indeed a complete union, whereas the union of
those that live together without love resembles only the friction and
concussion of Epicurus' atoms in collision and recoil, forming no such
union as Love makes, when he presides over the conjugal state. For
nothing else produces so much pleasure, or such lasting advantages, or
such beautiful remarkable and desirable friendship,

  'As when husband and wife live in one house,
   Two souls beating as one.'[149]

And the law gives its countenance, and nature shows that even the gods
themselves require love for the production of everything. Thus the poets
tell us that 'the earth loves a shower, and heaven loves the earth,' and
the natural philosophers tell us that the sun is in love with the moon,
and that they are husband and wife, and that the earth is the mother of
man and beast and the producer of all plants. Would not the world itself
then of necessity come to an end, if the great god Love and the desires
implanted by the god should leave matter, and matter should cease to
yearn for and pursue its lead? But not to seem to wander too far away
and altogether to trifle, you know that many censure boy-loves for their
instability, and jeeringly say that that intimacy like an egg is
destroyed by a hair,[150] for that boy-lovers like Nomads, spending the
summer in a blooming and flowery country, at once decamp then as from an
enemy's territory. And still more vulgarly Bion the Sophist called the
sprouting beards of beautiful boys Harmodiuses and Aristogitons,[151]
inasmuch as lovers were delivered by them from a pleasant tyranny. But
this charge cannot justly be brought against genuine lovers, and it was
prettily said by Euripides, as he embraced and kissed handsome Agatho
whose beard was just sprouting, that the Autumn of beautiful youths was
lovely as well as the Spring. And I maintain that the love of beautiful
and chaste wives flourishes not only in old age amid grey hairs and
wrinkles, but even in the grave and monument. And while there are few
such long unions in the case of boy-loves, one might enumerate ten
thousand such instances of the love of women, who have kept their
fidelity to the end of their lives. One such case I will relate, which
happened in my time in the reign of the Emperor Vespasian.

§ XXV. Julius, who stirred up a revolt in Galatia, among several other
confederates had one Sabinus, a young man of good family, and for wealth
and renown the most conspicuous of all the men in those parts. But
having attempted what was too much for them they were foiled, and
expecting to pay the penalty, some committed suicide, others fled and
were captured. Now Sabinus himself could easily have got out of the way
and made his escape to the barbarians, but he had married a most
excellent wife, whose name in that part of the world was Empone, but in
Greek would be Herois, and he could neither leave her behind nor take
her with him. As he had in the country some underground caves, known
only to two of his freedmen, where he used to stow away things, he
dismissed all the rest of his slaves, as if he intended to poison
himself, and taking with him these two trusty freedmen he descended with
them into those underground caves, and sent one of them, Martialis, to
tell his wife that he had poisoned himself, and that his body was burnt
in the flames of his country-house, for he wanted his wife's genuine
sorrow to lend credit to the report of his death. And so it happened.
For she, throwing herself on to the ground, groaned and wailed for three
days and nights, and took no food. And Sabinus, being informed of this,
and fearing that she would die of grief, told Martialis to inform her
secretly that he was alive and well and in hiding, and to beg her not to
relax her show of grief, but to keep up the farce. And she did so with
the genius of a professional actress, but yearning to see her husband
she visited him by night, and returned without being noticed, and for
six or seven months she lived with him this underground life. And she
disguised him by changing his dress, and cutting off his beard, and
re-arranging his hair, so that he should not be known, and took him to
Rome, having some hopes of obtaining his pardon. But being unsuccessful
in this she returned to her own country, and spent most of her time with
her husband underground, but from time to time visited the town, and
showed herself to some ladies who were her friends and relations. But
what is most astonishing of all is that, though she bathed with them,
she concealed her pregnancy from them. For the dye which women use to
make their hair a golden auburn, has a tendency to produce corpulence
and flesh and a full habit, and she rubbed this abundantly over all
parts of her body, and so concealed her pregnancy. And she bare the
pangs of travail by herself, as a lioness bears her whelps, having hid
herself in the cave with her husband, and there she gave birth to two
boys, one of whom died in Egypt, the other, whose name was Sabinus, was
among us only the other day at Delphi. Vespasian eventually put her to
death, but paid the penalty for it, his whole progeny in a short time
being wiped off the face of the earth.[152] For during the whole of his
reign he did no more savage act, nor could gods or demons have turned
away their eyes from a crueller sight. And yet her courage and bold
language abated the pity of the spectators, though it exasperated
Vespasian, for, despairing of her safety, she bade them go and tell the
Emperor, 'that it was sweeter to live in darkness and underground than
to wear his crown.'"[153]

§ XXVI. Here my father said that the conversation about Love which took
place at Thespiæ ended. And at this moment Diogenes, one of Pisias'
companions, was noticed coming up at a faster pace than walking. And
while he was yet a little way off, Soclarus hailed him with, "You don't
announce war, Diogenes," and he replied, "Hush! it is a marriage; come
with me quickly, for the sacrifice only waits for you." All were
delighted, and Zeuxippus asked if Pisias was still against the marriage.
"As he was first to oppose it," said Diogenes, "so he was first to yield
the victory to Ismenodora, and he has now put on a crown and robed
himself in white, so as to take his place at the head of the procession
to the god through the market-place." "Come," said my father, "in
Heaven's name, let us go and laugh at him, and worship the god; for it
is clear that the god has taken delight in what has happened, and been

    [62] The allusion is to Plato's "Phædrus," p. 230, B.
    Much, indeed, of the subject-matter here is, we shall
    find, somewhat similar to that of the Phædrus.

    [63] It is difficult to know what the best English word
    here is. From the sly thrust in § ix. Pisias was
    evidently grey. I have therefore selected the word
    _gravest_. But _the most austere_, _the most sensible_,
    _the most solid_, _the most sedate_, all might express
    the Greek word also. Let the reader take which he likes

    [64] In a Greek house the women and men had each their
    own separate apartments. This must be borne in mind here
    to explain the allusion.

    [65] That is, from interested and selfish motives.

    [66] On Lais and Aristippus see Cicero, "Ad. Fam.," ix.

    [67] Pausanias, i. 19, shows us that there was at Athens
    a Temple of Hercules called Cynosarges. But the matter
    is obscure. What the exact allusion is I cannot say.

    [68] Fragment of Æschylus. See Athenæus, xiii. p. 602,
    E, which explains the otherwise obscure allusion.

    [69] That is the son of Hera alone, who was unwilling to
    be outdone by Zeus, who had given birth to Pallas Athene
    alone. Hesiod has the same view, "Theog." 927.

    [70] [Greek: opôra] is so used also in Æsch. "Suppl.,"
    998, 1015. See also "Athenæus," 608, F. Daphnæus implies
    these very nice gentlemen, like the same class described
    by Juvenal, "Curios simulant et Bacchanalia vivunt."

    [71] I omit [Greek: kai kopidas] as a gloss or
    explanation of the old reading [Greek: makeleia] instead
    of [Greek: matruleia]. Nothing can be made of [Greek:
    kai kopidas] in the context.

    [72] "Works and Days," 606-608.

    [73] I follow here the reading of Wyttenbach. Through
    the whole of this essay the reading is very uncertain
    frequently. My text in it has been formed from a careful
    collation of Wyttenbach, Reiske, and Dübner. I mention
    this here once for all, for it is unnecessary in a
    translation to minutely specify the various readings on
    every occasion. I am not editing the "Moralia."

    [74] "De Oenantha et Agathoclea, v. Polyb. excerpt, l.

    [75] Thespiæ. The allusion is to Phryne. See Pausanias,
    ix. 27; x. 15.

    [76] Reading with Wyttenbach, [Greek: hôsper daktylion
    ischnou, hô mê perirrhuê dediôs.]

    [77] Perhaps _cur_ = coward, was originally _cur-tail_.

    [78] One of the three ports at Athens. See Pausanias, i.

    [79] Iolaus was the nephew of Hercules, and was
    associated with him in many of his Labours. See
    Pausanias, i. 19; vii. 2; viii. 14, 45.

    [80] I read [Greek: synoarizontas]. The general reading
    [Greek: synerôntas] will hardly do here. Wyttenbach
    suggests [Greek: synearizontas].

    [81] What the [Greek: dibolia] was is not quite clear. I
    have supposed a jersey.

    [82] The women of Lemnos were very masterful. On one
    memorable occasion they killed all their husbands in one
    night. Thus the line of Ovid has almost a proverbial
    force, "Lemniadesque viros nimium quoque vincere
    norunt."--_Heroides_, vi. 53. Siebelis in his Preface to
    Pausanias, p. xxi, gives from an old Scholia a sort of
    excuse for the action of the women of Lemnos.

    [83] Probably the epilepsy. See Herodotus, iii. 33.

    [84] Euripides, "Bacchae," 203.

    [85] Euripides, Fragment of the "Melanippe."

    [86] I take Wyttenbach's suggestion as to the reading

    [87] This line is taken bodily by Aristophanes in his
    "Frogs," 1244.

    [88] The first line is the first line of a passage from
    Euripides, consisting of thirteen lines, containing
    similar sentiments to this. See Athenæus, xiii. p. 599,
    F. The last two lines are from Euripides, "Hippolytus,"
    449, 450.

    [89] Compare Lucretius, i. 1-5.

    [90] Hesiod, "Theogony," 116-120.

    [91] Euripides, "Danae," Frag. Compare Ovid, "Cedit amor
    rebus: res age, tutus eris."

    [92] Sophocles, Fragm. 678, Dindorf. Compare a remark of
    Sophocles, recorded by Cicero, "De Senectute," ch. xiv.

    [93] Sophocles, Fragm. 720. Reading [Greek: kala] with

    [94] Iliad, v. 831.

    [95] Connecting [Greek: Arês] with [Greek: anairein].

    [96] The _Saint Hubert_ of the Middle Ages.

    [97] Æschylus, Frag. 1911. Dindorf.

    [98] Odyssey, v. 69.

    [99] Fragm. 146, 125.

    [100] Hermes is alluded to.

    [101] All these four were titles of _Zeus_. They are
    very difficult to put into English so as to convey any
    distinctive and definite idea to an English reader.

    [102] Enthusiasm is the being [Greek: entheos], or
    inspired by some god.

    [103] From Æschylus, "Supplices," 681, 682.

    [104] "Iliad," vii. 121, 122.

    [105] Like the character described in Lucretius, ii.

    [106] Sophocles, "Trachiniae," 497. The Cyprian Queen
    is, of course, Aphrodite.

    [107] Hence the famous Proverb, "Non omnibus dormio."
    See Cic. "Ad. Fam." vii. 24.

    [108] Above, in § xiii.

    [109] See Sophocles, "Antigone," 783, 784. And compare
    Horace, "Odes," Book iv. Ode xiii. 6-8, "Ille virentis
    et Doctæ psallere Chiæ _Pulchris excubat in genis_."

    [110] The "Niobe," which exists only in a few fragments.

    [111] This was the name of Dionysius' Poem. He was a
    Corinthian poet.

    [112] "Iliad," xiii. 131.

    [113] Reading according to the conjecture of Wyttenbach,
    [Greek: hôs ton Erôta uonon aêttêton onta tôn

    [114] Something has probably dropped out here, as Dübner

    [115] Fragment from the "Stheneboea" of Euripides.

    [116] Anytus was one of the accusers of Socrates, and so
    one of the causers of his death. So Horace calls
    Socrates "Anyti reum," "Sat." ii. 4, 3.

    [117] Homeric Epigrammata, xiii. 5. Quoted also in "On
    Virtue and Vice," § 1.

    [118] Odyssey, xix. 40.

    [119] I adopt the suggestion of Wyttenbach, [Greek:
    eipen, ô Daphnaie].

    [120] Pinder, "Pyth." i. 8.

    [121] See for example Homer, Iliad, xi. 3, 73; ix. 502.

    [122] Euripides, "Pirithous," Fragm. 591. Dindorf.

    [123] An allusion to Homer, "Odyssey," xii. 453.

    [124] So Terence, "Andria," 555. "Amantium iræ amoris

    [125] Euripides, "Hippolytus," 194-196.

    [126] The lines are from Alcæus. Thus Love was the child
    of the Rainbow and the West Wind. A pretty conceit.

    [127] Greek _iris_.

    [128] The mirrors of the ancients were of course not
    like our mirrors. They were only burnished bronze. Hence
    the view in them would be at best somewhat obscure. This
    explains 1 Cor. xiii. 12; 2 Cor. iii. 18; James i. 23.

    [129] See Euripides, "Hippolytus," 7, 8.

    [130] Here the story unfortunately ends, and for all
    time we shall know no more of it. Reiske somewhat
    forcibly says, "Vel lippus videat Gorgus historiam non
    esse finitam, et multa, ut et alias, periisse."

    [131] Like Reiske we condense here a little.

    [132] Reading with Reiske [Greek: orthês kai

    [133] I read [Greek: ei gar].

    [134] See "Iliad," xxiii. 295. Podargus was an entire

    [135] See Ovid, "Metamorph." iii. 206-208.

    [136] Æschylus, "Toxotides," Fragm. 224.

    [137] A very favourite proverb among the ancients. See
    Plat. "Phaedr." fin. Martial, ii. 43.

    [138] Soph. Fragm. 712.

    [139] On Lais, see Pausanias, ii. 2. Her Thessalian
    lover is there called Hippostratus. Her favours were so
    costly that the famous proverb is said to owe its origin
    to her, "Non cuivis homini contingit adire Corinthum."

    [140] The Ægean and Ionian. Cf. Horace, "Odes," i. 7, 2.

    [141] On Acro-Corinthus, see Pausanias, ii. 4. The words
    in inverted commas are from Euripides, Fragm. 921.

    [142] On Lais generally, and her end, see Athenæus,
    xiii. 54, 55.

    [143] See § I. The Festival of Love was being kept at
    this very time.

    [144] This story is also told by Plutarch, "De Mulierum
    Virtutibus," § xx.

    [145] Sophocles, Fragm. 741. Quoted again in "On
    Abundance of Friends," § iii.

    [146] A Delphic word for love. Can it be connected with
    [Greek: arma]?

    [147] Very frequent in Homer, _e.g._, "Iliad," ii. 232;
    vi, 165; xiii. 636: xiv. 353, etc.

    [148] See Lucretius, iv. 1105-1114. I tone down the
    original here a little.

    [149] Homer, "Odyssey," vi. 183, 184. Cf. Eurip.
    "Medea," 14, 15.

    [150] This means when the moustache and beard and
    whiskers begin to grow.

    [151] The whole story about Harmodius and Aristogiton
    and how they killed Hipparchus is told by Thucydides,
    vi. 54-59. Bion therefore practically called these
    sprouting beards _tyrant-killers_, _tyrannicides_.

    [152] "Scriptus igitur hic libellus est post caedem

    [153] Vespasian certainly was not cruel generally. "Non
    temere quis punitus insons reperietur, nisi absente eo
    et ignaro aut certe invito atque decepto..... Sola est,
    in qua merito culpetur, pecuniæ cupiditas."--Suetonius,
    "Divus Vespasianus," 15, 16.



After the customary marriage rites, by which, the Priestess of Demeter
has united you together, I think that to make an appropriate discourse,
and one that will chime in with the occasion, will be useful to you and
agreeable to the law. For in music one of the tunes played on the flute
is called Hippothorus,[154] which is a tune that excites fierce desire
in stallions to cover mares; and though in philosophy there are many
goodly subjects, yet is there none more worthy of attention than that of
marriage, on which subject philosophy spreads a charm over those who are
to pass life together, and makes them gentle and mild to one another. I
send therefore as a gift to both of you a summary of what you have often
heard, as you are both well versed in philosophy, arranging my matter in
a series of short observations that it may be the more easily
remembered, and I pray that the Muses will assist and co-operate with
Aphrodite, so that no lyre or lute could be more harmonious or in tune
than your married life, as the result of philosophy and concord. And
thus the ancients set up near Aphrodite statues of Hermes, to show that
conversation was one of the great charms of marriage, and also statues
of Peitho[155] and the Graces, to teach married people to gain their way
with one another by persuasion, and not by wrangling or contention.

§ I. Solon bade the bride eat a quince the first night of marriage,
intimating thereby, it seems, that the bridegroom, was to expect his
first pleasure from the bride's mouth and conversation.

§ II. In Boeotia they dress up the bride with a chaplet of asparagus,
for as the asparagus gives most excellent fruit from a thorny stalk, so
the bride, by not being too reluctant and coy in the first approaches,
will make the married state more agreeable and pleasant. But those
husbands who cannot put up with the early peevishness of their brides,
are not a whit wiser than those persons who pluck unripe grapes and
leave the ripe grapes for others.[156] On the other hand, many brides,
being at first disgusted with their husbands, are like those that stand
the bee's sting but neglect the honey.

§ III. Married people should especially at the outset beware of the
first quarrel and collision, observing that vessels when first
fabricated are easily broken up into their component parts, but in
process of time, getting compact and firmly welded together, are proof
against either fire or steel.

§ IV. As fire gets kindled easily in chaff or in a wick or in the fur of
hares, but is easily extinguished again, if it find no material to keep
it in and feed it, so we must not consider that the love of
newly-married people, that blazes out so fiercely in consequence of the
attractions of youth and beauty, will be durable and lasting, unless it
be fixed in the character, and occupy the mind, and make a living

§ V. As catching fish by drugged bait is easy, but makes the fish poor
to eat and insipid, so those wives that lay traps for their husbands by
philtres and charms, and become their masters by pleasure, have stupid
senseless and spoiled husbands to live with. For those that were
bewitched by Circe did her no good, nor could she make any use of them
when they were turned into swine and asses, but she was greatly in love
with the prudent Odysseus who dwelt with her sensibly.

§ VI. Those women who would rather lord it over fools than obey sensible
men, resemble those people who would rather lead the blind on a road,
and not people who have eyesight and know how to follow.

§ VII. Women disbelieve that Pasiphäe, a king's wife, was enamoured of
a bull, although they see some of their sex despising grave and sober
men, and preferring to associate with men who are the slaves of
intemperance and pleasure, and like dogs and he-goats.

§ VIII. Men who through weakness or effeminacy cannot vault upon their
horses' backs, teach them to kneel and so receive their riders.
Similarly, some men that marry noble or rich wives, instead of making
themselves better humble their wives, thinking to rule them easier by
lowering them. But one ought to govern with an eye to the merit of a
woman, as much as to the size of a horse.

§ IX. We see that the moon when it is far from the sun is bright and
glorious, but pales and hides its light when it is near. A modest wife
on the contrary ought to be seen chiefly with her husband, and to stay
at home and in retirement in his absence.

§ X. It is not a true observation of Herodotus, that a woman puts off
her modesty with her shift.[158] On the contrary, the modest woman puts
on her modesty instead, and great modesty is a sign of great conjugal

§ XI. As where two voices are in unison the loudest prevails; so in a
well-managed household everything is done by mutual consent, but the
husband's supremacy is exhibited, and his wishes are consulted.

§ XII. The Sun beat the North Wind.[159] For when it blew a strong and
terrible blast, and tried to make the man remove his cloak, he only drew
it round him more closely, but when the Sun came out with its warm rays,
at first warmed and afterwards scorched, he stripped himself of coat as
well as cloak. Most woman act similarly: if their husbands try to
curtail by force their luxury and extravagance, they are vexed and fight
for their rights, but if they are convinced by reason, they quietly drop
their expensive habits, and keep within bounds.

§ XIII. Cato turned out of the Senate a man who kissed his own wife in
the presence of his daughter. This was perhaps too strong a step, but if
it is unseemly, as indeed it is, for husband and wife in the presence of
others to fondle and kiss and embrace one another, is it not far more
unseemly in the presence of others to quarrel and jangle? Just as
conjugal caresses and endearments ought to be private, so ought
admonition and scolding and plain speaking.

§ XIV. Just as there is little use in a mirror adorned with gold or
precious stones, unless it conveys a true likeness, so there is no
advantage in a rich wife, unless she conforms her life and habits to her
husband's position. For if when a man is joyful the mirror makes him
look sad, and when he is put out and sad it makes him look gay and
smiling from ear to ear, the mirror is plainly faulty. So the wife is
faulty and devoid of tact, who frowns when her husband is in the vein
for mirth and jollity, and who jokes and laughs when he is serious: the
former conduct is disagreeable, the latter contemptuous.[160] And, just
as geometricians say lines and surfaces do not move of themselves, but
only in connection with bodies, so the wife ought to have no private
emotions of her own, but share in her husband's gravity or mirth,
anxiety or gaiety.

§ XV. As those husbands who do not like to see their wives eating and
drinking in their company only teach them to take their food on the sly,
so those husbands who are not gay and jolly with their wives, and never
joke or smile with them, only teach them to seek their pleasures out of
their company.

§ XVI. The kings of Persia have their wedded wives at their side at
banquets and entertainments; but when they have a mind for a drunken
debauch they send them away,[161] and call for singing-girls and
concubines, rightly so doing, for so they do not mix up their wives with
licentiousness and drunkenness. Similarly, if a private individual,
lustful and dissolute, goes astray with a courtesan or maid-servant, the
wife should not be vexed or impatient, but consider that it is out of
respect to her that he bestows upon another all his wanton depravity.

§ XVII. As kings make[162] if fond of music many musicians, if lovers of
learning many men of letters, and many athletes if fond of gymnastics,
so the man who has an eye for female charms teaches his wife to dress
well, the man of pleasure teaches his meretricious tricks and
wantonness, while the true gentleman makes his virtuous and decorous.

§ XVIII. A Lacedæmonian maiden, when someone asked her if she had yet
had dealings with a man, replied, "No, but he has with me." This
methinks is the line of conduct a matron should pursue, neither to
decline the embraces of a husband when he takes the initiative, nor to
provoke them herself, for the one is forward and savours of the
courtesan, the other is haughty and unnatural.

§ XIX. The wife ought not to have her own private friends, but cultivate
only those of the husband. Now the gods are our first and greatest
friends, so the wife ought only to worship and recognize her husband's
gods, and the door ought to be shut on all superfluous worship and
strange superstitions, for none of the gods are pleased with stealthy
and secret sacrifices on the part of a wife.

§ XX. Plato says that is a happy and fortunate state, where the words
_Meum_ and _Tuum_ are least heard,[163] because the citizens regard the
common interest in all matters of importance. Far more essential is it
in marriage that the words should have no place. For, as the doctors
say, that blows on the left shoulders are also felt on the right,[164]
so is it good[165] for husband and wife to mutually sympathize with one
another, that, just as the strength of ropes comes from the twining and
interlacing of fibres together, so the marriage knot may be confirmed
and strengthened by the interchange of mutual affection and kindness.
Nature itself teaches this by the birth of children, which are so much a
joint result, that neither husband nor wife can discriminate or discern
which part of the child is theirs. So, too, it is well for married
persons to have one purse, and to throw all their property into one
common stock, that here also there may be no _Meum_ and _Tuum_. And just
as we call the mixture of water and wine by the name of wine, even
though the water should preponderate,[166] so we say that the house and
property belongs to the man, even though the wife contribute most of the

§ XXI. Helen was fond of wealth, Paris of pleasure, whereas Odysseus was
prudent, Penelope chaste. So the marriage of the last two was happy and
enviable, while that of the former two brought an Iliad of woe on Greeks
and barbarians alike.

§ XXII. The Roman who was taken to task by his friends for repudiating a
chaste wealthy and handsome wife, showed them his shoe and said,
"Although this is new and handsome, none of you know where it pinches
me."[167] A wife ought not therefore to put her trust in her dowry, or
family, or beauty, but in matters that more vitally concern her husband,
namely, in her disposition and companionableness and complaisance with
him, not to make every-day life vexatious or annoying, but harmonious and
cheerful and agreeable. For as doctors are more afraid of fevers that
are generated from uncertain causes, and from a complication of
ailments, than of those that have a clear and adequate cause, so the
small and continual and daily matters of offence between husband and
wife, that the world knows nothing about, set the household most at
variance, and do it the greatest injury.

§ XXIII. King Philip was desperately enamoured of a Thessalian
woman,[168] who was accused of bewitching him; his wife Olympias
therefore wished to get this woman into her power. But when she came
before her, and was evidently very handsome, and talked to her in a
noble and sensible manner, Olympias said, "Farewell to calumny! Your
charms lie in yourself."[169] So invincible are the charms of a lawful
wife to win her husband's affection by her virtuous character, bringing
to him in herself dowry, and family, and philtres, and even Aphrodite's

§ XXIV. Olympias, on another occasion, when a young courtier had married
a wife who was very handsome, but whose reputation was not very good,
remarked, "This fellow has no sense, or he would not have married with
his eyes." We ought neither to marry with our eyes, nor with our
fingers, as some do, who reckon up on their fingers what dowry the wife
will bring, not what sort of partner she will make.

§ XXV. It was advice of Socrates, that when young men looked at
themselves in the mirror, those who were not handsome should become so
through virtue, and those who were so should not by vice deform their
beauty. Good also is it for the matron, when she has the mirror in her
hands, if not handsome to say to herself, "What should I be, if I were
not virtuous?" and if handsome to say to herself, "How good it were to
add virtue to beauty!" for it is a feather in the cap of a woman not
handsome to be loved for herself and not for good looks.

§ XXVI. Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily, sent some costly dresses and
necklaces to the daughters of Lysander, but he would not receive them,
and said, "These presents will bring my daughters more shame than
adornment." And Sophocles said still earlier than Lysander, "Your
madness of mind will not appear handsome, wretch, but most unhandsome."
For, as Crates says, "that is adornment which adorns," and that adorns a
woman that makes her more comely; and it is not gold or diamonds or
scarlet robes that make her so, but her dignity, her correct conduct,
and her modesty.

§ XXVII. Those who sacrifice to Hera as goddess of marriage,[171] do
not burn the gall with the other parts of the victim, but when they have
drawn it throw it away beside the altar: the lawgiver thus hinting that
gall and rage have no place in marriage. For the austerity of a matron
should be, like that of wine, wholesome and pleasant, not bitter as
aloes, or like a drug.

§ XXVIII. Plato advised Xenocrates, a man rather austere but in all
other respects a fine fellow, to sacrifice to the Graces. I think also
that a chaste wife needs the graces with her husband that, as Metrodorus
said, "she may live agreeably with him, and not be bad-tempered because
she is chaste." For neither should the frugal wife neglect neatness, nor
the virtuous one neglect to make herself attractive, for peevishness
makes a wife's good conduct disagreeable, as untidiness makes one
disgusted with simplicity.

§ XXIX. The wife who is afraid to laugh and jest with her husband, lest
she should appear bold and wanton, resembles one that will not anoint
herself with oil lest she should be thought to use cosmetics, and will
not wash her face lest she should be thought to paint. We see also in
the case of those poets and orators, that avoid a popular illiberal and
affected style, that they artificially endeavour to move and sway their
audience by the facts, and by a skilful arrangement of them, and by
their gestures. Consequently a matron will do well to avoid and
repudiate over-preciseness meretriciousness and pomposity, and to use
tact in her dealings with her husband in every-day life, accustoming him
to a combination of pleasure and decorum. But if a wife be by nature
austere and apathetic, and no lover of pleasure, the husband must make
the best of it, for, as Phocion said, when Antipater enjoined on him an
action neither honourable nor becoming, "You cannot have me as a friend
and flatterer both," so he must say to himself about his strict and
austere wife, "I cannot have in the same woman wife and mistress."

§ XXX. It was a custom among the Egyptian ladies not to wear shoes, that
they might stay at home all day and not go abroad. But most of our women
will only stay at home if you strip them of their golden shoes, and
bracelets, and shoe-buckles, and purple robes, and pearls.

§ XXXI. Theano, as she was putting on her shawl, displayed her arm, and
somebody observing, "What a handsome arm!" she replied, "But not
common." So ought not even the speech, any more than the arm, of a
chaste woman, to be common, for speech must be considered as it were the
exposing of the mind, especially in the presence of strangers. For in
words are seen the state of mind and character and disposition of the

§ XXXII. Phidias made a statue of Aphrodite at Elis, with one foot on a
tortoise,[172] as a symbol that women should stay at home and be silent.
For the wife ought only to speak either to her husband, or by her
husband, not being vexed if, like a flute-player, she speaks more
decorously by another mouth-piece.

§ XXXIII. When rich men and kings honour philosophers, they really pay
homage to themselves as well; but when philosophers pay court to the
rich, they lower themselves without advancing their patrons. The same is
the case with women. If they submit themselves to their husbands they
receive praise, but if they desire to rule, they get less credit even
than the husbands who submit to their rule. But the husband ought to
rule his wife, not as a master does a chattel, but as the soul governs
the body, by sympathy and goodwill. As he ought to govern the body by
not being a slave to its pleasures and desires, so he ought to rule his
wife by cheerfulness and complaisance.

§ XXXIV. The philosophers tell us that some bodies are composed of
distinct parts, as a fleet or army; others of connected parts, as a
house or ship; others united and growing together, as every animal is.
The marriage of lovers is like this last class, that of those who marry
for dowry or children is like the second class, and that of those who
only sleep together is like the first class, who may be said to live in
the same house, but in no other sense to live together. But, just as
doctors tell us that liquids are the only things that thoroughly mix, so
in married people there must be a complete union of bodies, wealth,
friends, and relations. And thus the Roman legislator forbade married
people to exchange presents with one another, not that they should not
go shares with one another, but that they should consider everything as
common property.

§ XXXV. At Leptis, a town in Libya, it is the custom for the bride the
day after marriage to send to her mother-in-law's house for a pipkin,
who does not lend her one, but says she has not got one, that from the
first the daughter-in-law may know her mother-in-law's stepmotherly
mind,[173] that if afterwards she should be harsher still, she should be
prepared for it and not take it ill. Knowing this the wife ought to
guard against any cause of offence, for the bridegroom's mother is
jealous of his affection to his wife. But there is one cure for this
condition of mind, to conciliate privately the husband's affection, and
not to divert or diminish his love for his mother.

§ XXXVI. Mothers seem to love their sons best as able to help them, and
fathers their daughters as needing their help; perhaps also it is in
compliment to one another, that each prefers the other sex in their
children, and openly favours it. This, however, is a matter perhaps of
little importance. But it looks very nice in the wife to show greater
respect to her husband's parents than to her own, and if anything
unpleasant has happened to confide it to them rather than to her own
people. For trust begets trust,[174] and love love.

§ XXXVII. The generals of the Greeks in Cyrus's army ordered their men
to receive the enemy silently if they came up shouting, but if they came
up silently to rush out to meet them with a shout. So sensible wives, in
their husband's tantrums, are quiet when they storm, but if they are
silent and sullen talk them round and appease them.

§ XXXVIII. Rightly does Euripides[175] censure those who introduce the
lyre at wine-parties, for music ought to be called in to assuage anger
and grief, rather than to enervate the voluptuous still more than
before. Think, therefore, those in error who sleep together for
pleasure, but when they have any little difference with one another
sleep apart, and do not then more than at any other time invoke
Aphrodite, who is the best physician in such cases, as the poet, I ween,
teaches us, where he introduces Hera, saying:

  "Their long-continued strife I now will end,
   For to the bed of love I will them send."[176]

§ XXXIX. Everywhere and at all times should husband and wife avoid
giving one another cause of offence, but most especially when they are
in bed together. The woman who was in labour and had a bad time said to
those that urged her to go to bed, "How shall the bed cure me, which was
the very cause of this trouble?"[177] And those differences and quarrels
which the bed generates will not easily be put an end to at any other
time or place.

§ XL. Hermione seems to speak the truth where she says:

  "The visits of bad women ruined me."[178]

But this case does not happen naturally, but only when dissension and
jealousy has made wives open not only their doors but their ears to such
women. But that is the very time when a sensible wife will shut her ears
more than at any other time, and be especially on her guard against
whisperers, that fire may not be added to fire,[179] and remember the
remark of Philip, who, when his friends tried to excite him against the
Greeks, on the ground that they were treated well and yet reviled him,
answered, "What will they do then, if I treat them ill?" Whenever, then,
calumniating women come and say to a wife, "How badly your husband
treats you, though a chaste and loving wife!" let her answer, "How would
he act then, if I were to begin to hate him and injure him?"

§ XLI. The master who saw his runaway slave a long time after he had
run away, and chased him, and came up with him just as he had got to the
mill, said to him, "In what more appropriate place could I have wished
to find you?"[180] So let the wife, who is jealous of her husband, and
on the point of writing a bill of divorce in her anger, say to herself,
"In what state would my rival be better pleased to see me in than this,
vexed and at variance with my husband, and on the point of abandoning
his house and bed?"

§ XLII. The Athenians have three sacred seedtimes: the first at Scirus,
as a remembrance of the original sowing of corn, the second at Rharia,
the third under Pelis, which is called Buzygium.[181] But a more sacred
seedtime than all these is the procreation of children, and therefore
Sophocles did well to call Aphrodite "fruitful Cytherea." Wherefore it
behoves both husband and wife to be most careful over this business, and
to abstain from lawless and unholy breaches of the marriage vow, and
from sowing in quarters where they desire no produce, or where, if any
produce should come, they would be ashamed of it and desire to conceal

§ XLIII. When Gorgias the Rhetorician recited his speech at Olympia
recommending harmony to the Greeks, Melanthius cried out, "He recommend
harmony to us! Why, he can't persuade his wife and maid to live in
harmony, though there are only three of them in the house!" Gorgias
belike had an intrigue with the maid, and his wife was jealous. He then
must have his own house in good order who undertakes to order the
affairs of his friends and the public, for any ill-doings on the part of
husbands to their wives is far more likely to come out and be known to
the public than the ill-doings of wives to their husbands.

§ XLIV. They say the cat is driven mad by the smell of perfumes. If it
happens that wives are equally affected by perfumes, it is monstrous
that their husbands should not abstain from using perfumes, rather than
for so small a pleasure to incommode so grievously their wives. And
since they suffer quite as much when their husbands go with other women,
it is unjust for a small pleasure to pain and grieve wives, and not to
abstain from connection with other women, when even bee-keepers will do
as much, because bees are supposed to dislike and sting those that have
had dealings with women.

§ XLV. Those that approach elephants do not dress in white, nor those
that approach bulls in red, for these colours render those animals
savage; and tigers they say at the beating of drums go quite wild, and
tear themselves in their rage. Similarly, as some men cannot bear to see
scarlet and purple dresses, and others are put out by cymbals and
drums,[183] what harm would it do wives to abstain from these things,
and not to vex or provoke husbands, but to live with them quietly and

§ XLVI. A woman said to Philip, who against her will was pulling her
about, "Let me go, all women are alike when the lamp is put out."[184] A
good remark to adulterers and debauchees. But the married woman ought to
show when the light is put out that she is not like all other women, for
then, when her body is not visible, she ought to exhibit her chastity
and modesty as well as her personal affection to her husband.

§ XLVII. Plato[185] recommended old men to act with decorum especially
before young men, that they too might show respect to them; for where
the old behave shamelessly, no modesty or reverence will be exhibited by
the young. The husband ought to remember this, and show no one more
respect than his wife, knowing that the bridal chamber will be to her
either a school of virtue or of vice. And he who enjoys pleasures that
he forbids his wife, is like a man that orders his wife to go on
fighting against an enemy to whom he has himself surrendered.

§ XLVIII. As to love of show, Eurydice, read and try to remember what
was written by Timoxena to Aristylla: and do you, Pollianus, not suppose
that your wife will abstain from extravagance and expense, if she sees
that you do not despise such vanities in others, but delight in gilt
cups, and pictures in houses, and trappings for mules, and ornaments for
horses. For it is not possible to banish extravagance from the women's
side of the house if it is always to be seen in the men's apartments.
Moreover, Pollianus, as you are already old enough for the study of
philosophy, adorn your character by its teaching, whether it consists of
demonstration or constructive reasoning, by associating and conversing
with those that can profit you. And for your wife gather honey from
every quarter, as the bees do, and whatever knowledge you have yourself
acquired impart to her, and converse with her, making the best arguments
well known and familiar to her. For now

  "Father thou art to her, and mother dear,
   And brother too."[186]

And no less decorous is it to hear the wife say, "Husband, you are my
teacher and philosopher and guide in the most beautiful and divine
subjects." For such teaching in the first place detaches women from
absurdities: for the woman who has learnt geometry will be ashamed to
dance, nor will she believe in incantations and spells, if she has been
charmed by the discourses of Plato and Xenophon; and if anyone should
undertake to draw the moon down from the sky, she will laugh at the
ignorance and stupidity of women that credit such nonsense, well
understanding geometry, and having heard how Aglaonice, the daughter of
the Thessalian Hegetor, having a thorough knowledge of the eclipses of
the moon, and being aware beforehand of the exact time when the moon
would be in eclipse, cheated the women, and persuaded them that she
herself had drawn it down from the sky. For no woman was ever yet
credited with having had a child without intercourse with a man, for
those shapeless embryos and gobbets of flesh that take form from
corruption are called moles. We must guard against such false
conceptions as these arising in the minds of women, for if they are not
well informed by good precepts, and share in the teaching that men get,
they generate among themselves many foolish and absurd ideas and states
of mind. But do you, Eurydice, study to make yourself acquainted with
the sayings of wise and good women, and ever have on your tongue those
sentiments which as a girl you learnt with us, that so you may make your
husband's heart glad, and be admired by all other women, being in
yourself so wonderfully and splendidly adorned. For one cannot take or
put on, except at great expense, the jewels of this or that rich woman,
or the silk dresses of this or that foreign woman, but the virtues that
adorned Theano,[187] and Cleobuline, and Gorgo the wife of Leonidas, and
Timoclea the sister of Theagenes, and the ancient Claudia,[188] and
Cornelia the sister of Scipio,[189] and all other such noble and famous
women, these one may array oneself in without money and without price,
and so adorned lead a happy and famous life. For if Sappho plumed
herself so much on the beauty of her lyrical poetry as to write to a
certain rich woman, "You shall lie down in your tomb, nor shall there be
any remembrance of you, for you have no part in the roses of Pieria,"
how shall you not have a greater right to plume yourself on having a
part not in the roses but in the fruits which the Muses bring, and which
they freely bestow on those that admire learning and philosophy?[190]

    [154] This tune is again alluded to by Plutarch in
    "Quæstion. Convival.", p. 704, F. See also Clemens
    Alexandrinus, "Pædagog." ii. p. 164, [Greek: A tais de
    hippois mignumenais oion hymenaios epauleitai nomos
    aulôdias hippothoron touton keklêkasin oi Mousikoi.]

    [155] Peitho means Persuasion, and is represented as one
    of the Graces by Hermes anax. See Pausanias, ix. 35.

    [156] Compare the Proverb [Greek: Eikelos omphakizetai],
    and Tibullus, iii. 5, 19: "Quid fraudare juvat vitem
    crescentibus uvis?"

    [157] Cf. Shakspere, "Romeo and Juliet," A. ii. Sc. vi.

    [158] Herodotus, i. 8.

    [159] An allusion to the well-known Fable of Æsop, No.
    82 in Halm's edition.

    [160] This comparison of the mirror is beautifully used
    by Keble in his "Christian Year:"

      "Without a hope on earth to find
       A mirror in an answering mind."
                          _Wednesday before Easter._

    [161] Does this throw light on Esther, i. 10-12?

    [162] By their patronage.

    [163] "Republic," v. p. 462, C.

    [164] By the power of sympathy. This is especially true
    of eyes. Wyttenbach compares the Epigram in the
    Anthology, i. 46. 9. [Greek: Kai gar dexion omma
    kakoumenon ommati laiô Pollaki tous idious antididôsi

    [165] Reading [Greek: kalon] with Hercher.

    [166] The ancients hardly ever drank wine neat. Hence
    the allusion. The symposiarch, or arbiter bibendi,
    settled the proportions to be used.

    [167] Compare the French proverb, "Le beau soulier
    blesse souvent le pied."

    [168] Thessaly was considered by the ancients famous for
    enchantments and spells. So Juvenal, vi. 610, speaks of
    "Thessala philtia," and see Horace, "Odes," i. 27. 21,
    22; "Epodes," v. 45.

    [169] Wyttenbach well compares the lines of Menander:--

    [Greek: enest alêthes philtron eugnômôn tropos, toutô
    katakratein andros eiôthen gunê.]

    [170] An allusion to Homer, "Iliad," xiv. 214-217.

    [171] Called by the Romans "pronuba Juno." See Verg.
    "Æneid," iv. 166; Ovid, "Heroides," vi. 43.

    [172] See Pausanias, vi. 25. The statue was made of
    ivory and gold.

    [173] Compare Terence, "Hecyra," 201. "Uno animo omnes
    socrus oderunt nurus." As to stepmotherly feelings, the
    "injusta noverca" has passed into a proverb with all
    nations. See for example Hesiod, "Works and Days," 823,
    [Greek: allote mêtruiê pelei hêmerê, allote mêtêr].

    [174] Wyttenbach compares Seneca's "Fidelem si putaveris
    facies." "Ep." iii. p. 6.

    [175] Euripides, "Medea," 190-198.

    [176] Homer, "Iliad," xiv. 205, 209.

    [177] See Mulier Parturiens, Phaedrus' "Fables," i. 18.

    [178] Euripides, "Andromache," 930.

    [179] Proverb. Cf. Horace, "Oleum adde camino," ii.
    "Sat." iii. 321.

    [180] See Æsop's Fables, No. 121. Halme. [Greek:
    Drapetês] is the title. All readers of Plautus and
    Terence know what a bugbear to slaves the threat of
    being sent to the mill was. They would have to turn it
    instead of horses, or other cattle.

    [181] That is, _Yoking oxen for the plough_.

    [182] Procreation of children was among the ancients
    frequently called _Ploughing_ and _Sowing_. Hence the
    allusions in this paragraph. So, too, Shakspere,
    "Measure for Measure," Act i. Sc. iv. 41-44.

    [183] The reference is to the rites of Cybele. See
    Lucretius, ii. 618.

    [184] See Erasmus, "Adagia." The French proverb is "La
    nuit tous les chats sont gris."

    [185] "Laws," p. 729, C.

    [186] From the words of Andromache to Hector, "Iliad,"
    vi. 429, 430.

    [187] Theano was the wife of Pythagoras.

    [188] See Livy, xxix. 14. Propertius, v. 11. 51, 52.
    Ovid, "Fasti," iv. 305 sq.

    [189] And mother of the Gracchi.

    [190] Jeremy Taylor, in his beautiful sermon on "The
    Marriage Ring," has borrowed not a few hints from this
    treatise of Plutarch, as usual investing with a new
    beauty whatever he borrows, from whatever source. He had
    the classics at his fingers' end, and much of his unique
    charm he owes to them. But he read them as a
    philosopher, and not as a grammarian.


§ I. Plutarch to his wife sends greeting. The messenger that you sent to
me to announce the death of our little girl seems to have missed his way
_en route_ for Athens; but when I got to Tanagra I heard the news from
my niece. I suppose the funeral has already taken place, and I hope
everything went off so as to give you least sorrow both now and
hereafter. But if you left undone anything you wished to do, waiting for
my opinion, and thinking your grief would then be lighter, be it without
ceremoniousness or superstition, both which things are indeed foreign to
your character.

§ II. Only, my dear wife, let us both be patient at this calamity. I
know and can see very clearly how great it is, but should I find your
grief too excessive, it would trouble me even more than the event
itself. And yet I have not a heart hard as heart of oak or flintstone,
as you yourself know very well, who have shared with me in the bringing
up of so many children, as they have all been educated at home by
ourselves. And this one I know was more especially beloved by you, as
she was the first daughter after four sons, when you longed for a
daughter, and so I gave her your name.[191] And as you are very fond of
children your grief must have a peculiar bitterness when you call to
mind her pure and simple gaiety, which was without a tincture of passion
or querulousness. For she had from nature a wonderful contentedness of
mind and meekness, and her affectionateness and winning ways not only
pleased one but also afforded a means of observing her kindliness of
heart, for she used to bid her nurse[192] give the teat not only to
other children but even to her favourite playthings, and so invited them
as it were to her table in kindliness of heart, and gave them a share of
her good things, and provided the best entertainment for those that
pleased her.

§ III. But I see no reason, my dear wife, why these and similar traits
in her character, that gave us delight in her lifetime, should now,
when recalled to the memory, grieve and trouble us. Though, on the other
hand, I fear that if we cease to grieve we may also cease to remember
her, like Clymene, who says in the Play[193]--

  "I hate the supple bow of cornel-wood,
   And would put down athletics,"

because she ever avoided and trembled at anything that reminded her of
her son, for it brought grief with it, and it is natural to avoid
everything that gives us pain. But as she gave us the greatest pleasure
in embracing her and even in seeing and hearing her, so ought her memory
living and dwelling with us to give us more, aye, many times more, joy
than grief, since those arguments that we have often used to others
ought to be profitable to us in the present conjuncture, nor should we
sit down and rail against fortune, opposing to those joys many more

§ IV. Those who were present at the funeral tell me with evident
surprise that you put on no mourning, and that you bedizened up neither
yourself nor your maids with the trappings of woe, and that there was no
ostentatious expenditure of money at the funeral, but that everything
was done orderly and silently in the presence of our relations. I am not
myself surprised that you, who never made a display either at the
theatre or on any other public occasion, and thought extravagance
useless even in the case of pleasure, should have been frugal in your
grief. For not only ought the chaste woman to remain uncorrupt in
Bacchanalian revels,[194] but she ought to consider her self-control not
a whit less necessary in the surges of sorrow and emotion of grief,
contending not (as most people think) against natural affection, but
against the extravagant wishes of the soul. For we are indulgent to
natural affection in the regret, and honour, and memory that it pays to
the dead: but the insatiable desire for a passionate display of
funeral grief, coming to the climax in coronachs and beatings of the
breast, is not less unseemly than intemperance in pleasure and is
unreasonably[195] forgiven only because pain and grief instead of
delight are elements in the unseemly exhibition. For what is more
unreasonable than to curtail excessive laughter or any other
demonstration of joy, and to allow a free vent to copious lamentation
and wailing that come from the same source? And how unreasonable is it,
as some husbands do, to quarrel with their wives about perfume and
purple robes, while they allow them to shear their heads in mourning,
and to dress in black, and to sit in idle grief, and to lie down in
weariness! And what is worst of all, how unreasonable is it for husbands
to interfere if their wives chastise the domestics and maids
immoderately or without sufficient cause, yet allow them to ill-treat
themselves cruelly in cases and conjunctures that require repose and

§ V. But between us, my dear wife, there never was any occasion for such
a contest, nor do I think there ever will be. For as to your economy in
dress and simple way of living, there is no philosopher with whom you
are acquainted whom you did not amaze, nor is there any citizen who has
not observed[196] how plainly you dressed at sacred rites, and
sacrifices, and theatres. You have also already on similar painful
occasions exhibited great fortitude, as when you lost your eldest son,
and again when our handsome Chæron died. For when I was informed of his
death, I well remember some guests from the sea were coming home with me
to my house as well as some others, but when they saw the great quiet
and tranquillity of the household, they thought, as they afterwards told
some other people, that no such disaster had really happened, but that
the news was untrue. So well had you ordered everything in the house, at
a time when there would have been great excuse for disorder. And yet you
had suckled that son, though your breast had had to be lanced owing to a
contusion. This was noble conduct and showed your great natural

§ VI. But most mothers we see, when their children are brought to them
clean and tidy, take them into their hands as playthings, and when they
die burst out into idle and unthankful grief, not so much out of
affection--for affection is thoughtful and noble--but a great yearning
for vain glory[197] mixed with a little natural affection makes their
grief fierce and vehement and hard to appease. And this does not seem to
have escaped Æsop's notice, for he says that when Zeus assigned their
honours to various gods, Grief also claimed his. And Zeus granted his
wish, with this limitation that only those who chose and wished need pay
him honour.[198] It is thus with grief at the outset, everyone welcomes
it at first, but after it has got by process of time settled, and become
an inmate of the house, it is with difficulty dislodged again, however
much people may wish to dislodge it. Wherefore we ought to keep it out
of doors, and not let it approach the garrison by wearing mourning or
shearing the hair, or by any similar outward sign of sorrow. For these
things occurring daily and being importunate make the mind little, and
narrow, and unsocial, and harsh, and timid, so that, being besieged and
taken in hand by grief, it can no longer laugh, and shuns daylight, and
avoids society. This evil will be followed by neglect of the body, and
dislike to anointing and the bath and the other usual modes of life:
whereas the very opposite ought to be the case, for the mind ill at ease
especially requires that the body should be in a sound and healthy
condition. For much of grief is blunted and relaxed when the body is
permeated by calm, like the sea in fine weather. But if the body get
into a dry and parched condition from a low diet, and gives no proper
nutriment to the soul, but only feeds it with sorrow and grief, as it
were with bitter and injurious exhalations, it cannot easily recover its
tone however people may wish it should. Such is the state of the soul
that has been so ill-treated.

§ VII. Moreover, I should not hesitate to assert[199] that the most
formidable peril in connection with this is "the visits of bad
women,"[200] and their chatter, and joint lamentation, all which things
fan the fire of sorrow and aggravate it, and suffer it not to be
extinguished either by others or by itself. I am not ignorant what a
time of it you had lately, when you went to the aid of Theon's sister,
and fought against the women who came on a visit of condolence and
rushed up with lamentation and wailing, adding fuel as it were to her
fire of grief in their simplicity. For when people see their friends'
houses on fire they put it out as quickly and energetically as they can,
but when their souls are on fire they themselves bring fuel. And if
anybody has anything the matter with his eyes they will not let him put
his hands to them, however much he wish, nor do they themselves touch
the inflamed part; but a person in grief sits down and gives himself up
to every chance comer, like a river [that all make use of], to stir up
and aggravate the sore, so that from a little tickling and discomfort it
grows into a great and terrible disease. However, as to all this I know
you will be on your guard.

§ VIII. Try also often to carry yourself back in memory to that time
when, this little girl not having been then born, we had nothing to
charge Fortune with, and to compare that time and this together, as if
our circumstances had gone back to what they were then. Otherwise, my
dear wife, we shall seem discontented at the birth of our little
daughter, if we consider our position before her birth as more perfect.
But we ought not to erase from our memory the two years of her life, but
to consider them as a time of pleasure giving us gratification and
enjoyment, and not to deem the shortness of the blessing as a great
evil, nor to be unthankful for what was given us, because Fortune did
not give us a longer tenure as we wished. For ever to be careful what we
say about the gods, and to be cheerful and not rail against Fortune,
brings a sweet and goodly profit; and he who in such conjunctures as
ours mostly tries to remember his blessings, and turns and diverts his
mind from the dark and disturbing things in life to the bright and
radiant, either altogether extinguishes his grief or makes it small and
dim from a comparison with his comforts. For as perfume gives pleasure
to the nose, and is a remedy against disagreeable smells, so the
remembrance of past happiness in present trouble gives all the relief
they require to those who do not shut out of their memory the blessings
of the past, or always and everywhere rail against Fortune. And this
certainly ought not to be our case, that we should slander all our past
life because, like a book, it has one erasure in it, when all the other
pages have been bright and clean.

§ IX. You have often heard that happiness consists in right calculations
resulting in a healthy state of mind, and that the changes which Fortune
brings about need not upset it, and introduce confusion into our life.
But if we too must, like most people, be governed by external events,
and make an inventory of the dealings of Fortune, and constitute other
people the judges of our felicity, do not now regard the tears and
lamentations of those who visit you, which by a faulty custom are
lavished on everybody, but consider rather how happy you are still
esteemed by them for your family, your house, and life. For it would be
monstrous, if others would gladly prefer your destiny to theirs, even
taking into account our present sorrow, that you should rail against and
be impatient at our present lot, and in consequence of our bitter grief
not reflect how much comfort is still left to us. But like those who
quote imperfect verses of Homer[201] and neglect the finest passages of
his writings, to enumerate and complain of the trials of life, while you
pay no attention to its blessings, is to resemble those stingy misers,
who heap up riches and make no use of them when they have them, but
lament and are impatient if they are lost. And if you grieve over her
dying unmarried and childless, you can comfort yourself with the thought
that you have had both those advantages. For they should not be reckoned
as great blessings in the case of those who do not enjoy them, and small
blessings in the case of those who do. And that she has gone to a place
where she is out of pain ought not to pain us, for what evil can we
mourn for on her account if her pains are over? For even the loss of
important things does not grieve us when we have no need of them. But it
was only little things that your Timoxena was deprived of, little things
only she knew, and in little things only did she rejoice; and how can
one be said to be deprived of things of which one had no conception, nor
experience, nor even desire for?

§ X. As to what you hear from some people, who get many to credit their
notion, that the dead suffer no evil or pain, I know that you are
prevented from believing that by the tradition of our fathers and by the
mystic symbols of the mysteries of Dionysus, for we are both initiated.
Consider then that the soul, being incorruptible, is in the same
condition after death as birds that have been caught. For if it has been
a long time in the body, and during this mortal life has become tame by
many affairs and long habit, it swoops down again and a second time
enters the body, and does not cease to be involved in the changes and
chances of this life that result from birth. For do not suppose that old
age is abused and ill-spoken of only for its wrinkles and white hair and
weakness of body, but this is the worst feature about it, that it makes
the soul feeble in its remembrance of things in the other world, and
strong in its attachment to things in this world, and bends and presses
it, if it retain the form which it had in the body from its experience.
But that soul, which does indeed enter the body, but remains only a
short time in it, being liberated from it by the higher powers, rears as
it were at a damp and soft turning post in the race of life, and hastens
on to its destined goal. For just as if anyone put out a fire, and light
it again at once, it is soon rekindled, and burns up again quickly, but
if it has been out a long time, to light it again will be a far more
difficult and irksome task, so the soul that has sojourned only a short
time in this dark and mortal life, quickly recovers the light and blaze
of its former bright life, whereas for those who have not had the good
fortune very early, to use the language of the poet, "to pass the gates
of Hades,"[202] nothing remains but a great passion for the things of
this life, and a softening of the soul through contact with the body,
and a melting away of it as if by the agency of drugs.[203]

§ XI. And the truth of this is rendered more apparent in our hereditary
and time-honoured customs and laws. For when infants die no libations
are poured out for them, nor are any other rites performed for them,
such as are always performed for adults. For they have no share in the
earth or in things of the earth, nor do parents haunt their tombs or
monuments, or sit by their bodies when they are laid out. For the laws
do not allow us to mourn for such, seeing that it is an impious thing to
do so in the case of persons who have departed into a better and more
divine place and sphere. I know that doubts are entertained about this,
but since to doubt is harder for them than to believe, let us do
externally as the laws enjoin, and internally let us be more holy and
pure and chaste.[204]

    [191] Timoxena, as we see later on, § ix.

    [192] Adopting Reiske's reading, [Greek: maston
    keleuousa, proekaleito kathaper].

    [193] Euripides' "Phaethon," which exists only in
    fragments. Clymene was the daughter of Oceanus, and
    mother of Phaethon.

    [194] An allusion to Euripides, "Bacchæ," 317, 318.

    [195] Reading with Reiske [Greek: oudeni logô de], or
    [Greek: alogôs de]. Some such reading seems necessary to
    comport with the [Greek: ti gar alogôteron] two lines

    [196] Reading [Greek: pareiches] with Xylander.

    [197] A great craving for sympathy would be the modern
    way of putting it.

    [198] See the Fable of Æsop, entitled [Greek: Penthous
    geras], No. 355. Halme. See also Plutarch's "Consolation
    to Apollonius," § xix., where the Fable is told at some

    [199] Reading with Reiske [Greek: ouk an eipein

    [200] An allusion to Euripides, "Andromache," 930. See
    Plutarch's "Conjugal Precepts," § xl.

    [201] The whole subject is discussed in full by
    Athenæus, p. 632, F. F. A false quantity we see was a
    bugbear even before the days of Universities.

    [202] Homer, "Iliad," v. 646; xxiii. 71.

    [203] This section is dreadfully corrupt. I have
    adopted, it will be seen, the suggestions of Wyttenbach.

    [204] This Consolatory Letter ends rather abruptly. It
    is probable that there was more of it.


§ I. As to virtue we deliberate and dispute whether good sense, and
justice, and rectitude can be taught: and then we are not surprised
that, while the works of orators, and pilots, and musicians, and
house-builders, and farmers, are innumerable, good men are only a name
and expression, like Centaurs and Giants and Cyclopes, and that it is
impossible to find any virtuous action without alloy of base motives, or
any character free from vice: but if nature produces spontaneously
anything good, it is marred by much that is alien to it, as fruit choked
by weeds. Men learn to play on the harp, and to dance, and to read, and
to farm, and to ride on horseback: they learn how to put on their shoes
and clothes generally: people teach how to pour out wine, how to cook;
and all these things cannot be properly performed, without being
learned. The art of good living alone, though all those things I have
mentioned only exist on its account, is untaught, unmethodical,
inartistic, and supposed to come by the light of nature!

§ II. O sirs, by asserting that virtue is not a thing to be taught, why
are we making it unreal? For if teaching produces it, the deprivation of
teaching prevents it. And yet, as Plato says, a discord and false note
on the lyre makes not brother go to war with brother, nor sets friends
at variance, nor makes states hostile to one another, so as to do and
suffer at one another's hands the most dreadful things:[205] nor can
anyone say that there was ever a dissension in any city as to the
pronunciation of Telchines: nor in a private house any difference
between man and wife as to woof and warp. And yet no one without
learning would undertake to ply the loom, or write a book, or play on
the lyre, though he would thereby do no great harm, but he fears making
himself ridiculous, for as Heraclitus says, "It is better to hide one's
ignorance," yet everyone thinks himself competent to manage a house and
wife and the state and hold any magisterial office. On one occasion,
when a boy was eating rather greedily, Diogenes gave the lad's tutor a
blow with his fist, ascribing the fault not to the boy, who had not
learnt how to eat properly, but to the tutor who had not taught him. And
can one not properly handle a dish or a cup, unless one has learnt from
a boy, as Aristophanes bids us, "not to giggle, nor eat too fast, nor
cross our legs,"[206] and yet be perfectly fit to manage a family and
city, and wife, and live well, and hold office, when one has not learnt
how one should behave in the conduct of life? When Aristippus was asked
by someone, "Are you everywhere then?" he smiled and said, "If I am
everywhere, I lose my passage money."[207] Why should not you also say,
"If men are not better for learning, the money paid to tutors is also
lost?" For just as nurses mould with their hands the child's body, so
tutors, receiving it immediately it is weaned, mould its soul, teaching
it by habit the first vestiges of virtue. And the Lacedæmonian, who was
asked, what good he did as a tutor, replied, "I make what is good
pleasant to boys." Moreover tutors teach boys to walk in the streets
with their heads down,[208] to touch salt fish with one finger only,
other fish bread and meat with two, to scratch themselves in such a way,
and in such a way to put on their cloak.[209]

§ III. What then? He that says that the doctor's skill is wanted in the
case of a slight skin-eruption or whitlow, but is not needed in the case
of pleurisy, fever, or lunacy, in what respect does he differ from the
man that says that schools and teaching and precepts are only for small
and boyish duties, while great and important matters are to be left to
mere routine and accident? For, as the man is ridiculous who says we
ought to learn to row but not to steer, so he who allows all other arts
to be learnt, but not virtue, seems to act altogether contrary to the
Scythians. For they, as Herodotus tells us,[210] blind their slaves that
they may remain with them, but such an one puts the eye of reason into
slavish and servile arts, and takes it away from virtue. And the general
Iphicrates well answered Callias, the son of Chabrias, who asked him,
"What are you? an archer? a targeteer? cavalry, or infantry?" "None of
these," said he, "but the commander of them all." Ridiculous therefore
is he who says that the use of the bow and other arms and the sling and
riding are to be taught, but that strategy and how to command an army
comes by the light of nature. Still more ridiculous is he who asserts
that good sense alone need not be taught, without which all other arts
are useless and profitless, seeing that she is the mistress and orderer
and arranger of all of them, and puts each of them to their proper use.
For example, what grace would there be in a banquet, though the servants
had been well-trained, and had learnt how to dress and cook the meat
and pour out the wine,[211] unless there was good order and method
among the waiters?[212]

    [205] Plato, "Clitophon," p. 407, C.

    [206] Aristophanes, "Clouds," 983.

    [207] Does Juvenal allude to this, viii. 97?

    [208] So as to look modest and be "Ingenui vultus pueri,
    ingenuique pudoris."

    [209] Reading with Salmasius, [Greek: anabalein].

    [210] Herodotus, iv. 2. The historian, however, assigns
    other reasons for blinding them.

    [211] A line from "Odyssey," xv. 323.

    [212] "Malim [Greek: daitumonas]." Wyttenbach, who
    remarks generally on this short treatise, "Non integra
    videtur esse nec continua disputatio, sed disputationis,
    Plutarcheæ tamen, excerptum compendium."


§ I. Clothes seem to warm a man, not by throwing out heat themselves
(for in itself every garment is cold, whence in great heat or in fevers
people frequently change and shift them), but the heat which a man
throws out from his own body is retained and wrapped in by a dress
fitting close to the body, which does not admit of the heat being
dissipated when once it has got firm hold. A somewhat similar case is
the idea that deceives the mass of mankind, that if they could live in
big houses, and get together a quantity of slaves and money, they would
have a happy life. But a happy and cheerful life is not from without, on
the contrary, a man adds the pleasure and gratification to the things
that surround him, his temperament being as it were the source of his

  "But when the fire blazes the house is brighter to look at."[214]

So, too, wealth is pleasanter, and fame and power more splendid, when a
man has joy in his heart, seeing that men can bear easily and quietly
poverty and exile and old age if their character is a contented and mild

§ II. For as perfumes make threadbare coats and rags to smell sweet,
while the body of Anchises sent forth a fetid discharge, "distilling
from his back on to his linen robe," so every kind of life with virtue
is painless and pleasurable, whereas vice if infused into it makes
splendour and wealth and magnificence painful, and sickening, and
unwelcome to its possessors.

  "He is deemed happy in the market-place,
   But when he gets him home, thrice miserable,
   His wife rules all, quarrels, and domineers."[215]

And yet there would be no great difficulty in getting rid of a bad wife,
if one was a man and not a slave. But a man cannot by writing a bill of
divorce to his vice get rid of all trouble at once, and enjoy
tranquillity by living apart: for it is ever present in his vitals, and
sticks to him night and day, "and burns without a torch, and consigns
him to gloomy old age,"[216] being a disagreeable fellow-traveller owing
to its arrogance, and a costly companion at table owing to its
daintiness, and an unpleasant bed-fellow, disturbing and marring sleep
by anxiety and care and envy. For during such a one's sleep the body
indeed gets rest, but the mind has terrors, and dreams, and
perturbations, owing to superstition,

  "For when my trouble catches me asleep,
   I am undone by the most fearful dreams,"

as one says. For thus envy, and fear, and anger, and lust affect one.
During the daytime, indeed, vice looks abroad and imitates the behaviour
of others, is shy and conceals its evil desires, and does not altogether
give way to its propensities, but often even resists and fights stoutly
against them; but in sleep it escapes the observation of people and the
law, and, being as far as possible removed from fear or modesty, gives
every passion play, and excites its depravity and licentiousness, for,
to borrow Plato's expression,[217] "it attempts incest with its mother,
and procures for itself unlawful meats, and abstains from no action
whatever," and enjoys lawlessness as far as is practicable in visions
and phantasies, that end in no complete pleasure or satisfaction, but
can only stir up and inflame the passions and morbid emotions.

§ III. Where then is the pleasure of vice, if there is nowhere in it
freedom from anxiety and pain, or independence, or tranquillity, or
rest?[218] A healthy and sound constitution does indeed augment the
pleasures of the body, but for the soul there can be no lasting joy or
gratification, unless cheerfulness and fearlessness and courage supply a
calm serenity free from storms; for otherwise, even if hope or delight
smile on the soul, it is soon confused and disturbed by care lifting up
its head again, so that it is but the calm of a sunken rock.

§ IV. Pile up gold, heap up silver, build covered walks, fill your house
with slaves and the town with debtors, unless you lay to rest the
passions of the soul, and put a curb on your insatiable desires, and rid
yourself of fear and anxiety, you are but pouring out wine for a man in
a fever, and giving honey to a man who is bilious, and laying out a
sumptuous banquet for people who are suffering from dysentery, and can
neither retain their food nor get any benefit from it, but are made even
worse by it. Have you never observed how sick persons turn against and
spit out and refuse the daintiest and most costly viands, though people
offer them and almost force them down their throats, but on another
occasion, when their condition is different, their respiration good,
their blood in a healthy state, and their natural warmth restored, they
get up, and enjoy and make a good meal of simple bread and cheese and
cress? Such, also, is the effect of reason on the mind. You will be
contented, if you have learned what is good and honourable. You will
live daintily and be a king in poverty, and enjoy a quiet and private
life as much as the public life of general or statesman. By the aid of
philosophy you will live not unpleasantly, for you will learn to extract
pleasure from all places and things: wealth will make you happy,
because it will enable you to benefit many; and poverty, as you will not
then have many anxieties; and glory, for it will make you honoured; and
obscurity, for you will then be safe from envy.

    [213] Happiness comes from within, not from without. The
    true seat of happiness is the mind. Compare Milton,
    "Paradise Lost," Book i. 254, 255:--

      "The mind is its own place, and in itself
       Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven."

    [214] Homeric Epigrammata, xiii. 5.

    [215] Wyttenbach thinks these lines are by Menander.
    Plutarch quotes them again "On Contentedness of Mind," §

    [216] Hesiod, "Works and Days," 705.

    [217] Plato, "Republic," ix. p. 571, D. Quoted again,
    "How one may be aware of one's Progress in Virtue," §

    [218] And so Dr. Young truly says,--

      "A man of pleasure is a man of pains."

                            _Night Thoughts._


§ I. I propose to discuss what is called and appears to be moral virtue
(which differs mainly from contemplative virtue in that it has emotion
for its matter, and reason for its form), what its nature is, and how it
subsists, and whether that part of the soul which takes it in is
furnished with reason of its own, or participates in something foreign,
and if the latter, whether as things that are mixed with something
better than themselves, or rather as that which is subject to
superintendence and command, and may be said to share in the power of
that which commands. For I think it is clear that virtue can exist and
continue altogether free from matter and mixture. My best course will be
to run briefly over the views of others, not so much to display my
research as because, when their ideas have been set forth, mine will
become more clear and be on a firmer basis.

§ II. Menedemus of Eretria took away the number and differences of
virtues, on the ground that virtue was one though it had many names; for
that just as mortal is synonymous with man, so temperance and bravery
and justice were the same thing. And Aristo of Chios also made virtue
one in substance, and called it soundness of mind: its diversities and
varieties only existing in certain relations, as if one called our sight
when it took in white objects white-sight, and when it took in black
objects black-sight, and so on. For virtue, when it considers what it
ought to do and what it ought not to do, is called prudence; and when it
curbs passion, and sets a fit and proper limit to pleasure, it is called
self-control; and when it is associated with our dealings and covenants
with one another, it is called justice; just as a knife is one article,
though at different times it cuts different things in half: and so, too,
fire acts on different matter though it has but one property. And Zeno
of Cittium seems to incline somewhat to the same view, as he defines
prudence in distribution as justice, in choice as self-control, in
endurance as fortitude: and those who defend these views maintain that
by the term prudence Zeno means knowledge. But Chrysippus, thinking each
particular virtue should be arranged under its particular quality,
unwittingly stirred up, to use Plato's language, "a whole swarm of
virtues,"[219] unusual and unknown. For as from brave we get bravery,
and from mild mildness, and from just justice, so from acceptable he got
acceptableness, and from good goodness, and from great greatness, and
from the honourable honourableness, and he made virtues of many other
such clevernesses, affabilities, and versatilities, and filled
philosophy, which did not at all require it, with many strange names.

§ III. Now all these agree in supposing virtue to be a disposition and
faculty of the governing part of the soul set in motion by reason, or
rather to be reason itself conformable and firm and immutable. They
think further that the emotional and unreasoning part of the soul is not
by any natural difference distinct from the reasoning part, but that
that same part of the soul, which they call intellect and the leading
principle of action, being altogether diverted and changed by the
passions, and by the alterations which habit or disposition have brought
about, becomes either vice or virtue, without having in itself any
unreasoning element, but that it is called unreasoning when, by the
strong and overpowering force of appetite, it launches out into excesses
contrary to the direction of reason. For passion, according to them, is
only vicious and intemperate reason, getting its strength and power from
bad and faulty judgement. But all of those philosophers seem to have
been ignorant that we are all in reality two-fold and composite, though
they did not recognize it, and only saw the more evident mixture of soul
and body. And yet that there is in the soul itself something composite
and two-fold and dissimilar (the unreasoning part of it, as if another
body, being by necessity and nature mixed up with and united to reason),
seems not to have escaped the notice even of Pythagoras, as we infer
from his zeal for music, which he introduced to calm and soothe the
soul, as knowing that it was not altogether amenable to precept and
instruction, or redeemable from vice only by reason, but that it needed
some other persuasion and moulding and softening influence to co-operate
with reason, unless it were to be altogether intractable and refractory
to philosophy. And Plato saw very plainly and confidently and decidedly
that the soul of this universe is not simple or uncomposite or uniform,
but is made up of forces that work uniformly and differently, in the one
case it is ever marshalled in the same order and moves about in one
fixed orbit, in the other case it is divided into motions and orbits
contrary to each other and changing about, and thus generates
differences in things. So, too, the soul of man, being a part or portion
of the soul of the universe, and compounded upon similar principles and
proportions, is not simple or entirely uniform, but has one part
intelligent and reasoning, which is intended by nature to rule and
dominate in man, and another part unreasoning, and subject to passion
and caprice, and disorderly, and in need of direction. And this last
again is divided into two parts, one of which, being most closely
connected with the body, is called desire, and the other, sometimes
taking part with the body, sometimes with reason, lending its influence
against the body, is called anger. And the difference between reason and
sense on the one hand, and anger and desire on the other, is shown by
their antipathy to one another, so that they are often at variance with
one another as to what is best.[220] These were at first[221] the views
of Aristotle, as is clear from his writings, though afterwards he joined
anger to desire, as if anger were nothing but a desire and passion for
revenge. However, he always considered the emotional and unreasoning
part of the soul as distinct from the reasoning, not that it is
altogether unreasoning as the perceptive, or nutritive, or vegetative
portions of the soul, for these are always deaf and disobedient to
reason, and in a certain sense are off-shoots from the flesh, and
altogether attached to the body; but the emotional, though it is
destitute of any reason of its own, yet is naturally inclined to listen
to reason and sense, and turn and submit and mould itself accordingly,
unless it be entirely corrupted by brute pleasure and a life of

§ IV. As for those who wonder that what is unreasoning should obey
reason, they do not seem to me to recognize the power of reason, how
great it is, and how far-reaching its dominion is--a power not gained by
harsh and repelling methods, but by attractive ones, as mild persuasion
which always accomplishes more than compulsion or violence. For even the
spirit and nerves and bones, and other parts of the body, though devoid
of reason, yet at any instigation of reason, when she shakes as it were
the reins, are all on the alert and compliant and obedient, the feet to
run, and the hands to throw or lift, at her bidding. Right excellently
has the poet set forth in the following lines the sympathy and
accordance between the unreasoning and reason:--

  "Thus were her beauteous cheeks diffused with tears,
   Weeping her husband really present then.
   But though Odysseus pitied her in heart,
   His eyes like horn or steel impassive stood
   Within their lids, and craft his tears repressed."[222]

So completely under the control of judgement did he keep his spirit and
blood and tears. The same is shown by the subsidence of our passions,
which are laid to rest in the presence of handsome women or boys, whom
reason and the law forbid us to touch; a case which most frequently
happens to lovers, when they hear that they have unwittingly fallen in
love with a sister or daughter. For at once passion is laid at the voice
of reason, and the body exhibits its members as subservient to decorum.
And frequently in the case of dainty food, people very much attracted by
it, if they find out at the time or learn afterwards that they have
eaten what is unclean or unlawful, not only suffer distress and grief
in their imagination, but even their very body is upset by the notion,
and violent retchings and vomitings follow.[223] I fear I should seem to
be introducing merely novel and enticing arguments, if I were to
enumerate stringed instruments and lyres, and harps and flutes, and
other harmonious musical instruments, which, although inanimate, yet
speak to man's passions, rejoicing with him, and mourning with him, and
chiming in with him, and rioting with him,--in a word, falling in with
the vein and emotions and characters of those that play on them. And
they say that Zeno on one occasion, going into the theatre when
Amoebeus[224] was playing on the harp, said to the pupils, "Let us go
and learn what music can be produced by guts and nerves and wood and
bones, when they preserve proportion and time and order." But passing
these things over, I would gladly learn from them, if, when they see
dogs and horses and birds domesticated, and by habit and training
uttering sounds that can be understood, and making obedient movements
and gestures, and acting quietly and usefully to us, and when they
notice that Achilles in Homer cheers on horses as well as men to the
fight,[225] they still wonder and doubt, whether the passionate and
emotional and painful and pleasurable elements in us are by nature
obedient to the voice of reason, and influenced and affected by it,
seeing that those elements are not apart from us or detached from us, or
formed from outside, or hammered into us by force, but are innate in us,
and ever associate with us, and are nourished within us, and abound in
us through habit. Accordingly moral character is well called by the
Greeks [Greek: êthos], for it is, to speak generally, a quality of the
unreasoning element in man, and is called [Greek: êthos] because the
unreasoning element moulded by reason receives this quality and
difference by habit, which is called [Greek: ethos].[226] Not that
reason wishes to expel passion altogether (that is neither possible,
nor advisable), but only to keep it within bounds and order, and to
engender the moral virtues, which are not apathetic, but hold the due
proportion and mean in regard to passion. And this she does by reducing
the power of passion to a good habit. For there are said to be three
things existing in the soul, power, passion, and habit. Power is the
principle or matter of passion, as power to be angry, ashamed, or
confident: and passion is the actual setting in motion of that power,
being itself anger, confidence, or shame; and habit is the strong
formation of power in the unreasoning element engendered by use, being
vice if the passions are badly tutored by reason, virtue if they are
well tutored.

§ V. But since they do not regard every virtue as a mean, nor call it
moral, we must discuss this difference by approaching the matter more
from first principles. Some things in the world exist absolutely, as the
earth, the sky, the stars, and the sea; others have relation to us, as
good and evil, as what is desirable or to be avoided, as pleasant and
painful: and since reason has an eye to both of these classes, when it
considers the former it is scientific and contemplative, when it
considers the latter it is deliberative and practical. And prudence is
the virtue in the latter case, as knowledge in the former. And there is
this difference between prudence and knowledge, prudence consists in
applying the contemplative to the practical and emotional so as to make
reason paramount. On which account it often needs the help of fortune;
whereas knowledge needs neither the help of fortune nor deliberation to
gain its ends: for it considers only things which are always the same.
And as the geometrician does not deliberate about the triangle, as to
whether its interior angles are together equal to two right angles, for
he knows it as a fact--and deliberation only takes place in the case of
things which differ at different times, not in the case of things which
are certain and unchangeable--so the contemplative mind having its scope
in first principles, and things that are fixed, and that ever have one
nature which does not admit of change, has no need for deliberation. But
prudence, which has to enter into matters full of obscurity and
confusion, frequently has to take its chance, and to deliberate about
things which are uncertain, and, in carrying the deliberation into
practice, has to co-operate with the unreasoning element, which comes to
its help, and is involved in its decisions, for they need an impetus.
Now this impetus is given to passion by the moral character, an impetus
requiring reason to regulate it, that it may render moderate and not
excessive help, and at the seasonable time. For the emotional and
unreasoning elements are subject to motions sometimes too quick and
vehement, at other times too remiss and slow. And so everything we do
may be a success from one point of view, but a failure from many points
of view; as to hit the mark one thing only is requisite, but one may
miss it in various ways, as one may shoot beyond or too short. This then
is the function of practical reason following nature, to prevent our
passions going either too far or too short. For where from weakness and
want of strength, or from fear and hesitation, the impetus gives in and
abandons what is good, there reason is by to stir it up and rekindle it;
and where on the other hand it goes ahead too fast and in disorder,
there it represses and checks its zeal. And thus setting bounds to the
emotional motions, it engenders in the unreasoning part of the soul
moral virtues, which are the mean between excess and deficiency. Not
that we can say that all virtue exists in the mean, but knowledge and
prudence being in no need of the unreasoning element, and being situated
in the pure and unemotional part of the soul, is a complete perfection
and power of reason, whereby we get the most divine and happy fruit of
understanding. But that virtue which is necessary because of the body,
and needs the help of the passions as an instrument towards the
practical, not destroying or doing away with but ordering and regulating
the unreasoning part of the soul, is perfection as regards its power and
quality, but in quantity it is a mean correcting both excess and

§ VI. But since the word mean has a variety of meanings--for there is
one kind of mean compounded of two simple extremes, as grey is the mean
between white and black; and there is another kind of mean, where that
which contains and is contained is the mean between the containing and
contained, as eight is the mean between twelve and four; and there is a
third kind of mean which has part in neither extreme, as the indifferent
is the mean between good and bad,--virtue cannot be a mean in any of
these ways. For neither is it a mixture of vices, nor containing that
which is defective is it contained by that which is excessive, nor is it
again altogether free from, emotional storms of passion, wherein are
excess and deficiency. But it is, and is commonly so called, a mean like
that in music and harmony. For as in music there is a middle note
between the highest and lowest in the scale, which being perfectly in
tune avoids the sharpness of the one and the flatness of the other; so
virtue, being a motion and power in the unreasoning part of the soul,
takes away the remissness and strain, and generally speaking the excess
and defect of the appetite, by reducing each of the passions to a state
of mean and rectitude. For example, they tell us that bravery is the
mean between cowardice and foolhardiness, whereof the former is a
defect, the latter an excess of anger: and that liberality is the mean
between stinginess and prodigality: and that meekness is the mean
between insensibility and savageness: and so of temperance and justice,
that the latter, being concerned with contracts, is to assign neither
too much nor too little to litigants, and that the former ever reduces
the passions to the proper mean between apathy (or insensibility) and
gross intemperance. This last illustration serves excellently to show us
the radical difference between the unreasoning and reasoning parts of
the soul, and to prove to us that passion and reason are wide as the
poles asunder. For the difference would not be discernible between
temperance and continence, nor between intemperance and incontinence, in
pleasure and desires, if the appetite and judgement were in the same
portion of the soul. Now temperance is a state, wherein reason holds the
reins, and manages the passions as a quiet and well-broken-in animal,
finding them obedient and submissive to the reins and masters over their
desires.[227] Continence on the other hand is not driven by reason
without some trouble, not being docile but jibbing and kicking, like an
animal compelled by bit and bridle and whip and backing, being in itself
full of struggles and commotion. Plato explains this by his simile of
the chariot-horses of the soul, the worse one of which ever kicking
against the other and disturbing the charioteer, he is obliged ever to
hold them in with all his might, and to tighten the reins, lest, to
borrow the language of Simonides, "he should drop from his hands the
purple reins." And so they do not consider continence to be an absolute
virtue, but something less than a virtue; for no mean arises from the
concord of the worse with the better, nor is the excess of the passion
curtailed, nor does the appetite obey or act in unison with reason, but
it both gives and suffers trouble, and is constrained by force, and is
as it were an enemy in a town given up to faction.

  "The town is full of incense, and at once
   Resounds with triumph-songs and bitter wailing."[228]

Such is the state of soul of the continent person owing to his
conflicting condition. On the same grounds they consider incontinence to
be something less than vice, but intemperance to be a complete vice. For
it, having both its appetite and reason depraved, is by the one
carried away to desire disgraceful things,[229] by the other, through
bad judgement consenting to desire, loses even the perception of
wrongdoing. But incontinence keeps its judgement sound through reason,
but is carried away against its judgement by passion which is too strong
for reason, whence it differs from intemperance. For in the one case
reason is mastered by passion, in the other it does not even make a
fight against it, in the one case it opposes its desires even when it
follows them, in the other it is their advocate and even leader, in the
one case it gladly participates in what is wrong, in the other
sorrowfully, in the one case it willingly rushes into what is
disgraceful, in the other it abandons the honourable unwillingly. And as
there is a difference in their deeds, so no less manifest is the
difference in their language. For these are the expressions of the
intemperate. "What grace or pleasure in life is there without golden
Aphrodite? May I die, when I care no longer for these things!" And
another says, "To eat, to drink, to enjoy the gifts of Aphrodite is
everything, for all other things I look upon as supplementary," as if
from the bottom of his soul he gave himself up to pleasures, and was
completely subverted by them. And not less so he who said, "Let me be
ruined, it is best for me," had his judgement diseased through his
passion. But the sayings of incontinence are quite different, as

  "My nature forces me against my judgement,"[230]


  "Alas! it is poor mortals' plague and bane,
   To know the good, yet not the good pursue."[231]

And again--

  "My anger draws me on, has no control,
  'Tis but a sandy hook against a tempest."

Here he compares not badly to a sandy hook, a sorry kind of anchor, the
soul that is unsettled and has no steady reason, but surrenders judgment
through flabbiness and feebleness. And not unlike this image are the

  "As some ship moored and fastened to the shore,
   If the wind blows, the cables cannot hold it."

By cables he means the judgement which resists what is disgraceful,
though sometimes it gives way under a tremendous storm of passion. For
indeed it is with full sail that the intemperate man is borne on to
pleasure by his desires, and surrenders himself to them, and even plays
the part of pilot to the vessel; whereas the incontinent man is dragged
sidelong into the disgraceful, and is its victim, as it were, while he
desires eagerly to resist and overcome his passion, as Timon bantered
Anaxarchus: "The recklessness and frantic energy of Anaxarchus to rush
anywhere seemed like a dog's courage, but he being aware of it was
miserable, so people said, but his voluptuous nature ever plunged him
into excesses again, nature which even most sophists are afraid of."
For neither is the wise man continent but temperate, nor the fool
incontinent but intemperate; for the one delights in what is good, and
the other is not vexed at what is bad. Incontinence, therefore, is a
mark of a sophistical soul, endued with reason which cannot abide by
what it knows to be right.

§ VII. Such, then, are the differences between incontinence and
intemperance, and continence and temperance have their counterpart and
analogous differences; for remorse and trouble and annoyance are
companions of continence, whereas in the soul of the temperate person
there is everywhere such equability and calm and soundness, by which the
unreasoning is adjusted and harmonized to reason, being adorned with
obedience and wonderful mildness, that looking at it you would say with
the poet, "At once the wind was laid, and a wondrous calm ensued, for
the god allayed the fury of the waves,"[232] reason having extinguished
the vehement and furious and frantic motions of the desires, and making
those which nature necessarily requires sympathetic and obedient and
friendly and co-operative in carrying purposes out in action, so that
they do not outrun or come short of reason, or behave disorderly and
disobediently, but that every appetite is tractable, "as sucking foal
runs by the side of its dam."[233] And this confirms the saying of
Xenocrates about true philosophers, that they alone do willingly what
all others do unwillingly at the compulsion of the law, as dogs are
turned away from their pleasures by a blow, or cats by a noise, looking
at nothing but their danger. It is clear then that there is in the soul
a perception of such a generic and specific difference in relation to
the desires, as of something fighting against and opposing them. But
some say that there is no radical distinction difference or variance
between reason and passion, but that there is a shifting of one and the
same reason from one to the other, which escapes our notice owing to the
sharpness and quickness of the change, so that we do not see at a glance
that desire and repentance, anger and fear, giving way to what is
disgraceful through passion, and recovery from the same, are the same
natural property of the soul. For desire and fear and anger and the like
they consider only depraved opinions and judgements, not in one portion
of the soul only but in all its leading principles, inclinations and
yieldings, and assents and impulses, and generally speaking in its
energies soon changed, like the sallies of children, whose fury and
excessive violence is unstable by reason of their weakness. But these
views are, in the first place, contrary to evidence and observation; for
no one observes in himself a change from passion to judgement, and from
judgement back to passion; nor does anyone cease from loving when he
reflects that it would be well to break the affair off and strive with
all his might against it; nor again, does he put on one side reflection
and judgement, when he gives way and is overcome by desire. Moreover,
when he resists passion by reason, he does not escape passion
altogether; nor again, when he is mastered by passion does he fail to
discern his fault through reason: so that neither by passion does he
abolish reason, nor does he by reason get rid of passion, but is tossed
about to and fro alternately between passion and reason. And those who
suppose that the leading principle in the soul is at one time desire,
and at another time reason in opposition to desire, are not unlike
people who would make the hunter and the animal he hunts one and the
same person, but alternately changing from hunter to animal, from animal
to hunter. As their eyesight is plainly deficient, so these are faulty
in regard to their perceptions, seeing that they must perceive in
themselves not a change of one and the same thing, but a difference and
struggle between two opposing elements. "What then," say they, "does not
the deliberative element in a man often hold different views, and is it
not swayed to different opinions as to expediency, and yet it is one and
the same thing?" Certainly, I reply; but the case is not similar. For
the rational part of the soul does not fight against itself, but though
it has only one faculty, it makes use of different reasonings; or rather
the reasoning is one, but employs itself in different subjects as on
different matter. And so there is neither pain in reasonings without
passion, nor are men compelled, as it were, to choose something contrary
to their judgement, unless indeed some passion, as in a balance,
secretly predominates in the scale. For this often happens, reason not
opposing reason, but ambition, or contention, or favour, or jealousy, or
fear opposing reason, that we do but think there is a difference between
two reasons, as in the line, "They were ashamed to refuse, and feared to
accept,"[234] or, "To die in battle is dreadful but glorious; but not to
die, though cowardly, is more pleasant." Moreover, in judgements about
contracts passions come in and cause the greatest delay; and in the
councils of kings those who speak to ingratiate themselves do not favour
either of the two cases, but give themselves up to passion without
regard to what is expedient; and so those that rule in aristocracies do
not allow orators to be pathetic in their pleadings. For reasoning
without passion has a direct tendency to justice, while if passion is
infused, a contest and difference is excited between pleasure and pain
on the one hand, and judgement and justice on the other. For otherwise
how is it that in philosophical speculations people are with little pain
frequently induced by others to change their opinions, and even
Aristotle himself and Democritus and Chrysippus have rejected without
trouble or pain, and even with pleasure, some of the opinions which they
formerly advocated? For no passion stands in the way in the theoretic
and scientific part of the soul, and the unreasoning element is quiet
and gives no trouble therein. And so reason gladly inclines to the
truth, when it is evident, and abandons error; for in it, and not in
passion, lies a willingness to listen to conviction and to change one's
opinions on conviction. But the deliberations and judgements and
arbitrations of most people as to matters of fact being mixed up with
passion, give reason no easy or pleasant access, as she is held fast and
incommoded by the unreasonable, which assails her through pleasure, or
fear, or pain, or desire. And the decision in these cases lies with
sense which has dealings with both passion and reason, for if one gets
the better of the other the other is not destroyed, but only dragged
along by force in spite of its resistance. For he who is dissatisfied
with himself for falling in love calls in reason to his aid to overcome
his passion, for both reason and passion are in his soul, and he
perceives they are contrary one to the other, and violently represses
the inflammatory one of the two. On the other hand, in deliberations and
speculations without passion (such as the contemplative part of the soul
is most conversant with), if they are evenly balanced no decision takes
place, but the matter is left in doubt, which is a sort of stationary
position of the mind in conflicting arguments. But should there be any
inclination to one of the two sides, the most powerful opinion carries
the day, yet without giving pain or creating hostility. And, generally
speaking, when reason seems opposed to reason, there is no perception of
two distinct things, but only of one under different phases, whereas
when the unreasoning has a controversy with reason, since there can be
no victory or defeat without pain, forthwith they tear the soul in
two,[235] and make the difference between them apparent.

§ VIII. And not only from their contest, but quite as much from their
agreement, can we see that the source of the passions is something quite
distinct from that of reason. For since[236] one may love either a good
and excellent child or a bad and vicious one, and be unreasonably angry
with one's children or parents, yet in behalf of them show a just anger
against enemies or tyrants; as in the one case there is the perception
of a difference and struggle between passion and reason, so in the other
there is a perception of persuasion and agreement inclining, as it were,
the scale, and giving their help. Moreover a good man marrying a wife
according to the laws is minded to associate and live with her justly
and soberly, but as time goes on, his intercourse with her having
engendered a strong passion for her, he perceives that his love and
affection are increased by reason. Just so, again, young fellows falling
in with kindly teachers at first submit themselves to them out of
necessity and emulation for learning, but end by loving them, and
instead of being their pupils and scholars become and get the title of
their lovers. The same is the case in cities in respect to good
magistrates, and neighbours, and connections by marriage; for beginning
at first to associate with one another from necessity and propriety,
they afterwards go on to love almost insensibly, reason drawing over and
persuading the emotional element. And he who said--

  "There are two kinds of shame, the one not bad,
   The other a sad burden to a family,"[237]

is it not clear that he felt this emotion in himself often contrary to
reason and detrimental by hesitation and delay to opportunities and

§ IX. In a certain sense yielding to the force of these arguments, they
call shame modesty, pleasure joy, and timidity caution; nor would anyone
blame them for this euphemism, if they only gave those specious names to
the emotions that are consistent with reason, while they gave other
kinds of names to those emotions that resist and do violence to reason.
But whenever, though convicted by their tears and tremblings and changes
of colour, they avoid the terms pain and fear, and speak of bitings and
states of excitement, and gloss over the passions by calling them
inclinations, they seem to contrive evasions and flights from facts by
names sophistical, and not philosophical. And yet again they seem to use
words rightly when they call those joys and wishes and cautions not
apathies but good conditions of the mind. For it is a happy disposition
of the soul when reason does not annihilate passion, but orders and
arranges it in the case of temperate persons. But what is the condition
of worthless and incontinent persons, who, when they judge they ought to
love their father and mother better than some boy or girl they are
enamoured of, yet cannot, and yet at once love their mistress or
flatterer, when they judge they ought to hate them? For if passion and
judgement were the same thing, love and hate would immediately follow
the judging it right to love and hate, whereas the contrary happens,
passion following some judgements, but declining to follow others.
Wherefore they acknowledge, the facts compelling them to do so, that
every judgement is not passion, but only that judgement that is
provocative of violent and excessive impulse: admitting that judgement
and passion in us are something different, as what moves is different
from what is moved. Even Chrysippus himself, by his defining in many
places endurance and continence to be habits that follow the lead of
reason, proves that he is compelled by the facts to admit, that that
element in us which follows absolutely is something different from that
which follows when persuaded, but resists when not persuaded.

§ X. Now as to those who make all sins and offences equal, it is not now
the occasion to discuss if in other respects they deviate from truth:
but as regards the passions[238] they seem to go clean contrary to
reason and evidence. For according to them every passion is a sin, and
everyone who grieves, or fears, or desires, commits sin. But in good
truth it is evident that there are great differences between passions,
according as one is more or less affected by them. For who would say
that the craven fear of Dolon[239] was not something very different from
the fear of Ajax, "who retreated with his face to the enemy and at a
foot's pace, drawing back slowly knee after knee"?[240] Or who would say
that the grief of Plato at the death of Socrates was identical with the
grief of Alexander at the death of Clitus, when he attempted to lay
violent hands on himself? For grief is beyond measure intensified by
falling out against expectation: and the calamity that comes unlooked
for is more painful than that we may reasonably fear: as if when
expecting to see one's friend basking in prosperity and admiration, one
should hear that he had been put to the torture, as Parmenio heard about
Philotas. And who would say that the anger of Magas against Philemon was
equal to that of Nicocreon against Anaxarchus? Both Magas and Nicocreon
had been insulted, but whereas Nicocreon brayed Anaxarchus to death with
iron pestles and made mincemeat of him, Magas contented himself with
bidding the executioner lay his naked sword on Philemon's neck, and then
let him go.[241] And so Plato called anger the nerves of the mind,
since it can be both intensified by bitterness, and slackened by
mildness. To evade these and similar arguments, they deny that intensity
and excess of passion are according to judgement, wherein is the
propensity to fault, but maintain that they are bites and contractions
and diffusings capable of increase or diminution through the unreasoning
element. And yet it is evident that there are differences as regards
judgements; for some judge poverty to be no evil, while others judge it
to be a great evil, and others again the very greatest evil, insomuch
that they even throw themselves headlong down rocks and into the sea on
account of it. Again as to death, some think it an evil only in
depriving us of good things, whereas others think it so in regard to
eternal punishments and awful torments in the world below. Health again
is valued by some as natural and advantageous, while to others it seems
the greatest blessing of life, in comparison with which they reckon
little either of wealth or children or "royal power that makes one equal
to the gods," and at last come to think even virtue useless and
unprofitable, if health be absent. Thus it is clear that even with
regard to judgements themselves some err more, some less. But I shall
bring no further proof of this now, but this one may assume therefrom,
that they themselves concede that the unreasoning element is something
different from judgement, in that they allow that by it passion becomes
greater and more violent, and while they quarrel about the name and word
they give up the thing itself to those who maintain that the emotional
and unreasoning part of the soul is distinct from the reasoning and
judging element. And in his treatise on Anomaly,[242] Chrysippus, after
telling us that anger is blind, and frequently does not let one see what
is obvious, frequently also obscures what we do get a sight of, goes on
to say, "The encroachment of the passions blots out reason, and makes
things look different to what they should look, violently forcing people
on unreasonable acts." And he quotes as witness Menander, who says,
"Alas! poor me, wherever were my brains in my body at the time when I
chose that line of conduct, and not this?" And Chrysippus proceeds,
"Though every living creature endowed with reason is naturally inclined
to use reason and to be governed by it on every occasion, yet often do
we reject it, being borne away by a more violent impulse;" thus
admitting what results from the difference between passion and reason.
For otherwise it is ridiculous, as Plato says, to argue that a man is
sometimes better than himself, sometimes worse, sometimes master of
himself, sometimes not master of himself.

§ XI. For how is it possible that the same person can be both better and
worse than himself, both master of himself and not master, unless
everyone is in some way twofold, having in himself both a better and
worse self? For so he that makes the baser element subject to the better
has self-control and is a superior man, whereas he who allows the nobler
element of the soul to follow and be subservient to the incorrigible and
unreasoning element, is inferior to what he might be, and is called
incontinent, and is in an unnatural condition. For by nature it
appertains to reason, which is divine, to rule and govern the
unreasoning element, which has its origin from the body, which it also
naturally resembles and participates in its passions, being placed in it
and mixed up with it, as is proved by the impulses to bodily delights,
which are always fierce or languid according to the changes of the body.
And so it is that young men are keen and vehement in their desires,
being red hot and raging from their fulness of blood and animal heat,
whereas with old men the liver, which is the seat of desire, is dried up
and weak and feeble, and reason has more power with them than passion
which decays with the body. This principle also no doubt characterizes
the nature of animals as regards the sexual appetite. For it is not of
course from any fitness or unfitness of opinions, that some animals are
so bold and resolute in the presence of danger, while others are
helpless and full of fear and trembling; but this difference of emotion
is produced by the workings of the blood and spirit and body, the
emotional part growing out of the flesh, as from a root, and carrying
along with it its quality and temperament. And that the body of man
sympathizes with and is affected by the emotional impulses is proved by
pallors, and blushings, and tremblings, and palpitations of the heart,
as on the other hand by an all-pervading joy in the hope and expectation
of pleasures. But whenever the mind is by itself and unmoved by passion,
the body is in repose and at rest, having no participation or share in
the working of the intellect, unless it involve the emotional, or the
unreasoning element call it in. So that it is clear that there are two
distinct parts of the soul differing from one another in their

§ XII. And generally speaking of all existing things, as they themselves
admit and is clear, some are governed by nature, some by habit, some by
an unreasoning soul, some by a soul that has reason and intelligence.
Man too participates in all this, and is subject to all those
differences here mentioned, for he is affected by habit, and nourished
by nature, and uses reason and intelligence. He has also a share of the
unreasoning element, and has the principle of passion innate in him, not
as a mere episode in his life but as a necessity, which ought not
therefore to be entirely rooted out, but requires care and attention.
For the function of reason is no Thracian or Lycurgean one to root up
and destroy all the good elements in passion indiscriminately with the
bad, but, as some genial and mild god, to prune what is wild, and to
correct disproportion, and after that to train and cultivate the useful
part. For as those who are afraid to get drunk do not pour on the ground
their wine, _but mix it with water_, so those who are afraid of the
disturbing element in passion do not eradicate passion altogether but
temper it. Similarly with oxen and horses people try to restrain their
mad bounds and restiveness, not their movements and powers of work, and
so reason makes use of the passions when they have become tame and
docile, not by cutting out the sinews or altogether mutilating the
serviceable part of the soul. For as Pindar says, "The horse to the
chariot, and the ox to the plough, while he that meditates destruction
for the boar must find a staunch hound."[243] But much more useful than
these are the whole tribe of passions when they wait on reason and run
parallel to virtue. Thus moderate anger is useful to courage, and hatred
of evil to uprightness, and righteous indignation against those who are
fortunate beyond their deserts, when they are inflamed in their souls
with folly and insolence and need a check. And no one if they wished
could pluck away or sever[244] natural affection from friendship, or
pity from philanthropy, or sympathy both in joy and grief from genuine
goodwill. And if those err who wish to banish love because of erotic
madness, neither are they right who blame all desire because of love of
money, but they act like people who refuse to run because they might
stumble, or to throw because they might throw wide of the mark, or
object to sing altogether because they might make a false note. For as
in sounds music does not create melody by the banishment of sharps and
flats, and as in bodies the art of the physician procures health not by
the doing away of cold and heat but by their being blended in due
proportions and quantities, so is victory won in the soul by the powers
and motions of the passions being reduced by reason to moderation and
due proportion. For excessive grief or fear or joy in the soul (I speak
not of mere joy grief or fear), resembles a body swollen or inflamed.
And Homer when he says excellently,

  "The brave man's colour never changes, nor
   Is he much frightened,"[245]

does not take away all fear but only excessive fear, that bravery may
not become recklessness, nor confidence foolhardiness. So also in regard
to pleasure we must do away with excessive desire, and in regard to
vengeance with excessive hatred of evil. For so in the former case one
will not be apathetic but temperate, and in the latter one will not be
savage or cruel but just. But if the passions were entirely removed,
supposing that to be possible, reason would become in many duller and
blunter, like the pilot in the absence of a storm. And no doubt it is
from having noticed this that legislators try to excite in states
ambition and emulation among their townsmen, and stir up and increase
their courage and pugnacity against enemies by the sound of trumpets
and flutes. For it is not only in poems, as Plato says, that he that is
inspired by the Muses, and as it were possessed by them, will laugh to
shame the plodding artist, but also in fighting battles passion and
enthusiasm will be irresistible and invincible, such as Homer makes the
gods inspire men with, as in the line,

  "Thus speaking he infused great might in Hector,
   The shepherd of the people."[246]


  "He is not mad like this without the god,"[247]

as if the god had added passion to reason as an incitement and spur. And
you may see those very persons, whose opinions I am combating,
frequently urging on the young by praises, and frequently checking them
by rebukes, though pleasure follows the one, pain the other. For rebukes
and censure produce repentance and shame, the one bringing grief, the
other fear, and these they mostly make use of for purposes of
correction. And so Diogenes, when Plato was being praised, said, "What
has he to vaunt of, who has been a philosopher so long, and yet never
gave pain to anyone?" For one could not say, to use the words of
Xenocrates, that the mathematics are such handles to philosophy as are
the emotions of young men, such as shame, desire, repentance, pleasure,
pain, ambition, whereon reason and the law laying a suitable grip
succeed in putting the young man on the right road. So that it was no
bad remark of the Lacedæmonian tutor, that he would make the boy
entrusted to his charge pleased with what was good and displeased with
what was bad,[248] for a higher or nobler aim cannot be proposed in the
education fit for a freeborn lad.

    [219] See "Meno," p. 72, A.

    [220] Omitting [Greek: hetera], which Reiske justly

    [221] Reading [Greek: prôton] with Wyttenbach.

    [222] Homer, "Odyssey," xix. 208-212.

    [223] As in the story in "Gil Blas" of the person who,
    after eating a ragout of rabbit, was told it was a
    ragout of cat.--Book X. chapter xii.

    [224] As to Amoebeus, see Athenæus, p. 623. D.

    [225] "Iliad," xvi. 167.

    [226] Generally speaking [Greek: ethos] is the habit,
    [Greek: êthos] the moral character generated by habit.
    The former is Aristotle's [Greek: energeia], the latter
    his [Greek: hexis].

    [227] I have adopted, it will be seen, the suggestion of
    Wyttenbach, "[Greek: tô logismô] mutandum videtur in
    [Greek: ton chalinon]."

    [228] Sophocles, "Oedipus Tyrannus," 4, 5. Quoted by our
    author again "On Abundance of Friends," § vi.

    [229] Reading with "Reiske," [Greek: exagetai pros to
    epithymein ta aischra].

    [230] In the "Chrysippus" of Euripides, Fragm.

    [231] Compare Romans viii. 19.

    [232] "Odyssey," xii. 168, 169.

    [233] This line is from Simonides, and is quoted again
    in "How one may be aware of one's Progress in Virtue," §

    [234] "Iliad," vii. 93.

    [235] Reading with Reiske, [Greek: eis duo].

    [236] Reading [Greek: etei] with Reiske and Wyttenbach.

    [237] Euripides, "Hippolytus" 385, 386.

    [238] Reading with Reiske [Greek: pathesi] for [Greek:

    [239] See "Iliad," x. 374, sq.

    [240] "Iliad," xi. 547.

    [241] "De Anaxarchi supplicio nota res. v. Menage ad
    Diog. Läert. 9, 59. De Magae, reguli Cyrenarum, adversus
    Philemonem lenitate v. De Cohibenda Ira, §

    [242] "Celebres fuere quondam Chrysippi sex libri
    [Greek: peri tês kata tas lêzeis anômalias], in quibus
    auctore Varrone, _propositum habuit ostendere, similes
    res dissimilibus verbis et similibus dissimiles esse
    notatas vocabulis_. v. Menage ad Diog. Läert. 7,

    [243] Compare "On Contentedness of Mind," § xiii.

    [244] Reading with _Reiske_, [Greek: aporrêzeien].

    [245] "Iliad," xiii. 284, 285.

    [246] "Iliad," xv. 262.

    [247] "Iliad," v. 185.

    [248] Compare "That Virtue may be Taught," § ii.


§ I. What amount of argument, Sossius Senecio, will make a man know that
he is improving in respect to virtue, if his advances in it do not
bring about some diminution in folly, but vice, weighing equally with
all his good intentions, "acts like the lead that makes the net go
down?"[249] For neither in music nor grammatical knowledge could anyone
recognize any improvement, if he remained as unskilful in them as
before, and had not lost some of his old ignorance. Nor in the case of
anyone ill would medical treatment, if it brought no relief or ease, by
the disease somewhat yielding and abating, give any perception of
improvement of health, till the opposite condition was completely
brought about by the body recovering its full strength. But just as in
these cases there is no improvement unless, by the abatement of what
weighs them down till they rise in the opposite scale, they recognize a
change, so in the case of those who profess philosophy no improvement or
sign of improvement can be supposed, unless the soul lay aside and purge
itself of some of its imperfection, and if it continue altogether bad
until it become absolutely good and perfect. For indeed a wise man
cannot in a moment of time change from absolute badness to perfect
goodness, and suddenly abandon for ever all that vice, of which he could
not during a long period of time divest himself of any portion. And yet
you know, of course, that those who maintain these views frequently give
themselves much trouble and bewilderment about the difficulty, that a
wise man does not perceive that he has become wise, but is ignorant and
doubtful that in a long period of time by little and little, by removing
some things and adding others, there will be a secret and quiet
improvement, and as it were passage to virtue. But if the change were so
great and sudden that the worst man in the morning could become the best
man at night, or should the change so happen that he went to bed vicious
and woke up in the morning wise, and, having dismissed from his mind all
yesterday's follies and errors, should say,

  "False dreams, away, you had no meaning then!"[250]

who on earth could be ignorant of so great a change happening to
himself, of virtue blazing forth so completely all at once? I myself am
of opinion that anyone, like Caeneus,[251] who, according, to his
prayer, got changed from a woman into a man, would sooner be ignorant of
the transformation, than that a man should become at once, from a
cowardly and senseless person with no powers of self-control, brave and
sensible and perfect master of himself, and should in a moment change
from a brutish life to a divine without being aware of it.

§ II. That was an excellent observation, Measure the stone by the
mason's rule, not the rule by the stone.[252] But the Stoics, not
applying dogmas to facts but facts to their own preconceived opinions,
and forcing things to agree that do not by nature, have filled
philosophy with many difficulties, the greatest of which is that all men
but the perfect man are equally vicious, which has produced the enigma
called progress, one little short of extreme folly, since it makes those
who have not at once under its guidance given up all passions and
disorders equally unfortunate as those who have not got rid of a single
vile propensity. However they are their own confuters, for while they
lay down in the schools that Aristides was as unjust as Phalaris, and
Brasidas as great a craven as Dolon, and Plato actually as senseless as
Meletus, in life and its affairs they turn away from and avoid one class
as implacable, while they make use of the others and trust them in most
important matters as most worthy people.

§ III. But we who see that in every kind of evil, but especially in a
disordered and unsettled state of mind, there are degrees of more and
less (so that the progress made differs in different cases, badness
abating, as a shadow flees away, under the influence of reason, which
calmly illuminates and cleanses the soul), cannot consider it
unreasonable to think that the change will be perceived, as people who
come up out of some ravine can take note of the progress they make
upwards. Look at the case from the following point of view first. Just
as mariners sailing with full sail over the gaping[253] ocean measure
the course they have made by the time they have taken and the force of
the wind, and compute their progress accordingly, so anyone can compute
his progress in philosophy by his continuous and unceasing course, by
his not making many halts on the road, and then again advancing by leaps
and bounds, but by his quiet and even and steady march forward guided by
reason. For the words of the poet, "If to a little you keep adding a
little, and do so frequently, _it will soon be a lot_,"[254] are not
only true of the increase of money, but are universally applicable, and
especially to increase in virtue, since reason invokes to her aid the
enormous force of habit. On the other hand the inconsistencies and
dulnesses of some philosophers not only check advance, as it were, on
the road, but even break up the journey altogether, since vice always
attacks at its leisure and forces back whatever yields to it.[255] The
mathematicians tell us that planets, after completing their course,
become stationary; but in philosophy there is no such intermission or
stationary position from the cessation of progress, for its nature is
ever to be moving and, as it were, to be weighed in the scales,
sometimes being overweighted by the good preponderating, sometimes by
the bad. If, therefore, imitating the oracle given to the Amphictyones
by the god, "to fight against the people of Cirrha every day and every
night,"[256] you are conscious that night and day you ever maintain a
fierce fight against vice, not often relaxing your vigilance, or long
off your guard, or receiving as heralds to treat of peace[257] the
pleasures, or idleness, or stress of business, you may reasonably go
forward to the future courageously and confidently.

§ IV. Moreover, if there be any intermissions in philosophy, and yet
your later studies are firmer and more continuous than your former ones,
it is no bad indication that your sloth has been expelled by labour and
exercise; for the contrary is a bad sign, when after a short time your
lapses from zeal become many and continuous, as if your zeal were dying
away. For as in the growth of a reed, which shoots up from the ground
finely and beautifully to an even and continuous height, though at first
from its great intervals it is hindered and baffled in its growth, and
afterwards through its weakness is discouraged by any breath of air, and
though strengthened by many and frequent joints, yet a violent wind
gives it commotion and trembling, so those who at first make great
launches out into philosophy, and afterwards find that they are
continually hindered and baffled, and cannot perceive that they make any
progress, finally get tired of it and cry off. "But he who is as it were
winged,"[258] is by his simplicity borne along to his end, and by his
zeal and energy cuts through impediments to his progress, as merely
obstacles on the road. As it is a sign of the growth of violent love,
not so much to rejoice in the presence of the loved one, for everyone
does that, as to be distressed and grieved at his absence,[259] so many
feel a liking for philosophy and seem to take a wonderful interest in
the study, but if they are diverted by other matters and business their
passion evaporates and they take it very easily. "But whoever is
strongly smitten with love for his darling"[260] will show his mildness
and agreeableness in the presence of and joint pursuit of wisdom with
the loved one, but if he is drawn away from him and is not in his
company you will see him in a stew and ill at ease and peevish whether
at work or leisure, and unreasonably forgetful of his friends, and
wholly impelled by his passion for philosophy. For we ought not to
rejoice at discourses only when we hear them, as people like perfumes
only when they smell them, and not to seek or care about them in their
absence, but in the same condition as people who are hungry and thirsty
are in if torn away from food and drink, we ought to follow after true
proficiency in philosophy, whether marriage, or wealth, or friendship,
or military service, strike in and produce a separation. For just as
more is to be got from philosophy, so much the more does what we fail
to obtain trouble us.

§ V. Either precisely the same as this or very similar is Hesiod's[261]
very ancient definition of progress in virtue, namely, that the road is
no longer very steep or arduous, but easy and smooth and level, its
roughness being toned down by exercise, and casting the bright light of
philosophy on doubt and error and regrets, such as trouble those who
give themselves to philosophy at the outset, like people who leave a
land they know, and do not yet descry the land they are sailing to. For
by abandoning the common and familiar, before they know and apprehend
what is better, they frequently flounder about in the middle and are
fain to return. As they say the Roman Sextius, giving up for philosophy
all his honours and offices in Rome, being afterwards discontented with
philosophy from the difficulties he met with in it at first, very nearly
threw himself out of window. Similarly they relate of Diogenes of
Sinope,[262] when he began to be a philosopher, that the Athenians were
celebrating a festival, and there were public banquets and shows and
mutual festivities, and drinking and revelling all night, and he, coiled
up in a corner of the market-place intending to sleep, fell into a train
of thought likely seriously to turn him from his purpose and shake his
resolution, for he reflected that he had adopted without any necessity a
toilsome and unusual kind of life, and by his own fault sat there
debarred of all the good things. At that moment, however, they say a
mouse stole up and began to munch some of the crumbs of his barley-cake,
and he plucked up his courage and said to himself, in a railing and
chiding fashion, "What say you, Diogenes? Do your leavings give this
mouse a sumptuous meal, while you, the gentleman, wail and lament
because you are not getting drunk yonder and reclining on soft and
luxurious couches?" Whenever such depressions of mind are not frequent,
and the mind when they take place quickly recovers from them, after
having put them to flight as it were, and when such annoyance and
distraction is easily got rid of, then one may consider one's progress
in virtue as a certainty.

§ VI. And since not only the things that in themselves shake and turn
them in the opposite direction are more powerful in the case of weak
philosophers, but also the serious advice of friends, and the playful
and jeering objections of adversaries bend and soften people, and have
ere now shaken some out of philosophy altogether, it will be no slight
indication of one's progress in virtue if one takes all this very
calmly, and is neither disturbed nor aggravated by people who tell us
and mention to us that some of our former comrades are flourishing in
kings' courts, or have married wives with dowries, or are attended by a
crowd of friends when they come down to the forum to solicit some office
or advocateship. He that is not moved or affected by all this is already
plainly one upon whom philosophy has got a right hold; for it is
impossible that we should cease to be envious of what most people
admire, unless the admiration of virtue was strongly implanted in us.
For over-confidence may be generated in some by anger and folly, but to
despise what men admire is not possible without a true and steady
elevation of mind. And so people in such a condition of mind, comparing
it with that of others, pride themselves on it, and say with Solon, "We
would not change virtue for wealth, for while virtue abides, wealth
changes hands, and now one man, now another, has it."[263] And Diogenes
compared his shifting about from Corinth to Athens, and again from
Thebes to Corinth, to the different residences of the King of Persia, as
his spring residence at Susa, his winter residence at Babylon, and his
summer residence in Media. And Agesilaus said of the great king, "How is
he better than me, if he is not more upright?" And Aristotle, writing to
Antipater about Alexander, said, "that he ought not to think highly of
himself because he had many subjects, for anyone who had right notions
about the gods was entitled to think quite as highly of himself." And
Zeno, observing that Theophrastus was admired for the number of his
pupils,[264] said, "His choir is, I admit, larger than mine, but mine
is more harmonious."

§ VII. Whenever then, by thus comparing the advantages of virtue with
external things, you get rid of envies and jealousies and those things
which fret and depress the minds of many who are novices in philosophy,
this also is a great indication of your progress in virtue. Another and
no slight indication is a change in the style of your discourses. For
generally speaking all novices in philosophy adopt most such as tend to
their own glorification; some, like birds, in their levity and ambition
soaring to the height and brightness of physical things; others like
young puppies, as Plato[265] says, rejoicing in tearing and biting,
betake themselves to strifes and questions and sophisms; but most
plunging themselves into dialectics immediately store themselves for
sophistry; and some collect sentences[266] and histories and go about
(as Anacharsis said he saw the Greeks used money for no other purpose
but to count it up), merely piling up and comparing them, but making no
practical use of them. Applicable here is that saying of Antiphanes,
which someone applied to Plato's pupils. Antiphanes said playfully that
in a certain city words were frozen directly they were spoken, owing to
the great cold, and were thawed again in the summer, so that one could
then hear what had been said in the winter. So he said of the words
which were spoken by Plato to young men, that most of them only
understood them late in life when they were become old men. And this is
the condition people are in in respect to all philosophy, until the
judgement gets into a sound and healthy state, and begins to adapt
itself to those things which can produce character and greatness of
mind, and to seek discourses whose footsteps turn inwards rather than
outwards, to borrow the language of Æsop.[267] For as Sophocles said he
had first toned down the pompous style of Æschylus, then his harsh and
over-artificial method, and had in the third place changed his manner
of diction, a most important point and one that is most intimately
connected with the character, so those who go in for philosophy, when
they have passed from flattering and artificial discourses to such as
deal with character and emotion, are beginning to make genuine and
modest progress in virtue.

§ VIII. Furthermore, take care, in reading the writings of philosophers
or hearing their speeches, that you do not attend to words more than
things, nor get attracted more by what is difficult and curious than by
what is serviceable and solid and useful. And also, in studying poems or
history, let nothing escape you of what is said to the point, which is
likely either to correct the character or to calm the passions. For as
Simonides says the bee hovers among the flowers "making the yellow
honey,"[268] while others value and pluck flowers only for their beauty
and fragrance, so of all that read poems for pleasure and amusement he
alone that finds and gathers what is valuable seems capable of knowledge
from his acquaintance with and friendship for what is noble and
good.[269] For those who study Plato and Xenophon only for their style,
and cull out only what is pure and Attic, and as it were the dew and the
bloom, do they not resemble people who love drugs for their smell and
colour, but care not for them as anodynes or purges, and are not aware
of those properties? Whereas those who have more proficiency can derive
benefit not from discourses only, but from sights and actions, and cull
what is good and useful, as is recorded of Æschylus and other similar
kind of men. As to Æschylus, when he was watching a contest in boxing at
the Isthmus, and the whole theatre cried out upon one of the boxers
being beaten, he nudged with his elbow Ion of Chios, and said, "Do you
observe the power of training? The beaten man holds his peace, while the
spectators cry out." And Brasidas having caught hold of a mouse among
some figs, being bitten by it let it go, and said to himself, "Hercules,
there is no creature so small or weak that it will not fight for its
life!" And Diogenes, seeing a lad drinking water out of the palm of his
hand, threw away the cup which he kept in his wallet. So much does
attention and assiduous practice make people perceptive and receptive of
what contributes to virtue from any source. And this is the case still
more with those who mix discourses with actions, who not only, to use
the language of Thucydides,[270] "exercise themselves in the presence of
danger," but also in regard to pleasures and strifes, and judgements,
and advocateships, and magistrateships make a display of their opinions,
or rather form their opinions by their practice. For we can no more
think those philosophers who are ever learning and busy and
investigating what they have got from philosophy, and then straightway
publish it in the market-place or in the haunt of young men, or at a
royal supper-party, any more than we give the name of physicians to
those who sell drugs and mixtures. Nay rather such a sophist differs
very little at all from the bird described in Homer,[271] offering his
scholars like it whatever he has got, and as it feeds its callow young
from its own mouth, "though it goes ill with itself," so he gets no
advantage or food from what he has got for himself.

§ IX. We must therefore see to it that our discourse be serviceable to
ourselves, and that it may not appear to others to be vain-glorious or
ambitious, and we must show that we are as willing to listen as to
teach, and especially must we lay aside all disputatiousness and love of
strife in controversy, and cease bandying fierce words with one another
as if we were contending with one another at boxing, and leave off
rejoicing more in smiting and knocking down one another than in learning
and teaching. For in such cases moderation and mildness, and to commence
arguing without quarrelsomeness and to finish without getting into a
rage, and neither to be insolent if you come off best in the argument,
nor dejected if you come off worst, is a sufficient sign of progress in
virtue. Aristippus was an excellent example of this, when overcome in
argument by the sophistry of a man, who had plenty of assurance, but
was generally speaking mad or half-witted. Observing that he was in
great joy and very puffed up at his victory, he said, "I who have been
vanquished in the argument shall have a better night's rest than my
victor." We can also test ourselves in regard to public speaking, if we
are not timid and do not shrink from speaking when a large audience has
unexpectedly been got together, nor dejected when we have only a small
one to harangue to, and if we do not, when we have to speak to the
people or before some magistrate, miss the opportunity through want of
proper preparation; for these things are recorded both of Demosthenes
and Alcibiades. As for Alcibiades, though he possessed a most excellent
understanding, yet from want of confidence in speaking he often broke
down, and in trying to recall a word or thought that slipped his memory
had to stop short.[272] And Homer did not deny that his first line was
unmetrical,[273] though he had sufficient confidence to follow it up by
so many other lines, so great was his genius. Much more then ought those
who aim at virtue and what is noble to lose no opportunity of public
speaking, paying very little attention to either uproar or applause at
their speeches.

§ X. And not only ought each to see to his discourses but also to his
actions whether he regards utility more than show, and truth more than
display. For if a genuine love for youth or maiden seeks no witnesses,
but is content to enjoy its delights privately, far more does it become
the philosopher and lover of the beautiful, who is conversant with
virtue through his actions, to pride himself on his silence, and not to
need people to praise or listen to him. As that man who called his maid
in the house, and cried out to her, "See, Dionysia, I am angry no
longer,"[274] so he that does anything agreeable and polite, and then
goes and spreads it about the town, plainly shows that he looks for
public applause and has a strong propensity to vain-glory, and as yet
has no acquaintance with virtue as a reality but only as a dream,
restlessly roving about amid phantoms and shadows, and making a display
of whatever he does as painters display a picture. It is therefore a
sign of progress in virtue not merely to have given to a friend or done
a good turn to an acquaintance without mentioning it to other people,
but also to have given an honest vote among many unjust ones, and to
have withstood the dishonourable request of some rich man or of some man
in office, and to have been above taking bribes, and, by Zeus, to have
been thirsty all night and not to have drunk, or, like Agesilaus,[275]
to have resisted, though strongly tempted, the kiss of a handsome youth
or maiden, and to have kept the fact to oneself and been silent about
it. For one's being satisfied with one's own good opinion[276] and not
despising it, but rejoicing in it and acquiescing in it as competent to
see and decide on what is honourable, proves that reason is rooted and
grounded within one, and that, to borrow the language of Democritus, one
is accustomed to draw one's delights from oneself. And just as farmers
behold with greater pleasure those ears of corn which bend and bow down
to the ground, while they look upon those that from their lightness
stand straight upright as empty pretenders, so also among those young
men who wish to be philosophers those that are most empty and without
any solidity show the greatest amount of assurance in their appearance
and walk, and a face full of haughtiness and contempt that looks down on
everybody, but when they begin to grow full and get some fruit from
study they lay aside their proud and vain[277] bearing. And just as in
vessels that contain water the air is excluded, so with men that are
full of solid merit their pride abates, and their estimate of themselves
becomes a lower one, and they cease to plume themselves on a long beard
and threadbare cloak,[278] and transfer their training to the mind, and
are most severe and austere to themselves, while they are milder in
their intercourse with everybody else; and they do not as before
eagerly snatch at the name and reputation of philosopher, nor do they
write themselves down as such, but even if he were addressed by that
title by anyone else, an ingenuous young man would say, smiling and
blushing, "I am not a god: why do you liken me to the immortals?"[279]
For as Æschylus says,

  "I never can mistake the burning eye
   Of the young woman that has once known man,"[280]

so to the young man who has tasted of true progress in philosophy the
following lines of Sappho are applicable, "My tongue cleaves to the roof
of my month, and a fire courses all over my lean body," and his eye will
be gentle and mild, and you would desire to hear him speak. For as those
who are initiated come together at first with confusion and noise and
jostle one another, but when the mysteries are being performed and
exhibited, they give their attention with awe and silence, so also at
the commencement of philosophy you will see round its doors much
confusion and assurance and prating, some rudely and violently jostling
their way to reputation, but he who once enters in, and sees the great
light, as when shrines are open to view, assumes another air and is
silent and awe-struck, and in humility and decorum follows reason as if
she were a god. And the playful remark of Menedemus seems to suit these
very well. He said that the majority of those who went to school at
Athens became first wise, and then philosophers, after that orators, and
as time went on became ordinary kind of people, the more they had to do
with learning, so much the more laying aside their pride and high
estimate of themselves.

§ XI. Of people that need the help of the physician some, if their tooth
ache or even finger smart, run at once to the doctor, others if they are
feverish send for one and implore his assistance at their own home,
others who are melancholy or crazy or delirious will not sometimes even
see the doctor if he comes to their house, but drive him away, or avoid
him, ignorant through their grievous disease that they are diseased at
all. Similarly of those who have done what is wrong some are
incorrigible, being hostile and indignant and furious at those who
reprove and admonish them, while others are meeker and bear and allow
reproof. Now, when one has done what is wrong, to offer oneself for
reproof, to expose the case and reveal one's wrongdoing, and not to
rejoice if it lies hid, or be satisfied if it is not known, but to make
confession of it and ask for interference and admonishment, is no small
indication of progress in virtue. And so Diogenes said that one who
wished to do what was right ought to seek either a good friend or
red-hot enemy, that either by rebuke or mild entreaty he might flee from
vice. But as long as anyone, making a display of dirt or stains on his
clothes, or a torn shoe, prides himself to outsiders on his freedom from
arrogance, and, by Zeus, thinks himself doing something very smart if he
jeers at himself as a dwarf or hunchback, but wraps up and conceals as
if they were ulcers the inner vileness of his soul and the deformities
of his life, as his envy, his malignity, his littleness, his love of
pleasure, and will not let anyone touch or look at them from fear of
disgrace, such a one has made little progress in virtue, yea rather
none. But he that joins issue with his vices, and shows that he himself
is even more pained and grieved about them than anyone else, or, what is
next best, is able and willing to listen patiently to the reproof of
another and to correct his life accordingly, he seems truly to be
disgusted at his depravity and resolute to divest himself of it. We
ought certainly to be ashamed of and shun every appearance of vice, but
he who is more put about by his vice itself than by the bad reputation
that ensues upon it, will not mind either hearing it spoken against or
even speaking against it himself if it make him a better man. That was a
witty remark of Diogenes to a young man, who when seen in a tavern
retired into the kitchen: "The more," said he, "you retire, the more are
you in the tavern."[281] Even so the more a vicious man denies his vice,
the more does it insinuate itself and master him: as those people
really poor who pretend to be rich get still more poor from their false
display. But he who is really making progress in virtue imitates
Hippocrates, who confessed publicly and put into black and white that he
had made a mistake about the sutures of the skull,[282] for he will
think it monstrous, if that great man declared his mistake, that others
might not fall into the same error, and yet he himself for his own
deliverance from vice cannot bear to be shown he is in the wrong, and to
confess his stupidity and ignorance. Moreover the sayings of Bion and
Pyrrho will test not so much one's progress as a greater and more
perfect habit of virtue. Bion maintained that his friends might think
they had made progress, when they could listen as patiently to abuse as
to such language as the following, "Stranger, you look not like a bad or
foolish person,"[283] "Health and joy go with you, may the gods give you
happiness!"[284] While as to Pyrrho they say, when he was at sea and in
peril from a storm, that he pointed out a little pig that was quietly
enjoying some grain that had been scattered about, and said to his
companions that the man who did not wish to be disturbed by the changes
and chances of life should attain a similar composedness of mind through
reason and philosophy.

§ XII. Look also at the opinion of Zeno, who thought that everybody
might gauge his progress in virtue by his dreams, if he saw himself in
his dreams pleasing himself with nothing disgraceful, and neither doing
nor wishing to do anything dreadful or unjust, but that, as in the clear
depths of a calm and tranquil sea, his fancy and passions were plainly
shown to be under the control of reason. And this had not escaped the
notice of Plato,[285] it seems, who had earlier expressed in form and
outline the part that fancy and unreason played in sleep in the soul
that was by nature tyrannical, "for it attempts incest," he says, "with
its mother, and procures for itself unlawful meats, and gives itself up
to the most abandoned desires, such as in daytime the law through shame
and fear debars people from." As then beasts of burden that have been
well-trained do not, even if their driver let go the reins, attempt to
turn aside and leave the proper road, but go forward orderly as usual,
pursuing their way without stumbling, so those whose unreason has become
obedient and mild and tempered by reason, will not easily wish, either
in dreams or in illnesses, to deal insolently or lawlessly through their
desires, but will keep to their usual habits, which acquire their power
and force by attention. For if the body can by training make itself and
its members so subject to control, that the eyes in sorrow can refrain
from tears, and the heart from palpitating in fear, and the passions can
be calm in the presence of beautiful youths and maidens, is it not far
more likely that the training of the passions and emotions of the soul
will allay, tame down, and mould their propensities even in dreams? A
story is told about the philosopher Stilpo,[286] that he thought he saw
in a dream Poseidon angry with him because he had not sacrificed an ox
to him, as was usual among the Megarians:[287] and that he, not a bit
frightened, said, "What are you talking about, Poseidon? Do you come
here as a peevish boy, because I have not with borrowed money filled the
town with the smell of sacrifice, and have only sacrificed to you out of
what I had at home on a modest scale?" Then he thought that Poseidon
smiled at him, and held out his right hand, and said that for his sake
he would give the Megarians a large shoal of anchovies. Those, then,
that have such pleasant, clear, and painless dreams, and no frightful,
or harsh, or malignant, or untoward apparition, may be said to have
reflections of their progress in virtue; whereas agitation and panics
and ignoble flights, and boyish delights, and lamentations in the case
of sad and strange dreams, are like the waves that break on the coast,
the soul not having yet got its proper composure, but being still in
course of being moulded by opinions and laws, from which it escapes in
dreams as far as possible, so that it is once again set free and open
to the passions. Do you investigate all these points too, as to whether
they are signs of progress in virtue, or of some habit which has already
a settled constancy and strength through reason.

§ XIII. Now since entire freedom from the passions is a great and divine
thing, and progress in virtue seems, as we say, to consist in a certain
remissness and mildness of the passions, we must observe the passions
both in themselves and in reference to one another to gauge the
difference: in themselves as to whether desire, and fear, and rage are
less strong in us now than formerly, through our quickly extinguishing
their violence and heat by reason; and in reference to one another as to
whether we are animated now by modesty more than by fear, and by
emulation more than by envy, and by love of glory rather than by love of
riches, and generally speaking whether--to use the language of
musicians--it is in the Dorian more than in the Lydian measures that we
err either by excess or deficiency,[288] whether we are plainer in our
manner of living or more luxurious, whether we are slower in action or
quicker, whether we admire men and their discourses more than we should
or despise them. For as it is a good sign in diseases if they turn aside
from vital parts of the body, so in the case of people who are making
progress in virtue, when vice seems to shift to milder passions, it is a
sign it will soon die out. When Phrynis added to the seven chords two
chords more, the Ephors asked him which he preferred to let them cut
off, the upper or lower ones;[289] so we must cut off both above and
below, if we mean to attain, to the mean and to due proportion: for
progress in virtue first diminishes the excess and sharpness of the

  "That sharpness for which madmen are so vehement,"

as Sophocles says.

§ XIV. I have already said that it is a very great indication of
progress in virtue to transfer our judgement to action, and not to let
our words remain merely words, but to make deeds of them. A
manifestation of this is in the first place emulation as regards what we
praise, and a zeal to do what we admire, and an unwillingness either to
do or allow what we censure. To illustrate my meaning by an example, it
is probable that all Athenians praised the daring and bravery of
Miltiades; but Themistocles alone said that the trophy of Miltiades
would not let him sleep, but woke him up of a night, and not only
praised and admired him, but manifestly emulated and imitated his
glorious actions. Small, therefore, can we think the progress we have
made, as long as our admiration for those who have done noble things is
barren, and does not of itself incite us to imitate them. For as there
is no strong love without jealousy, so there is no ardent and energetic
praise of virtue, which does not prick and goad one on, and make one not
envious but emulous of what is noble, and desirous to do something
similar. For not only at the discourses of a philosopher ought we, as
Alcibiades said,[290] to be moved in heart and shed tears, but the true
proficient in virtue, comparing his own deeds and actions with those of
the good and perfect man, and grieved at the same time at the knowledge
of his own deficiency, yet rejoicing in hope and desire, and full of
impulses that will not let him rest, is, as Simonides says,

  "Like sucking foal running by side of dam,"[291]

being desirous all but to coalesce with the good man. For it is a
special sign of true progress in virtue to love and admire the
disposition of those whose deeds we emulate, and to resemble them with a
goodwill that ever assigns due honour and praise to them. But whoever
is steeped in contentiousness and envy against his betters, let him know
that he may be pricked on by a jealous desire for glory or power, but
that he neither honours nor admires virtue.

§ XV. Whenever, then, we begin so much to love good men that we deem
happy, "not only," as Plato[292] says, "the temperate man himself, but
also the man who hears the words that flow from his wise lips," and
even admire and are pleased with his figure and walk and look and smile,
and desire to adapt ourselves to his model and to stick closely to him,
then may we think that we are making genuine progress. Still more will
this be the case, if we admire the good not only in prosperity, but like
lovers who admire even the lispings and paleness of those in their
flower,[293] as the tears and dejection of Panthea in her grief and
affliction won the affections of Araspes,[294] so we fear neither the
exile of Aristides, nor the prison of Anaxagoras, nor the poverty of
Socrates, nor the condemnation of Phocion, but think virtue worthy our
love even under such trials, and join her, ever chanting that line of

  "Unto the noble everything is good."[295]

For the enthusiasm that can go so far as not to be discouraged at the
sure prospect of trouble, but admires and emulates what is good even so,
could never be turned away from what is noble by anybody. Such men ever,
whether they have some business to transact, or have taken upon them
some office, or are in some critical conjuncture, put before their eyes
the example of noble men, and consider what Plato would have done on the
occasion, what Epaminondas would have said, how Lycurgus or Agesilaus
would have dealt; that so, adjusting and re-modelling themselves, as it
were, at their mirrors, they may correct any ignoble expression, and
repress any ignoble passion. For as those that have learnt the names of
the Idæan Dactyli[296] make use of them to banish their fear by quietly
repeating them over, so the bearing in mind and remembering good men,
which soon suggests itself forcibly to those who have made some progress
in virtue in all their emotions and difficulties, keeps them upright and
not liable to fall. Let this also then be a sign to you of progress in

§ XVI. In addition to this, not to be too much disturbed, nor to blush,
nor to try and conceal oneself, or make any change in one's dress, on
the sudden appearance of a man of distinction and virtue, but to feel
confident and go and meet such a one, is the confirmation of a good
conscience. It is reported that Alexander, seeing a messenger running up
to him full of joy and holding out his right hand, said, "My good
friend, what are you going to tell me? Has Homer come to life again?"
For he thought that his own exploits required nothing but posthumous
fame.[297] And a young man improving in character instinctively loves
nothing better than to take pride and pleasure in the company of good
and noble men, and to display his house, his table, his wife, his
amusements, his serious pursuits, his spoken or written discourses;
insomuch that he is grieved when he remembers that his father or
guardian died without seeing him in that condition in life, and would
pray for nothing from the gods so much, as that they could come to life
again, and be spectators of his life and actions; as, on the contrary,
those that have neglected their affairs, and come to ruin, cannot look
upon their relatives even in dreams without fear and trembling.

§ XVII. Add, if you please, to what I have already said, as no small
indication of progress in virtue, the thinking no wrong-doing small, but
being on your guard and heed against all. For as people who despair of
ever being rich make no account of small expenses, thinking they will
never make much by adding little to little,[298] but when hope is nearer
fruition, then with wealth increases the love of it,[299] so in things
that have respect to virtue, not he that generally assents to such
sayings as "Why trouble about hereafter?" "If things are bad now, they
will some day be better,"[300] but the man who pays heed to everything,
and is vexed and concerned if vice gets pardon, when it lapses into even
the most trifling wrongdoing, plainly shows that he has already
attained to some degree of purity, and deigns not to contract defilement
from anything whatever. For the idea that we have nothing of any
importance to bring disgrace upon, makes people inclined to what is
little and careless.[301] To those who are building a stone wall or
coping it matters not if they lay on any chance wood or common stone, or
some tombstone that has fallen down, as bad workmen do, heaping and
piling up pell-mell every kind of material; but those who have made some
progress in virtue, whose life "has been wrought on a golden base,"[302]
like the foundation of some holy or royal building, undertake nothing
carelessly, but lay and adjust everything by the line and level of
reason, thinking the remark of Polycletus superlatively good, that that
work is most excellent, where the model stands the test of the

    [249] See Erasmus, Adagia, "Eadem pensari trutina."

    [250] Euripides, "Iphigenia in Tauris," 569.

    [251] See Ovid, "Metamorphoses," xii. 189, sq.

    [252] See Erasmus, "Adagia," p. 1103.

    [253] Compare Shakspere, "Tempest," A. i. Sc. i. 63,
    "And gape at widest to glut him."

    [254] Hesiod, "Works and Days," 361, 362. Quoted again
    by our author, "On Education," § 13.

    [255] "In via ad virtutem qui non progreditur, is non
    stat et manet, sed regreditur."--_Wyttenbach._

    [256] Adopting the reading of Hercher. See Pausanias, x.
    37, where the oracle is somewhat different.

    [257] For the town which parleys surrenders.

    [258] From Homer, "Iliad," xix. 386.

    [259] Compare Aristotle, _Rhetoric_, i. 11. [Greek: kai
    archê de tou erôtos gignetai autê pasin, otan mê monon
    parontos chairôsin, alla kai apontos memnêmenoi erôsin.]

    [260] The line is a Fragment of Sophocles.

    [261] See Hesiod, "Works and Days," 289-292.

    [262] The well-known Cynic philosopher.

    [263] Bergk. fr. 15. Compare Homer, "Iliad," vi. 339.
    [Greek: nikê d' epameibetai andras].

    [264] We are told by Diogenes Läertius, v. 37, that
    Theophrastus had 2000 hearers sometimes at once.

    [265] "Republic," vii. p. 539, B.

    [266] Sentences borrowed from some author or other,
    such, as we still possess from the hands of Hermogenes
    and Aphthonius; compare the collection of bon-mots of
    Greek courtesans in Athenæus.

    [267] A reference to Æsop's Fable, [Greek: Leôn kai
    Halôpêz]. Cf. Horace, "Epistles," i. i. 73-75.

    [268] This passage is alluded to also in "On Love to
    one's Offspring." § ii.

    [269] Madvig's text.

    [270] Thucydides, i. 18.

    [271] Homer, "Iliad," ix. 323, 324. Quoted also in "On
    Love to One's Offspring," § ii.

    [272] The remark about Demosthenes has somehow slipped
    out, as Wyttenbach has suggested.

    [273] Does this refer to [Greek: Pêlêiadeô] before
    [Greek: Hachilêos] in "Iliad," i. 1?

    [274] An allusion to some passage in a Play that has not
    come down to us.

    [275] Compare our Author, _De Audiendis Poetis_, § xi.
    [Greek: hôsper ho Agêsilaos ouk hypemeinen hypo tou
    kalou philêthênai prosiontos].

    [276] Reading with Madvig and Hercher, [Greek: to gar
    auton], sq.

    [277] Literally _cork-like_, so vain, empty. So Horace,
    "levior cortice," "Odes," iii. 9, 22.

    [278] Marks of a philosopher among the ancients. Compare
    our Author, "How one may discern a flatterer from a
    friend," § vii.

    [279] "Odyssey," xvi. 187.

    [280] Æschylus, "Toxotides," Fragm. 224. Quoted again by
    our author, "On Love," § xxi.

    [281] "Turpe habitum fuisse in caupona conspici, et hoc
    exemplo apparet, et alia sunt indicia. Isocrates Orat.
    Areopagitica laudans antiquorum Atheniensium mores, p.
    257: [Greek: en kapêleiô de phagein ê piein oudeis han
    oiketês epieikês etolmêse]: quem locum citans Athenæus
    alia etiam adfert xiii. p. 566, F."--_Wyttenbach._

    [282] Wyttenbach compares Quintilian, "Institut. Orat."
    iii. 6, p. 255: "Nam et Hippocrates clarus arte medicinæ
    videtur honestissime fecisse, qui quosdam errores suos,
    ne posteri errarent, confessus est."

    [283] Homer, "Odyssey," vi. 187.

    [284] Homer, "Odyssey," xxiv. 402.

    [285] Plato, "Republic," ix. p. 571, D.

    [286] A somewhat similar story about Stilpo is told in
    Athenæus, x. p. 423, D.

    [287] So Haupt and Herscher very ingeniously for [Greek:

    [288] Adopting the suggestion of Wyttenbach as to the
    reading. The Dorian measure was grave and severe, the
    Lydian soft and effeminate.

    [289] See our author, "Apophthegmata Laconica," p. 220

    [290] Plato, "Symposium," p. 25, E.

    [291] This line is quoted again by our author, "On Moral
    Virtue," § vii.

    [292] Plato, "Laws," iv. p. 711, E.

    [293] See those splendid lines of Lucretius, iv.

    [294] "Res valde celebrata ex Institutione Cyri
    Xenophontea, v. 1, 2; vi. 1, 17."--_Wyttenbach._

    [295] This line is very like a Fragment in the "Danae"
    of Euripides. Dind. (328).

    [296] On these see Pausanias, v. 7.

    [297] Such as Homer could have brought. Compare Horace,
    "Odes," iv. ix. 25-28; and Cicero, "pro Archia," x.
    "Magnus ille Alexander--cum in Sigeo ad Achillis tumulum
    adstitisset, O fortunate, inquit, adolescens, qui tuæ
    virtutis Homerum præconem inveneris."

    [298] Contrary to Hesiod's saw, "Works and Days," 361,

    [299] So Juvenal, xiv. 138-140.

    [300] Like Horace's "Non si male nunc, et olim Sic
    erit." "Odes," ii. x. 16, 17.

    [301] _Noblesse oblige_ in fact.

    [302] Pindar, Frag. 206.

    [303] Like Horace's _factus ad unguem_, because the
    sculptor tries its polish and the niceness of the joints
    by drawing his nail over the surface. Casaub. Pers. i.
    64; Horace, "Sat." i. v. 32, 33; A. P. 294; Erasmus,
    "Adagia," p. 507.


§ I. ... He who gets a dowry with his wife sells himself for it, as
Euripides says,[305] but his gains are few and uncertain; but he who
does not go all on fire through many a funeral pile, but through a regal
pyre, full of panting and fear and sweat got from travelling over the
sea as a merchant, has the wealth of Tantalus, but cannot enjoy it owing
to his want of leisure. For that Sicyonian horse-breeder was wise, who
gave Agamemnon as a present a swift mare, "that he should not follow him
to wind-swept Ilium, but delight himself at home,"[306] in the quiet
enjoyment of his abundant riches and painless leisure. But nowadays
courtiers, and people who think they have a turn for affairs, thrust
themselves forward of their own accord uninvited into courts and
toilsome escorts and bivouacs, that they may get a horse, or brooch, or
some such piece of good luck. "But his wife is left behind in Phylace,
and tears her cheeks in her sorrow, and his house is only half complete
without him,"[307] while he is dragged about, and wanders about, and
wastes his time in idle hopes, and has to put up with much insult. And
even if he gets any of those things he desires, giddy and dizzy at
Fortune's rope-dance, he seeks retirement, and deems those happy who
live obscure and in security, while they again look up admiringly at him
who soars so high above their heads.[308]

§ II. Vice has universally an ill effect on everybody, being in itself a
sufficient producer of infelicity, needing no instruments nor ministers.
For tyrants, anxious to make those whom they punish wretched, keep
executioners and torturers, and contrive branding-irons and other
instruments of torture to inspire fear[309] in the brute soul, whereas
vice attacks the soul without any such apparatus, and crushes and
dejects it, and fills a man with sorrow, and lamentation, and
melancholy, and remorse. Here is a proof of what I say. Many are silent
under mutilation, and endure scourging or torture at the hand of despots
or tyrants without uttering a word, whenever their soul, abating the
pain by reason, forcibly as it were checks and represses them: but you
can never quiet anger or smother grief, or persuade a timid person not
to run away, or one suffering from remorse not to cry out, nor tear his
hair, nor smite his thigh. Thus vice is stronger than fire and sword.

§ III. You know of course that cities, when they desire to publicly
contract for the building of temples or colossuses, listen to the
estimates of the contractors who compete for the job, and bring their
plans and charges, and finally select the contractor who will do the
work at least expense, and best, and quickest. Let us suppose then that
we publicly contract to make the life of man miserable, and take the
estimates of Fortune and Vice for this object. Fortune shall come
forward, provided with all sorts of instruments and costly apparatus to
make life miserable and wretched. She shall come with robberies and
wars, and the blood-guiltiness of tyrants, and storms at sea, and
lightning drawn down from the sky, she shall compound hemlock, she shall
bring swords, she shall levy an army of informers, she shall cause
fevers to break out, she shall rattle fetters and build prisons. It is
true that most of these things are owing to Vice rather than Fortune,
but let us suppose them all to come from Fortune. And let Vice stand by
naked, without any external things against man, and let her ask Fortune
how she will make man unhappy and dejected. Fortune, dost thou threaten
poverty? Metrocles laughs at thee, who sleeps during winter among the
sheep, in summer in the vestibules of temples, and challenges the king
of the Persians,[310] who winters at Babylon, and summers in Media, to
vie with him in happiness. Dost thou bring slavery, and bondage, and
sale? Diogenes despises thee, who cried out, as he was being sold by
some robbers, "Who will buy a master?" Dost thou mix a cup of poison?
Didst not thou offer such a one to Socrates? And cheerfully, and mildly,
without fear, without changing colour or countenance, he calmly drank it
up: and when he was dead, all who survived deemed him happy, as sure to
have a divine lot in Hades. And as to thy fire, did not Decius, the
general of the Romans, anticipate it for himself, having piled up a
funeral pyre between the two armies, and sacrificed himself to Cronos,
dedicating himself for the supremacy of his country? And the chaste and
loving wives of the Indians strive and contend with one another for the
fire, and she that wins the day and gets burnt with the body of her
husband, is pronounced happy by the rest, and her praises sung. And of
the wise men in that part of the world no one is esteemed or pronounced
happy, who does not in his lifetime, in good health and in full
possession of all his faculties, separate soul from body by fire, and
emerge pure from flesh, having purged away his mortal part. Or wilt thou
reduce a man from a splendid property, and house, and table, and
sumptuous living, to a threadbare coat and wallet, and begging of daily
bread? Such was the beginning of happiness to Diogenes, of freedom and
glory to Crates. Or wilt thou nail a man on a cross, or impale him on a
stake? What cares Theodorus whether he rots above ground or below? Such
was the happy mode of burial amongst the Scythians,[311] and among the
Hyrcanians dogs, among the Bactrians birds, devour according to the laws
the dead bodies of those who have made a happy end.

§ IV. Who then are made unhappy by these things? Those who have no
manliness or reason, the enervated and untrained, who retain the
opinions they had as children. Fortune therefore does not produce
perfect infelicity, unless Vice co-operate. For as a thread saws through
a bone that has been soaked in ashes and vinegar, and as people bend and
fashion ivory only when it has been made soft and supple by beer, and
cannot under any other circumstances, so Fortune, lighting upon what is
in itself faulty and soft through Vice, hollows it out and wounds it.
And as the Parthian juice, though hurtful to no one else nor injurious
to those who touch it or carry it about, yet if it be communicated to a
wounded man straightway kills him through his previous susceptibility to
receive its essence, so he who will be upset in soul by Fortune must
have some secret internal ulcer or sore to make external things so
piteous and lamentable.

§ V. Does then Vice need Fortune to bring about infelicity? By no means.
She lashes not up the rough and stormy sea, she girds not lonely
mountain passes with robbers lying in wait by the way, she makes not
clouds of hail to burst on the fruitful plains, she suborns not Meletus
or Anytus or Callixenus as accusers, she takes not away wealth, excludes
not people from the prætorship to make them wretched; but she scares the
rich, the well-to-do, and great heirs; by land and sea she insinuates
herself and sticks to people, infusing lust, inflaming with anger,
afflicting them with superstitious fears, tearing them in pieces with

    [304] The beginning of this short Treatise is lost. Nor
    is the first paragraph at all clear. We have to guess
    somewhat at the meaning.

    [305] In a fragment of the "Phaethon." Compare also "On
    Education," § 19.

    [306] "Iliad," xxiii. 297, 298.

    [307] "Iliad," ii. 700, 701.

    [308] 'Tis ever so. Compare Horace, "Sat." i. i. 1-14.

    [309] Adopting Reiske's reading.

    [310] Proverbial for extreme good fortune. Cf. Horace,
    "Odes," iii. ix. 4, "Persarum vigui rege beatior."

    [311] See Herodotus, iv. 72.


§ I. Homer, looking at the mortality of all living creatures, and
comparing them with one another in their lives and habits, gave vent to
his thoughts in the words,

  "Of all the things that on the earth do breathe,
   Or creep, man is by far the wretchedest;"[312]

assigning to man an unhappy pre-eminence in extreme misfortune. But let
us, assuming that man is, as thus publicly declared, supreme in
infelicity and the most wretched of all living creatures, compare him
with himself, in the estimate of his misery dividing body and soul, not
idly but in a very necessary way, that we may learn whether our life is
more wretched owing to Fortune or through our own fault. For disease is
engendered in the body by nature, but vice and depravity in the soul is
first its own doing, then its settled condition. And it is no slight aid
to tranquillity of mind if what is bad be capable of cure, and lighter
and less violent.

§ II. The fox in Æsop[313] disputing with the leopard as to their
respective claims to variety, the latter showed its body and appearance
all bright and spotted, while the tawny skin of the former was dirty and
not pleasant to look at. Then the fox said, "Look inside me, sir judge,
and you will see that I am more full of variety than my opponent,"
referring to his trickiness and versatility in shifts. Let us similarly
say to ourselves, Many diseases and disorders, good sir, thy body
naturally produces of itself, many also it receives from without; but if
thou lookest at thyself within thou wilt find, to borrow the language of
Democritus, a varied and susceptible storehouse and treasury of what is
bad, not flowing in from without, but having as it were innate and
native springs, which vice, being exceedingly rich and abundant in
passion, produces. And if diseases are detected in the body by the pulse
and by pallors and flushes,[314] and are indicated by heats and sudden
pains, while the diseases of the mind, bad as they are, escape the
notice of most people, the latter are worse because they deprive the
sufferer of the perception of them. For reason if it be sound perceives
the diseases of the body, but he that is diseased in his mind cannot
judge of his sufferings, for he suffers in the very seat of judgement.
We ought to account therefore the first and greatest of the diseases of
the mind that ignorance,[315] whereby vice is incurable for most people,
dwelling with them and living and dying with them. For the beginning of
getting rid of disease is the perception of it, which leads the sufferer
to the necessary relief, but he who through not believing he is ill
knows not what he requires refuses the remedy even when it is close at
hand. For amongst the diseases of the body those are the worst which are
accompanied by stupor, as lethargies, headaches, epilepsies, apoplexies,
and those fevers which raise inflammation to the pitch of madness, and
disturb the brain as in the case of a musical instrument,

  "And move the mind's strings hitherto untouched."[316]

§ III. And so doctors wish a man not to be ill, or if he is ill to be
ignorant of it, as is the case with all diseases of the soul. For
neither those who are out of their minds, nor the licentious, nor the
unjust think themselves faulty--some even think themselves perfect. For
no one ever yet called a fever health, or consumption a good condition
of body, or gout swift-footedness, or paleness a good colour; but many
call anger manliness, and love friendship, and envy competition, and
cowardice prudence. Then again those that are ill in body send for
doctors, for they are conscious of what they need to counteract their
ailments; but those who are ill in mind avoid philosophers, for they
think themselves excellent in the very matters in which they come short.
And it is on this account that we maintain that ophthalmia is a lesser
evil than madness, and gout than frenzy. For the person ill in body is
aware of it and calls loudly for the doctor, and when he comes allows
him to anoint his eye, to open a vein, or to plaster up his head; but
you hear mad Agave in her frenzy not knowing her dearest ones, but
crying out, "We bring from the mountain to the halls a young stag
recently torn limb from limb, a fortunate capture."[317] Again he who is
ill in body straightway gives up and goes to bed and remains there
quietly till he is well, and if he toss and tumble about a little when
the fit is on him, any of the people who are by saying to him,

  Stay in the bed, poor wretch, and take your ease,"[318]

restrain him and check him. But those who suffer from a diseased brain
are then most active and least at rest, for impulses bring about action,
and the passions are vehement impulses. And so they do not let the mind
rest, but when the man most requires quiet and silence and retirement,
then is he dragged into the open air, and becomes the victim of anger,
contentiousness, lust, and grief, and is compelled to do and say many
lawless things unsuitable to the occasion.

§ IV. As therefore the storm which prevents one's putting into harbour
is more dangerous than the storm which will not let one sail, so those
storms of the soul are more formidable which do not allow a man to take
in sail, or to calm his reason when it is disturbed, but without a pilot
and without ballast, in perplexity and uncertainty through contrary and
confusing courses, he rushes headlong and falls into woeful shipwreck,
and shatters his life. So that from these points of view it is worse to
be diseased in mind than body, for the latter only suffer, but the
former do ill as well as suffer ill. But why need I speak of our various
passions? The very times bring them to our mind. Do you see yon great
and promiscuous crowd jostling against one another and surging round the
rostrum and forum? They have not assembled here to sacrifice to their
country's gods, nor to share in one another's rites; they are not
bringing to Ascræan Zeus the firstfruits of Lydian produce,[319] nor are
they celebrating in honour of Dionysus the Bacchic orgies on festival
nights with common revellings; but a mighty plague stirring up Asia in
annual cycles drives them here for litigation and suits at law at stated
times: and the mass of business, like the confluence of mighty rivers,
has inundated one forum, and festers and teems with ruiners and ruined.
What fevers, what agues, do not these things cause? What obstructions,
what irruptions of blood into the air-vessels, what distemperature of
heat, what overflow of humours, do not result? If you examine every suit
at law, as if it were a person, as to where it originated, where it came
from, you will find that one was produced by obstinate temper, another
by frantic love of strife, a third by some sordid desire.[320]

    [312] Homer, "Iliad," xvii. 446, 447.

    [313] See the Fable [Greek: Alôpêx kai Pardalis]. No.
    42, Ed. Halme.

    [314] Reading with Wyttenbach, [Greek: ôchriasesi kai

    [315] Forte [Greek: agnoian]."--_Wyttenbach._ The
    ordinary reading is [Greek: anoian]. "E coelo descendit
    [Greek: gnôthi seauton]," says Juvenal truly, xi. 27.

    [316] Compare the image in Shakspere, "Hamlet," A. iii.
    Sc. I. 165, 166.

      "Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
       Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh."

    [317] Euripides, "Bacchæ," 1170-1172. Agave's treatment
    of her son Pentheus was a stock philosophical
    comparison. See for example Horace, ii. "Sat." iii. 303,
    304, and context.

    [318] Euripides, "Orestes," 258.

    [319] "_Aurum_ puta. Pactolus enim aurum fert. Videtur
    dictio e Pindaro desumta esse."--_Reiske._

    [320] "Libellus hic fine carere videtur. Quare autem
    opusculum hoc Plutarcho indignum atque suppositum visum
    Xylandro fuerit, non intelligo."--_Reiske._


§ I. Menon the Thessalian, who thought he was a perfect adept in
discourse, and, to borrow the language of Empedocles, "had attained the
heights of wisdom," was asked by Socrates, what virtue was, and upon his
answering quickly and glibly, that virtue was a different thing in boy
and old man, and in man and woman, and in magistrate and private person,
and in master and servant, "Capital," said Socrates, "you were asked
about one virtue, but you have raised up a whole swarm of them,"[321]
conjecturing not amiss that the man named many because he knew not one.
Might not someone jeer at us in the same way, as being afraid, when we
have not yet one firm friendship, that we shall without knowing it fall
upon an abundance of friends? It is very much the same as if a man
maimed and blind should be afraid of becoming hundred-handed like
Briareus or all eyes like Argus. And yet we wonderfully praise the young
man in Menander, who said that he thought anyone wonderfully good, if he
had even the shadow of a friend.[322]

§ II. But among many other things what stands chiefly in the way of
getting a friend is the desire for many friends, like a licentious woman
who, through giving her favours indiscriminately, cannot retain her old
lovers, who are neglected and drop off;[323] or rather like the
foster-child of Hypsipyle, "sitting in the meadow and plucking flower
after flower, snatching at each prize with gladsome heart, insatiable in
its childish delight,"[324] so in the case of each of us, owing to our
love of novelty and fickleness, the recent flower ever attracts, and
makes us inconstant, frequently laying the foundations of many
friendships and intimacies that come to nothing, neglecting in love of
what we eagerly pursue what we have already possession of. To begin
therefore with the domestic hearth,[325] as the saying is, with the
traditions of life that time has handed down to us about constant
friends, let us take the witness and counsel of antiquity, according to
which friendships go in pairs, as in the cases of Theseus and Pirithous,
Achilles and Patroclus, Orestes and Pylades, Phintias and Damon,
Epaminondas and Pelopidas. For friendship is a creature that goes in
pairs, and is not gregarious, or crow-like,[326] and to think a friend
a second self, and to call him companion as it were second one,[327]
shows that friendship is a dual relation. For we can get neither many
slaves nor many friends at small expense. What then is the
purchase-money of friendship? Benevolence and complaisance conjoined
with virtue, and yet nature has nothing more rare than these. And so to
love or be loved very much cannot find place with many persons; for as
rivers that have many channels and cuttings have a weak and thin stream,
so excessive love in the soul if divided out among many is weakened.
Thus love for their young is most strongly implanted in those that bear
only one, as Homer calls a beloved son "the only one, the child of old
age,"[328] that is, when the parents neither have nor are likely to have
another child.

§ III. Not that we insist on only one friend, but among the rest there
should be one eminently so, like a child of old age, who according to
that well-known proverb has eaten a bushel of salt with one,[329] not as
nowadays many so-called friends contract friendship from drinking
together once, or playing at ball together, or playing together with
dice, or passing the night together at some inn, or meeting at the
wrestling-school or in the market. And in the houses of rich and leading
men people congratulate them on their many friends, when they see the
large and bustling crowd of visitors and handshakers and retainers: and
yet they see more flies in their kitchens, and as the flies only come
for the dainties, so they only dance attendance for what they can get.
And since true friendship has three main requirements, virtue, as a
thing good; and familiarity, as a thing pleasant; and use, as a thing
serviceable; for we ought to choose a friend with judgement, and rejoice
in his company, and make use of him in need; and all these things are
prejudicial to abundance of friends, especially judgement, which is the
most important point; we must first consider, if it is impossible in a
short time to test dancers who are to form a chorus, or rowers who are
to pull together, or slaves who are to act as stewards of estates, or
as tutors of one's sons, far more difficult is it to meet with many
friends who will take off their coats to aid you in every fortune, each
of whom "offers his services to you in prosperity, and does not object
to share your adversity." For neither does a ship encounter so many
storms at sea, nor do they fortify places with walls, or harbours with
defences and earthworks, in the expectation of so many and great
dangers, as friendship tested well and soundly promises defence and
refuge from. But if friends slip in without being tested, like money
proved to be bad,

  "Those who shall lose such friends may well be glad,
   And those who have such pray that they may lose them."[330]

Yet is it difficult and by no means easy to avoid and bring to a close
an unpleasant friendship: as in the case of food which is injurious and
harmful, we cannot retain it on the stomach without damage and hurt, nor
can we expel it as it was taken into the mouth, but only in a putrid
mixed up and changed form, so a bad friend is troublesome both to others
and himself if retained, and if he be got rid of forcibly it is with
hostility and hatred, and like the voiding of bile.

§ IV. We ought not, therefore, lightly to welcome or strike up an
intimate friendship with any chance comers, or love those who attach
themselves to us, but attach ourselves to those who are worthy of our
friendship. For what is easily got is not always desirable: and we pass
over and trample upon heather and brambles that stick to us[331] on our
road to the olive and vine: so also is it good not always to make a
friend of the person who is expert in twining himself around us, but
after testing them to attach ourselves to those who are worthy of our
affection and likely to be serviceable to us.

§ V. As therefore Zeuxis, when some people accused him of painting
slowly, replied, "I admit that I do, but then I paint to last," so ought
we to test for a long time the friendship and intimacy that we take up
and mean to keep. Is it not easy then to put to the test many friends,
and to associate with many friends at the same time, or is this
impossible? For intimacy is the full enjoyment of friendship, and most
pleasant is companying with and spending the day with a friend. "Never
again shall we alive, apart from dear friends, sit and take counsel
alone together."[332] And Menelaus said about Odysseus, "Nor did
anything ever divide or separate us, who loved and delighted in one
another, till death's black cloud overshadowed us."[333] The contrary
effect seems to be produced by abundance of friends. For the friendship
of a pair of friends draws them together and puts them together and
holds them together, and is heightened by intercourse and kindliness,
"as when the juice of the fig curdles and binds the white milk,"[334] as
Empedocles says, such unity and complete union will such a friendship
produce. Whereas having many friends puts people apart and severs and
disunites them, by transferring and shifting the tie of friendship too
frequently, and does not admit of a mixture and welding of goodwill by
the diffusing and compacting of intimacy. And this causes at once an
inequality and difficulty in respect of acts of kindness, for the uses
of friendship become inoperative by being dispersed over too wide an
area. "One man is acted upon by his character, another by his
reflection."[335] For neither do our natures and impulses always incline
in the same directions, nor are our fortunes in life identical, for
opportunities of action are, like the winds, favourable to some,
unfavourable to others.

§ VI. Moreover, if all our friends want to do the same things at the
same time, it will be difficult to satisfy them all, whether they desire
to deliberate, or to act in state affairs, or wish for office, or are
going to entertain guests. If again at the same time they chance to be
engaged in different occupations and interests and ask you all together,
one who is going on a voyage that you will sail with him, another who is
going to law that you will be his advocate, another who is going to try
a case that you will try it with him, another who is selling or buying
that you will go into partnership with him, another who is going to
marry that you will join him in the sacrifice, another who is going to
bury a relation that you will be one of the mourners,

  "The town is full of incense, and at once
   Resounds with triumph-songs and bitter wailing,"[336]

that is the fruit of many friends; to oblige all is impossible, to
oblige none is absurd, and to help one and offend many is grievous.

  "No lover ever yet fancied neglect."[337]

And yet people bear patiently and without anger the carelessness and
neglect of friends, if they get from them such excuses as "I forgot," "I
did it unwittingly." But he who says, "I did not assist you in your
lawsuit, for I was assisting another friend," or "I did not visit you
when you had your fever, for I was helping so-and-so who was
entertaining his friends," excusing himself for his inattention to one
by his attention to another, so far from making the offence less, even
adds jealousy to his neglect. But most people in friendship regard only,
it seems, what can be got out of it, overlooking what will be asked in
return, and not remembering that he, who has had many of his own
requests granted, must oblige others in turn by granting their requests.
And as Briareus with his hundred hands had to feed fifty stomachs, and
was therefore no better provided than we are, who with two hands have to
supply the necessities of only one belly, so in having many friends[338]
one has to do many services for them, one has to share in their anxiety,
and to toil and moil with them. For we must not listen to Euripides when
he says, "mortals ought to join in moderate friendships for one another,
and not love with all their heart, that the spell may be soon broken,
and the friendship may either be ended or become closer at will,"[339]
that so it may be adjusted to our requirements, like the sail of a ship
that we can either slacken or haul tight. But let us transfer,
Euripides, these lines of yours to enmities, and bid people make their
animosities moderate, and not hate with all their heart, that their
hatred, and wrath, and querulousness, and suspicions, may be easily
broken. Recommend rather for our consideration that saying of
Pythagoras, "Do not give many your right hand,"[340] that is, do not
make many friends, do not go in for a common and vulgar friendship,
which is sure to cause anyone much trouble; for its sharing in others'
anxieties and griefs and labours and dangers is quite intolerable to
free and noble natures. And that was a true saying of the wise
Chilo[341] to one who told him he had no enemy, "Neither," said he, "do
you seem to me to have a friend." For enmities inevitably accompany and
are involved in friendships.

§ VII. It is impossible I say not to share with a friend in his injuries
and disgraces and enmities, for enemies at once suspect and hate the
friend of their enemies, and even friends are often envious and jealous
and carp at him. As then the oracle given to Timesias about his colony
foretold him, "that his swarm of bees would soon be followed by a swarm
of wasps," so those that seek a swarm of friends have sometimes lighted
unawares on a wasp's-nest of enemies. And the remembrance of wrongs done
by an enemy and the kindness of a friend do not weigh in the same
balance. See how Alexander treated the friends and intimates of Philotas
and Parmenio, how Dionysius treated those of Dion, Nero those of
Plautus, Tiberius those of Sejanus, torturing and putting them to death.
For as neither the gold nor rich robes of Creon's daughter[342] availed
her or her sire, but the flame that burst out suddenly involved him in
the same fate as herself, as he ran up to embrace her and rescue her, so
some friends, though they have had no enjoyment out of their friends'
prosperity, are involved in their misfortunes. And this is especially
the case with philosophers and kind people, as Theseus, when his friend
Pirithous was punished and imprisoned, "was also bound in fetters not
of brass."[343] And Thucydides tells us that during the plague at Athens
those that most displayed their virtue perished with their friends that
were ill, for they neglected their own lives in going to visit

§ VIII. We ought not therefore to be too lavish with our virtue, binding
it together and implicating it in various people's fortunes, but we
ought to preserve our friendship for those who are worthy of it, and are
capable of reciprocating it. For this is indeed the greatest argument
against many friends that friendship is originated by similarity. For
seeing that even the brutes can hardly be forced to mix with those that
are unlike themselves, but crouch down, and show their dislike, and run
away, while they mix freely with those that are akin to them and have a
similar nature, and gently and gladly make friends with one another
then, how is it possible that there should be friendship between people
differing in characters and temperaments and ideas of life? For harmony
on the harp or lyre is attained by notes in unison and not in unison,
sharp and flat somehow or other producing concord, but in the harmony of
friendship there must be no unlike, or uneven, or unequal element, but
from all alike must come agreement in opinions and wishes and feeling,
as if one soul were put into several bodies.

§ IX. What man then is so industrious, so changeable, and so versatile,
as to be able to make himself like and adapt himself to many different
persons, and not to laugh at the advice of Theognis, "Imitate the
ingenuity of the polypus, that takes the colour of whatever stone it
sticks to."[345] And yet the changes in the polypus do not go deep but
are only on the surface, which, from its thickness or thinness takes the
impression of everything that approaches it, whereas friends endeavour
to be like one another in character, and feeling, and language, and
pursuits, and disposition. It requires a not very fortunate or very good
Proteus,[346] able by jugglery to assume various forms, to be
frequently at the same time a student with the learned, and ready to
try a fall with wrestlers, or to go a hunting with people fond of the
chase, or to get drunk with tipplers, or to go a canvassing with
politicians, having no fixed character of his own.[347] And as the
natural philosophers say of unformed and colourless matter when
subjected to external change, that it is now fire, now water, now air,
now solid earth, so the soul suitable for many friendships must be
impressionable, and versatile, and pliant, and changeable. But
friendship requires a steady constant and unchangeable character, a
person that is uniform in his intimacy. And so a constant friend is a
thing rare and hard to find.

    [321] Plato, "Men." p. 71 E.

    [322] Quoted more fully by our author, "De Fraterno
    Amore," § iii.

    [323] "Eadem comparatione utitur Lucianus in Toxari T.
    ii. p. 351: [Greek: hostis an polyphilos hê homoios
    hêmin dokei tais koinais tautais kai moicheuomenais
    gynaixi; kai oiometh' ouketh' homoiôs ischyran tên
    philian autou einai pros pollas eunoias

    [324] From the "Hypsipyle" of Euripides.

    [325] A well-known proverb for beginning at the
    beginning. Aristophanes, "Vespæ." 846; Plato,
    "Euthryphro," 3 A; Strabo, 9.

    [326] An allusion to the well-known proverb, [Greek:
    koloios poti koloion]. See Erasmus, "Adagia," p. 1644.

    [327] The paronomasia is on [Greek: hetairos, heteros].

    [328] "Iliad," ix. 482; "Odyssey," xvi. 19.

    [329] Cf. Cicero, "De Amicitia," xix.

    [330] Sophocles, Fragm. 741. Quoted again by our author,
    "On Love," § xxiii.

    [331] For the image compare Lucio's speech, Shakspere,
    "Measure for Measure," A. iv. Sc. iii. 189, 190: "Nay,
    friar, I am a kind of burr; I shall stick."

    [332] "Iliad," xxiii. 77, 78.

    [333] "Odyssey," iv. 178-180.

    [334] "Iliad," v. 902, altered somewhat.

    [335] Bergk. p. 1344^3.

    [336] Sophocles, "Oedipus Tyrannus," 4, 5. Quoted again
    "On Moral Virtue," § vi.

    [337] A line from Menander. Quoted again "De Fraterno
    Amore," § xx.

    [338] Reading with Halm and Hercher [Greek: en tôi
    pollois philois chrêsthai.]

    [339] Euripides, "Hippolytus," 253-257, where Dindorf
    and Hercher agree in the reading.

    [340] Compare "On Education," § xvii.

    [341] Chilo was one of the Seven Wise Men. See
    Pausanias, iii. 16; X. 24.

    [342] For the circumstances see Euripides, "Medea," 1136

    [343] For the friendship of Theseus and Pirithous, see
    Pausanias, i. 17; x. 29. The line is from Euripides,
    "Pirithous," Fragm. 591. Cf. "On Shyness," § x.

    [344] Thucydides, ii. 51.

    [345] Bergk. p. 500^3.

    [346] On Proteus, see Verg. "Georg." iv. 387 sq.; Ovid,
    "Art." i. 761; "Met." ii. 9; "Fasti," i. 367 sq., and
    especially Horace, "Epistles," i. i. 90: "Quo teneam
    vultus mutantem Protea nodo?"

    [347] Literally, "having no hearth of character," the
    hearth being an emblem of stability. Compare "How One
    may Discern a Flatterer from a Friend," § vii., where
    the same image is employed.


§ I. Plato says,[348] Antiochus Philopappus, that all men pardon the man
who acknowledges that he is excessively fond of himself, but that there
is among many other defects this very grave one in self-love, that by it
a man becomes incapable of being a just and impartial judge about
himself, for love is blind in regard to the loved object, unless a
person has learnt and accustomed himself to honour and pursue what is
noble rather than his own selfish interests. This gives a great field
for the flatterer in friendship, who finds a wonderful base of
operations in our self-love, which makes each person his own first and
greatest flatterer, and easily admits a flatterer from without, who will
be, so he thinks and hopes, both a witness and confirmer of his good
opinion of himself. For he that lies open to the reproach of being fond
of flatterers is very fond of himself, and owing to his goodwill to
himself wishes to possess all good qualities, and thinks he actually
does; the wish is not ridiculous, but the thought is misleading and
requires a good deal of caution. And if truth is a divine thing, and,
according to Plato,[349] the beginning of all good things both to the
gods and men, the flatterer is likely to be an enemy to the gods, and
especially to Apollo, for he always sets himself against that famous
saying, "Know thyself,"[350] implanting in everybody's mind self-deceit
and ignorance of his own good or bad qualities, thus making his good
points defective and imperfect, and his bad points altogether

§ II. If however, as is the case with most other bad things, the
flatterer attacked only or chiefly ignoble or worthless persons, the
evil would not be so mischievous or so difficult to guard against. But
since, as wood-worms breed most in soft and sweet wood, those whose
characters are honourable and good and equitable encourage and support
the flatterer most,--and moreover, as Simonides says, "rearing of horses
does not go with the oil-flask,[351] but with fruitful fields," so we
see that flattery does not join itself to the poor, the obscure, or
those without means, but is the snare and bane of great houses and
estates, and often overturns kingdoms and principalities,--it is a
matter of no small importance, needing much foresight, to examine the
question, that so flattery may be easily detected, and neither injure
nor discredit friendship. For just as lice leave dying persons, and
abandon bodies when the blood on which they feed is drying up, so one
never yet saw flatterers dancing attendance on dry and cold poverty, but
they fasten on wealth and position and there get fat, but speedily
decamp if reverses come. But we ought not to wait to experience that,
which would be unprofitable, or rather injurious and dangerous. For not
to find friends at a time when you want them is hard, as also not to be
able to exchange an inconstant and bad friend for a constant and good
one. For a friend should be like money tried before being required, not
found faulty in our need. For we ought not to have our wits about us
only when the mischief is done, but we ought to try and prevent the
flatterer doing any harm to us: for otherwise we shall be in the same
plight as people who test deadly poisons by first tasting them, and kill
or nearly kill themselves in the experiment. We do not praise such, nor
again all those who, looking at their friend simply from the point of
view of decorum and utility, think that they can detect all agreeable
and pleasant companions as flatterers in the very act. For a friend
ought not to be disagreeable or unpleasant, nor ought friendship to be a
thing high and mighty with sourness and austerity, but even its decorous
deportment ought to be attractive and winning,[352] for by it

  "The Graces and Desire have pitched their tents,"[353]

and not only to a person in misfortune "is it sweet to look into the
eyes of a friendly person," as Euripides[354] says, but no less does it
bring pleasure and charm in good fortune, than when it relieves the
sorrows and difficulties of adversity. And as Evenus said "fire was the
best sauce,"[355] so the deity, mixing up friendship with life, has made
everything bright and sweet and acceptable by its presence and the
enjoyment it brings. How else indeed could the flatterer insinuate
himself by the pleasure he gives, unless he knew that friendship
admitted the pleasurable element? It would be impossible to say. But
just as spurious and mock gold only imitates the brightness and glitter
of real gold, so the flatterer seems to imitate the pleasantness and
agreeableness of the real friend, and to exhibit himself ever merry and
bright, contradicting and opposing nothing. We must not however on that
account suspect all who praise as simple flatterers. For friendship
requires praise as much as censure on the proper occasion. Indeed
peevishness and querulousness are altogether alien to friendship and
social life: but when goodwill bestows praise ungrudgingly and readily
upon good actions, people endure also easily and without pain admonition
and plainspeaking, believing and continuing to love the person who took
such pleasure in praising, as if now he only blamed out of necessity.

§ III. It is difficult then, someone may say, to distinguish between the
flatterer and the friend, if they differ neither in the pleasure they
give nor in the praise they bestow; for as to services and attentions
you may often see friendship outstripped by flattery. Certainly it is
so, I should reply, if we are trying to find the genuine flatterer who
handles his craft with cleverness and art, but not if, like most people,
we consider those persons flatterers who are called their own
oil-flask-carriers and table-men, men who begin to talk, as one said,
the moment their hands have been washed for dinner,[356] whose
servility, ribaldry, and want of all decency, is apparent at the first
dish and glass. It did not of course require very much discrimination to
detect Melanthius the parasite of Alexander of Pheræ of flattery, who,
to those who asked how Alexander was murdered, answered, "Through his
side into my belly": or those who formed a circle round a wealthy table,
"whom neither fire, nor sword, nor steel, would keep from running to a
feast":[357] or those female flatterers in Cyprus, who after they
crossed over into Syria were nicknamed "step-ladders,"[358] because they
lay down and let the kings' wives use their bodies as steps to mount
their carriages.

§ IV. What kind of flatterer then must we be on our guard against? The
one who neither seems to be nor acknowledges himself to be one: whom you
will not always find in the vicinity of your kitchen, who is not to be
caught watching the dial to see how near it is to dinner-time,[359] nor
gets so drunk as to throw himself down anyhow, but one who is generally
sober, and a busybody, and thinks he ought to have a hand in your
affairs, and wishes to share in your secrets, and as to friendship plays
rather a tragic than a satyric or comic part. For as Plato says, "it is
the height of injustice to appear to be just when you are not really
so,"[360] so we must deem the most dangerous kind of flattery not the
open but the secret, not the playful but the serious. For it throws
suspicion even upon a genuine friendship, which we may often confound
with it, if we are not careful. When Gobryas pursued one of the Magi
into a dark room, and was on the ground wrestling with him, and Darius
came up and was doubtful how he could kill one without killing both,
Gobryas bade him thrust his sword boldly through both of them;[361] but
we, since we give no assent to that saying, "Let friend perish so the
enemy perish with him,"[362] in our endeavour to distinguish the
flatterer from the friend, seeing that their resemblances are so many,
ought to take great care that we do not reject the good with the bad,
nor in sparing what is beneficial fall in with what is injurious. For as
wild grains mixed up with wheat, if very similar in size and appearance,
are not easily kept apart, for if the sieve have small holes they don't
pass through, and if large holes they pass with the corn, so flattery is
not easily distinguished from friendship, being mixed up with it in
feeling and emotion, habit and custom.

§ V. Because however friendship is the most pleasant of all things, and
nothing more glads the heart of man, therefore the flatterer attracts by
the pleasure he gives, pleasure being in fact his field. And because
favours and good services accompany friendship, as the proverb says "a
friend is more necessary than fire or water,"[363] therefore the
flatterer volunteers all sorts of services, and strives to show himself
on all occasions zealous and obliging and ready. And since friendship is
mainly produced by a similarity of tastes and habits, and to have the
same likes and dislikes first brings people together and unites them
through sympathy,[364] the flatterer observing this moulds himself like
material and demeans himself accordingly, seeking completely to imitate
and resemble those whom he desires to ingratiate himself with, being
supple in change, and plausible in his imitations, so that one would

  "Achilles' son, O no, it is himself."[365]

But his cleverest trick is that, observing that freedom of speech, is
both spoken of and reckoned as the peculiar and natural voice of
friendship, while not speaking freely is considered unfriendly and
disingenuous, he has not failed to imitate this trait of friendship
also. But just as clever cooks infuse bitter sauces and sharp seasoning
to prevent sweet things from cloying, so these flatterers do not use a
genuine or serviceable freedom of speech, but merely a winking and
tickling innuendo. He is therefore difficult to detect, like those
creatures which naturally change their colour and take that of the
material or place near them.[366] But since he deceives and conceals his
true character by his imitations, it is our duty to unmask him and
detect him by the differences between him and the true friend, and to
show that he is, as Plato says, "tricked out in other people's colours
and forms, from lack of any of his own."[367]

§ VI. Let us examine the matter then from the beginning. I said that
friendship originated in most cases from a similar disposition and
nature, generally inclined to the same habits and morals, and rejoicing
in the same pursuits, studies, and amusements, as the following lines
testify: "To old man the voice of old man is sweetest, to boy that of
boy, to woman is most acceptable that of woman, to the sick person that
of sick person, while he that is overtaken by misfortune is a comforter
to one in trouble." The flatterer knowing then that it is innate in us
to delight in, and enjoy the company of, and to love, those who are like
ourselves, attempts first to approach and get near a person in this
direction, (as one tries to catch an animal in the pastures,) by the
same pursuits and amusements and studies and modes of life quietly
throwing out his bait, and disguising himself in false colours, till his
victim give him an opportunity to catch him, and become tame and
tractable at his touch. Then too he censures the things and modes of
life and persons that he knows his victim dislikes, while he praises
those he fancies immoderately, overdoing it indeed[368] with his show of
surprise and excessive admiration, making him more and more convinced
that his likes and dislikes are the fruits of judgement and not of

§ VII. How then is the flatterer convicted, and by what differences is
he detected, of being only a counterfeit, and not really like his
victim? We must first then look at the even tenor and consistency of his
principles, if he always delights in the same things, and always praises
the same things, and directs and governs his life after one pattern, as
becomes the noble lover of consistent friendship and familiarity. Such a
person is a friend. But the flatterer having no fixed character of his
own,[369] and not seeking to lead the life suitable for him, but shaping
and modelling himself after another's pattern, is neither simple nor
uniform, but complex and unstable, assuming different appearances, like
water poured from vessel to vessel, ever in a state of flux and
accommodating himself entirely to the fashion of those who entertain
him. The ape indeed, as it seems, attempting to imitate man, is caught
imitating his movements and dancing like him, but the flatterer himself
attracts and decoys other men, imitating not all alike, for with one he
sings and dances, with another he wrestles and gets covered with the
dust of the palæstra, while he follows a third fond of hunting and the
chase all but shouting out the words of Phædra,

  "How I desire to halloo on the dogs,
   Chasing the dappled deer,"[370]

and yet he has really no interest in the chase, it is the hunter himself
he sets the toils and snares for. And if the object of his pursuit is
some young scholar and lover of learning, he is all for books then, his
beard flows down to his feet,[371] he's quite a sight with his
threadbare cloak, has all the indifference of the Stoic, and speaks of
nothing but the rectangles and triangles of Plato. But if any rich and
careless fellow fond of drink come in his way,

  "Then wise Odysseus stript him of his rags,"[372]

his threadbare cloak is thrown aside, his beard is shorn off like a
fruitless crop, he goes in for wine-coolers and tankards, and laughs
loudly in the streets, and jeers at philosophers. As they say happened
at Syracuse, when Plato went there, and Dionysius was seized with a
furious passion for philosophy, and so great was the concourse of
geometricians that they raised up quite a cloud of dust in the palace,
but when Plato fell out of favour, and Dionysius gave up philosophy, and
went back again headlong to wine and women and trifles and debauchery,
then all the court was metamorphosed, as if they all had drunk of
Circe's cup, for ignorance and oblivion and silliness reigned rampant. I
am borne out in what I say by the behaviour of great flatterers and
demagogues,[373] the greatest of whom Alcibiades, a jeerer and
horse-rearer at Athens, and living a gay and merry life, wore his hair
closely shaven at Lacedæmon, and washed in cold water, and attired
himself in a threadbare cloak; while in Thrace he fought[374] and drank;
and at Tissaphernes' court lived delicately and luxuriously and in a
pretentious style; and thus curried favour and was popular with
everybody by imitating their habits and ways. Such was not the way
however in which Epaminondas or Agesilaus acted, for though they
associated with very many men and states and different modes of life,
they maintained everywhere their usual demeanour, both in dress and diet
and language and behaviour. So Plato[375] at Syracuse was exactly the
same man as in the Academy, the same with Dionysius as with Dion.

§ VIII. As to the changes of the flatterer, which resemble those of the
polypus,[376] a man may most easily detect them by himself pretending to
change about frequently, and by censuring the kind of life he used
formerly to praise, and anon approving of the words actions and modes of
life that he used to be displeased with. He will then see that the
flatterer is never consistent or himself, never loving hating rejoicing
grieving at his own initiative, but like a mirror, merely reflecting the
image of other people's emotions and manners and feelings. Such a one
will say, if you censure one of your friends to him, "You are slow in
finding the fellow out, he never pleased me from the first." But if on
the other hand you change your language and praise him, he will swear by
Zeus that he rejoices at it, and is himself under obligations to the
man, and believes in him. And if you talk of the necessity of changing
your mode of life, of retiring from public life to a life of privacy and
ease, he says, "We ought long ago to have got rid of uproar[377] and
envy." But if you think of returning again to public life, he chimes in,
"Your sentiments do you honour: retirement from business is pleasant,
but inglorious and mean." One ought to say at once to such a one,
"'Stranger, quite different now you look to what you did before.'[378] I
do not need a friend to change his opinions with me and to assent to me
in everything, my shadow will do that better, but I need one that will
speak the truth and help me with his judgement." This is one way of
detecting the flatterer.

§ IX. We must also observe another difference in the resemblance between
the friend and flatterer. The true friend does not imitate you in
everything, nor is he too keen to praise, but praises only what is
excellent, for as Sophocles says,

  "He is not born to share in hate but love,"[379]

yes, by Zeus, and he is born to share in doing what is right and in
loving what is noble, and not to share in wrong-doing or misbehaviour,
unless it be that, as a running of the eyes is catching, so through
companionship and intimacy he may against his will contract by infection
some vice or ill habit, as they say Plato's intimates imitated his
stoop, Aristotle's his lisp, and king Alexander's his holding his head a
little on one side, and rapidity of utterance in conversation,[380] for
people mostly pick up unawares such traits of character. But the
flatterer is exactly like the chameleon,[381] which takes every colour
but white, and so he, though unable to imitate what is worth his while,
leaves nothing that is bad unimitated. And just as poor painters unable
to make a fine portrait from inefficiency in their craft, bring out the
likeness by painting all the wrinkles, moles and scars, so the flatterer
imitates his friend's intemperance, superstition, hot temper, sourness
to domestics, suspicion of his friends and relations. For he is by
nature inclined to what is worst, and thinks that imitation of what is
bad is as far as possible removed from censure. For those are suspected
who have noble aims in life, and seem to be vexed and disgusted at their
friends' faults, for that injured and even ruined Dion with Dionysius,
Samius with Philip, and Cleomenes with Ptolemy. But he that wishes to be
and appear at the same time both agreeable and trustworthy pretends to
rejoice more in what is bad, as being through excessive love for his
friend not even offended at his vices, but as one with him in feeling
and nature in all matters. And so they claim to share in involuntary and
chance ailments, and pretend to have the same complaints, in flattery to
those who suffer from any, as that their eyesight and sense of hearing
are deficient, if their friends are somewhat blind or deaf, as the
flatterers of Dionysius, who was rather short-sighted, jostled one
another at a dinner party, and knocked the dishes off the table, _as if
from defect of vision_.[382] And some to make their cases more similar
wind themselves in closer, and dive even into family secrets for
parallels. For seeing that their friends are unfortunate in marriage, or
suspicious about the behaviour of their sons or relations, they do not
spare themselves, but make quite a Jeremiad about their own sons, or
wife, or kinsfolk, or relations, proclaiming loudly their own family
secrets. For similarity in situation makes people more sympathetic, and
their friends having received as it were hostages by their confessions,
entrust them in return with their secrets, and having once made
confidants of them, dare not take back their confidence.[383] I actually
know of a man who turned his wife out of doors because his friend had
put away his; but as he secretly visited her and sent messages to her,
he was detected by his friend's wife noticing his conduct. So little did
he know the nature of a flatterer that thought the following lines more
applicable to a crab than a flatterer, "His whole body is belly, his eye
is on everything, he is a creature creeping on his teeth," for such is a
true picture of the parasite, "friends of the frying-pan, hunting for a
dinner," to borrow the language of Eupolis.

§ X. However let us put off all this to its proper place in the
discourse. But let us not fail to notice the wiliness of the flatterer's
imitation, in that, even if he imitates any good points in the person he
flatters, he always takes care to give him the palm. Whereas among real
friends there is no rivalry or jealousy of one another, but they are
satisfied and contented alike whether they are equal or one of them is
superior. But the flatterer, ever remembering that he is to play second
fiddle,[384] makes his copy always fall a little short of the original,
for he admits that he is everywhere outstripped and left behind, except
in vice. For in that alone he claims pre-eminence, for if his friend is
peevish, he says he is atrabilious; if his friend is superstitious, he
says he is a fanatic; if his friend is in love, he says he is madly in
love; if his friend laughs, he will say, "You laughed a little
unseasonably, but I almost died of laughter." But in regard to any good
points his action is quite the opposite. He says he can run quickly, but
his friend flies; he says he can ride pretty well, but his friend is a
Centaur on horseback. He says "I am not a bad poet, and don't write very
bad lines",

  "'But your sonorous verse is like Jove's thunder.'"

Thus he shows at once that his friend's aims in life are good, and that
his friend has reached a height he cannot soar to. Such then are the
differences in the resemblances between the flatterer and the friend.

§ XI. But since, as has been said before, to give pleasure is common to
both, for the good man delights in his friends as much as the bad man in
his flatterers, let us consider the difference between them here too.
The difference lies in the different aim of each in giving pleasure.
Look at it this way. There is no doubt a sweet smell in perfume. So
there is also in medicine. But the difference is that while in perfume
pleasure and nothing else is designed, in medicine either purging, or
warming, or adding flesh to the system, is the primary object, and the
sweet smell is only a secondary consideration. Again painters mix gay
colours and dyes: there are also some drugs which are gay in appearance
and not unpleasing in colour. What then is the difference between these?
Manifestly we distinguish by the end each aims at. So too the social
life of friends employs mirth to add a charm to some good and useful
end,[385] and sometimes makes joking and a good table and wine, aye, and
even chaff and banter, the seasoning to noble and serious matters, as
in the line,

  "Much they enjoyed talking to one another,"[386]

and again,

                        "Never did ought else
  Disturb our love or joy in one another."[387]

But the flatterer's whole aim and end is to cook up and season his joke
or word or action, so as to produce pleasure. And to speak concisely,
the flatterer's object is to please in everything he does, whereas the
true friend always does what is right, and so often gives pleasure,
often pain, not wishing the latter, but not shunning it either, if he
deems it best. For as the physician, if it be expedient, infuses saffron
or spikenard, aye, or uses some soothing fomentation or feeds his
patient up liberally, and sometimes orders castor,

  "Or poley,[388] that so strong and foully smells,"

or pounds hellebore and compels him to drink it,--neither in the one
case making unpleasantness, nor in the other pleasantness, his end and
aim, but in both studying only the interest of his patient,--so the
friend sometimes by praise and kindness, extolling him and gladdening
his heart, leads him to what is noble, as Agamemnon,

  "Teucer, dear head, thou son of Telamon,
   Go on thus shooting, captain of thy men;"[389]

or Diomede,

  "How could I e'er forget divine Odysseus?"[390]

But where on the other hand there is need of correction, then he rebukes
with biting words and with the freedom worthy of a friend,

  "Zeus-cherished Menelaus, art thou mad,
   And in thy folly tak'st no heed of safety?"[391]

Sometimes also he joins action to word, as Menedemus sobered the
profligate and disorderly son of his friend Asclepiades, by shutting him
out of his house, and not speaking to him. And Arcesilaus forbade Bato
his school, when he wrote a line in one of his plays against Cleanthes,
and only got reconciled with him after he repented and made his peace
with Cleanthes. For we ought to give our friend pain if it will benefit
him, but not to the extent of breaking off our friendship; but just as
we make use of some biting medicine, that will save and preserve the
life of the patient. And so the friend, like a musician, in bringing
about an improvement to what is good and expedient, sometimes slackens
the chords, sometimes tightens them, and is often pleasant, but always
useful. But the flatterer, always harping on one note, and accustomed to
play his accompaniment only with a view to please and to ingratiate
himself, knows not how either to oppose in deed, or give pain in word,
but complies only with every wish, ever chiming in with and echoing the
sentiments of his patron. As then Xenophon says Agesilaus took pleasure
in being praised by those who would also censure him,[392] so ought we
to think that to please and gratify us is friendly in the person who can
also give us pain and oppose us, but to feel suspicion at an intercourse
which is merely for pleasure and gratification, and never pungent, aye
and by Zeus to have ready that saying of the Lacedæmonian, who, on
hearing king Charillus praised, said, "How can he be a good man, who is
not severe even to the bad?"

§ XII. They say the gadfly attacks bulls, and the tick dogs, in the ear:
so the flatterer besieges with praise the ears of those who are fond of
praise, and sticks there and is hard to dislodge. We ought therefore
here to make a wide-awake and careful discrimination, whether the praise
is bestowed on the action or the man. It is bestowed on the action, if
people praise the absent rather than the present, if also those that
have the same aims and aspirations praise not only us but all that are
similarly disposed, and do not evidently say and do one thing at one
time, and the direct contrary at another; and the greatest test is if we
are conscious, in the matters for which we get the praise, that we have
not regretted them, and are not ashamed at them, and would not rather
have said and done differently. For our own inward judgement,
testifying the contrary and not admitting the praise, is above passion,
and impregnable and proof against the flatterer. But I know not how it
is that most people in misfortune cannot bear exhortation, but are
captivated more by condolence and sympathy, and when they have done
something wrong and acted amiss, he that by censure and blame implants
in them the stings of repentance is looked upon by them as hostile and
an accuser, while they welcome and regard as friendly and well-disposed
to them the person who bestows praise and panegyric on what they have
done. Those then that readily praise and join in applauding some word or
action on the part of someone whether in jest or earnest, only do
temporary harm for the moment, but those who injure the character by
their praise, aye, and by their flattery undermine the morals, act like
those slaves who do not steal from the bin, but from the seed corn.[393]
For they pervert the disposition, which is the seed of actions, and the
character, which is the principle and fountain of life, by attaching to
vice names that belong properly only to virtue. For as Thucydides
says,[394] in times of faction and war "people change the accustomed
meaning of words as applied to acts at their will and pleasure, for
reckless daring is then considered bravery to one's comrades, and
prudent delay specious cowardice, and sober-mindedness the cloak of the
coward, and taking everything into account before action a real desire
to do nothing." So too in the case of flattery we must observe and be on
our guard against wastefulness being called liberality, and cowardliness
prudence, and madness quick-wittedness, and meanness frugality, and the
amorous man called social and affectionate, and the term manly applied
to the passionate and vain man, and the term civil applied to the paltry
and mean man. As I remember Plato[395] says the lover is a flatterer of
the beloved one, and calls the snub nose graceful, and the aquiline nose
royal, and swarthy people manly, and fair people the children of the
gods, and the olive complexion is merely the lover's phrase to gloss
over and palliate excessive pallor. And yet the ugly man persuaded he is
handsome, or the short man persuaded he is tall, cannot long remain in
the error, and receives only slight injury from it, and not irreparable
mischief: but praise applied to vices as if they were virtues, so that
one is not vexed but delighted with a vicious life, removes all shame
from wrong-doing, and was the ruin of the Sicilians, by calling the
savage cruelty of Dionysius and Phalaris detestation of wickedness and
uprightness. It was the ruin of Egypt, by styling Ptolemy's effeminacy,
and superstition, and howlings, and beating of drums, religion and
service to the gods.[396] It was nearly the overthrow and destruction of
the ancient manners of the Romans, palliating the luxury and
intemperance and display of Antony as exhibitions of jollity and
kindliness, when his power and fortune were at their zenith. What else
invested Ptolemy[397] with his pipe and fiddle? What else brought
Nero[398] on the tragic stage, and invested him with the mask and
buskins? Was it not the praise of flatterers? And are not many kings
called Apollos if they can just sing a song,[399] and Dionysuses if they
get drunk, and Herculeses if they can wrestle, and do they not joy in
such titles, and are they not dragged into every kind of disgrace by

§ XIII. Wherefore we must be especially on our guard against the
flatterer in regard to praise; as indeed he is very well aware himself,
and clever to avoid suspicion. If he light upon some dandy, or rustic in
a thick leather garment, he treats him with nothing but jeers and
mocks,[400] as Struthias insulted Bias, ironically praising him for his
stupidity, saying, "You have drunk more than king Alexander,"[401] and,
"that he was ready to die of laughing at his tale about the
Cyprian."[402] But when he sees people more refined very much on their
guard, and observing both time and place, he does not praise them
directly, but draws off a little and wheels round and approaches them
noiselessly, as one tries to catch a wild animal. For sometimes he
reports to a man the panegyric of other persons upon him, (as orators
do, introducing some third person,) saying that he had a very pleasant
conversation in the market with some strangers and men of worth, who
mentioned how they admired his many good points. On another occasion he
concocts and fabricates some false and trifling charges against him,
pretending he has heard them from other people, and runs up with a
serious face and inquires, where he said or did such and such a thing.
And upon his denying he ever did, he pounces on him at once[403] and
compliments his man with, "I thought it strange that you should have
spoken ill of your friends, seeing that you don't even treat your
enemies so: and that you should have tried to rob other people, seeing
that you are so lavish with your own money."

§ XIV. Other flatterers again, just as painters heighten the effect of
their pictures by the combination of light and shade, so by censure
abuse detraction and ridicule of the opposite virtues secretly praise
and foment the actual vices of those they flatter. Thus they censure
modesty as merely rustic behaviour in the company of profligates, and
greedy people, and villains, and such as have got rich by evil and
dishonourable courses; and contentment and uprightness they call having
no spirit or energy in action; and when they associate with lazy and
idle persons who avoid all public duties, they are not ashamed to call
the life of a citizen wearisome meddling in other people's affairs, and
the desire to hold office fruitless vain-glory. And some ere now to
flatter an orator have depreciated a philosopher, and others won favour
with wanton women by traducing those wives who are faithful to their
husbands as constitutionally cold and countrybred. And by an acme of
villainy flatterers do not always spare even themselves. For as
wrestlers stoop that they may the easier give their adversaries a fall,
so by censuring themselves they glide into praising others. "I am a
cowardly slave," says such a one, "at sea, I shirk labour, I am madly in
rage if a word is said against me; but this man fears nothing, has no
vices, is a rare good fellow, patient and easy in all circumstances."
But if a person has an excellent idea of his own good sense, and desires
to be austere and self-opinionated, and in his moral rectitude is ever
spouting that line of Homer,

  "Tydides, neither praise nor blame me much,"[404]

the artistic flatterer does not attack him as he attacked others, but
employs against such a one a new device. For he comes to him about his
own private affairs, as if desirous to have the advice of one wiser than
himself; he has, he says, more intimate friends, but he is obliged to
trouble him; "for whither shall we that are deficient in judgement go?
whom shall we trust?" And having listened to his utterance he departs,
saying he has received an oracle not an opinion. And if he notices that
somebody lays claim to experience in oratory, he gives him some of his
writings, and begs him to read and correct them. So, when king
Mithridates took a fancy to play the surgeon, several of his friends
offered themselves for operating upon, as for cutting or cauterizing,
flattering in deed and not in word, for his being credited by them would
seem to prove his skill.[405]

  "For Providence has many different aspects."[406]

But we can test this kind of negative praise, that needs more wary
caution, by purposely giving strange advice and suggestions, and by
adopting absurd corrections. For if he raises no objection but nods
assent to everything, and approves of everything, and is always crying
out, "Good! How admirable!" he is evidently

  "Asking advice, but seeking something else,"

wishing by praise to puff you up.

§ XV. Moreover, as some have defined painting to be silent poetry,[407]
so is there praise in silent flattery. For as hunters are more likely to
catch the objects of their chase unawares, if they do not openly appear
to be so engaged, but seem to be walking, or tending their sheep, or
looking after the farm, so flatterers obtain most success in their
praise, when they do not seem to be praising but to be doing something
else. For he who gives up his place or seat to the great man when he
comes in, and while making a speech to the people or senate breaks off
even in the middle, if he observes any rich man wants to speak, and
gives up to him alike speech and platform, shows by his silence even
more than he would by any amount of vociferation that he thinks the
other the better man, and superior to him in judgement. And consequently
you may always see them occupying the best places at theatres and public
assembly rooms, not that they think themselves worthy of them, but that
they may flatter the rich by giving up their places to them; and at
public meetings they begin speaking first, and then make way as for
better men, and most readily take back their own view, if any
influential or rich or famous person espouse the contrary view. And so
one can see plainly that all such servility and drawing back on their
part is a lowering their sails, not to experience or virtue or age, but
to wealth and fame. Not so Apelles the famous painter, who, when
Megabyzus sat with him, and wished to talk about lines and shades, said
to him, "Do you see my lads yonder grinding colours, they admired just
now your purple and gold, but now they are laughing at you for beginning
to talk about what you don't understand."[408] And Solon, when Croesus
asked him about happiness, replied that Tellus, an obscure Athenian, and
Bito and Cleobis were happier than he was.[409] But flatterers proclaim
kings and rich men and rulers not only happy and fortunate, but also
pre-eminent for wisdom, and art, and every virtue.

§ XVI. Now some cannot bear to hear the assertion of the Stoics[410]
that the wise man is at once rich, and handsome, and noble, and a king;
but flatterers declare that the rich man is at once orator and poet, and
(if he likes) painter, and flute-player, and swift-footed, and strong,
falling down if he wrestles with them, and if contending with him in
running letting him win the race, as Crisso of Himera purposely allowed
Alexander to outrun him, which vexed the king very much when he heard of
it.[411] And Carneades said that the sons of rich men and kings learnt
nothing really well and properly except how to ride, for their master
praised and flattered them in their studies, and the person who taught
them wrestling always let them throw him, whereas the horse, not knowing
or caring whether his rider were a private person or ruler, rich or
poor, soon threw him over his head if he could not ride well. Simple
therefore and fatuous was that remark of Bion, "If you could by
encomiums make your field to yield well and be fruitful, you could not
be thought wrong in tilling it so rather than digging it and labouring
in it: nor would it be strange in you to praise human beings if by so
doing you could be useful and serviceable to them." For a field does not
become worse by being praised, but those who praise a man falsely and
against his deserts puff him up and ruin him.

§ XVII. Enough has been said on this matter: let us now examine
outspokenness. For just as Patroclus put on the armour of Achilles, and
drove his horses to the battle, only durst not touch his spear from
Mount Pelion, but let that alone, so ought the flatterer, tricked out
and modelled in the distinctive marks and tokens of the friend, to leave
untouched and uncopied only his outspokenness, as the special burden of
friendship, "heavy, huge, strong."[412] But since flatterers, to avoid
the blame they incur by their buffoonery, and drinking, and gibes, and
jokes, sometimes work their ends by frowns and gravity, and intermix
censure and reproof, let us not pass this over either without
examination. And I think, as in Menander's Play the sham Hercules comes
on the stage not with a club stout and strong, but with a light and
hollow cane, so the outspokenness of the flatterer is to those who
experience it mild and soft, and the very reverse of vigorous, and like
those cushions for women's heads, which seem able to stand their ground,
but in reality yield and give way under their pressure; so this sham
outspokenness is puffed up and inflated with an empty and spurious and
hollow bombast, that when it contracts and collapses draws in the person
who relies on it. For true and friendly outspokenness attacks
wrong-doers, bringing pain that is salutary and likely to make them more
careful, like honey biting but cleansing ulcerated parts of the
body,[413] but in other respects serviceable and sweet. But we will
speak of this anon.[414] But the flatterer first exhibits himself as
disagreeable and passionate and unforgiving in his dealings with others.
For he is harsh to his servants, and a terrible fellow to attack and
ferret out the faults of his kinsmen and friends, and to look up to and
respect nobody who is a stranger, but to look down upon them, and is
relentless and mischief-making in making people provoked with others,
hunting after the reputation of hating vice, as one not likely knowingly
to mince matters with the vicious, or ingratiate himself with them
either in word or deed. Next he pretends to know nothing of real and
great crimes, but he is a terrible fellow to inveigh against trifling
and external shortcomings, and to fasten on them with intensity and
vehemence, as if he sees any pot or pipkin out of its place, or anyone
badly housed, or neglecting his beard or attire, or not adequately
attending to a horse or dog. But contempt of parents, and neglect of
children, and bad treatment of wife, and haughtiness to friends, and
throwing away money, all this he cares nothing about, but is silent and
does not dare to make any allusion to it: just as if the trainer in a
gymnasium were to allow the athlete to get drunk and live in
debauchery,[415] and yet be vexed at the condition of his oil-flask or
strigil if out of order; or as if the schoolmaster scolded a boy about
his tablet and pen, but paid no attention to a solecism or barbarism.
The flatterer is like a man who should make no comment on the speech of
a silly and ridiculous orator, but should find fault with his voice, and
chide him for injuring his throat by drinking cold water; or like a
person bidden to read some wretched composition, who should merely find
fault with the thickness of the paper, and call the copyist a dirty and
careless fellow. So too when Ptolemy seemed to desire to become learned,
his flatterers used to spin out the time till midnight, disputing about
some word or line or history, but not one of them all objected to his
cruelty and outrages, his torturing and beating people to death.[416]
Just as if, when a man has tumours and fistulas, one were to cut his
hair and nails with a surgeon's knife, so flatterers use outspokenness
only in cases where it gives no pain or distress.

§ XVIII. Moreover some of them are cleverer still and make their
outspokenness and censure a means of imparting pleasure. As Agis the
Argive,[417] when Alexander bestowed great gifts on a buffoon, cried out
in envy and displeasure, "What a piece of absurdity!" and on the king
turning angrily to him and saying, "What are you talking about?" he
replied, "I admit that I am vexed and put out, when I see that all you
descendants of Zeus alike take delight in flatterers and jesters, for
Hercules had his Cercopes, and Dionysus his Sileni, and with you too I
see that such are held in good repute." And on one occasion, when the
Emperor Tiberius entered the senate, one of his flatterers got up and
said, that being free men they ought to be outspoken, and not suppress
or conceal anything that might be important, and having by this exordium
engaged everybody's attention, a dead silence prevailing, and even
Tiberius being all attention, he said, "Listen, Cæsar, to what we all
charge you with, although no one ventures to tell you openly of it; you
neglect yourself, and are careless about your health, and wear yourself
out with anxiety and labour on our behalf, taking no rest either by
night or day." And on his stringing much more together in the same
strain, they say the orator Cassius Severus said, "This outspokenness
will ruin the man."

§ XIX. These are indeed trifling matters: but the following are more
important and do mischief to foolish people, when flatterers accuse them
of the very contrary vices and passions to those to which they are
really addicted; as Himerius the flatterer twitted a very rich, very
mean, and very covetous Athenian with being a careless spendthrift, and
likely one day to want bread as well as his children; or on the other
hand if they rail at extravagant spendthrifts for meanness and
sordidness, as Titus Petronius railed at Nero; or exhort rulers who make
savage and cruel attacks on their subjects to lay aside their excessive
clemency, and unseasonable and inexpedient mercy. Similar to these is
the person who pretends to be on his guard against and afraid of a silly
stupid fellow as if he were clever and cunning; and the one who, if any
person fond of detraction, rejoicing in defamation and censure, should
be induced on any occasion to praise some man of note, fastens on him
and alleges against him that he has an itch for praising people. "You
are always extolling people of no merit: for who is this fellow, or what
has he said or done out of the common?" But it is in regard to the
objects of their love that they mostly attack those they flatter, and
additionally inflame them. For if they see people at variance with their
brothers, or despising their parents, or treating their wives
contemptuously, they neither take them to task nor scold them, but fan
the flame of their anger still more. "You don't sufficiently appreciate
yourself," they say, "you are yourself the cause of your being put upon
in this way, through your constant submissiveness and humility." And if
there is any tiff or fit of jealousy in regard to some courtesan or
adulteress, the flatterer is at hand with remarkable outspokenness,
adding fuel to flame,[418] and taking the lady's part, and accusing her
lover of acting in a very unkind harsh and shameful manner to her,

  "O ingrate, after all those frequent kisses!"[419]

Thus Antony's friends, when he was passionately in love with the
Egyptian woman,[420] persuaded him that he was loved by her, and twitted
him with being cold and haughty to her. "She," they said, "has left her
mighty kingdom and happy mode of life, and is wasting her beauty, taking
the field with you like some camp-follower,

  "The while your heart is proof 'gainst all her charms,"[421]

as you neglect her love-lorn as she is." But he that is pleased at being
reproached with his wrong-doing, and delights in those that censure him,
as he never did in those that praised him, is unconscious that he is
really perverted also by what seems to be rebuke. For such outspokenness
is like the bites of wanton women,[422] that while seeming to hurt
really tickle and excite pleasure. And just as if people mix pure wine,
which is by itself an antidote against hemlock, with it and so offer it,
they make the poison quite deadly, being rapidly carried to the heart by
the warmth,[423] so ill-disposed men, knowing that outspokenness is a
great antidote to flattery, make it a means of flattering. And so it was
rather a bad answer Bias[424] made, to the person who inquired what was
the most formidable animal, "Of wild animals the tyrant, and of tame the
flatterer." For it would have been truer to observe that tame flatterers
are those that are found round the baths and table, but the one that
intrudes into the interior of the house and into the women's apartments
with his curiosity and calumny and malignity, like the legs and arms of
the polypus, is wild and savage and unmanageable.

§ XX. Now one kind of caution against his snares is to know and ever
remember that, whereas the soul contains true and noble and reasoning
elements, as also unreasoning and false and emotional ones, the friend
is always a counsellor and adviser to the better instincts of the soul,
as the physician improves and maintains health, whereas the flatterer
works upon the emotional and unreasoning ones, and tickles and
titillates them and seduces them from reason, employing sensuality as
his bait. As then there are some kinds of food which neither benefit the
blood or spirit, nor brace up the nerves and marrow, but stir the
passions, excite the lower nature, and make the flesh unsound and
rotten, so the language of the flatterer adds nothing to soberness and
reason, but encourages some love passion, or stirs up foolish rage, or
incites to envy, or produces the empty and burdensome vanity of pride,
or joins in bewailing woes, or ever by his calumnies and hints makes
malignity and illiberality and suspicion sharp and timid and jealous,
and cannot fail to be detected by those that closely observe him. For he
is ever anchoring himself upon some passion, and fattening it, and, like
a bubo, fastens himself on some unsound and inflamed parts of the soul.
Are you angry? Have your revenge, says he. Do you desire anything? Get
it. Are you afraid? Let us flee. Do you suspect? Entertain no doubts
about it. But if he is difficult to detect in thus playing upon our
passions, since they often overthrow reason by their intensity and
strength, he will give a handle to find him out in smaller matters,
being consistent in them too. For if anyone feels a little uneasy after
a surfeit or excess in drink, and so is a little particular about his
food and doubts the advisability of taking a bath, a friend will try and
check him from excess, and bid him be careful and not indulge, whereas
the flatterer will drag him to the bath, bid him serve up some fresh
food, and not starve himself and so injure his constitution. And if he
see him reluctant about a journey or voyage or some business or other,
he will say that there is no hurry, that it's all one whether the
business be put off, or somebody else despatched to look after it. And
if you have promised to lend or give some money to a friend, but have
repented of your offer, and yet feel ashamed not to keep your promise,
the flatterer will throw his influence into the worse scale, he will
confirm your desire to save your purse, he will destroy your reluctance,
and will bid you be careful as having many expenses, and others to think
about besides that person. And so, unless we are entirely ignorant of
our desires, our shamelessness, and our timidity, the flatterer cannot
easily escape our detection. For he is ever the advocate of those
passions, and outspoken when we desire to repress them.[425] But so much
for this matter.

§ XXI. Now let us pass on to useful and kind services, for in them too
the flatterer makes it very difficult and confusing to detect him from
the friend, seeming to be zealous and ready on all occasions and never
crying off. For, as Euripides says,[426] a friend's behaviour is, "like
the utterance of truth, simple," and plain and inartificial, while that
of the flatterer "is in itself unsound, and needs wise remedies," aye,
by Zeus, and many such, and not ordinary ones. As for example in chance
meetings the friend often neither speaks nor is spoken to, but merely
looks and smiles, and then passes on, showing his inner affection and
goodwill only by his countenance, which his friend also reciprocates,
but the flatterer runs up, follows, holds out his hand at a distance,
and if he is seen and addressed first, frequently protests with oaths,
and calls witnesses to prove, that he did not see you. So in business
friends neglect many unimportant points, are not too punctilious and
officious, and do not thrust themselves upon every service, but the
flatterer is persevering and unceasing and indefatigable in it, giving
nobody else either room or place to help, but putting himself wholly at
your disposal, and if you will not find him something to do for you, he
is troubled, nay rather altogether dejected and lamenting loudly.[427]

§ XXII. To all sensible people all this is an indication, not of true or
sober friendship, but of a meretricious one, that embraces you more
warmly than there is any occasion for. Nevertheless let us first look at
the difference between the friend and flatterer in their promises. For
it has been well said by those who have handled this subject before us,
that the friend's promise is,

  "If I can do it, and 'tis to be done,"

but the flatterer's is,

  "Speak out your mind, whate'er it is, to me."[428]

And the comic dramatists put such fellows on the stage,

  "Nicomachus, pit me against that soldier,
   See if I beat him not into a jelly,
   And make his face e'en softer than a sponge."[429]

In the next place no friend participates in any matter, unless he has
first been asked his advice, and put the matter to the test, and set it
on a suitable and expedient basis. But the flatterer, if anyone allows
him to examine a matter and give his opinion on it, not only wishes to
gratify him by compliance, but also fearing to be looked upon with
suspicion as unwilling and reluctant to engage in the business, gives in
to and even urges on his friend's desire. For there is hardly any king
or rich man who would say,

  "O that a beggar I could find, or worse
   Than beggar, if, with good intent to me,
   He would lay bare his heart boldly and honestly;"[430]

but, like the tragedians, they require a chorus of sympathizing friends,
or the applause of a theatre. And so Merope gives the following advice
in the tragedy,

  "Choose you for friends those who will speak their mind,
   For those bad men that only speak to please
   See that you bolt and bar out of your house."[431]

But they act just the contrary, for they turn away with horror from
those who speak their mind, and hold different views as to what is
expedient, while they welcome those bad and illiberal impostors (that
only speak to please them) not only within their houses, but also to
their affections and secrets. Now the simpler of these do not think
right or claim to advise you in important matters, but only to assist in
the carrying out of them: but the more cunning one stands by during the
discussion, and knits his brows, and nods assent with his head, but says
nothing, but if his friend express an opinion, he then says, "Hercules,
you only just anticipated me, I was about to make that very remark." For
as the mathematicians tell us that surfaces and lines neither bend nor
extend nor move of themselves, being without body and only perceived by
the mind, but only bend and extend and change their position with the
bodies whose extremities they are: so you will catch the flatterer ever
assenting with, and agreeing with, aye, and feeling with, and being
angry with, another, so easy of detection in all these points of view is
the difference between the friend and the flatterer. Moreover as regards
the kind of good service. For the favour done by a friend, as the
principal strength of an animal is within, is not for display or
ostentation, but frequently as a doctor cures his patient imperceptibly,
so a friend benefits by his intervention, or by paying off creditors, or
by managing his friend's affairs, even though the person who receives
the benefit may not be aware of it. Such was the behaviour of Arcesilaus
on various occasions, and when Apelles[432] of Chios was ill, knowing
his poverty, he took with him twenty drachmæ when he visited him, and
sitting down beside him he said, "There is nothing here but those
elements of Empedocles, 'fire and water and earth and balmy expanse of
air,' but you don't lie very comfortably," and with that he moved his
pillow, and privately put the money under it. And when his old
housekeeper found it, and wonderingly told Apelles of it, he laughed and
said, "This is some trick of Arcesilaus." And the saying is also true in
philosophy that "children are like their parents."[433] For when
Cephisocrates had to stand his trial on a bill of indictment, Lacydes
(who was an intimate friend of Arcesilaus) stood by him with several
other friends, and when the prosecutor asked for his ring, which was the
principal evidence against him, Cephisocrates quietly dropped it on the
ground, and Lacydes noticing this put his foot on it and so hid it. And
after sentence was pronounced in his favour, Cephisocrates going up to
thank the jury, one of them who had seen the artifice told him to thank
Lacydes, and related to him all the matter, though Lacydes had not said
a word about it to anybody. So also I think the gods do often perform
benefits secretly, taking a natural delight in bestowing their favours
and bounties.[434] But the good service of the flatterer has no justice,
or genuineness, or simplicity, or liberality about it; but is
accompanied with sweat, and running about, and noise, and knitting of
the brow, creating an impression and appearance of toilsome and bustling
service, like a painting over-curiously wrought in bold colours, and
with bent folds wrinkles and angles, to make the closer resemblance to
life. Moreover he tires one by relating what journeys and anxieties he
has had over the matter, how many enemies he has made over it, the
thousand bothers and annoyances he has gone through, so that you say,
"The affair was not worth all this trouble." For being reminded of any
favour done to one is always unpleasant and disagreeable and
insufferable:[435] but the flatterer not only reminds us of his services
afterwards, but even during the very moment of doing them upbraids us
with them and is importunate. But the friend, if he is obliged to
mention the matter, relates it modestly, and says not a word about
himself. And so, when the Lacedæmonians sent corn to the people of
Smyrna that needed it, and the people of Smyrna wondered at their
kindness, the Lacedæmonians said, "It was no great matter, we only voted
that we and our beasts of burden should go without our dinner one day,
and sent what was so saved to you."[436] Not only is it handsome to do a
favour in that way, but it is more pleasant to the receivers of it,
because they think those who have done them the service have done it at
no great loss to themselves.

§ XXIII. But it is not so much by the importunity of the flatterer in
regard to services, nor by his facility in making promises, that one can
recognize his nature, as by the honourable or dishonourable kind of
service, and by the regard to please or to be of real use. For the
friend is not as Gorgias defined him, one who will ask his friend to
help him in what is right, while he will himself do many services for
his friend that are not right.

  "For friend should share in good not in bad action."[437]

He will therefore rather try and turn him away from what is not
becoming, and if he cannot persuade him, good is that answer of Phocion
to Antipater, "You cannot have me both as friend and flatterer,"[438]
that is, as friend and no friend. For one must indeed assist one's
friend but not do anything wrong for him, one must advise with him but
not plot with him, one must bear witness for him but not join him in
fraud, one must certainly share adversity with him but not crime. For
since we should not wish even to know of our friends' dishonourable
acts, much less should we desire to share their dishonour by acting with
them. As then the Lacedæmonians, when conquered in battle by Antipater,
on settling the terms of peace, begged that he would lay upon them what
burdens he pleased, provided he enjoined nothing dishonourable, so the
friend, if any necessity arise involving expense or danger or trouble,
is the first to desire to be applied to and share in it with alacrity
and without crying off, but if there be anything disgraceful in
connection with it he begs to have nothing to do with it. The flatterer
on the contrary cries off from toilsome and dangerous employments, and
if you put him to the test by ringing him,[439] he returns a hollow and
spurious sound, and finds some excuse; whereas use him in disgraceful
and low and disreputable service, and trample upon him, he will think no
treatment too bad or ignominious. Have you observed the ape? He cannot
guard the house like the dog, nor bear burdens like the horse, nor
plough like the ox, so he has to bear insult and ribaldry, and put up
with being made sport of, exhibiting himself as an instrument to produce
laughter. So too the flatterer, who can neither advocate your cause, nor
give you useful counsel, nor share in your contention with anybody, but
shirks all labour and toil, never makes any excuses in underhand
transactions, is sure to lend a helping hand in any love affair, is
energetic in setting free some harlot, and not careless in clearing off
the account of a drinking score, nor remiss in making preparations for
banquets, and obsequious to concubines, but if ordered to be uncivil to
your relations, or to help in turning your wife out of doors, he is
relentless and not to be put out of countenance. So that he is not hard
to detect here too. For if ordered to do anything you please
disreputable or dishonourable, he is ready to take any pains to oblige

§ XXIV. One might detect again how greatly the flatterer differs from
the friend by his behaviour to other friends. For the friend is best
pleased with loving and being beloved by many, and also always tries to
contrive for his friend that he too may be much loved and honoured, for
he believes in the proverb "the goods of friends are common
property,"[440] and thinks it ought to apply to nothing more than to
friends; but the false and spurious and counterfeit friend, knowing how
much he debases friendship, like debased and spurious coin, is not only
by nature envious, but shows his envy even of those who are like
himself, striving to outdo them in scurrility and gossip, while he
quakes and trembles at any of his betters, not by Zeus "merely walking
on foot by their Lydian chariot," but, to use the language of Simonides,
"not even, having pure lead by comparison with their refined
gold."[441] Whenever then, being light and counterfeit and false, he is
put to the test at close quarters with a true and solid and cast-iron
friendship, he cannot stand the test but is detected at once, and
imitates the conduct of the painter that painted some wretched cocks,
for he ordered his lad to scare away all live cocks as far from his
picture as possible. So he too scares away real friends and will not let
them come near if he can help it, but if he cannot prevent that, he
openly fawns upon them, and courts them, and admires them as his
betters, but privately runs them down and spreads calumnies about them.
And when secret detraction has produced a sore feeling,[442] if he has
not effected his end completely, he remembers and observes the teaching
of Medius, who was the chief of Alexander's flatterers, and a leading
sophist in conspiracy against the best men. He bade people confidently
sow their calumny broadcast and bite with it, teaching them that even if
the person injured should heal his sore, the scar of the calumny would
remain. Consumed by these scars, or rather gangrenes and cancers,
Alexander put to death Callisthenes, and Parmenio, and Philotas; while
he himself submitted to be completely outwitted by such as Agnon, and
Bagoas, and Agesias, and Demetrius, who worshipped him and tricked him
up and feigned him to be a barbaric god. So great is the power of
flattery, and nowhere greater, as it seems, than among the greatest
people. For their thinking and wishing the best about themselves makes
them credit the flatterer, and gives him courage.[443] For lofty heights
are difficult of approach and hard to reach for those who endeavour to
scale them, but the highmindedness and conceit of a person thrown off
his balance by good fortune or good natural parts is easily reached by
mean and petty people.

§ XXV. And so we advised at the beginning of this discourse, and now
advise again, to cut off self-love and too high an opinion of ourselves;
for that flatters us first, and makes us more impressionable and
prepared for external flatterers. But if we hearken to the god, and
recognize the immense importance to everyone of that saying, "Know
thyself,"[444] and at the same time carefully observe our nature and
education and training, with its thousand shortcomings in respect to
good, and the large proportion of vice and vanity mixed up with our
words and deeds and feelings, we shall not make ourselves so easy a mark
for flatterers. Alexander said that he disbelieved those who called him
a god chiefly in regard to sleep and the sexual delight, for in both
those things he was more ignoble and emotional than in other
respects.[445] So we, if we observe the blots, blemishes, shortcomings,
and imperfections of our private selves, shall perceive clearly that we
do not need a friend who shall bestow upon us praise and panegyric, but
one that will reprove us, and speak plainly to us, aye, by Zeus, and
censure us if we have done amiss. For it is only a few out of many that
venture to speak plainly to their friends rather than gratify them, and
even among those few you will not easily find any who know how to do so
properly, for they think they are outspoken when they abuse and scold.
And yet, just as in the case of any other medicine, to employ freedom of
speech unseasonably is only to give needless pain and trouble, and in a
manner to do so as to produce vexation the very thing the flatterer does
so as to produce pleasure. For it does people harm not only to praise
them unseasonably but also to blame them unseasonably, and especially
exposes them to the successful attack of flatterers, for, like water,
they abandon the rugged hills for the soft grassy valleys. And so
outspokenness ought to be tempered with kindness, and reason ought to be
called in to correct its excessive tartness, (as we tone down the too
powerful glare of a lamp), that people may not, by being troubled and
grieved at continual blame and rebuke, fly for refuge to the shade of
the flatterer, and turn aside to him to free themselves from annoyance.
For we ought, Philopappus, to banish all vice by virtue, not by the
opposite vice, as some hold,[446] by exchanging modesty for impudence,
and countrified ways for town ribaldry, and by removing their character
as far as possible from cowardice and effeminacy, even if that should
make people get very near to audacity and foolhardiness. And some even
make superstition a plea for atheism, and stupidity a plea for knavery,
perverting their nature, like a stick bent double, from inability to set
it straight. But the basest disowning of flattery is to be disagreeable
without any purpose in view, and it shows an altogether inelegant and
clumsy unfitness for social intercourse to shun by unpleasing moroseness
the suspicion of being mean and servile in friendship; like the freedman
in the comedy who thought railing only enjoying freedom of speech.
Seeing then, that it is equally disgraceful to become a flatterer
through trying only to please, as in avoiding flattery to destroy all
friendship and intimacy by excessive freedom of speech, we must avoid
both these extremes, and, as in any other case, make our freedom of
speech agreeable by its moderation. So the subject itself seems next to
demand that I should conclude it by discussing that point.

§ XXVI. As then we see that much trouble arises from excessive freedom
of speech, let us first of all detach from it any element of self-love,
being carefully on our guard that we may not appear to upbraid on
account of any private hurt or injury. For people do not regard a speech
on the speaker's own behalf as arising from goodwill, but from anger,
and reproach rather than admonition. For freedom in speech is friendly
and has weight, but reproach is selfish and little. And so people
respect and admire those that speak their mind freely, but accuse back
and despise those that reproach them: as Agamemnon would not stand the
moderate freedom of speech of Achilles, but submitted to and endured
the bitter attack and speech of Odysseus,

  "Pernicious chief, would that thou didst command
   Some sorry host, and not such men as these!"[447]

for he was restrained by the carefulness and sobriety of his speech, and
also Odysseus had no private motive of anger but only spoke out on
behalf of Greece,[448] whereas Achilles seemed rather vexed on his own
account. And Achilles himself, though not sweet-tempered or mild of
mood, but "a terrible man, and one that would perchance blame an
innocent person,"[449] yet silently listened to Patroclus bringing
against him many such charges as the following,

  "Pitiless one, thy sire never was
   Knight Peleus, nor thy mother gentle Thetis,
   But the blue sea and steep and rocky crags
   Thy parents were, so flinty is thy heart."[450]

For as Hyperides the orator bade the Athenians consider not only whether
he spoke bitterly, but whether he spoke so from interested motives,[451]
so the rebuke of a friend void of all private feeling is solemn and
grave and what one dare not lightly face. And if anyone shows plainly in
his freedom of speech, that he altogether passes over and dismisses any
offences his friend has done to himself, and only blames him for other
shortcomings, and does not spare him but gives him pain for the
interests of others, the tone of his outspokenness is invincible, and
the sweetness of his manner even intensifies the bitterness and
austerity of his rebuke. And so it has well been said, that in anger and
differences with our friends we ought more especially to act with a view
to their interest or honour. And no less friendly is it, when it appears
that we have been passed over and neglected, to boldly put in a word for
others that are neglected too, and to remind people of them, as Plato,
when he was out of favour with Dionysius, begged for an audience, and
Dionysius granted it, thinking that Plato had some personal grievance
and was going to enter into it, but Plato opened the conversation as
follows, "If, Dionysius, you knew that some enemy had sailed to Sicily
with a view to do you some harm, but found no opportunity, would you
allow him to sail back again, and go off scot-free?" "Certainly not,
Plato," replied Dionysius, "for we must not only hate and punish the
deeds of our enemies, but also their intentions." "If then," said Plato,
"anyone has come here for your benefit, and wishes to do you good, and
you do not find him an opportunity, is it right to let him go away with
neglect and without thanks?" And on Dionysius asking, who he meant, he
replied, "I mean Æschines, a man of as good a character as any of
Socrates' pupils whatever, and able to improve by his conversation any
with whom he might associate: and he is neglected, though he has made a
long voyage here to discuss philosophy with you." This speech so
affected Dionysius, that he at once threw his arms round Plato and
embraced him, admiring his benevolence and loftiness of mind, and
treated Æschines well and handsomely.

§ XXVII. In the next place, let us clear away as it were and remove all
insolence, and jeering, and mocking, and ribaldry, which are the evil
seasonings of freedom of speech. For as, when the surgeon performs an
operation, a certain neatness and delicacy of touch ought to accompany
his use of the knife, but all pantomimic and venturesome and fashionable
suppleness and over-finicalness ought to be far away from his hand, so
freedom of speech admits of dexterity and politeness, provided that a
pleasant way of putting it does not destroy the power of the rebuke, for
impudence and coarseness and insolence, if added to freedom of speech,
entirely mar and ruin the effect. And so the harper plausibly and
elegantly silenced Philip, who ventured to dispute with him about proper
playing on the harp, by answering him, "God forbid that you should be so
unfortunate, O king, as to understand harping better than me." But that
was not a right answer of Epicharmus, when Hiero a few days after
putting to death some of his friends invited him to supper, "You did not
invite me," he said, "the other day, when you sacrificed your friends."
Bad also was that answer of Antiphon, who, when Dionysius asked him
"which was the best kind of bronze," answered, "That of which the
Athenians made statues of Harmodius and Aristogiton." For this
unpleasant and bitter kind of language profits not those that use it,
nor does scurrility and puerile jesting please, but such kind of
speeches are indications of an incontinent tongue inspired by hate, and
full of malignity and insolence, and those who use such language do but
ruin themselves, recklessly dancing on the verge of a well.[452] For
Antiphon was put to death by Dionysius, and Timagenes lost the
friendship of Augustus, not by using on any occasion too free a tongue,
but at supper-parties and walks always declining to talk seriously,
"only saying what he knew would make the Argives laugh,"[453] and thus
virtually charging friendship with being only a cloak for abuse. For
even the comic poets have introduced on the stage many grave sentiments
well adapted to public life, but joking and ribaldry being mixed with
them, like insipid sauces with food, destroy their effect and make them
lose their nourishing power, so that the comic poets only get a
reputation for malignity and coarseness, and the audience get no benefit
from what is said. We may on other occasions jest and laugh with our
friends, but let our outspokenness be coupled with seriousness and
gravity, and if it be on important matters, let our speech be
trustworthy and moving from its pathos, and animation, and tone of
voice. And on all occasions to let an opportunity slip by is very
injurious, but especially does it destroy the usefulness of freedom of
speech. It is plain therefore that we must abstain from freedom of
speech when men are in their cups. For he disturbs the harmony of a
social gathering[454] who, in the midst of mirth and jollity, introduces
a topic that shall knit the brows and contract the face, and shall act
as a damper to the Lysian[455] god, who, as Pindar says, "looses the
rope of all our cares and anxieties." There is also great danger in such
ill-timed freedom of speech. For wine makes people easily slip into
rage, and oftentimes freedom of speech in liquor makes enemies. And
generally speaking it is not noble or brave but cowardly to conceal your
ideas when people are sober and to give free vent to them at table,
snarling like cowardly dogs. We need say no more therefore on this head.

§ XXVIII. But since many people do not think fit or even dare to find
fault with their friends when in prosperity, but think that condition
altogether out of the reach and range of rebuke, but inveigh against
them if they have made a slip or stumble, and trample upon them if they
are in dejection and in their power, and, like a stream swollen above
its banks, pour upon them then the torrent of all their eloquence,[456]
and enjoy and are glad at their reverse of fortune, owing to their
former contempt of them when they were poor themselves, it is not amiss
to discuss this somewhat, and to answer those words of Euripides,

  "What need of friends, when things go well with us?"[457]

for those in prosperity stand in especial need of friends who shall be
outspoken to them, and abate their excessive pride. For there are few
who are sensible in prosperity, most need to borrow wisdom from others,
and such considerations as shall keep them lowly when puffed up and
giving themselves airs owing to their good fortune. But when the deity
has abased them and stripped them of their conceit, there is something
in their very circumstances to reprove them and bring about a change of
mind. And so there is no need then of a friendly outspokenness, nor of
weighty or caustic words, but truly in such reverses "it is sweet to
look into the eyes of a friendly person,"[458] consoling and cheering
one up: as Xenophon[459] tells us that the sight of Clearchus in battle
and dangers, and his calm benevolent face, inspired courage in his men
when in peril. But he who uses to a man in adversity too great freedom
and severity of speech, like a man applying too pungent a remedy to an
inflamed and angry eye, neither cures him nor abates his pain, but adds
anger to his grief, and exasperates his mental distress. For example
anyone well is not at all angry or fierce with a friend, who blames him
for his excesses with women and wine, his laziness and taking no
exercise, his frequent baths, and his unseasonable surfeiting: but to a
person ill all this is unsufferable, and even worse than his illness to
hear, "All this has happened to you through your intemperance, and
luxury, your dainty food, and love for women." The patient answers, "How
unseasonable is all this, good sir! I am making my will, the doctors are
preparing me a dose of castor and scammony, and you are scolding me and
plying me with philosophy." And thus the affairs of the unfortunate do
not admit of outspokenness and a string of Polonius-like saws, but they
require kindness and help. For when children fall down their nurses do
not run up to them and scold, but pick them up, and clean them, and tidy
their dress, and afterwards find fault and correct them. The story is
told of Demetrius of Phalerum, when an exile from his native country,
and living a humble and obscure life at Thebes, that he was not pleased
to see Crates approaching, for he expected to receive from him cynical
outspokenness and harsh language. But as Crates talked kindly to him,
and discussed his exile, and pointed out that there was no evil in it,
or anything that ought to put him about, for he had only got rid of the
uncertainties and dangers of public life, and at the same time bade him
trust in himself and his condition of mind, Demetrius cheered up and
became happier, and said to his friends, "Out upon all my former
business and employments, that left me no leisure to know such a man as

  "For friendly speech is good to one in grief,
   While bitter language only suits the fool."[460]

This is the way with generous friends. But the ignoble and low
flatterers of those in prosperity, as Demosthenes says fractures and
sprains always give us pain again when the body is not well,[461] adhere
to them in reverses, as if they were pleased at and enjoyed them. But
indeed if there be any need of reminding a man of the blunders he
committed through unadvisedly following his own counsel, it is enough to
say, "This was not to my mind, indeed I often tried to dissuade you from

§ XXIX. In what cases then ought a friend to be vehement, and when ought
he to use emphatic freedom of language? When circumstances call upon him
to check some headlong pleasure or rage or insolence, or to curtail
avarice, or to correct some foolish negligence. Thus Solon spoke out to
Croesus, who was corrupted and enervated by insecure good fortune,
bidding him look to the end.[463] Thus Socrates restrained Alcibiades,
and wrung from him genuine tears by his reproof, and changed his
heart.[464] Such also was the plain dealing of Cyrus with Cyaxares, and
of Plato with Dion, for when Dion was most famous and attracted to
himself the notice of all men, by the splendour and greatness of his
exploits, Plato warned him to fear and be on his guard against "pleasing
only himself, for so he would lose all his friends."[465] Speusippus
also wrote to him not to plume himself on being a great person only with
lads and women, but to see to it that by adorning Sicily with piety and
justice and good laws he might make the Academy glorious. On the other
hand Euctus and Eulæus, companions of Perseus, in the days of his
prosperity ingratiated themselves with him, and assented to him in all
things, and danced attendance upon him, like all the other courtiers,
but when he fled after his defeat by the Romans at Pydna, they attacked
him and censured him bitterly, reminding him and upbraiding him in
regard to everything he had done amiss or neglected to do, till he was
so greatly exasperated both from grief and rage that he whipped out his
sword and killed both of them.

§ XXX. Let so much suffice for general occasions of freedom of speech.
There are also particular occasions, which our friends themselves
furnish, that one who really cares for his friends will not neglect, but
make use of. In some cases a question, or narrative, or the censure or
praise of similar things in other people, gives as it were the cue for
freedom of speech. Thus it is related that Demaratus came to Macedonia
from Corinth at the time when Philip was at variance with his wife and
son, and when the king asked if the Greeks were at harmony with one
another, Demaratus, being his well-wisher and friend, answered, "It is
certainly very rich of you, Philip, inquiring as to concord between the
Athenians and Peloponnesians, when you don't observe that your own house
is full of strife and variance."[466] Good also was the answer of
Diogenes, who, when Philip was marching to fight against the Greeks,
stole into his camp, and was arrested and brought before him, and the
king not recognizing him asked if he was a spy, "Certainly," replied he,
"Philip, I have come to spy out your inconsiderate folly, which makes
you, under no compulsion, come here and hazard your kingdom and life on
a moment's[467] cast of the die." This was perhaps rather too strong a

§ XXXI. Another suitable time for reproof is when people have been
abused by others for their faults, and have consequently become humble,
and abated their pride. The man of tact will ingeniously seize the
occasion, checking and baffling those that used the abuse, but privately
speaking seriously to his friend, and reminding him, that he ought to be
more careful if for no other reason than to take off the edge of his
enemies' satire. He will say, "How can they open their mouths against
you, or what can they urge, if you give up and abandon what you get this
bad name about?" Thus pain comes only from abuse, but profit from
reproof. And some correct their friends more daintily by blaming
others; censuring others for what they know are their friends' faults.
Thus my master Ammonius in afternoon school, noticing that some of his
pupils had not dined sufficiently simply, bade one of his freedmen
scourge his own son, charging him with being unable to get through his
dinner without vinegar,[468] but in acting thus he had an eye to us, so
that this indirect rebuke touched the guilty persons.

§ XXXII. We must also beware of speaking too freely to a friend in the
company of many people, remembering the well-known remark of Plato. For
when Socrates reproved one of his friends too vehemently in a discussion
at table, Plato said, "Would it not have been better to have said this
privately?" Whereupon Socrates replied, "And you too, sir, would it not
have become you to make this remark also privately?" And Pythagoras
having rebuked one of his pupils somewhat harshly before many people,
they say the young fellow went off and hung himself, and from that
moment Pythagoras never again rebuked anyone in another's presence. For,
as in the case of some foul disease, so also in the case of wrong-doing
we ought to make the detection and exposure private, and not
ostentatiously public by bringing witnesses and spectators. For it is
not the part of a friend but a sophist to seek glory by the ill-fame of
another, and to show off in company, like the doctors that perform
wonderful cures in the theatres as an advertisement.[469] And
independently of the insult, which ought not to be an element in any
cure, we must remember that vice is contentious and obstinate. For it is
not merely "love," as Euripides says, that "if checked becomes more
vehement," but an unsparing rebuke before many people makes every
infirmity and vice more impudent. As then Plato[470] urges old men who
want to teach the young reverence to act reverently to them first
themselves, so among friends a gentle rebuke is gently taken, and a
cautious and careful approach and mild censure of the wrong-doer
undermines and destroys vice, and makes its own modesty catching. So
that line is most excellent, "holding his head near, that the others
might not hear."[471] And most especially indecorous is it to expose a
husband in the hearing of his wife, or a father before his children, or
a lover in the presence of the loved one, or a master before his
scholars. For people are beside themselves with pain and rage if
reproached before those with whom they desire to be held in good repute.
And I think it was not so much wine that exasperated Alexander with
Clitus, as his seeming to put him down in the presence of many people.
And Aristomenes, the tutor of Ptolemy,[472] because he went up to the
king and woke him as he was asleep in an audience of some ambassadors,
gave a handle to the king's flatterers who professed to be indignant on
his behalf, and said, "If after your immense state-labours and many
vigils you have been overpowered by sleep, he ought to have rebuked you
privately, and not put his hands upon you before so many people." And
Ptolemy sent for a cup of poison and ordered the poor man to drink it
up. And Aristophanes said Cleon blamed him for "railing against the
state when strangers were present,"[473] and so irritating the
Athenians. We ought therefore to be very much on our guard in relation
to this point too as well as others, if we wish not to make a display
and catch the public ear, but to use our freedom of speech for
beneficial purposes and to cure vice. Moreover, what Thucydides has
represented the Corinthians saying of themselves, that "they had a right
to blame their neighbours,"[474] is not a bad precept for those to
remember who intend to use freedom of speech. Lysander, it seems, on one
occasion said to a Megarian, who was speaking somewhat boldly on behalf
of Greece among the allies, "Your words require a state to back
them":[475] similarly every man's freedom of speech requires character
behind it, and especially true is this in regard to those who censure
and correct others. Thus Plato said that his life was a tacit rebuke to
Speusippus: and doubtless Xenocrates by his mere presence in the
schools, and by his earnest look at Polemo, made a changed man of him.
Whereas a man of levity and bad character, if he ventures to rebuke
anybody, is likely to hear the line,

  "He doctors others, all diseased himself."[476]

§ XXXIII. Yet since circumstances frequently call on people who are bad
themselves in association with other such to reprove them, the most
convenient mode of reproof will be that which contrives to include the
reprover in the same indictment as the reproved, as in the case of the

  "Tydides, how on earth have we forgot
   Our old impetuous courage?"[477]


  "Now are we all not worth one single Hector."[478]

In this mild way did Socrates rebuke young men, as not himself without
ignorance, but one that needed in common with them to prosecute virtue,
and seek truth. For they gain goodwill and influence, who seem to have
the same faults as their friends, and desire to correct themselves as
well as them. But he who is high and mighty in setting down another, as
if he were himself perfect and without any imperfections, unless he be
of a very advanced age, or has an acknowledged reputation for virtue and
worth, does no good, but is only regarded as a tiresome bore. And so it
was wisely done of Phoenix to relate his own mishaps, how he had meant
killing his father, but quickly repented at the thought "that he would
be called by the Achæans parricide,"[479] that he might not seem to be
rebuking Achilles, as one that had himself never suffered from excess of
rage. For kindness of this sort has great influence, and people yield
more to those who seem to be sympathetic and not supercilious. And since
we ought not to expose an inflamed eye to a strong light, and a soul a
prey to the passions cannot bear unmixed reproof and rebuke, one of the
most useful remedies will be found to be a slight mixture of praise, as
in the following lines,

  "Ye will not sure give up your valiant courage,
   The best men in the host! I should not care
   If any coward left the fight, not I;
   But you to do so cuts me to the heart."[480]


  "Where is thy bow, where thy wing'd arrows, Pandarus,
   Where thy great fame, which no one here can match?"[481]

Such language again plainly cheers very much those that are down as,

  "Where now is Oedipus, and his famous riddles?"[482]


  "Does much-enduring Hercules say this?"[483]

For not only does it soften the harsh imperiousness of censure, but
also, by reminding a man of former noble deeds, implants a desire to
emulate his former self in the person who is ashamed of what is low, and
makes himself his own exemplar for better things. But if we make a
comparison between him and other men, as his contemporaries, his
fellow-citizens, or his relations, then the contentious spirit inherent
in vice is vexed and exasperated, and is often apt to chime in angrily,
"Why don't you go off to my betters then, and leave off bothering me?"
We must therefore be on our guard against praising others, when we are
rebuking a man, unless indeed it be their parents, as Agamemnon says in

  "Little like Tydeus is his father's son!"[484]

or as Odysseus in the play called "The Scyrians,"[485]

  "Dost thou card wool, and thus the lustre smirch
   Of thy illustrious sire, thy noble race?"

§ XXXIV. But it is by no means fitting when rebuked to rebuke back, and
when spoken to plainly to answer back, for that soon kindles a flame and
causes dissension; and generally speaking such altercation will not look
so much like a retort as an inability to bear freedom of speech. It is
better therefore to listen patiently to a friend's rebuke, for if he
should afterwards do wrong himself and so need rebuke, he has set you
the example of freedom of speech. For being reminded without any malice,
that he himself has not been accustomed to spare his friends when they
have done wrong, but to convince them and show them their fault, he will
be the more inclined to yield and give himself up to correction, as it
will seem a return of goodwill and kindness rather than scolding or

§ XXXV. Moreover, as Thucydides says "he is well advised who [only]
incurs envy in the most important matters,"[486] so the friend ought
only to take upon himself the unpleasant duty of reproof in grave and
momentous cases. For if he is always in a fret and a fume, and rates his
acquaintances more like a tutor than a friend, his rebuke will be blunt
and ineffective in cases of the highest importance, and he will resemble
a doctor who dispenses some sharp and bitter, but important and costly,
drug in trifling cases of common occurrence, where it was not at all
needed, and so will lose all the advantages that might come from a
judicious use of freedom of speech. He will therefore be very much on
his guard against continual fault-finding, and if his friend is always
pettifogging about minute matters, and is needlessly querulous, it will
give him a handle against him in more important shortcomings. Philotimus
the doctor, when a patient who had abscesses on his liver showed him his
sore finger, said to him, "My friend, it is not the whitlow that
matters."[487] So an opportunity sometimes offers itself to a friend to
say to a man, who is always finding fault on small and trivial points,
"Why are we always discussing mere child's play, tippling,[488] and
trifles? Let such a one, my dear sir, send away his mistress, or give up
playing at dice, he will then be in my opinion in all respects an
excellent fellow." For he who receives pardon on small matters is
content that his friend should rebuke him on matters of more moment: but
the man who is ever on the scold, everywhere sour and glum, knowing and
prying into everything, is scarcely tolerable to his children or
brothers, and insufferable to his slaves.

§ XXXVI. But since "neither," to use the words of Euripides, "do all
troubles proceed only from old age,"[489] nor from the stupidity of our
friends, we ought to observe not only the shortcomings but also the good
points of our friends, aye, by Zeus, and to be ready to praise them
first, and only censure them afterwards. For as iron receives its
consistency and temper by first being submitted to fire and so made soft
and then dipped into cold water, so when friends have been first warmed
and melted with praises we can afterwards use gentle remonstrance, which
has a similar effect to that of dipping in the case of the metal. For an
opportunity will offer itself to say, "Are those actions worthy to be
compared with these? Do you see what fruits virtue yields? These are the
things we your friends ask of you, these become you, for these you are
designed by nature; but all that other kind of conduct we must reject
with abhorrence, 'cast it away on a mountain, or throw it into the
roaring sea.'"[490] For as a clever doctor would prefer to cure the
illness of his patient by sleep and diet rather than by castor or
scammony, so a kind friend and good father or teacher delight to use
praise rather than blame to correct the character. For nothing makes
rebuke less painful or more beneficial than to refrain from anger, and
to inveigh against wrong-doing mildly and kindly. And so we ought not
sharply to drive home the guilt of those who deny it, or prevent their
making their defence, but even contrive to furnish them with specious
excuses, and if they seem reluctant to give a bad motive for their
action we ought ourselves to find for them a better, as Hector did for
his brother Paris,

  "Unhappy man, thy anger was not good,"[491]

suggesting that his absconding from the battle was not running away or
cowardice, but only anger. And Nestor says to Agamemnon,

  "You only yielded to your lofty passion."[492]

For it has, I think, a better moral tendency to say "You forgot," or
"You did it inadvertently," than to say "You acted unfairly," or "You
behaved shamefully:" as also "Don't contend with your brother," than
"Don't envy your brother;" and "Avoid the woman who is your ruin," than
"Stop ruining the woman." Such is the language employed in rebuke that
desires to reform and not to wound; that rebuke which looks merely at
the effect to be produced acts on another principle. For when it is
necessary to stop people on the verge of wrong-doing, or to check some
violent and irregular impulse, or if we wish to rouse and infuse vigour
in those who prosecute virtue only feebly and languidly, we may then
assign strange and unbecoming motives for their behaviour. As Odysseus
in Sophocles' play,[493] striving to rouse Achilles, says he is not
angry about his supper,[494] but "that he is afraid now that he looks
upon the walls of Troy," and when Achilles was vexed at this, and talked
of sailing home again, he said,

  "I know what 'tis you shun: 'tis not ill fame:
   But Hector's near, it is not safe to beard him."

Thus by frightening the high-spirited and courageous man by the
imputation of cowardice, and the sober and orderly man by that of
licentiousness, and the liberal and munificent man by that of meanness
and avarice, people urge them on to what is good, and deter them from
what is bad, showing moderation in cases past remedy, and exhibiting in
their freedom of speech more sorrow and sympathy than fault-finding; but
in the prevention of wrong-doing and in earnest fighting against the
passions they are vehement and inexorable and assiduous: for that is the
time for downright plainness and truth. Besides we see that enemies
censure one another for what they have done amiss, as Diogenes
said,[495] he who wished to lead a good life ought to have good friends
or red-hot enemies, for the former told you what was right, and the
latter blamed you if you did what was wrong. But it is better to be on
our guard against wrong actions, through listening to the persuasion of
those that advise us well, than to repent, after we have done wrong, in
consequence of the reproaches of our enemies. And so we ought to employ
tact in our freedom of speech, as it is the greatest and most powerful
remedy in friendship, and always needs a well-chosen occasion, and
moderation in applying it.

§ XXXVII. Since then, as I have said before, freedom of speech is often
painful to the person who is to receive benefit from it, we must imitate
the surgeons, who, when they have performed an operation, do not leave
the suffering part to pain and smart, but bathe and foment it; so those
who do their rebuking daintily run[496] off after paining and smarting,
and by different dealing and kind words soothe and mollify them, as
statuaries smooth and polish images which have been broken or chipped.
But he that is broken and wounded by rebuke, if he is left sullen and
swelling with rage and off his equilibrium, is henceforth hard to win
back or talk over. And so people who reprove ought to be especially
careful on this point, and not to leave them too soon, nor break off
their conversation and intercourse with their acquaintances at the
exasperating and painful stage.

    [348] Plato, "Laws," v. p. 731 D, E.

    [349] "Laws," v. p. 730 C.

    [350] Inscribed in the vestibule of the temple of Apollo
    at Delphi. See Pausanias, x. 24.

    [351] Used here apparently proverbially for poverty or
    low position in life.

    [352] Wyttenbach well compares Cicero, "De Amicitia,"
    xviii.: "Accedat huc suavitas quædam oportet sermonum
    atque morum, haudquaquam mediocre condimentum amicitiæ.
    Tristitia autem et in omni re severitas, habet illa
    quidem gravitatem: sed amicitia remissior esse debet, et
    liberior, et dulcior, et ad omnem comitatem
    facilitatemque proclivior."

    [353] Hesiod, "Theogony," 64.

    [354] Euripides, "Ion," 732.

    [355] Our author assigns this saying to Prodicus, "De
    Sanitate Præcepta," § viii. But to Evenus, "Quæst.
    Conviv." Lib. vii. Prooemium, and "Platonicæ
    Quæstiones," x. § iii.

    [356] As was usual. See Homer, "Odyssey," i. 146. Cf.
    Plautus, "Persa," v. iii. 16: "Hoc age, accumbe: hunc
    diem suavem meum natalem agitemus amoenum: date aquam
    manibus: apponite mensam."

    [357] From a play of Eupolis called "The Flatterers."
    Cf. Terence, "Eunuchus," 489-491.

    [358] See Athenæus, 256 D. Compare also Valerius Maximus,
    ix. 1.

    [359] "Videatur Casaubonus ad Athenæum, vi. p. 243

    [360] "Republic," p. 361 A.

    [361] See Herodotus, iii. 78.

    [362] See Erasmus, "Adagia," p. 1883.

    [363] "Proverbium etiam a Cicerone laudatum 'De
    Amicitia,' cap. vi.: Itaque non aqua, non igne, ut
    aiunt, pluribus locis utimur, quam amicitia. Notavit
    etiam Erasmus 'Adag.' p. 112."--_Wyttenbach._

    [364] Compare Sallust, "De Catilinæ Conjuratione," cap.
    xx.: "Nam idem velle atque idem nolle, ea demum firma
    amicitia est."

    [365] "Proverbiale, quo utitur Plutarchus in Alcibiade,
    p. 203 D. Iambus Tragici esse videtur, ad Neoptolemum

    [366] As the polypus, or chameleon.

    [367] Plato, "Phædrus," p. 239 D.

    [368] Wyttenbach compares Juvenal, iii. 100-108.

    [369] See my note "On Abundance of Friends," § ix.
    Wyttenbach well points out the felicity of the
    expression here, "siquidem parasitus est [Greek: aoikos
    kai anestios]."

    [370] Euripides, "Hippolytus," 219, 218. Cf. Ovid,
    "Heroides," iv. 41, 42.

    [371] Compare "How one may be aware of one's progress in
    virtue," § x. Cf. also Horace, "Satires," ii. iii. 35;
    Quintilian, xi. 1.

    [372] "Odyssey," xxii. 1.

    [373] The demagogue is a kind of flatterer. See
    Aristotle, "Pol." iv. 4.

    [374] Cf. Aristophanes, "Acharnians," 153, [Greek: hoper
    machimôtaton thrakôn ethnos].

    [375] Plato was somewhat of a traveller, he three times
    visited Syracuse, and also travelled in Egypt.

    [376] As to the polypus, see "On Abundance of Friends,"
    § ix.

    [377] As "Fumum et opes _strepitumque_ Romæ."--Horace,
    "Odes," iii. 29. 12.

    [378] Homer, "Odyssey," xvi. 181.

    [379] Sophocles, "Antigone," 523.

    [380] As to these traits in Plato and Aristotle, compare
    "De Audiendis Poetis," § viii. And as to Alexander,
    Plutarch tells us in his Life that he used to hold his
    head a little to the left, "Life," p. 666 B. See also
    "De Alexandri Fortuna aut Virtute," § ii.

    [381] "De Chamæleonte Aristoteles 'Hist. Animal.' i. 11;
    'Part. Animal.' iv. 11; Theophrastus Eclog. ap. Photium
    edit. Aristot. Sylburg. T. viii. p. 329: [Greek:
    metaballei de ho chamaileôn eis panta ta chrômata; plên
    ten eis to leukon kai to eruthron ou dechetai metabolên.]
    Similiter Plinius 'Hist. Nat.' viii. 51."--_Wyttenbach._

    [382] See Athenæus, 249 F; 435 E.

    [383] Cf. Juv. iii. 113; "Scire volunt secreta domus,
    atque inde timeri."

    [384] Cf. Menander apud Stob. p. 437: [Greek: Ta deuter
    aiei tên gynaika dei legein, Tên d' êgemonian tôn olôn
    ton andr' echein].

    [385] As Lord Stowell used to say that "dinners
    lubricated business."

    [386] Homer, "Iliad," xi. 643.

    [387] Homer, "Odyssey," iv. 178, 179.

    [388] Perhaps the poley-germander. See Pliny, "Nat.
    Hist," xxi. 84. The line is from Nicander Theriac. 64.

    [389] "Iliad," viii. 281, 282.

    [390] "Iliad," x. 243.

    [391] "Iliad," vii. 109, 110.

    [392] Xenophon, "Agesilaus," xi. 5. p. 673 C.

    [393] To filch the grain from the bin or granary would
    not of course be so important a theft as to steal the
    seed-stock preserved for sowing. So probably Cato, "De
    Re Rustica," v. § iv.: "Segetem ne defrudet," sc.

    [394] Thucydides, iii. 82.

    [395] Plato, "Republic," v. p. 474 E. Compare also
    Lucretius, iv. 1160-1170; Horace, "Satires," i. 3. 38

    [396] This Ptolemy was a votary of Cybele, and a
    spiritual ancestor of General Booth. The worship of
    Cybele is well described by Lucretius, ii. 598-643.

    [397] This was Ptolemy Auletes, as the former was
    Ptolemy Philopator.

    [398] See Suetonius, "Nero," ch. 21.

    [399] "Plerumque _minuta voce
    cantillare_."--_Wyttenbach._ What Milton would have
    called "a lean and flashy song."

    [400] Naso suspendit adunco, as Horace, "Sat." i. 6. 5.

    [401] See Athenæus, p. 434 C.

    [402] As Gnatho in Terence, "Eunuch." 496-498.

    [403] Reading [Greek: Helôn], as Courier, Hercher.

    [404] "Iliad," x. 249. They are words of Odysseus.

    [405] This was carrying flattery rather far.
    "Mithridatis medicinæ scientia multis memorata

    [406] Euripides, "Alcestis," 1159.

    [407] Our author gives this definition to Simonides, "De
    Gloria Atheniensium," § iii.

    [408] So our author again, "On Contentedness of Mind," §

    [409] See Herodotus, i. 30, 33; Juvenal, x. 274, 275;
    and Pausanias, ii. 20.

    [410] "Nobile Stoæ Paradoxum. Cicero Fin. iii. 22, ex
    persona Catonis. Horatius ridet Epistol. i. 1. 106-108.
    Ad summam sapiens uno minor est Jove: dives, Liber,
    honoratus, pulcher, rex denique regum; Præcipue sanus,
    nisi quum pituita molesta est."--_Wyttenbach._

    [411] See also "On Contentedness of Mind," § xii.

    [412] Homer, "Iliad," xvi. 141. See the context also
    from 130 sq.

    [413] Our author has used this illustration again in
    "Phocion," p. 742 B.

    [414] Namely in § xxvii. where [Greek: parrhêsia] is

    [415] Contrary to the severe training he ought to
    undergo, well expressed by Horace, "De Arte Poetica,"

    [416] Reading with Hercher [Greek: apotympanizontos kai
    streblountos]. This was Ptolemy Physcon.

    [417] "Unus ex Alexandri adulatoribus: memoratus Curtio
    viii. 5, 6."--_Wyttenbach._

    [418] A common proverb among the ancients. See "Conjugal
    Precepts," § xl.; Erasmus, "Adagia," pp. 1222, 1838.

    [419] A line out of Æschylus' "Myrmidons." Quoted again
    by our author, "Of Love," § V.

    [420] Cleopatra.

    [421] Homer, "Odyssey," x. 329. They are the words of
    Circe to Odysseus. But the line was suspected even by
    old grammarians, and is put in brackets in modern
    editions of the "Odyssey."

    [422] See Lucretius, iv. 1079-1085.

    [423] So Pliny, "Hist. Nat." xxv. 95: "Remedio est
    (cicutæ), priusquam perveniat ad vitalia, vini natura
    excalfactoria: sed in vino pota irremediabilis

    [424] Assigned to Pittacus by our author, "Septem
    Sapientum Convivium," § ii.

    [425] So Wyttenbach, who reads [Greek: enstaseis], and
    translates, "et libertate loquendi in nobis
    reprehendendis utitur, quando nos cupiditatibus
    morbisque animi nostri non indulgere, sed resistere,

    [426] "Phoenissæ," 469-472.

    [427] Like Juvenal's "Græculus esuriens in cælum,
    jusseris, ibit."--Juvenal, iii, 78.

    [428] These are two successive lines found three times
    in Homer, "Iliad," xiv. 195, 196; xviii. 426, 427;
    "Odyssey," v. 89, 90. The two lines are in each case
    spoken by one person.

    [429] Probably lines from "The Flatterer" of Menander.

    [430] From the "Ino" of Euripides.

    [431] From the "Erechtheus" of Euripides.

    [432] We know from Athenæus, p. 420 D, that Apelles and
    Arcesilaus were friends.

    [433] An allusion to Hesiod, "Works and Days," 235. Cf.
    Horace, "Odes," iv. 5. 23.

    [434] See the beautiful story of Baucis and Philemon,
    Ovid, "Metamorphoses," viii. 626-724: "Cura pii dis
    sunt, et qui coluere coluntur."

    [435] Compare Terence, "Andria," 43, 44. So too Seneca,
    "De Beneficiis," ii. 10: "Hæc enim beneficii inter duos
    lex est: alter statim oblivisci debet dati, alter
    accepti nunquam. Lacerat animum et premit frequens
    meritorum commemoratio."

    [436] A similar story about the Samians and
    Lacedæmonians is told by Aristotle, "Oeconom." ii. 9.

    [437] A line from Euripides, "Iphigenia in Aulis," 407.

    [438] Also in "Conjugal Precepts," § xxix.

    [439] See Persius, iii. 21, 22, with Jahn's Note.

    [440] See "On Love," § xxi.

    [441] "Auri plumbique oppositio fere proverbialis est.
    Petronius, 'Satyricon,' 43. Plane fortunæ filius: in
    manu illius plumbum aureum fiebat."--_Wyttenbach._ The
    passage about the Lydian chariot is said to be by Pindar
    in our author, "Nicias," p. 523 D.

    [442] Wyttenbach compares Seneca, "Epist." cxxiii. p.
    495: "Horum sermo multum nocet: nam etiamsi non statim
    officit, semina in animo relinquit, sequiturque nos
    etiam cum ab illis discesserimus, resurrecturum postea

    [443] Compare Cicero, "De Amicitia," xxvi.: "Assentatio,
    quamvis perniciosa sit, nocere tamen nemini potest, nisi
    ei, qui eam recipit atque ea delectatur. Ita fit, ut is
    assentatoribus patefaciat aures suas maxime, qui ipse
    sibi assentetur et se maxime ipse delectet."

    [444] Compare § i.

    [445] Compare our Author, "Quaestiones Convivalium,"
    viii. p. 717 F.

    [446] So Horace, "Satires," i. 2, 24: "Dum vitant stulti
    vitia in contraria currunt."

    [447] Homer, "Iliad," xiv. 84, 85.

    [448] Compare Cicero, "De Officiis," i. 25: "Omnis autem
    animadversio et castigatio contumelia vacare debet:
    neque ad ejus, qui punitur aliquem aut verbis fatigat,
    sed ad reipublicæ utilitatem referri."

    [449] "Iliad," xi. 654.

    [450] "Iliad," xvi. 33-35.

    [451] Cf. Plutarch, "Phocion," p. 746 D.

    [452] A proverb of persons on the brink of destruction.
    Wells among the ancients were uncovered.

    [453] "Iliad," ii. 215, of Thersites. As to Theagenes,
    see Seneca, "De Ira," ii. 23.

    [454] Literally, "brings a cloud over fair weather."

    [455] The MSS. have Lydian. Lysian Dionysus is also
    found in Pausanias, ix. 16. Lyæus is suggested by
    Wyttenbach, and read by Hercher. Lysius or Lyæus will
    both be connected with [Greek: luô], and so refer to
    Dionysus as the god that looses or frees us from care.
    See Horace, "Epodes," ix. 37, 38.

    [456] Compare Juvenal, iii. 73, 74: "Sermo Promptus et
    Isæo torrentior."

    [457] "Orestes," 667.

    [458] Euripides, "Ion," 732.

    [459] "Anabasis," ii. 6, 11.

    [460] Perhaps by Euripides.

    [461] "Olynth." ii. p. 8 C; "Pro Corona," 341 C.

    [462] Homer, "Iliad," ix. 108, 109. They are the words
    of Nestor to Agamemnon.

    [463] See Herodotus, i. 30-32.

    [464] See Plato's "Symposium," p. 215 E.

    [465] See Plato, "Epist." iv. p. 321 B.

    [466] See our author, "Apophthegmata," p. 179 C.

    [467] Compare Horace, "Satires," i. 1. 7, 8: "Quid enim,
    concurritur: horæ Momento cita mors venit aut victoria

    [468] And so being dainty. See Athenæus, ii. ch. 76.

    [469] We see from this and other places that the
    mountebanks and quacks of the Middle Ages and later
    times existed also among the ancients. Human nature in
    its great leading features is ever the same. "Omne
    ignotum pro magnifico est."

    [470] "Laws," p. 729 C.

    [471] Homer, "Odyssey," i. 157; iv. 70; xvii. 592.

    [472] Ptolemy V., Epiphanes. The circumstances are
    related by Polybius, xv. 29; xvii. 35.

    [473] See "Acharnians," 501, 502.

    [474] Thucydides, i. 70: [Greek: kai hama, eiper tines
    kai alloi, nomizomen axioi einai tois pelas psogon

    [475] See our Author, "Apophthegmata," p. 190 E.

    [476] A line of Euripides, quoted again in "How a Man
    may be benefited by his Enemies," § iv.

    [477] Homer, "Iliad," xi. 313.

    [478] Do. viii. 234, 235.

    [479] Do. ix. 461.

    [480] "Iliad," xiii. 116-119.

    [481] Do. v. 171, 172.

    [482] Euripides, "Phoenissæ," 1688.

    [483] Euripides, "Hercules Furens," 1250.

    [484] "Iliad," v. 800. Athene is the speaker.

    [485] A play by Sophocles, now only in fragments,
    relating the life of Achilles in the island of Scyros,
    the scene of his amour with Deidamia, the daughter of
    Lycomedes, by whom he became the father of Pyrrhus.

    [486] Thucydides, ii. 64. Quoted again in "On Shyness,"
    § xviii.

    [487] See also "De Audiendo," § x.

    [488] [Greek: potous] comes in rather curiously here.
    Can any other word lurk under it?

    [489] "Phoenissæ," 528, 529.

    [490] Homer, "Iliad," vi. 347.

    [491] Do. vi. 326.

    [492] Homer, "Iliad," ix. 109, 110.

    [493] In Dindorf's "Poetæ Scenici Græci," Fragment 152.

    [494] As it is not quite clear why Achilles should have
    been angry about his supper, [Greek: dia to deipnon],
    apropos of the context, Wyttenbach ingeniously suggests,
    as this lost play of Sophocles was called [Greek: Syn
    deipnon], that Plutarch may have written [Greek: en tô

    [495] Compare "How One may be aware of one's Progress in
    Virtue," § xi.

    [496] "Ductum e proverbiali dictione [Greek: balonta
    ekpheugein], emisso telo aufugere."--_Wyttenbach._


§ I. I am well aware, Cornelius Pulcher, that you prefer the mildest
manners in public life, by which you can be at once most useful to the
community, and most agreeable in private life to those who have any
dealings with you. But since it is difficult to find any region without
wild beasts, though it is related of Crete;[497] and hitherto there has
been no state that has not suffered from envy, rivalry, and strife, the
most fruitful seeds of hostility; (for, even if nothing else does, our
friendships involve us in enmities, as Chilo[498] the wise man
perceived, who asked the man who told him he had no enemy, whether he
had a friend either), it seems to me that a public man ought not only to
examine the whole question of enemies in its various ramifications, but
also to listen to the serious remark of Xenophon,[499] that a sensible
man will receive profit even from his enemies. The ideas therefore that
lately occurred to me to deliver, I have now put together nearly in the
identical words and send them to you, with the exception of some matter
also in "Political Precepts,"[500] a treatise which I have often noticed
in your hands.

§ II. People in old times were well satisfied if they were not injured
by strange and wild beasts, and that was the only motive of their fights
with them, but those of later days have by now learnt to make use of
them, for they feed on their flesh, and clothe themselves with their
wool, and make medical use of their gall and beestings, and turn their
hides into shields, so that we might reasonably fear, if beasts failed
man, that his life would become brutish, and wild, and void of
resources. Similarly since all others are satisfied with not being
injured by their enemies, but the sensible will also (as Xenophon says)
get profit out of them, we must not be incredulous, but seek a method
and plan how to obtain this advantage, seeing that life without an enemy
is impossible. The husbandman cannot cultivate every tree, nor can the
hunter tame every kind of animal, so both seek means to derive profit
according to their several necessities, the one from his barren trees,
the other from his wild animals. Sea-water also is undrinkable and
brackish, but it feeds fish, and is a sort of vehicle to convey and
transport travellers anywhere. The Satyr, when he saw fire for the first
time, wished to kiss it and embrace it, but Prometheus warned him,

  "Goat, thou wilt surely mourn thy loss of beard."[501]

For fire burns whoever touches it, but it also gives light and warmth,
and is an instrument of art to all those who know how to use it.[502]
Consider also in the case of the enemy, if he is in other respects
injurious and intractable, he somehow or other gives us a handle to make
use of him by, and so is serviceable. And many things are unpleasant and
detestable and antagonistic to those to whom they happen, but you must
have noticed that some use even illnesses as a period of rest for the
body, and others by excessive toil have strengthened and trained their
bodily vigour, and some have made exile and the loss of money a passage
to leisure and philosophy, as did Diogenes and Crates. And Zeno, when he
heard of the wreck of the ship which contained all his property, said,
"Thou hast done well, Fortune, to confine me to my threadbare

For as those animals that have the strongest and healthiest stomachs eat
and digest serpents and scorpions, and some even feed on stones and
shells, which they convert into nourishment by the strength and heat of
their stomachs, while fastidious people out of health almost vomit if
offered bread and wine, so foolish people spoil even their friendships,
while the wise know how to turn to account even their enmities.

§ III. In the first place then it seems to me that what is most
injurious in enmity may become most useful to those that pay attention
to it? To what do I refer? Why, to the way in which your enemy ever wide
awake pries into all your affairs, and analyzes your whole life, trying
to get a handle against you somewhere, able not only to look through a
tree, like Lynceus,[504] or through stones and shells, but through your
friend and domestic and every intimate acquaintance, as far as possible
detecting your doings, and digging and ferreting into your designs. For
our friends are ill and often die without our knowing anything about it
through our delay and carelessness, but we almost pry into even the
dreams of our enemies; and our enemy knows even more than we do
ourselves of our diseases and debts and differences with our wives.[505]
But they pay most attention to our faults and hunt them out: and as
vultures follow the scent of putrid carcases, and cannot perceive sound
and wholesome ones, so the diseases and vices and crimes of life attract
the enemy, and on these those that hate us pounce, these they attack and
tear to pieces. Is not this an advantage to us? Certainly it is. For it
teaches us to live warily and be on our guard, and neither to do or say
anything carelessly or without circumspection, but ever to be vigilant
by careful mode of living that we give no handle to an enemy. For the
cautiousness that thus represses the passions and follows reason
implants a care and determination to live well and without reproach. For
as those states that have been sobered by wars with their neighbours and
continual campaigns love the blessings of order and peace, so those
people who are compelled to lead a sober life owing to their enemies,
and to be on their guard against carelessness and negligence, and to do
everything with an eye to utility, imperceptibly glide into a faultless
mode of life, and tone down their character, even without requiring much
assistance from precepts. For those who always remember the line,

  "Ah! how would Priam and his sons rejoice,"[506]

are by it diverted from and learn to shun all such things as their
enemies would rejoice and laugh at. Again we see actors[507] and singers
on the stage oftentimes slack and remiss, and not taking sufficient
pains about their performances in the theatres when they have it all to
themselves; but when there is a competition and contest with others,
they not only wake up but tune their instruments, and adjust their
chords, and play on the flute with more care. Similarly whoever knows
that his enemy is antagonistic to his life and character, pays more
attention to himself, and watches his behaviour more carefully, and
regulates his life. For it is peculiar to vice to be more afraid of
enemies than friends in regard to our faults. And so Nasica, when some
expressed their opinion that the Roman Republic was now secure, since
Carthage was rased to the ground and Achaia reduced to slavery, said,
"Nay rather we are now in a critical position, since we have none left
to fear or respect."

§ IV. Consider also that very philosophical and witty answer of Diogenes
to the man who asked, "How shall I avenge myself on my enemy?" "By
becoming a good and honest man."[508] Some people are terribly put about
if they see their enemies' horses in a good condition, or hear their
dogs praised; if they see their farm well-tilled, their garden
well-kept, they groan aloud. What a state think you then they would be
in, if you were to exhibit yourself as a just man, sensible and good, in
words excellent, in deeds pure, in manner of life decorous, "reaping
fruit from the deep soil of the soul, where good counsels grow."[509]
Pindar says[510] "those that are conquered are reduced to complete
silence:" but not absolutely, not all men, only those that see they are
outdone by their enemies in industry, in goodness, in magnanimity, in
humanity, in kindnesses; these, as Demosthenes says, "stop the tongue,
block up the mouth, choke people, and make them silent."[511]

  "Be better than the bad: 'tis in your power."[512]

If you wish to vex the man who hates you, do not abuse him by calling
him a pathick, or effeminate, or intemperate, or a low fellow, or
illiberal; but be yourself a man, and temperate, and truthful, and kind
and just in all your dealings with those you come across. But if you are
tempted to use abuse, mind that you yourself are very far from what you
abuse him for, dive down into your own soul, look for any rottenness in
yourself, lest someone suggest to you the line of the tragedian,

  "You doctor others, all diseased yourself."[513]

If you say your enemy is uneducated, increase your own love of learning
and industry; if you call him coward, stir up the more your own spirit
and manliness; and if you say he is wanton and licentious, erase from
your own soul any secret trace of the love of pleasure. For nothing is
more disgraceful or more unpleasant than slander that recoils on the
person who sets it in motion; for as the reflection of light seems most
to injure weak eyes, so does censure when it recoils on the censurer,
and is borne out by the facts. For as the north-east wind attracts
clouds, so does a bad life draw upon itself rebukes.

§ V. Whenever Plato was in company with people who behaved in an
unseemly manner, he used to say to himself, "Am I such a person as
this?"[514] So he that censures another man's life, if he straightway
examines and mends his own, directing and turning it into the contrary
direction, will get some advantage from his censure, which will be
otherwise idle and unprofitable. Most people laugh if a bald-pate or
hump-back jeer and mock at others who are so too: it is quite as
ridiculous to jeer and mock if one lies open to retort oneself, as Leo
of Byzantium showed in his answer to the hump-back who jeered at him for
weakness of eyes, "You twit me with an infirmity natural to man, while
you yourself carry your Nemesis on your back."[515] And so do not abuse
another as an adulterer, if you yourself are mad after boys: nor as a
spendthrift, if you yourself are niggardly. Alcmæon said to Adrastus,
"You are near kinsman to a woman that slew her husband." What was his
reply? He retaliated on him with the appropriate retort, "But you killed
with your own hand the mother that bore you."[516] And Domitius said to
Crassus, "Did you not weep for the lamprey that was bred in your
fishpond, and died?" To which Crassus replied, "Did you weep, when you
buried your three wives?" He therefore that intends to abuse others must
not be witty and noisy and impudent, but a man that does not lie open to
counter-abuse and retort, for the god seems to have enjoined upon no one
the precept "Know thyself" so much as on the person who is censorious,
to prevent people saying just what they please, and hearing what don't
please them. For such a one is wont, as Sophocles[517] says, "idly
letting his tongue flow, to hear against his will, what he willingly
says ill of others."

§ VI. This use and advantage then there is in abusing one's enemy, and
no less arises from being abused and ill-spoken of oneself by one's
enemies. And so Antisthenes[518] said well that those who wish to lead a
good life ought to have genuine friends or red-hot enemies; for the
former deterred you from what was wrong by reproof, the latter by abuse.
But since friendship has nowadays become very mealy-mouthed in freedom
of speech, voluble in flattery and silent in rebuke, we can only hear
the truth from our enemies. For as Telephus[519] having no surgeon of
his own, submitted his wound to be cured by his enemy's spear, so those
who cannot procure friendly rebuke must content themselves with the
censure of an enemy that hates them, reprehending and castigating their
vices, and regard not the animus of the person, but only his matter. For
as he who intended to kill the Thessalian Prometheus[520] only stabbed a
tumour, and so lanced it that the man's life was saved, and he was rid
of the tumour by its bursting, so oftentimes abuse, suddenly thrust on a
man in anger or hatred, has cured some disease in his soul which he was
ignorant of or neglected. But most people when they are abused do not
consider whether the abuse really belongs to them properly, but look
round to see what abuse they can heap on the abuser, and, as wrestlers
get smothered with the dust of the arena, do not wipe off the abuse
hurled at themselves, but bespatter others, and at last get on both
sides grimy and discoloured. But if anyone gets a bad name from an
enemy, he ought to clear himself of the imputation even more than he
would remove any stain on his clothes that was pointed out to him; and
if it be wholly untrue, yet he ought to investigate what originated the
charge, and to be on his guard and be afraid lest he had unawares done
something very near akin to what was imputed to him. As Lacydes, the
king of the Argives, by the way he wore his hair and by his mincing walk
got charged with effeminacy: and Pompey's scratching his head with one
finger was construed in the same way, though both these men were very
far from effeminacy or wantonness. And Crassus was accused of an
intrigue with one of the Vestal Virgins, because he wished to purchase
from her a pleasant estate, and therefore frequently visited her and
waited upon her. And Postumia, from her readiness to laugh and talk
somewhat freely with men, got accused and even had to stand her trial
for incest,[521] but was, however, acquitted of that charge: but Spurius
Minucius the Pontif ex Maximus, when he pronounced her innocent, urged
her not to be freer in her words than she was in her life. And though
Themistocles[522] was guiltless of treason, his intimacy with Pausanias,
and the letters and messages that frequently passed between them, laid
him under suspicion.

§ VII. Whenever therefore any false charge is made against us, we ought
not merely to despise and neglect it as false, but to see what word or
action, either in jest or earnest, has made the charge seem probable,
and this we must for the future be earnestly on our guard against and
shun. For if others falling into unforeseen trouble and difficulties
teach us what is expedient, as Merope says,

  "Fortune has made me wise, though she has ta'en
   My dearest ones as wages,"[523]

why should we not take an enemy, and pay him no wages, to teach us, and
give us profit and instruction, in matters which had escaped our notice?
For an enemy has keener perception than a friend, for, as Plato[524]
says, "the lover is blind as respects the loved one," and hatred is both
curious and talkative. Hiero was twitted by one of his enemies for his
foul breath, so he went home and said to his wife, "How is this? You
never told me of it." But she being chaste and innocent replied, "I
thought all men's breath was like that."[525] Thus perceptible and
material things, and things that are plain to everybody, are sooner
learnt from enemies than from friends and intimates.

§ VIII. Moreover to keep the tongue well under control, no small factor
in moral excellence, and to make it always obedient and submissive to
reason, is not possible, unless by practice and attention and
painstaking a man has subdued his worst passions, as for example anger.
For such expressions as "a word uttered involuntarily," and "escaping
the barrier of the teeth,"[526] and "words darting forth spontaneously,"
well illustrate what happens in the case of ill-disciplined souls, ever
wavering and in an unsettled condition through infirmity of temper,
through unbridled fancy, or through faulty education. But, according to
divine Plato,[527] though a word seems a very trivial matter, the
heaviest penalty follows upon it both from gods and men. But silence can
never be called to account, is not only not thirsty, to borrow the
language of Hippocrates, but when abused is dignified and Socratic, or
rather Herculean, if indeed it was Hercules who said,

  "Sharp words he heeded not so much as flies."[528]

Not more dignified and noble than this is it to keep silent when an
enemy reviles you, "as one swims by a smooth and mocking cliff," but in
practice it is better. If you accustom yourself to bear silently the
abuse of an enemy, you will very easily bear the attack of a scolding
wife, and will remain undisturbed when you hear the sharp language of a
friend or brother, and will be calm and placid when you are beaten or
have something thrown at your head by your father or mother. For
Socrates put up with Xanthippe, a passionate and forward woman, which
made him a more easy companion with others, as being accustomed to
submit to her caprices; and it is far better to train and accustom the
temper to bear quietly the insults and rages and jeers and taunts of
enemies and estranged persons, and not to be distressed at it.

§ IX. Thus then must we exhibit in our enmities meekness and
forbearance, and in our friendships still more simplicity and
magnanimity and kindness. For it is not so graceful to do a friend a
service, as disgraceful to refuse to do so at his request; and not to
revenge oneself on an enemy when opportunity offers is generous. But the
man who sympathizes with his enemy in affliction, and assists him in
distress, and readily holds out a helping hand to his children and
family and their fortunes when in a low condition, whoever does not
admire such a man for his humanity, and praise his benevolence,

  "He has a black heart made of adamant
   Or iron or bronze."[529]

When Cæsar ordered the statues of Pompey that had been thrown down to be
put up again,[530] Cicero said, "You have set up again Pompey's statues,
and in so doing have erected statues to yourself." We ought not
therefore to be niggardly in our praise and honour of an enemy that
deserves a good name. For he who praises another receives on that
account greater praise himself, and is the more credited on another
occasion when he finds fault, as not having any personal ill-feeling
against the man, but only disapproving of his act; and what is most
noble and advantageous, the man who is accustomed to praise his enemies,
and not to be vexed or malignant at their prosperity, is as far as
possible from envying the good fortune of his friends, and the success
of his intimates. And yet what practice will be more beneficial to our
minds, or bring about a happier disposition, than that which banishes
from us all jealousy and envy? For as in war many necessary things,
otherwise bad, are customary and have as it were the sanction of law, so
that they cannot be abolished in spite of the injury they do, so enmity
drags along in its train hatred, and envy, and jealousy, and malignity,
and revenge, and stamps them on the character. Moreover knavery, and
deceit, and villainy, that seem neither bad nor unfair if employed
against an enemy, if they once get planted in the mind are difficult to
dislodge; and eventually from force of habit get used also against
friends, unless they are forewarned and forearmed through their previous
acquaintance with the tricks of enemies. If then Pythagoras,[531]
accustoming his disciples to abstain from all cruelty and inhumanity to
the brute creation, did right to discountenance bird-fowling, and to buy
up draughts of fishes and bid them be thrown into the water again, and
to forbid killing any but wild animals, much more noble is it, in
dissensions and differences with human beings, to be a generous, just
and true enemy, and to check and tame all bad and low and knavish
propensities, that in all intercourse with friends a man may keep the
peace and abstain from doing an injury. Scaurus was an enemy and accuser
of Domitius, but when one of Domitius' slaves came to him to reveal some
important matters which were unknown to Scaurus, he would not hear him,
but seized him and sent him back to his master. And when Cato was
prosecuting Murena for canvassing, and was getting together his
evidence, he was accompanied as was usual by people who watched what he
was doing,[532] and would often ask him if he intended that day to get
together his witnesses and open the case, and if he said "No," they
believed him and went their way. All this is the greatest proof of the
credit which was reposed in Cato, but it is better and more important,
that we should accustom ourselves to deal justly even with our enemies,
and then there will be no fear that we should ever act unjustly and
treacherously to our friends and intimates.

§ X. But since, as Simonides says, "all larks must have their
crests,"[533] and every man's nature contains in it pugnacity and
jealousy and envy, which last is, as Pindar says, "the companion of
empty-headed men," one might get considerable advantage by purging
oneself of those passions against enemies, and by diverting them, like
sewers, as far as possible from companions and friends.[534] And this it
seems the statesmanlike Onomademus had remarked, for being on the
victorious side in a disturbance at Chios, he urged his party not to
expel all of the different faction, but to leave some, "in order," he
said, "that we may not begin to quarrel with our friends, when we have
got entirely rid of our enemies." So too our expending these passions
entirely on our enemies will give less trouble to our friends. For it
ought not to be, as Hesiod[535] says, that "potter envies potter, and
singer envies singer, and neighbour neighbour," and cousin cousin, and
brother brother, "if hastening to get rich" and enjoying prosperity. But
if there is no other way to get rid of strife and envy and quarrels,
accustom yourself to be vexed at your enemies' good fortune, and sharpen
and accentuate on them your acerbity. For as judicious gardeners think
they produce finer roses and violets by planting alongside of them
garlic and onions, that any bitter or strong elements may be transferred
to them, so your enemy's getting and attracting your envy and malignity
will render you kinder and more agreeable to your prosperous friends.
And so let us be rivals of our enemies for glory or office or righteous
gain, not only being vexed if they get ahead of us, but also carefully
observing all the steps by which they get ahead, and trying to outdo
them in industry, and hard work, and soberness, and prudence; as
Themistocles said Miltiades' victory at Marathon would not let him
sleep.[536] For he who thinks his enemy gets before him in offices, or
advocacies, or state affairs, or in favour with his friends or great
men, if from action and emulation he sinks into envy and despondency,
makes his life become idle and inoperative. But he who is not blinded by
hate,[537] but a discerning spectator of life and character and words
and deeds, will perceive that most of what he envies comes to those who
have them from diligence and prudence and good actions, and exerting
himself in the same direction he will increase his love of what is
honourable and noble, and will eradicate his vanity and sloth.

§ XI. But if our enemies seem to us to have got either by flattery, or
fraud, or bribery, or venal services, ill-got and discreditable power at
court or in state, it ought not to trouble us but rather inspire
pleasure in us, when we compare our own liberty and purity and
independence of life. For, as Plato[538] says, "all the gold above or
below the earth is not of equal value with virtue." And we ought ever to
remember the precept of Solon, "We will not exchange our virtue for
others' wealth."[539] Nor will we give up our virtue for the applause of
banqueting theatres, nor for honours and chief seats among eunuchs and
harlots, nor to be monarchs' satraps; for nothing is to be desired or
noble that comes from what is bad. But since, as Plato[540] says, "the
lover is blind as respects the loved one," and we notice more what our
enemies do amiss, we ought not to let either our joy at their faults or
our grief at their success be idle, but in either case we ought to
reflect, how we may become better than them by avoiding their errors,
and by imitating their virtues not come short of them.

    [497] So Pliny, viii. 83: "In Creta Insula non vulpes
    ursive, atque omnino millum maleficum animal præter

    [498] See the same remark of Chilo, "On Abundance of
    Friends," § vi.

    [499] "Oeconom." i. 15.

    [500] A treatise of Plutarch still extant.

    [501] A line from a lost Satyric Play of Æschylus,
    called "Prometheus Purphoros."

    [502] So fire is called [Greek: pantechnon] in Æschylus,
    "Prometheus Desmotes," 7.

    [503] Compare Seneca, "De Animi Tranquillitate," cap.
    xiii.: "Zeno noster cum omnia sua audiret submersa,
    Jubet, inquit, me fortuna expeditius philosophari."

    [504] See Horace, "Epistles," i. I. 28; Pausanias, iv.

    [505] See Plautus, "Trinummus," 205-211.

    [506] Homer, "Iliad," i. 255.

    [507] Literally "the artists of Dionysus." We know what
    they were from our author's "Quæstiones Romanæ," § 107:
    [Greek: dia ti tous peri ton Dionuson technitas
    histriônas Rhômaioi kalousin];

    [508] Compare "De Audiendis Poetis," § iv.

    [509] Æschylus, "Septem contra Thebas," 593, 594.

    [510] Pindar, "Fragm." 253.

    [511] Demosthenes, "De Falsa Legatione," p. 406.

    [512] Euripides, "Orestes," 251.

    [513] A line from Euripides. Quoted also "De Adulatore
    et Amico," § xxxii.

    [514] Compare "De Audiendo," §vi. See also Horace,
    "Satires," i, 4. 136, 137.

    [515] The story is somewhat differently told, "Quæst.
    Conviv.," Lib. ii. § ix.

    [516] From a lost play of Euripides.

    [517] In some lost play. Compare Hesiod, "Works and
    Days," 719-721; Terence, "Andria," 920.

    [518] The sentiment is assigned to Diogenes twice
    elsewhere by our author, namely, "How One may be aware
    of one's Progress in Virtue," § xi., and "How One may
    discern a Flatterer from a Friend," § xxxvi.

    [519] See Propertius, ii. 1. 63, 64; Ovid,
    "Metamorphoses," xii. 112; xiii. 171; "Tristia," v. 2.
    15, 16; "Remedia Amoris," 47, 48; Erasmus, "Adagia," p.

    [520] "Jason Pheræus cognomine Prometheus dictus est.
    Vide Ciceronem, 'Nat. Deor.' iii. 29; Plinium, vii. 51;
    Valerium Maximum, i. 8, Extem. 6."--_Wytttenbach._

    [521] She was a Vestal Virgin. See Livy, iv. 44.

    [522] See Thucydides, i. 135, 136.

    [523] From a lost play of Euripides. Compare the
    proverb, [Greek: pathêmata mathêmata].

    [524] "Laws," v. p. 731 E.

    [525] Told again "Reg. et Imperator. Apophthegm.," p.
    175 B.

    [526] A favourite image of Homer, employed "Iliad," iv.
    350; xiv. 83; "Odyssey," i. 64; xxiii. 70.

    [527] "Laws," xi. p. 935 A. Quoted again "On
    Talkativeness," § vii.

    [528] See Pausanias, v. 14.

    [529] From a Fragment of Pindar.

    [530] See Suetonius, "Divus Julius," 75: "Sed et statuas
    L. Sullæ atque Pompeii a plebe disjectas reposuit."

    [531] Compare our author, "Quaestiones Convivalium,"
    viii. p. 729 E.

    [532] No doubt in the interest of the defendant. See our
    author, "Cato Minor," p. 769 B.

    [533] A Greek proverb, see Erasmus, "Adagia," p. 921.

    [534] So Cicero, "Nat. Deor." ii. 56: "In ædibus
    architecti avertunt ab oculis naribusque dominorum ea
    quæ profluentia necessario tætri essent aliquid

    [535] "Works and Days," 23-26. Our "Two of a trade
    seldom agree."

    [536] Compare "How One may be aware of one's Progress in
    Virtue," § xiv.

    [537] For as the English proverb says, "Hatred is blind
    as well as love."

    [538] "Laws," v. p. 728 A.

    [539] Quoted more fully "How One may be aware of one's
    Progress in Virtue," § vi.

    [540] "Laws," v. p. 731 E. See also above, § vii.


§ I. Philosophy finds talkativeness a disease very difficult and hard to
cure. For its remedy, conversation, requires hearers: but talkative
people hear nobody, for they are ever prating. And the first evil this
inability to keep silence produces is an inability to listen. It is a
self-chosen deafness of people who, I take it, blame nature for giving
us one tongue and two ears. If then the following advice of Euripides to
a foolish hearer was good,

  "I cannot fill one that can nought retain,
   Pumping up wise words for an unwise man;"

one might more justly say to a talkative man, or rather about a
talkative man,

  "I cannot fill one that will nothing take,
   Pumping up wise words for an unwise man;"

or rather deluging with words one that talks to those who don't listen,
and listens not to those who talk. Even if he does listen for a short
time, talkativeness hurries off what is said like the retiring sea, and
anon brings it up again multiplied with the approaching tide. The
portico at Olympia that returns many echoes to one utterance is called
seven-voiced,[542] and if the slightest utterance catches the ear of
talkativeness, it at once echoes it all round,

  "Moving the mind's chords all unmoved before."[543]

For their ears can certainly have no passages leading to the brain but
only to the tongue. And so while other people retain what they hear,
talkative people lose it altogether, and, being empty-headed, they
resemble empty vessels, and go about making much noise.[544]

§ II. If however it seems that no attempt at cure has been left untried,
let us say to the talkative person,

  "Be silent, boy; silence has great advantages;"

two of the first and foremost of which are hearing and being heard,
neither of which can happen to talkative people, for however they desire
either so unhappy are they that they must desist from it. For in all
other diseases of the soul, as love of money, love of glory, or love of
pleasure, people at any rate attain the desired object: but it is the
cruel fate of talkative people to desire hearers but not to get them,
for everyone flees from them with headlong speed; and if people are
sitting or walking about in any public place,[545] and see one coming
they quickly pass the word to one another to shift quarters. And as when
there is dead silence in any assembly they say Hermes has joined the
company, so when any prater joins some drinking party or social
gathering of friends, all are silent, not wishing to give him a chance
to break in, and if he uninvited begin to open his mouth, they all,
"like before a storm at sea, when Boreas is blowing a gale round some
headland," foreseeing tossing about and nausea, disperse. And so it is
their destiny to find neither willing table-companions, nor messmates
when they are travelling by land or by sea, but only such as cannot help
themselves; for such a fellow is always at you, plucking hold of your
clothes or chin, or giving you a dig in the ribs with his elbow. "Most
valuable are the feet in such a conjuncture," according to Archilochus,
nay according to the wise Aristotle himself. For he being bothered with
a talkative fellow, and wearied out with his absurd tales, and his
frequent question, "Is not this wonderful, Aristotle?" "Not at all,"
said he, "but it is wonderful that anyone with a pair of legs stops here
to listen to you." And to another such fellow, who said after a long
rigmarole, "Did I weary you, philosopher, by my chatter?" "Not you, by
Zeus," said he, "for I paid no attention to you." For even if talkative
people force you to listen,[546] the mind can give them only its outward
ears to deluge, while it unfolds and pursues some other thoughts within;
so they find neither hearers to attend to them, nor credit them. They
say those that are prone to Venus are commonly barren: so the prating of
talkative people is ineffectual and fruitless.

§ III. And yet nature has fenced and barricaded in us nothing so much as
the tongue, having put the teeth before it as a barrier, so that if,
when reason holds tight her "glossy reins,"[547] it hearken not, nor
keep within bounds, we may check its intemperance, biting it till the
blood comes. For Euripides tells us that, not from unbolted houses or
store-rooms, but "from unbridled mouths the end is misfortune."[548] But
those persons who think that houses without doors and open purses are no
good to their possessors, and yet keep their mouths open and unshut, and
allow their speech to flow continually like the waves of the
Euxine,[549] seem to regard speech as of less value than anything. And
so they never get believed, though credit is the aim of every speech;
for to inspire belief in one's hearers is the proper end of speech, but
praters are disbelieved even when they tell the truth. For as corn
stowed away in a granary is found to be larger in quantity but inferior
in quality, so the speech of a talkative man is increased by a large
addition of falsehood, which destroys his credit.

§ IV. Then again every man of modesty and propriety would avoid
drunkenness, for anger is next door neighbour to madness as some
think,[550] but drunkenness lives in the same house: or rather
drunkenness is madness, more short-lived indeed, but more potent also
through volition, for it is self-chosen. Nor is drunkenness censured for
anything so much as its intemperate and endless talk.

  "Wine makes a prudent man begin to sing,
   And gently laugh, and even makes him dance."[551]

And yet there is no harm in all this, in singing and laughing and
dancing. But the poet adds--

  "And it compels to say what's best unsaid."[552]

This is indeed dreadful and dangerous. And perhaps the poet in this
passage has solved that problem of the philosophers, and stated the
difference between being under the influence of wine and being drunk,
mirth being the condition of the former, foolish talk of the latter. For
as the proverb tells us, "What is in the heart of the sober is on the
tongue of the drunken."[553] And so Bias, being silent at a drinking
bout, and jeered at by some young man in the company as stupid, replied,
"What fool could hold his tongue in liquor?" And at Athens a certain
person gave an entertainment to the king's ambassadors, and at their
desire contrived to get the philosophers there too, and as they were all
talking together and comparing ideas, and Zeno alone was silent, the
strangers greeted him and pledged him, and said, "What are we to tell
the king about you, Zeno?" And he replied, "Nothing, but that there is
an old man at Athens that can hold his tongue at a drinking bout." So
profound and mysterious and sober is silence, while drunkenness is
talkative: for it is void of sense and understanding, and so is
loquacious. And so the philosophers define drunkenness to be silly talk
in wine. Drinking therefore is not censured, if silence go with it, but
foolish prating turns being under the influence of wine into
drunkenness. And the drunken man prates only in his cups; but the
talkative man prates everywhere, in the market-place, in the theatre,
out walking, by night and by day. If he is your doctor, he is more
trouble to you than your disease: if he is on board ship with you, he
disgusts you more than sea-sickness; if he praises you, he is more
fulsome than blame. It is more pleasure associating with bad men who
have tact than with good men who prate. Nestor indeed in Sophocles'
Play, trying by his words to soothe exasperated Ajax, said to him

  "I blame you not, for though your words are bad,
   Your acts are good:"

but we cannot feel so to the talkative man, for his want of tact in
words destroys and undoes all the grace of his actions.

§ V. Lysias wrote a defence for some accused person, and gave it him,
and he read it several times, and came to Lysias in great dejection and
said, "When I first perused this defence, it seemed to me wonderful, but
when I read it a second and third time, it seemed altogether dull and
ineffective. Then Lysias laughed, and said, "What then? Are you going to
read it more than once to the jury?" And yet do but consider the
persuasiveness and grace of Lysias' style;[554] for he "I say was a
great favourite with the dark-haired Muses."[555] And of the things
which have been said of Homer the truest is that he alone of all poets
has survived the fastidiousness of mankind, as being ever new and still
at his acme as regards giving pleasure, and yet saying and proclaiming
about himself, "I hate to spin out a plain tale over and over
again,"[556] he avoids and fears that satiety which lies in ambush for
every narrative, and takes the hearer from one subject to another, and
relieves by novelty the possibility of being surfeited. But the
talkative worry one's ears to death with their tautologies, as people
scribble the same things over and over again on palimpsests.[557]

§ VI. Let us remind them then first of this, that just as in the case of
wine, which was intended for pleasure and mirth, those who compel people
to drink it neat and in large quantities bring some into a disgusting
condition of drunkenness, so with speech, which is the pleasantest
social tie amongst mankind, those who make a bad and ill-advised use of
it render it unpleasing and unfit for company, paining those whom they
think to gratify, and become a laughing-stock to those who they think
admire them, and objectionable to those who they think love them. As
then he cannot be a favourite of the goddess who with Aphrodite's
charmed girdle[558] repels and drives away those who associate with him,
so he who with his speech bores and disgusts one is without either taste
or refinement.

§ VII. Of all other passions and disorders some are dangerous, some
hateful, some ridiculous, but in talkativeness all these elements are
combined. For praters are jeered at for their commonplaces, and hated
when they bring bad news, and run into danger when they reveal secrets.
And so Anacharsis, when he was feasted by Solon and lay down to sleep,
and was observed with his left hand on his private parts, and his right
hand on his mouth, for he thought his tongue needed the stronger
restraint, was right in his opinion. For it would be difficult to find
as many men who have been ruined by venereal excesses as cities and
leading states that have been undone by the utterance of a secret. When
Sulla was besieging Athens, and had no time to waste there, "for he had
other fish to fry,"[559] as Mithridates was ravaging Asia, and the party
of Marius was again in power at Rome, some old men in a barber's shop
happened to observe to one another that the Heptachalcon was not well
guarded, and that their city ran a great risk of being captured at that
point, and some spies who overheard this conversation reported it to
Sulla. And he at once marched up his forces, and about midnight entered
the city with his army, and all but rased it to the ground, and filled
it with slaughter and dead bodies, insomuch that the Ceramicus ran with
blood: and he was thus savage against the Athenians for their words
rather than their deeds, for they had spoken ill of him and his wife
Metella, jumping on to the walls and calling out in a jeering way,

  "Sulla is a mulberry bestrewn with barley meal,"

and much similar banter. Thus they drew down upon themselves for words,
which, as Plato[560] says, are a very small matter, a very heavy
punishment.[561] The prating of one man also prevented Rome from
becoming free by the removal of Nero. For it was only the night before
the tyrant was to be murdered, and all preparations had been made, when
he that was to do the deed going to the theatre, and seeing someone in
chains near the doors who was about to be taken before Nero, and was
bewailing his sad fortune, went up close to him and whispered, "Pray
only, good sir, that to-day may pass by, to-morrow you will owe me many
thanks." He guessing the meaning of the riddle, and thinking, I take it,
"he is a fool who gives up what is in his hand for a remote
contingency,"[562] preferred certain to honourable safety. For he
informed Nero of what the man had said, and he was immediately arrested,
and torture, and fire, and scourging were applied to him, who denied now
in his necessity what before he had divulged without necessity.

§ VIII. Zeno the philosopher,[563] that he might not against his will
divulge any secrets when put to the torture, bit off his tongue, and
spit it at the tyrant. Famous also was the reward which Leæna had for
her taciturnity.[564] She was the mistress of Harmodius and Aristogiton,
and, although a woman, participated in their hopes of success in the
conspiracy against the tyrants: for she had revelled in the glorious cup
of love, and had been initiated in their secrets through the god. When
then they had failed in their attempt and been put to death, and she was
examined and bidden to reveal the names of the other conspirators, she
refused to do so, and held out to the end, showing that those famous men
in loving such a one as her had done nothing unworthy of them. And the
Athenians erected to her memory a bronze lioness without a tongue, and
placed it near the entrance to the Acropolis, signifying her dauntless
courage by the nobleness of that animal, and by its being without a
tongue her silence and fidelity. For no spoken word has done as much
good as many unspoken ones. For at some future day we can give utterance
if we like to what has been not said, but a word once spoken cannot be
recalled, but flies about and runs all round the world. And this is the
reason, I take it, why men teach us to speak, but the gods teach us to
be silent, silence being enjoined on us in the mysteries and in all
religious rites. Thus Homer has described the most eloquent Odysseus,
and Telemachus, and Penelope, and the nurse, as all remarkable for their
taciturnity. You remember the nurse saying,

  "I'll keep it close as heart of oak or steel."[565]

And Odysseus sitting by Penelope,

  "Though in his heart he pitied her sad grief,
   His eyes like horn or steel impassive stood
   Within their lids, and craft his tears repressed."[566]

So great control had he over all his body, and so much were all his
members under the sway and rule of reason, that he commanded his eyes
not to weep, his tongue not to speak, and his heart not to tremble or

  "So calm and passive did his heart remain,"[568]

reason penetrating even to the irrational instincts, and making spirit
and blood obedient and docile to it. Such also were most of his
companions, for though they were dashed to the ground and dragged along
by the Cyclops, they said not a word about Odysseus, nor did they show
the stake of wood that had been put into the fire and prepared to put
out Polyphemus' eye, but they would rather have been eaten alive than
divulge secrets, such wonderful self-control and fidelity had they.[569]
And so it was not amiss of Pittacus, when the king of Egypt sent him a
victim, and bade him take from it the best and worst piece of it, to
pull out the tongue and send that to the king, as being the instrument
of the greatest blessings and withal the greatest mischiefs.

§ IX. So Ino in Euripides, speaking plainly about herself, says she
knows "how to be silent when she should, and to speak when speech is
safe."[570] For those who have enjoyed a truly noble and royal education
learn first to be silent and then to speak. So the famous king
Antigonus, when his son asked him, "When are we going to shift our
quarters?" answered, "Are you afraid that you only will not hear the
trumpet?" Was he afraid then to entrust a secret to him, to whom he
intended one day to leave his kingdom? Nay rather, it was to teach him
to be close and guarded on such matters. Metellus[571] also, the
well-known veteran, when questioned somewhat similarly about an
expedition, said, "If I thought my coat knew the secret, I would strip
it off and throw it into the fire." And Eumenes, when he heard that
Craterus was marching against him, told none of his friends, but
pretended that it was Neoptolemus; for his soldiers despised
Neoptolemus, but they admired the glory and loved the virtue of
Craterus; and no one but Eumenes knew the truth, and they engaged and
were victorious, and unwittingly killed Craterus, and only recognized
his dead body. So great a part did silence play in the battle,
concealing the name of the enemy's general: so that Eumenes' friends
marvelled more than found fault at his not having told them the truth.
And if anyone should receive blame in such a case, it is better to be
censured when one has done well by keeping one's counsel, rather than to
have to accuse others through having come to grief by trusting them.

§ X. But, generally speaking, who has the right to blame the person who
has not kept his secret? For if it was not to be known, it was not well
to tell another person of it at all, and if you divulged your secret
yourself and expected another person to keep it, you had more faith in
another than in yourself. And so should he be such another as yourself
you are deservedly undone, and should he be a better man than yourself,
your safety is more than you could have reckoned on, as it involved
finding a man more to be trusted than yourself. But you will say, He is
my friend. Yes, but he has another friend, whom he reposes confidence in
as much as you do in your friend, and that other friend has one of his
own, and so on, so that the secret spreads in many quarters from
inability to keep it close in one. For as the unit never deviates from
its orbit, but (as its name signifies) always remains one, but the
number two contains within it the seeds of infinity, for when it departs
from itself it becomes plurality at once by doubling, so speech confined
in one person's breast is truly secret, but if it be communicated to
another it soon gets noised abroad. And so Homer calls words "winged,"
for as he that lets a bird go from his hands cannot easily get it back
again, so he that lets a word go from his mouth cannot catch or stop it,
but it is borne along "whirling on swift wings," and dispersed from one
person to another. When a ship scuds before the gale the mariners can
stop it, or at least check its course with cables and anchors, but when
the spoken word once sails out of harbour, so to speak, there is no
roadstead or anchorage for it, but borne along with much noise and echo
it dashes its utterer on the rocks, and brings him into imminent danger
of shipwreck,

  "As one might set on fire Ida's woods
   With a small torch, so what one tells one person
   Is soon the property of all the citizens."[572]

§ XI. The Roman Senate had been discussing for several days a secret
matter, and there was much doubt and suspicion about it. And one of the
senator's wives, discreet in other matters but a very woman in
curiosity, pressed her husband close, and entreated him to tell her what
the secret was; she vowed and swore she would not divulge it, and did
not refrain from shedding tears at her not being trusted. And he,
nothing loth to convince her of her folly, said, "Your importunity,
wife, has prevailed, listen to a dreadful and portentous matter. It has
been told us by the priests that a lark has been seen flying in the air
with a golden helmet and spear: it is this portent that we are
considering and discussing with the augurs, as to whether it be a good
or bad omen. But say nothing about it." Having said these words he went
into the Forum. But his wife seized on the very first of her maids that
entered the room, and smote her breast, and tore her hair, and said,
"Alas! for my husband and country! What will become of us?" wishing and
teaching her maid to say, "Whatever's up?" So when she inquired she told
her all about it, adding that refrain common to all praters, "Tell no
one a word about it." The maid however had scarce left her mistress when
she told one of her fellow-servants who was doing little or nothing, and
she told her lover who happened to call at that moment. So the news
spread to the Forum so quickly that it got the start of its original
author, and one of his friends meeting him said, "Have you only just
left your house?" "Only just," he replied. "Didn't you hear the news?"
said his friend. "What news?" said he. "Why, that a lark has been seen
flying in the air with a golden helmet and spear, and the Senate are met
to discuss the portent." And he smiled and said to himself, "You are
quick, wife, for the tale to get before me to the Forum!" Then meeting
some of the Senators he disabused them of their panic. But to punish his
wife, he said when he got home, "You have undone me, wife: for the
secret has got abroad from my house, so that I must be an exile from my
country for your inability to keep a secret." And on her trying to deny
it, and saying, "Were there not three hundred Senators that heard of it
as well as you? Might not one of them have divulged it?" he replied,
"Stuff o' your three hundred! It was at your importunity that I invented
the story, to put you to the test!" This fellow tested his wife warily
and cunningly, as one pours water, and not wine or oil, into a leaky
vessel. And Fabius,[573] the friend of Augustus, hearing the Emperor in
his old age mourning over the extinction of his family, how two of his
daughter Julia's sons were dead, and how Posthumus Agrippa, the only
remaining one, was in exile through false accusation,[574] and how he
was compelled to put his wife's son[575] into the succession to the
Empire, though he pitied Agrippa and had half a mind to recall him from
banishment, repeated the Emperor's words to his wife, and she to
Livia.[576] And Livia bitterly upbraided Augustus, if he meant recalling
his grandson, for not having done so long ago, instead of bringing her
into hatred and hostility with the heir to the Empire. When Fabius came
in the morning as usual into the Emperor's presence, and said, "Hail,
Cæsar!" the Emperor replied, "Farewell,[577] Fabius." And he
understanding the meaning of this straightway went home, and sent for
his wife, and said, "The Emperor knows that I have not kept his secret,
so I shall kill myself." And his wife replied, "You have deserved your
fate, since having been married to me so long you did not remember and
guard against my incontinence of speech, but suffer me to kill myself
first." So saying she took his sword, and slew herself first.

§ XII. That was a good answer therefore that the comic poet Philippides
made to king Lysimachus, who greeted him kindly, and said to him,[578]
"What shall I give you of all my possessions?" "Whatever you like, O
king, except your secrets." And talkativeness has another plague
attached to it, even curiosity: for praters wish to hear much that they
may have much to say, and most of all do they gad about to investigate
and pry into secrets and hidden things, providing as it were an
antiquated stock of rubbish[579] for their twaddle, in fine like
children who cannot[580] hold ice in their hands, and yet are unwilling
to let it go,[581] or rather taking secrets to their bosoms and
embracing them as if they were so many serpents, that they cannot
control, but are sure to be gnawed to death by. They say that garfish
and vipers burst in giving life to their young, so secrets by coming out
ruin and destroy those who cannot keep them. Seleucus Callinicus having
lost his army and all his forces in a battle against the Galati, threw
off his diadem, and fled on a swift horse with an escort of three or
four of his men a long day's journey by bypaths and out-of-the-way
tracks, till faint and famishing for want of food he drew rein at a
small farmhouse, where by chance he found the master at home, and asked
for some bread and water. And he supplied him liberally and courteously
not only with what he asked for but with whatever else was on the farm,
and recognized the king, and being very joyful at this opportunity of
ministering to the king's necessities, he could not contain himself, nor
dissemble like the king who wished to be incognito, but he accompanied
him to the road, and on parting from him, said, "Farewell, king
Seleucus." And he stretching out his right hand, and drawing the man to
him as if he was going to kiss him, gave a sign to one of his escort to
draw his sword and cut the man's head off;

  "And at his word the head roll'd in the dust."[582]

Whereas if he had been silent then, and kept his counsel for a time, as
the king afterwards became prosperous and great, he would have received,
I take it, greater favour for his silence than for his hospitality. And
yet he had I admit some excuse for his want of reticence, namely hope
and joy.

§ XIII. But most talkative people have no excuse for ruining themselves.
As for example in a barber's shop one day there was some conversation
about the tyranny of Dionysius, that it was as hard as adamant and
invincible, and the barber laughed and said, "Fancy your saying this to
me, who have my razor at his throat most days!" And Dionysius hearing
this had him crucified. Barbers indeed are generally a talkative race,
for people fond of prating flock to them and sit in their shops, so that
they pick up the habit from their customers. It was a witty answer
therefore of king Archelaus,[583] when a talkative barber put the towel
round his neck, and asked him, "How shall I shave you, O king?"
"Silently," said the monarch. It was a barber that first spread the news
of the great reverse of the Athenians in Sicily, having heard of it at
the Piræus from a slave that had escaped from the island. He at once
left his shop, and ran into the city at full speed, "that no one else
should reap the fame, and he come in the second,"[584] of carrying the
news into the town. And an uproar arising, as was only to be expected,
the people assembled in the ecclesia, and began to investigate the
origin of the rumour. So the barber was dragged up and questioned, but
knew not the person's name who had told him, so was obliged to refer its
origin to an anonymous and unknown person. Then anger filled the
theatre, and the multitude cried out, "Torture the cursed fellow, put
him to the rack: he has fabricated and concocted this news: who else
heard it? who credits it?" The wheel was brought, the poor fellow
stretched on it. Meantime those came up who had brought the news, who
had escaped from the carnage in Sicily. Then all the multitude dispersed
to weep over their private sorrows, and abandoned the poor barber, who
remained fastened to the wheel. And when released late in the evening he
actually asked the executioner, if they had heard how Nicias the General
was slain. So invincible and incorrigible a vice does habit make
talkativeness to be.

§ XIV. And yet, as those that drink bitter and strong-smelling physic
are disgusted even with the cups they drink it out of, so those that
bring evil tidings are disliked and hated by their hearers. Wittily
therefore has Sophocles described the conversation between Creon and the

  "_G._ Is't in your ears or in your mind you're grieved?
   _C._ Why do you thus define the seat of grief?
   _G._ The doer pains your mind, but I your ears."[585]

However those that tell the tale grieve us as well as those that did the
deed: and yet there is no means of checking or controlling the running
tongue. At Lacedæmon the temple of Athene Chalcioecus[586] was broken
into, and an empty flagon was observed lying on the ground inside, and a
great concourse of people came up and discussed the matter. And one of
the company said, "If you will allow me, I will tell you what I think
about this flagon. I cannot help being of opinion that these
sacrilegious wretches drank hemlock, and brought wine with them, before
commencing their nefarious and dangerous work: that so, if they should
fail to be detected, they might depart in safety, drinking the wine neat
as an antidote to the hemlock: whereas should they be caught in the act,
before they were put to the torture they would die of the poison easily
and painlessly." When he had uttered these words, the idea seemed so
ingenious and farfetched that it looked as if it could not emanate from
fancy, but only from knowledge of the real facts. So the crowd
surrounded this man, and asked him one after the other, "Who are you?
Who knows you? How come you to know all this?" And at last he was
convicted in this way, and confessed that he was one of those that had
committed the sacrilege. And were not the murderers of Ibycus similarly
captured? They were sitting in the theatre, and some cranes flew over
their heads, and they laughed and whispered to one another, "Behold the
avengers of Ibycus." And this being overheard by some who sat near, as
Ibycus had now been some time missing and inquired after, they laid hold
of this remark, and reported it to the magistrates. And so they were
convicted and dragged off to punishment, being brought to justice not by
the cranes but by their own inability to hold their tongues, being
compelled by some Fury or Vengeance as it were to divulge the
murder.[587] For as in the body there is an attraction to sore and
suffering parts from neighbouring parts, so the tongue of talkative
persons, ever suffering from inflammation and a throbbing pulse,
attracts and draws to it secret and hidden things. And so the tongue
ought to be fenced in, and have reason ever before it, as a bulwark, to
prevent its tripping: that we may not seem to be more silly than geese,
of whom it is said that, when they fly from Cilicia over Mt. Taurus
which swarms with eagles, they carry in their mouths a large stone,
which they employ as a gag or bridle for their scream, and so they cross
over by night unobserved.

§ XV. Now if anyone were to ask who is the worst and most abandoned man,
no one would pass over the traitor, or mention anyone else. It was as
the reward of treason that Euthycrates roofed his house with Macedonian
wood, as Demosthenes tells us; and that Philocrates got a large sum of
money, and spent it on women and fish; and it was for betraying Eretria
that Euphorbus and Philagrus got an estate from king Philip. But the
talkative man is an unhired and officious traitor, not of horses[588] or
walls, but of secrets which he divulges in the law courts, in factions,
in party-strife, no one thanking him for his pains; but should anyone
listen to him he thinks he is the obliged party. So that what was said
to a man who rashly and indiscriminately squandered away all his means
and bestowed them on others,

  "It is not kindness in you but disease,
   This itch for giving,"[589]

is appropriate also to the prater, "You don't communicate to us all this
out of friendship or goodwill, but it is a disease in you, this itch for
talking and prating."

§ XVI. But all this must not be looked upon merely as an indictment
against talkativeness, but an attempt to cure it: for we overcome the
passions by judgement and practice, but judgement is the first step. For
no one is wont to shun, and eradicate from his soul, what he does not
dislike. And we dislike the passions only when we discern by reason the
harm and shame that results to us by indulging them. As we see every day
in the case of talkative people: if they wish to be loved, they are
hated; if they desire to please, they bore; when they think they are
admired, they are really laughed at; they spend, and get no gain from so
doing; they injure their friends, benefit their enemies, and ruin
themselves. So that the first cure and remedy of this disorder will be
to reckon up the shame and trouble that results from it.

§ XVII. In the next place we must consider the opposite virtue to
talkativeness, always listening to and having on our lips the encomiums
passed upon reserve, and remembering the decorum sanctity and mysterious
power of silence, and ever bearing in mind that terse and brief
speakers, who put the maximum of matter into the minimum of words, are
more admired and esteemed and thought wiser[590] than unbridled
windbags. And so Plato[591] praises, and compares to clever javelin-men,
such as speak tersely, compressedly, and concisely. And Lycurgus by
using his citizens from boyhood to silence taught them to perfection
their brevity and terseness. For as the Celtiberians make steel of iron
only after digging down deep in the soil, and carefully separating the
iron ore, so Laconian oratory has no rind,[592] but by the removal of
all superfluous matter goes home straight to the point like steel. For
its sententiousness,[593] and pointed suppleness in repartee, comes from
the habit of silence. And we ought to quote such pointed sayings
especially to talkative people, such neatness and vigour have they, as,
for example, what the Lacedæmonians said to Philip, "[Remember]
Dionysius at Corinth."[594] And again, when Philip wrote to them, "If I
invade Laconia, I will drive you all out of house and home," they only
wrote back, "If." And when king Demetrius was indignant and cried out,
"The Lacedæmonians have only sent me one ambassador," the ambassador was
not frightened but said, "Yes, one to one man." Certainly among the
ancients men of few words were admired. So the Amphictyones did not
write extracts from the Iliad or Odyssey, or the Pæans of Pindar, in the
temple of Pythian Apollo at Delphi, but "Know thyself," "Not too much of
anything,"[595] and "Be a surety, trouble is near;"[596] so much did
they admire compactness and simplicity of speech, combining brevity with
shrewdness of mind. And is not the god himself short and concise in his
oracles? Is he not called Loxias,[597] because he prefers ambiguity to
longwindedness? And are not those who express their meaning by signs
without words wonderfully praised and admired? As Heraclitus, when some
of the citizens asked him to give them his opinion about concord, got on
the platform, and took a cup of cold water, and put some barley-meal in
it, and stirred it up with penny-royal, thus showing them that it is
being content with anything, and not needing costly dainties, that keeps
cities in peace and concord. Scilurus, the king of the Scythians, left
eighty sons, and on his death-bed asked for a bundle of sticks, and bade
his sons break it when it was tied together, and when they could not, he
took the sticks one by one and easily broke them all up: thus showing
them that their harmony and concord would make them strong and hard to
overthrow, while dissension would make them feeble and insecure.

§ XVIII. If then anyone were continually to recollect and repeat these
or similar terse sayings, he would probably cease to be pleased with
idle talk. As for myself, when I consider of what importance it is to
attend to reason, and to keep to one's purpose, I confess I am quite put
out of countenance by the example of the slave of Pupius Piso the
orator. He, not wishing to be annoyed by their prating, ordered his
slaves merely to answer his questions, and not say a word more. On one
occasion wishing to pay honour to Clodius who was then in power, he
ordered him to be invited to his house, and provided for him no doubt a
sumptuous entertainment. At the time fixed all the guests were present
except Clodius, for whom they waited, and the host frequently sent the
slave who used to invite guests to see if he was coming, but when
evening came, and he was now quite despaired of, he said to his slave,
"Did you not invite him?" "Certainly," said the slave. "Why then has he
not come?" said the master. "Because he declined," said the slave. "Why
then did you not tell me of it at once?" said the master. "Because you
never asked me," said the slave. This was a Roman slave. But an Athenian
slave "while digging will tell his master on what terms peace was made."
So great is the force of habit in all matters. And of it we will now

§ XIX. For it is not by applying bit or bridle that we can restrain the
talkative person, we must master the disease by habit. In the first
place then, when you are in company and questions are going round,
accustom yourself not to speak till all the rest have declined giving an
answer. For as Sophocles says, "counsel is not like a race;" no more are
question and answer. For in a race the victory belongs to him who gets
in first, but in company, if anyone has given a satisfactory answer, it
is sufficient by assenting and agreeing to his view to get the
reputation of being a pleasant fellow; and if no satisfactory answer is
given, then to enlighten ignorance and supply the necessary information
is well-timed and does not excite envy. But let us be especially on our
guard that, if anyone else is asked a question, we do not ourselves
anticipate and intercept him in giving an answer. It is indeed perhaps
nowhere good form, if another is asked a favour, to push him aside and
undertake to grant it ourselves; for we shall seem so to upbraid two
people at once, the one who was asked as not able to grant the favour,
and the other as not knowing how to ask in the right quarter. But
especially insulting is such forwardness and impetuosity in answering
questions. For he that anticipates by his own answer the person that was
asked the question seems to say, "What is the good of asking him? What
does he know about it? In my presence nobody else ought to be asked
about these matters." And yet we often put questions to people, not so
much because we want an answer, as to elicit from them conversation and
friendly feeling, and from a wish to fit them for company, as Socrates
drew out Theætetus and Charmides. For it is all one to run up and kiss
one who wishes to be kissed by another, or to divert to oneself the
attention that he was bestowing on another, as to intercept another
person's answers, and to transfer people's ears, and force their
attention, and fix them on oneself; when, even if he that was asked
declines to give an answer, it will be well to hold oneself in reserve,
and only to meet the question modestly when one's turn comes, so framing
one's answer as to seem to oblige the person who asked the question, and
as if one had been appealed to for an answer by the other. For if people
are asked questions and cannot give a satisfactory answer they are with
justice excused; but he who without being asked undertakes to answer a
question, and anticipates another, is disagreeable even if he succeeds,
while, if his answer is unsatisfactory, he is ridiculed by all the
company, and his failure is a source of the liveliest satisfaction to

§ XX. The next thing to practise oneself to in answering the questions
put to one,--a point to which the talkative person ought to pay the
greatest attention,--is not through inadvertence to give serious answers
to people who only challenge you to talk in fun and sport. For some
people concoct questions not for real information, but simply for
amusement and to pass the time away, and propound them to talkative
people, just to have them on. Against this we must be on our guard, and
not rush into conversation too hastily, or as if we were obliged for the
chance, but we must consider the character of the inquirer and his
purpose. When it seems that he really desires information, we should
accustom ourselves to pause, and interpose some interval between the
question and answer; during which time the questioner can add anything
if he chooses, and the other can reflect on his answer, and not be in
too great a hurry about it, nor bury it in obscurity, nor, as is
frequently the case in too great haste, answer some other question than
that which was asked. The Pythian Priestess indeed was accustomed to
utter some of her oracles at the very moment before the question was
put: for the god whom she serves "understands the dumb, and hears the
mute."[598] But he that wishes to give an appropriate answer must
carefully consider both the question and the mind of the questioner,
lest it be as the proverb expresses it,

  "I asked for shovels, they denied me pails."[599]

Besides we ought to check this greediness and hunger for words, that it
may not seem as if we had a flood on our tongue which was dammed up, but
which we were only too glad to discharge[600] on a question being put.
Socrates indeed so repressed his thirst, that he would not allow himself
to drink after exercise in the gymnasium, till he had first drawn from
the well one bucket of water and poured it on to the ground, that he
might accustom his irrational part to wait upon reason.

§ XXI. There are moreover three kinds of answers to questions, the
necessary, the polite, and the superfluous. For instance, if anyone
asked, "Is Socrates at home?" one, as if backward and disinclined to
answer, might say, "Not at home;" or, if he wished to speak with Laconic
brevity, might cut off "at home," and simply say "No;" as, when Philip
wrote to the Lacedæmonians to ask if they would receive him in their
city, they sent him back merely a large "No." But another would answer
more politely, "He is not at home, but with the bankers," and if he
wished to add a little more, "he expects to see some strangers there."
But the superfluous prater, if he has read Antimachus of Colophon,[601]
says, "He is not at home, but with the bankers, waiting for some Ionian
strangers, about whom he has had a letter from Alcibiades who is in the
neighbourhood of Miletus, staying with Tissaphernes the satrap of the
great king, who used long ago to favour the Lacedæmonian party, but now
attaches himself to the Athenians for Alcibiades' sake, for Alcibiades
desires to return to his country, and so has succeeded in changing the
views of Tissaphernes." And then he will go over the whole of the Eighth
Book of Thucydides, and deluge the man, till before he is aware Miletus
is captured, and Alcibiades is in exile the second time. In such a case
most of all ought we to curtail talkativeness, by following the track of
a question closely, and tracing out our answer according to the need of
the questioner with the same accuracy as we describe a circle. When
Carneades was disputing in the gymnasium before the days of his great
fame, the superintendent of the gymnasium sent to him a message to bid
him modulate his voice (for it was of the loudest), and when he asked
him to fix a standard, the superintendent replied not amiss, "The
standard of the person talking with you." So the meaning of the
questioner ought to be the standard for the answer.

§ XXII. Moreover as Socrates urged his disciples to abstain from such
food as tempted them to eat when they were not hungry, and from such
drinks as tempted them to drink when they were not thirsty, so the
talkative person ought to be afraid most of such subjects of
conversation as he most delights in and repeats _ad nauseam_, and to try
and resist their influence. For example, soldiers are fond of
descriptions about war, and thus Homer introduces Nestor frequently
narrating his prowess and glorious deeds. And generally speaking those
who have been successful in the law courts, or beyond their hopes been
favourites of kings and princes, are possessed, as it were by some
disease, with the itch for frequently recalling and narrating, how they
got on and were advanced, what struggles they underwent, how they argued
on some famous occasion, how they won the day either as plaintiffs or
defendants, what panegyrics were showered upon them. For joy is much
more inclined to prate than the well-known sleeplessness represented in
comedies, frequently rousing itself, and finding something fresh to
relate. And so at any excuse they slip into such narratives. For not

  "Where anyone does itch, there goes his hand,"[602]

but also delight has a voice of its own, and leads about the tongue in
its train, ever wishing to fortify it with memory. Thus lovers spend
most of their time in conversations that revive the memory of their
loves; and if they cannot talk to human beings about them, they talk
about them to inanimate objects, as, "O dearest bed," and,

  "O happy lamp, Bacchis deems you a god,
   And if she thinks so, then you are indeed
   The greatest of the gods."

The talkative person therefore is merely as regards words a white
line,[603] but he that is especially inclined to certain subjects should
be especially on his guard against talking about them, and should avoid
such topics, since from the pleasure they give him they may entice him
to be very prolix and tedious. The same is the case with people in
regard to such subjects as they think they are more experienced in and
acquainted with than others. For such a one, being self-appreciative and
fond of fame, "spends most of the day in that particular branch of study
in which he chances to be proficient."[604] Thus he that is fond of
reading will give his time to research; the grammarian his to syntax;
and the traveller, who has wandered over many countries, his to
geography. We must therefore be on our guard against our favourite
topics, for they are an enticement to talkativeness, as its wonted
haunts are to an animal. Admirable therefore was the behaviour of Cyrus
in challenging his companions, not to those contests in which he was
superior to them, but to those in which he was inferior, partly that he
might not give them pain through his superiority, partly for his own
benefit by learning from them. But the talkative person acts just
contrary, for if any subject is introduced from which he might learn
something he did not know, this he rejects and refuses, not being able
to earn a good deal by a short silence,[605] but he rambles round the
subject and babbles out stale and commonplace rhapsodies. As one amongst
us, who by chance had read two or three of the books of Ephorus,[606]
bored everybody, and dispersed every social party, by always narrating
the particulars of the battle of Leuctra and its consequences, so that
he got nicknamed Epaminondas.

§ XXIII. Nevertheless this is one of the least of the evils of
talkativeness, and we ought even to try and divert it into such channels
as these, for prating is less of a nuisance when it is on some literary
subject. We ought also to try and get some persons to write on some
topic, and so discuss it by themselves. For Antipater the Stoic
philosopher,[607] not being able or willing it seems to dispute with
Carneades, who inveighed vehemently against the Stoic philosophy,
writing and filling many books of controversy against him, got the
nickname of _Noisy-with-the-pen_; and perhaps the exercise and
excitement of writing, keeping him very much apart from the community,
might make the talkative man by degrees better company to those he
associated with; as dogs, bestowing their rage on sticks and stones, are
less savage to men. It will also be very advantageous for such to mix
with people better and older than themselves, for they will accustom
themselves to be silent by standing in awe of their reputation. And
withal it will be well, when we are going to say something, and the
words are on our lips, to reflect and consider, "What is this word that
is so eager for utterance? To what is this tongue marching? What good
will come of speaking now, or what harm of silence?" For we ought not to
drop words as we should a burden that pressed upon us, for the word
remains still after it has been spoken just the same; but men speak
either on their own behalf if they want something, or to benefit those
that hear them, or, to gratify one another, they season everyday life
with speech, as one seasons food with salt. But if words are neither
useful to the speaker, nor necessary for the hearer, nor contain any
pleasure or charm, why are they spoken? For words may be idle and
useless as well as deeds. And besides all this we must ever remember as
most important the dictum of Simonides, that he had often repented he
had spoken, but never that he had been silent: while as to the power and
strength of practice consider how men by much toil and painstaking will
get rid even of a cough or hiccough. And silence is not only never
thirsty, as Hippocrates says, but also never brings pain or sorrow.

    [541] Or _Garrulity_, _Chattering_, _Prating_. It is
    Talkativeness in a bad sense.

    [542] Or _Heptaphonos_. See Pausanias, v. 21.

    [543] Some unknown poet's words. I suppose they mean
    driving one mad, making one "Like sweet bells jangled,
    out of tune and harsh."

    [544] So our English proverb, "Empty vessels make the
    greatest sound."

    [545] Literally in a semi-circular place. It is not
    quite clear whether the front seats of the theatre are
    meant, or, as I have taken it, more generally, of some
    public place for entertainment or meeting, some
    promenade or piazza.

    [546] Reading [Greek: akouein], which seems far the best

    [547] Homer, "Iliad," v. 226; "Odyssey," vi. 81.

    [548] "Bacchæ," 385-387.

    [549] See Ovid, "Tristia," iv. 4, 55-58.

    [550] For example, Horace, "Epistles," i. 2, 62: "Ira
    furor brevis est" I read [Greek: homotoichos] with Mez.

    [551] Homer, "Odyssey," xiv. 463-465.

    [552] Ibid. 466.

    [553] Compare the German proverb, "Thought when sober,
    said when drunk"--"Nuchtern gedacht, voll gesagt."

    [554] Cf. Quintilian, x. 1, 78: "His ætate Lysias major,
    subtilis atque elegans et quo nihil, si oratori satis
    est docere, quæras perfectius. Nihil enim est inane,
    nihil arcessitum; puro tamen fonti quam magno flumini
    propior." Cf. ix. 4, 17.

    [555] Somewhat like Pindar, "Pyth." i. 1. 1, 2.

    [556] "Odyssey," xii. 452, 453.

    [557] See Cicero, "Ad Fam." vii. 18; Catullus, xxii. 5,

    [558] See "Iliad," xiv. 214-217.

    [559] "Allusio ad Homericum [Greek: epei ponos allos

    [560] "Laws," xi. p. 935 A.

    [561] So true are the words of Æschylus, [Greek: glôssê
    mataia zêmia prostribetai].--"Prom." 329.

    [562] Our "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

    [563] "Non Citticus, sed Eleates. v. Cic. Tuscul. ii.
    22, et Nat. Deor. 3, 33."--_Reiske._

    [564] See Pausanias, i. 23. Leæna means "lioness." On
    the conspiracy see Thucydides, vi. 54-59.

    [565] Homer, "Odyssey," xix. 494. Plutarch quotes from
    memory. The nurse's name was Euryclea.

    [566] Odyssey," xix. 210-212. Quoted again "On Moral
    Virtue," § iv.

    [567] Literally _bark_. See "Odyssey," xx. 13, 16.

    [568] "Odyssey," xx. 23.

    [569] See "Odyssey," ix. [Greek: Kyklôpeia].

    [570] Euripides, "Ino." Fragment, 416.

    [571] "Significat Q. Cæcilium Metellum, de quo Liv. xl.
    45, 46."--_Reiske._

    [572] Euripides, "Ino." Fragm. 415. Compare St. James,
    iii. 5, 6.

    [573] Fabius Maximus. So Tacitus, "Annals," i. 5, who
    relates this story somewhat differently.

    [574] See Tacitus, "Annals," i. 3. As to his fate, see
    "Annals," i. 6.

    [575] Tiberius Nero, who actually did succeed Augustus.

    [576] The Emperor's wife.

    [577] So it is in § xii. But perhaps here it means, "I
    wish you had more sense, Fabius!"

    [578] Adopting the reading of Reiske.

    [579] Reading [Greek: phorutou] or [Greek: phorytôn], as

    [580] Reading [Greek: katechein dynantai] with Reiske.

    [581] See Sophocles, Fragm. 162.

    [582] Homer, "Iliad," x. 457.

    [583] Compare "Moralia," p. 177 A; Horace, "Satires," i.
    7. 3: "Omnibus et lippis notum et tonsoribus."

    [584] Homer, "Iliad," xxii. 207.

    [585] Sophocles, "Antigone," 317-319.

    [586] See Pausanias, iii. 17; iv. 15; x. 5.

    [587] Compare the idea of the people of Melita, Acts
    xxviii. 4.

    [588] An Allusion to Dolon in Homer, "Iliad," x., 374,
    sq. according to Xylander.

    [589] Quoted again by our author in his "Publicola," p.
    105 B., and assigned to Epicharmus.

    [590] So Shakspere has taught us, "Brevity is the soul
    of wit."--_Hamlet_, Act ii Sc. 2.

    [591] "In Protagora."--_Xylander._

    [592] That is, is all kernel. See passim our author's
    "Apophthegmata Laconica."

    [593] Or, _apophthegmatic nature_.

    [594] Dionysius the younger, tyrant of Syracuse, was
    expelled, and afterwards kept a school at Corinth. That
    is the allusion. It would be like saying "Remember
    Napoleon at St. Helena."

    [595] See Pausanias, x. 24.

    [596] See Plato, "Charmides," 165 A.

    [597] A title applied to Apollo first by Herodotus, i.
    91, from his ambiguous ([Greek: loxa]) oracles.

    [598] Part of the words of an oracle of the Pythian
    Priestess, slightly changed. The whole oracle may be
    seen in Herodotus, i. 47.

    [599] Proverb of cross purposes.

    [600] Reading [Greek: exerasthai] with Dübner.

    [601] Catullus calls him "tumidus," _i.e._ long-winded,
    95, 10. See also Propertius, iii. 34-32. He was a Greek
    poet, a contemporary of Socrates and Plato, and author
    of a Thebaid. Pausanias mentions him, viii. 25; ix. 35.

    [602] The mediæval proverb, _Ubi dolor ibi digitus_.

    [603] A proverbial expression for having no judgment.
    See Sophocles, Fragm. 307; Plato, "Charmides," 154 B;
    Erasmus, "Adagia." So we say a person's mind is a blank
    sheet on a subject he knows nothing about.

    [604] Euripides, Fragm. 202. Quoted also by Plato,
    "Gorgias," 484 E.

    [605] Reading with Reiske, [Greek: misthon autô dounai
    tô mikron siôpêsai mê dynamenos].

    [606] A celebrated Greek historian, and pupil of
    Isocrates. See Cicero, "De Oratore," ii. 13.

    [607] Of Tarsus. See Cicero, "De Officiis," iii. 12.


§ I. If a house is dark, or has little air, is in an exposed position,
or unhealthy, the best thing will probably be to leave it; but if one is
attached to it from long residence in it, one can improve it and make it
more light and airy and healthy by altering the position of the windows
and stairs, and by throwing open new doors and shutting up old ones. So
some towns have been altered for the better, as my native place,[609]
which did lie to the west and received the rays of the setting sun from
Parnassus, was they say turned to the east by Chæron. And Empedocles the
naturalist is supposed to have driven away the pestilence from that
district, by having closed up a mountain gorge that was prejudicial to
health by admitting the south wind to the plains. Similarly, as there
are certain diseases of the soul that are injurious and harmful and
bring storm and darkness to it, the best thing will be to eject them and
lay them low by giving them open sky, pure air and light, or, if that
cannot be, to change and improve them some way or other. One such mental
disease, that immediately suggests itself to one, is curiosity, the
desire to know other people's troubles, a disease that seems neither
free from envy nor malignity.

  "Malignant wretch, why art so keen to mark
   Thy neighbour's fault, and seest not thine own?"[610]

Shift your view, and turn your curiosity so as to look inwards: if you
delight to study the history of evils, you have copious material at
home, "as much as there is water in the Alizon, or leaves on the oak,"
such a quantity of faults will you find in your own life, and passions
in your soul, and shortcomings in your duty. For as Xenophon says[611]
good managers have one place for the vessels they use in sacrificing,
and another for those they use at meals, one place for their farm
instruments, and another for their weapons of war, so your faults arise
from different causes, some from envy, some from jealousy, some from
cowardice, some from meanness. Review these, consider these; bar up the
curiosity that pries into your neighbours' windows and passages, and
open it on the men's apartments, and women's apartments, and servant's
attics, in your own house. There this inquisitiveness and curiosity will
find full vent, in inquiries that will not be useless or malicious, but
advantageous and serviceable, each one saying to himself,

  "What have I done amiss? What have I done?
   What that I ought to have done left undone?"

§ II. And now, as they say of Lamia that she is blind when she sleeps at
home, for she puts her eyes on her dressing-table, but when she goes out
she puts her eyes on again, and has good sight, so each of us turns,
like an eye, our malicious curiosity out of doors and on others, while
we are frequently blind and ignorant about our own faults and vices, not
applying to them our eyes and light. So that the curious man is more use
to his enemies than to himself, for he finds fault with and exposes
their shortcomings, and shows them what they ought to avoid and correct,
while he neglects most of his affairs at home, owing to his excitement
about things abroad. Odysseus indeed would not converse with his mother
till he had learnt from the seer Tiresias what he went to Hades to
learn; and after receiving that information, then he turned to her, and
asked questions about the other women, who Tyro was, and who the fair
Chloris, and why Epicaste[612] had died, "having fastened a noose with a
long drop to the lofty beam."[613] But we, while very remiss and
ignorant and careless about ourselves, know all about the pedigrees of
other people, that our neighbour's grandfather was a Syrian, and his
grandmother a Thracian woman, and that such a one owes three talents,
and has not paid the interest. We even inquire into such trifling
matters as where somebody's wife has been, and what those two are
talking in the corner about. But Socrates used to busy himself in
examining the secret of Pythagoras' persuasive oratory, and Aristippus,
meeting Ischomachus at the Olympian games, asked him how Socrates
conversed so as to have so much influence over the young men, and having
received from him a few scraps and samples of his style, was so
enthusiastic about it that he wasted away, and became quite pale and
lean, thirsty and parched, till he sailed to Athens and drew from the
fountain-head, and knew the wonderful man himself and his speeches and
philosophy, the object of which was that men should recognize their
faults and so get rid of them.

§ III. But some men cannot bear to look upon their own life, so unlovely
a spectacle is it, nor to throw and flash on themselves, like a lantern,
the reflection of reason; but their soul being burdened with all manner
of vices, and dreading and shuddering at its own interior, sallies forth
and wanders abroad, feeding and fattening its malignity there. For as a
hen, when its food stands near its coop,[614] will frequently slip off
into a corner and scratch up,

  "Where I ween some poor little grain appears on the dunghill,"

so curious people neglecting conversation or inquiry about common
matters, such as no one would try and prevent or be indignant at their
prying into, pick out the secret and hidden troubles of every family.
And yet that was a witty answer of the Egyptian, to the person who asked
him, "What he was carrying wrapped up;" "It was wrapped up on purpose
that you should not know." And you too, Sir, I would say to a curious
person, why do you pry into what is hidden? If it were not something bad
it would not be hidden. Indeed it is not usual to go into a strange
house without knocking at the door, and nowadays there are porters, but
in old times there were knockers on doors to let the people inside know
when anyone called, that a stranger might not find the mistress or
daughter of the house _en déshabille_, or one of the slaves being
corrected, or the maids bawling out. But the curious person intrudes on
all such occasions as these, although he would be unwilling to be a
spectator, even if invited, of a well-ordered family: but the things for
which bars and bolts and doors are required, these he reveals and
divulges openly to others. Those are the most troublesome winds, as
Aristo says, that blow up our clothes: but the curious person not only
strips off the garments and clothes of his neighbours, but breaks
through their walls, opens their doors, and like the wanton wind, that
insinuates itself into maidenly reserve, he pries into and calumniates
dances and routs and revels.

§ IV. And as Cleon is satirized in the play[615] as having "his hands
among the Ætolians, but his soul in Peculation-town," so the soul of the
curious man is at once in the mansions of the rich, and the cottages of
the poor, and the courts of kings, and the bridal chambers of the newly
married; he pries into everything, the affairs of foreigners, the
affairs of princes, and sometimes not without danger. For just as if one
were to taste aconite to investigate its properties, and kill oneself
before one had discovered them, so those that pry into the troubles of
great people ruin themselves before they get the knowledge they desire;
even as those become blind who, neglecting the wide and general
diffusion all over the earth of the sun's rays, impudently attempt to
gaze at its orb and penetrate to its light. And so that was a wise
answer of Philippides the Comic Poet, when King Lysimachus asked him on
one occasion, "What would you like to have of mine?" "Anything, O king,
but your secrets." For the pleasantest and finest things to be got from
kings are public, as banquets, and riches, and festivities, and favours:
but come not near any secret of theirs, pry not into it. There is no
concealment of the joy of a prosperous monarch, or of his laugh when he
is in a playful mood, or of any tokens of his goodwill and favour; but
dreadful is what he conceals, his gloominess, his sternness, his
reserve, his store of latent wrath, his meditation on stern revenge, his
jealousy of his wife, or suspicion of his son, or doubt about the
fidelity of a friend. Flee from this cloud that is so black and
threatening, for when its hidden fury bursts forth, you will not fail to
hear its thunder and see its lightning.

§ V. How shall you flee from it? Why, by dissipating and distracting
your curiosity, by turning your soul to better and pleasanter objects:
examine the phenomena of sky, and earth, and air, and sea. Are you by
nature fond of gazing at little or great things? If at great, turn your
attention to the sun, consider its rising and setting: view the changes
of the moon, like the changes of our mortal life, see how it waxes and

  "How at the first it peers out small and dim
   Till it unfolds its full and glorious Orb,
   And when its zenith it has once attained,
   Again it wanes, grows small, and disappears."[616]

These are indeed Nature's secrets, but they bring no trouble on those
that study them. But if you decline the study of great things, inspect
with curiosity smaller matters, see how some plants flourish, are green
and gay, and exhibit their beauty, all the year round, while others are
sometimes gay like them, at other times, like some unthrift, run through
their resources entirely, and are left bare and naked. Consider again
their various shapes, how some produce oblong fruits, others angular,
others smooth and round. But perhaps you will not care to pry into all
this, since you will find nothing bad. If you must then ever bestow your
time and attention on what is bad, as the serpent lives but in deadly
matter, go to history, and turn your eye on the sum total of human
misery. For there you will find "the falls of men, and murders of their
lives,"[617] rapes of women, attacks of slaves, treachery of friends,
mixing of poisons, envyings, jealousies, "shipwrecks of families," and
dethroning of princes. Sate and cloy yourself on these, you will by so
doing vex and enrage none of your associates.

§ VI. But it seems curiosity does not rejoice in stale evils, but only
in fresh and recent ones, gladly viewing the spectacle of tragedies of
yesterday, but backward in taking part in comic and festive scenes. And
so the curious person is a languid and listless hearer to the narrator
of a marriage, or sacrifice, or solemn procession, he says he has heard
most of all that before, bids the narrator cut it short and come to the
point; but if his visitor tell him of the violation of some girl, or the
adultery of some married woman, or the disputes and intended litigation
of brothers, he doesn't go to sleep then, nor pretend want of leisure,

  "But he pricks up his ears, and asks for more."

And indeed those lines,

  "Alas! how quicker far to mortals' ears
   Do ill news travel than the news of good!"

are truly said of curious people. For as cupping-glasses take away the
worst blood, so the ears of curious people attract only the worst
reports; or rather, as cities have certain ominous and gloomy gates,
through which they conduct only condemned criminals, or convey filth and
night soil, for nothing pure or holy has either ingress into or egress
from them, so into the ears of curious people goes nothing good or
elegant, but tales of murders travel and lodge there, wafting a whiff of
unholy and obscene narrations.

  "And ever in my house is heard alone
   The sound of wailing;"

this is to the curious their one Muse and Siren, this the sweetest note
they can hear. For curiosity desires to know what is hidden and secret;
but no one conceals his good fortune, nay sometimes people even pretend
to have such advantages as they do not really possess. So the curious
man, eager to hear a history of what is bad, is possessed by the passion
of malignity, which is brother to envy and jealousy. For envy is pain at
another's blessings, and malignity is joy at another's misfortunes: and
both proceed from the same savage and brutish vice, ill-nature.

§ VII. But so unpleasant is it to everybody to have his private ills
brought to light, that many have died rather than acquaint the doctors
with their secret ailments. For suppose Herophilus, or Erasistratus, or
even Æsculapius himself during his sojourn on earth, had gone with their
drugs and surgical instruments from house to house, to inquire what man
had a fistula in ano, or what woman had a cancer in her womb;--and yet
their curiosity would have been professional[618]--who would not have
driven them away from their house, for not waiting till they were sent
for, and for coming without being asked to spy out their neighbours'
ailments? But curious people pry into these and even worse matters, not
from a desire to heal them, but only to expose them to others, which
makes them deservedly hated. For we are not vexed and mortified with
custom-house officers when they levy toll on goods _bona fide_ imported,
but only when they seek for contraband articles, and rip up bags and
packages: and yet the law allows them to do even this, and sometimes it
is injurious to them not to do so. But curious people abandon and
neglect their own affairs, and are busy about their neighbours'
concerns. Seldom do they go into the country, for they do not care for
its quiet and stillness and solitude, but if once in a way they do go
there, they look more at their neighbours' vines than their own, and
inquire how many cows of their neighbour have died, or how much of his
wine has turned sour, and when they are satisfied on these points they
soon return to town again. But the genuine countryman does not willingly
listen to any rumour that chances to come from the town, for he quotes
the following lines,

  "Even with spade in hand he'll tell the terms
   On which peace was concluded: all these things
   The cursèd fellow walks about and pries into."

§ VIII. But curious people shun the country as stale and dull and too
quiet, and push into warehouses and markets and harbours, asking, "Any
news? Were you not in the market in the forenoon?" and sometimes
receiving for answer, "What then? Do you think things in the town change
every three hours?" Notwithstanding if anyone brings any news, he'll get
off his horse, and embrace him, and kiss him, and stand to listen. If
however the person who meets him says he has no news, he will say
somewhat peevishly, "No news, Sir? Have you not been in the market? Did
you not pass by the officers' quarters? Did you exchange no words with
those that have just arrived from Italy?" To stop such people the
Locrian authorities had an excellent rule; they fined everyone coming
from abroad who asked what the news was. For as cooks pray for plenty of
meat, and fishmongers for shoals of fish, so curious people pray for
shoals of trouble, and plenty of business, and innovations and changes,
that they may have something to hunt after and tittle-tattle about. Well
also was it in _Charondas_, the legislator of the people of Thurii,[619]
to forbid any of the citizens but adulterers and curious persons to be
ridiculed on the stage. Adultery itself indeed seems to be only the
fruit of curiosity about another man's pleasures, and an inquiring and
prying into things kept close and hidden from the world; while curiosity
is a tampering with and seduction of and revealing the nakedness of

§ IX. As it is likely that much learning will produce wordiness, and so
Pythagoras enjoined five years' silence on his scholars, calling it a
truce from words,[621] so defamation of character is sure to go with
curiosity. For what people are glad to hear they are glad to talk about,
and what they eagerly pick up from others they joyfully retail to
others. And so, amongst the other mischiefs of curiosity, the disease
runs counter to their desires; for all people fight shy of them, and
conceal their affairs from them, and neither care to do or say anything
in their presence, but defer consultations, and put off investigations,
till such people are out of the way; and if, when some secret is just
about to be uttered, or some important business is just about to be
arranged, some curious man happen to pop in, they are mum at once and
reserved, as one puts away fish if the cat is about; and so frequently
things seen and talked about by all the rest of the world are unknown
only to them. For the same reason the curious person never gets the
confidence of anybody. For we would rather entrust our letters and
papers and seals to slaves and strangers than to curious friends and
intimates. The famous Bellerophon,[622] though he carried letters
against his life, opened them not, but abstained from reading the letter
to the king, as he had refused to sell his honour to Proetus' wife, so
great was his continence.[623] For curiosity and adultery both come from
incontinence, and to the latter is added monstrous folly and insanity.
For to pass by so many common and public women, and to intrude oneself
on some married woman,[624] who is sure to be more costly, and possibly
less pretty to boot, is the acme of madness. Yet such is the conduct of
curious people. They neglect many gay sights, fail to hear much that
would be well worth hearing, lose much fine sport and pastime, to break
open private letters, to put their ears to their neighbour's walls, and
to whisper to their slaves and women-servants, practices always low, and
frequently dangerous.

§ X. It will be exceedingly useful, therefore, to deter the curious from
these propensities, for them to remember their past experience.
Simonides used to say that he occasionally opened two chests for rewards
and thanks that he had by him, and found the one full for rewards, but
the one for thanks always empty.[625] So if anyone were to open
occasionally the stores that curiosity had amassed, and observe what a
cargo there was of useless and idle and unlovely things, perhaps the
sight of all this poor stuff would inspire him with disgust. Suppose
someone, in studying the writings of the ancients, were to pick out only
their worst passages, and compile them into a volume, as Homer's
imperfect lines, and the solecisms of the tragedians, and Archilochus'
indecent and bitter railings against women, by which he so exposed
himself, would he not be worthy of the curse of the tragedian,

  "Perish, compiler of thy neighbours' ills?"

And independently of such a curse, the piling up of other people's
misdoings is indecent and useless, and like the town which Philip
founded and filled with the vilest and most dissolute wretches, and
called _Rogue Town_. Curious persons, indeed, making a collection of the
faults and errors and solecisms, not of lines or poems but of people's
lives, render their memory a most inelegant and unlovely register of
dark deeds. Just as there are in Rome some people who care nothing for
pictures and statues, or even handsome boys or women exposed for sale,
but haunt the monster-market, and make eager inquiries about people who
have no calves, or three eyes, or arms like weasels, or heads like
ostriches, and look about for some

  "Unnatural monster like the Minotaur,"[626]

and for a time are greatly captivated with them, but if anyone
continually gazes at such sights, they will soon give him satiety and
disgust; so let those who curiously inquire into the errors and faults
of life, and disgraces of families, and disorders in other people's
houses, first remember what little favour or advantage such prying has
brought them on previous occasions.

§ XI. Habit will be of the utmost importance in stopping this
propensity, if we begin early to practise self-control in respect to it,
for as the disease increases by habit and degrees, so will its cure, as
we shall see when we discuss the necessary discipline. In the first
place, let us begin with the most trifling and unimportant matters. What
hardship will it be when we walk abroad not to read the epitaphs on
graves, or what detriment shall we suffer by not glancing at the
inscriptions on walls in the public walks? Let us reflect that there is
nothing useful or pleasant for us in these notices, which only record
that so-and-so remembered so-and-so out of gratitude, and, "Here lies
the best of friends," and much poor stuff of that kind;[627] which
indeed do not seem to do much harm, except indirectly, to those that
read them, by engendering the practice of curiosity about things
immaterial. And as huntsmen do not allow the hounds to follow any scent
and run where they please, but check and restrain them in leashes,
keeping their sense of smell pure and fresh for the object of their
chase, that they may the keener dart on their tracks, "following up the
traces of the unfortunate beasts by their scent," so we must check and
repress the sallies and excursions of the curious man to every object of
interest, whether of sight or hearing, and confine him to what is
useful. For as eagles and lions on the prowl keep their claws sheathed
that they may not lose their edge and sharpness, so, when we remember
that curiosity for learning has also its edge and keenness, let us not
entirely expend or blunt it on inferior objects.

§ XII. Next let us accustom ourselves when we pass a strange house not
to look inside at the door, or curiously inspect the interior, as if we
were going to pilfer something, remembering always that saying of
Xenocrates, that it is all one whether one puts one's feet or eyes in
another person's house. For such prying is neither honourable, nor
comely, nor even agreeable.

  "Stranger, thou'lt see within untoward sights."

For such is generally the condition inside houses, utensils kicking
about, maids lolling about, no work going on, nothing to please the eye;
and moreover such side glances, and stray shots as it were, distort the
soul, and are unhandsome, and the practice is a pernicious one. When
Diogenes saw Dioxippus, a victor at Olympia, driving up in his chariot
and unable to take his eyes off a handsome woman who was watching the
procession, but still turning round and casting sheep's eyes at her, he
said, "See you yon athlete straining his neck to look at a girl?" And
similarly you may see curious people twisting and straining their necks
at every spectacle alike, from the habit and practice of turning their
eyes in all directions. And I think the senses ought not to rove about,
like an ill-trained maid, when sent on an errand by the soul, but to do
their business, and then return quickly with the answer, and afterwards
to keep within the bounds of reason, and obey her behests. But it is
like those lines of Sophocles,

  "Then did the Ænianian's horses bolt,
   Unmanageable quite;"[628]

for so the senses not having, as we said, right training and practice,
often run away, and drag reason along with them, and plunge her into
unlawful excesses. And so, though that story about Democritus is false,
that he purposely destroyed his eyesight by the reflection from
burning-glasses (as people sometimes shut up windows that look into the
street), that they might not disturb him by frequently calling off his
attention to external things, but allow him to confine himself to purely
intellectual matters, yet it is very true in every case that those who
use the mind most are least acted upon by the senses. And so the
philosophers erected their places for study as far as possible from
towns, and called Night the time propitious to thought,[629] thinking
quiet and withdrawal from worldly distractions a great help towards
meditating upon and solving the problems of life.

§ XIII. Moreover, when men are abusing and reviling one another in the
market-place, it is not very difficult or tiresome not to go near them;
or if a tumultuous concourse of people crowd together, to remain seated;
or to get up and go away, if you are not master of yourself. For you
will gain no advantage by mixing yourself up with curious people: but
you will derive the greatest benefit from putting a force upon your
inclinations, and bridling your curiosity, and accustoming it to obey
reason. Afterwards it will be well to extend the practice still further,
and not to go to the theatre when some fine piece is performing, and if
your friends invite you to see some dancer or actor to decline, and, if
there is some shouting in the stadium and hippodrome, not even to turn
your head to look what is up. For as Socrates advised people to abstain
from food that made them eat when they were not hungry, and from drinks
that made them drink when they were not thirsty, so ought we also to
shun and flee from those objects of interest, whether to eye or ear,
that master us and attract us when we stand in no need of them. Thus
Cyrus would not look at Panthea, but when Araspes told him that her
beauty was well worth inspection, he replied, "For that very reason must
I the more abstain from seeing her, for if at your persuasion I were to
pay her a visit, perhaps she would persuade me to visit her again when I
could ill spare the time, so that I might neglect important business to
sit with her and gaze on her charms."[630] Similarly Alexander would not
see the wife of Darius, who was reputed to be very beautiful, but
visited her mother who was old, and would not venture to look upon the
young and handsome queen. We on the contrary peep into women's litters,
and hang about their windows, and think we do no harm, though we thus
make our curiosity a loop-hole[631] for all manner of vice.

§ XIV. Moreover, as it is of great help to fair dealing sometimes not to
seize some honest gain, that you may accustom yourself as far as
possible to flee from unjust gains, and as it makes greatly for virtue
to abstain sometimes from your own wife, that you may not ever be
tempted by another woman, so, applying the habit to curiosity, try not
to see and hear at times all that goes on in your own house even, and if
anyone wishes to tell you anything about it give him the go-by, and
decline to hear him. For it was nothing but his curiosity that involved
Oedipus in his extreme calamities: for it was to try and find out his
extraction that he left Corinth and met Laius, and killed him, and got
his kingdom, and married his own mother, and when he then seemed at the
acme of felicity, he must needs make further inquiries about himself;
and though his wife tried to prevent him, he none the less compelled the
old man that had been an eye-witness of the deed to tell him all the
circumstances of it, and though he long suspected how the story would
end, yet when the old man cried out,

  "Alas! the dreadful tale I must then tell,"

so inflamed was he with curiosity and trembling with impatience, that he

  "I too must hear, for hear it now I will."[632]

So bitter-sweet and uncontrollable is the itch of curiosity, like a
sore, shedding its blood when lanced. But he that is free from this
disease, and calm by nature, being ignorant of many unpleasant things,
may say,

  "Holy oblivion of all human ills,
   What wisdom dost thou bring!"[633]

§ XV. We ought therefore also to accustom ourselves, when we receive a
letter, not to be in a tremendous hurry about breaking the seal, as most
people are, even tearing it open with their teeth if their hands are
slow; nor to rise from our seat and run up to meet him, if a messenger
comes; and if a friend says, "I have some news to tell you," we ought to
say, "I had rather you had something useful or advantageous to tell me."
When I was on one occasion lecturing at Rome, one of my audience was the
well-known Rusticus, whom the Emperor Domitian afterwards had put to
death through envy of his glory, and a soldier came in in the middle and
brought him a letter from the Emperor, and silence ensuing, and I
stopping that he might have time to read his letter, he would not, and
did not open it till I had finished my lecture, and the audience had
dispersed; so that everybody marvelled at his self-control. But whenever
anyone who has power feeds his curiosity till it is strong and vehement,
he can no longer easily control it, when it hurries him on to illicit
acts, from force of habit; and such people open their friends' letters,
thrust themselves in at private meetings, become spectators of rites
they ought not to witness, enter holy grounds they ought not to, and pry
into the lives and conversations of kings.

§ XVI. Indeed tyrants themselves, who must know all things, are made
unpopular by no class more than by their spies[634] and talebearers.
Darius in his youth, when he mistrusted his own powers, and suspected
and feared everybody, was the first who employed spies; and the
Dionysiuses introduced them at Syracuse: but in a revolution they were
the first that the Syracusans took and tortured to death. Indeed
informers are of the same tribe and family as curious people. However
informers only investigate wicked acts or plots, but curious people pry
into and publish abroad the involuntary misfortunes of their neighbours.
And it is said that impious people first got their name from curiosity,
for it seems there was a mighty famine at Athens, and those people that
had wheat not producing it, but grinding it stealthily by night in their
houses, some of their neighbours went about and noticed the noise of the
mills grinding, and so they got their name.[635] This also is the origin
of the well-known Greek word for informer, (Sycophant, _quasi_
Fig-informer), for when the people were forbidden to export figs, those
who informed against those who did were called Fig-informers. It is well
worth the while of curious people to give their attention to this, that
they may be ashamed of having any similarity or connection in habit with
a class of people so universally hated and disliked as informers.

    [608] Jeremy Taylor has largely borrowed from this
    Treatise in his "Holy Living," chap. ii. § v. Of

    [609] Chæronea in Boeotia.

    [610] Lines from some comic poet, no doubt.

    [611] "Oeconomicus," cap. viii.

    [612] The mother of Oedipus, better known as "Jocasta."

    [613] Homer, "Odyssey," xi. 278. Epicaste hung herself.

    [614] "[Greek: oikiskô] corrigit Valekenarius ad Herodot.
    p. 557."--_Wyttenbach._

    [615] Aristophanes, "Equites," 79.

    [616] Sophocles, Fragm. 713. The lines are quoted more
    fully by our author in his "Lives," p. 911. There are
    there four preceding lines that compare human life to
    the moon's changes.

    [617] Æschylus, "Supplices," 937.

    [618] All three being eminent doctors.

    [619] "Intelligo Charondam."--_Xylander._

    [620] Plutarch wants to show that curiosity and adultery
    are really the same vice in principle. Hence his imagery
    here. Jeremy Taylor has very beautifully dealt with this
    passage, "Holy Living," chap. ii. § v. I cannot pretend
    to his felicity of language. Thus Plutarch makes
    adultery mere curiosity, and curiosity a sort of
    adultery in regard to secrets. A profoundly ethical and
    moral view. Compare § ix.

    [621] Compare Lucian's [Greek: echeglôttia], after
    [Greek: echecheiria] (_armistice_), _Lexiph_. 9.

    [622] See the story in Homer, "Iliad," vi. 155 sq.

    [623] Or self-control.

    [624] Literally, some woman _shut up_, or _enclosed_.

    [625] See also our author's "On those who are punished
    by the Deity late," § xi.

    [626] See Euripides, Fragm., 389. Also Plutarch's
    "Theseus," cap. xv.

    [627] Plutarch rather reminds one, in his evident
    contempt for _Epitaphs_, of the cynic who asked, "Where
    are all the bad people buried?" Where indeed?

    [628] Sophocles, "Electra," 724, 725.

    [629] _euphronê_, a stock phrase for night, is here

    [630] "Historia exstat initio libri quinti

    [631] Literally, "slippery and prone to." For the
    metaphor of "slippery" compare Horace, "Odes," i. 19-8,
    "Et vultus nimium lubricus adspici."

    [632] This and the line above are in Sophocles, "Oedipus
    Tyrannus," 1169, 1170.

    [633] Euripides, "Orestes," 213.

    [634] Literally, _ears_.

    [635] The paronomasia is as follows. The word for
    impious people is supposed to mean _listeners to mills


§ I. Some of the things that grow on the earth are in their nature wild
and barren and injurious to the growth of seeds and plants, yet those
who till the ground consider them indications not of a bad soil but of a
rich and fat one;[637] so also there are passions of the soul that are
not good, yet are as it were offshoots of a good disposition, and one
likely to improve with good advice. Among these I class shyness, no bad
sign in itself, though it affords occasion to vice. For the modest
oftentimes plunge into the same excesses as the shameless, but then they
are pained and grieved at them, and not pleased like the others. For the
shameless person is quite apathetic at what is disgraceful, while the
modest person is easily affected even at the very appearance of it.
Shyness is in fact an excess of modesty. And thus it is called
shamefacedness, because the face exhibits the changes of the mind. For
as dejection is defined to be the grief that makes people look on the
ground, so shamefacedness is that shyness that cannot look people in the
face. And so the orator said the shameless person had not pupils[638] in
his eyes but harlots. The bashful person on the other hand shows his
delicacy and effeminacy of soul in his countenance, and palliates his
weakness, which exposes him to defeat at the hands of the impudent, by
the name of modesty. Cato used to say he was better pleased with those
lads that blushed than with those that turned pale, rightly teaching us
to fear censure more than labour,[639] and suspicion than danger.
However we must avoid too much timidity and fear of censure, since many
have played the coward, and abandoned noble ventures, more from fear of
a bad name than of the dangers to be undergone, not being able to bear a
bad reputation.

§ II. As we must not disregard their weakness, so neither again must we
praise that rigid and stubborn insensibility, "that recklessness and
frantic energy to rush anywhere, that seemed like a dog's courage in
Anaxarchus."[640] But we must contrive a harmonious blending of the two,
that shall remove the shamelessness of pertinacity, and the weakness of
excessive modesty; seeing its cure is difficult, and the correction of
such excesses not without danger. For as the husbandman, in rooting up
some wild and useless weed, at once plunges his spade vigorously into
the ground, and digs it up by the root, or burns it with fire, but if he
has to do with a vine that needs pruning, or some apple-tree, or olive,
he puts his hand to it very carefully, being afraid of injuring any
sound part; so the philosopher, eradicating from the soul of the young
man that ignoble and untractable weed, envy, or unseasonable avarice, or
amputating the excessive love of pleasure, may bandage and draw blood,
make deep incision, and leave scars: but if he has to apply reason as a
corrective to a tender and delicate part of the soul, such as shyness
and bashfulness, he is careful that he may not inadvertently root up
modesty as well. For nurses who are often rubbing the dirt off their
infants sometimes tear their flesh and put them to torture. We ought not
therefore, by rubbing off the shyness of youths too much, to make them
too careless and contemptuous; but as those that pull down houses close
to temples prop up the adjacent parts, so in trying to get rid of
shyness we must not eradicate with it the virtues akin to it, as modesty
and meekness and mildness, by which it insinuates itself and becomes
part of a man's character, flattering the bashful man that he has a
nature courteous and civil and affable, and not hard as flint or
self-willed. And so the Stoics from the outset verbally distinguished
shame and shyness from modesty, that they might not by identity of name
give the vice opportunity to inflict harm. But let it be granted to us
to use the words indiscriminately, following indeed the example of
Homer. For he said,

  "Modesty does both harm and good to men;"[641]

and he did well to mention the harm it does first. For it becomes
advantageous only through reason's curtailing its excess, and reducing
it to moderate proportions.

§ III. In the first place, then, the person who is afflicted with
shyness ought to be persuaded that he suffers from an injurious disease,
and that nothing injurious can be good: nor must he be wheedled and
tickled with the praise of being called a nice and jolly fellow rather
than being styled lofty and dignified and just; nor, like Pegasus in
Euripides, "who stooped and crouched lower than he wished"[642] to take
up his rider Bellerophon, must he humble himself and grant whatever
favours are asked him, fearing to be called hard and ungentle. They say
that the Egyptian Bocchoris, who was by nature very severe, had an asp
sent him by Isis, which coiled round his head, and shaded him from
above, that he might judge righteously. Bashfulness on the contrary,
like a dead weight on languid and effeminate persons, not daring to
refuse or contradict anybody, makes jurors deliver unjust verdicts, and
shuts the mouth of counsellors, and makes people say and do many things
against their wish; and so the most headstrong person is always master
and lord of such, through his own impudence prevailing against their
modesty. So bashfulness, like soft and sloping ground, being unable to
repel or avert any attack, lies open to the most shameful acts and
passions. It is a bad guardian of youth, as Brutus said he didn't think
that person had spent his youth well who had not learnt how to say No.
It is a bad duenna of the bridal bed and of women's apartments, as the
penitent adultress in Sophocles said to her seducer,

  "You did persuade, and coax me into sin."[643]

Thus shyness, being first seduced by vice,[644] leaves its citadel
unbarred, unfortified, and open to attack. By gifts people ensnare the
worse natures, but by persuasion and playing upon their bashfulness
people often seduce even good women. I pass over the injury done to
worldly affairs by bashfulness causing people to lend to those whose
credit is doubtful, and to go security against their wish, for though
they commend that saying, "Be a surety, trouble is at hand,"[645] they
cannot apply it when business is on hand.

§ IV. It would not be easy to enumerate how many this vice has ruined.
When Creon said to Medea,

  "Lady, 'tis better now to earn your hate,
   Than through my softness afterwards to groan,"[646]

he uttered a pregnant maxim for others; for he himself was overcome by
his bashfulness, and granted her one day more, and so was the undoing of
his family. And some, when they suspected murder or poison, have failed
through it to take precautions for their safety. Thus perished Dion, not
ignorant that Callippus was plotting against him, but ashamed to be on
his guard against a friend and host. So Antipater, the son of Cassander,
having invited Demetrius to supper, and being invited back by him for
the next day, was ashamed to doubt another as he had been trusted
himself, and went, and got his throat cut after supper. And Polysperchon
promised Cassander for a hundred talents to murder Hercules, the son of
Alexander by Barsine, and invited him to supper, and, as the stripling
suspected and feared the invitation, and pleaded as an excuse that he
was not very well, Polysperchon called on him, and addressed him as
follows, "Imitate, my lad, your father's good-nature and kindness to his
friends, unless indeed you fear us as plotting against you." The young
man was ashamed to refuse any longer, so he went with him, and some of
those at the supper-party strangled him. And so that line of

  "Invite your friend to supper, not your enemy,"

is not ridiculous, as some say, or stupid advice, but wise. Show no
bashfulness in regard to an enemy, and do not suppose him trustworthy,
though he may seem so.[648] For if you invite you will be invited back,
and if you entertain others you will be entertained back to your hurt,
if you let the temper as it were of your caution be weakened by shame.

§ V. As then this disease is the cause of much mischief, we must try and
exterminate it by assiduous effort, beginning first, as people are wont
to do in other matters, with small and easy things. For example, if
anyone pledge you to drink with him at a dinner when you have had
enough, do not be bashful, or do violence to nature, but put the cup
down without drinking. Again, if somebody else challenge you to play at
dice with him in your cups, be not bashful or afraid of ridicule, but
imitate Xenophanes, who, when Lasus of Hermione called him coward
because he would not play at dice with him, admitted that he was a great
coward and had no courage for what was ignoble. Again, if you meet with
some prating fellow who attacks you and sticks to you, do not be
bashful, but get rid of him, and hasten on and pursue your undertaking.
For such flights and repulses, keeping you in practice in trying to
overcome your bashfulness in small matters, will prepare you for greater
occasions. And here it is well to record a remark of Demosthenes. When
the Athenians were going to help Harpalus, and to war against Alexander,
all of a sudden Philoxenus, who was Alexander's admiral, was sighted in
the offing. And the populace being greatly alarmed, and speechless for
fear, Demosthenes said, "What will they do when they see the sun, if
they cannot lift their eyes to face a lamp?" And what will you do in
important matters, if the king desires anything, or the people importune
you, if you cannot decline to drink when your friend asks you, or evade
the onset of some prating fellow, but allow the trifler to waste all
your time, from not having nerve to say, "I will see you some other
time, I have no leisure now."[649]

§ VI. Moreover, the use and practice of restraining one's bashfulness in
small and unimportant matters is advantageous also in regard to praise.
For example, if a friend's harper sings badly at a drinking party, or an
actor hired at great cost murders[650] Menander, and most of the party
clap and applaud, I find it by no means hard, or bad manners, to listen
silently, and not to be so illiberal as to praise contrary to one's
convictions. For if in such matters you are not master of yourself, what
will you do if your friend reads a poor poem, or parades a speech
stupidly and ridiculously written?[651] You will praise it of course,
and join the flatterers in loud applause. But how then will you find
fault with your friend if he makes mistakes in business? How will you be
able to correct him, if he acts improperly in reference to some office,
or marriage, or the state? For I cannot indeed assent to the remark of
Pericles to his friend, who asked him to bear false witness in his
favour even to the extent of perjury, "I am your friend as far as the
altar." He went too far. But he that has long accustomed himself never
to go against his convictions in praising a speaker, or clapping a
singer, or laughing at a dull buffoon, will never go to this length, nor
say to some impudent fellow in such matters, "Swear on my behalf, bear
false witness, pronounce an unjust verdict."

§ VII. So also we ought to refuse people that want to borrow money of
us, from being accustomed to say No in small and easily refused matters.
Thus Archelaus, king of the Macedonians, being asked at supper for a
gold cup by a man who thought _Receive_ the finest word in the language,
bade a boy give it to Euripides,[652] and gazing intently on the man
said to him, "You are fit to ask, and not to receive, and he is fit to
receive without asking." Thus did he make judgement and not bashfulness
the arbiter of his gifts and favours. Yet we oftentimes pass over our
friends who are both deserving and in need, and give to others who
continually and impudently importune us, not from the wish to give but
from the inability to say No. So the older Antigonus, being frequently
annoyed by Bion, said, "Give a talent to Bion and necessity." Yet he was
of all the kings most clever and ingenious at getting rid of such
importunity. For on one occasion, when a Cynic asked him for a drachma,
he replied, "That would be too little for a king to give;"[653] and when
the Cynic rejoined, "Give me then a talent," he met him with, "That
would be too much for a Cynic to receive."[654] Diogenes indeed used to
go round begging to the statues in the Ceramicus, and when people
expressed their astonishment said he was practising how to bear
refusals. And we must practise ourselves in small matters, and exercise
ourselves in little things, with a view to refusing people who importune
us, or would receive from us when inconvenient, that we may be able to
avoid great miscarriages. For no one, as Demosthenes says,[655] if he
expends his resources on unnecessary things, will have means for
necessary ones. And our disgrace is greatly increased, if we are
deficient in what is noble, and abound in what is trivial.

§ VIII. But bashfulness is not only a bad and inconsiderate manager of
money, but also in more important matters makes us reject expediency and
reason. For when we are ill we do not call in the experienced doctor,
because we stand in awe of the family one; and instead of the best
teachers for our boys we select those that importune us;[656] and in our
suits at law we frequently refuse the aid of some skilled advocate, to
oblige the son of some friend or relative, and give him a chance to make
a forensic display; and lastly, you will find many so-called
philosophers Epicureans or Stoics, not from deliberate choice or
conviction, but simply from bashfulness, to have the same views as their
friends and acquaintances. Since this is the case, let us accustom
ourselves betimes in small and everyday matters to employ no barber or
fuller merely from bashfulness, nor to put up at a sorry inn, when a
better is at hand, merely because the innkeeper has on several occasions
been extra civil to us, but for the benefit of the habit to select the
best even in a small matter; as the Pythagoreans were careful never to
put their left leg across the right, nor to take an even number instead
of an odd, all other matters being indifferent. We must accustom
ourselves also, at a sacrifice or marriage or any entertainment of that
kind, not to invite the person who greets us and runs up to meet us, but
the friend who is serviceable to us. For he that has thus practised and
trained himself will be difficult to catch tripping, nay even
unassailable, in greater matters.

§ IX. Let so much suffice for practice. And of useful considerations the
first is that which teaches and reminds us, that all passions and
maladies of the soul are accompanied by the very things which we think
we avoid through them. Thus infamy comes through too great love of fame,
and pain comes from love of pleasure, and plenty of work to the idle,
and to the contentious defeats and losses of lawsuits. And so too it is
the fate of bashfulness, in fleeing from the smoke of ill-repute, to
throw itself into the fire of it.[657] For the bashful, not venturing to
say No to those that press them hard, afterwards feel shame at just
rebuke, and, through standing in awe of slight blame, frequently in the
end incur open disgrace. For if a friend asks some money of them, and
through bashfulness they cannot refuse, a little time after they are
disgraced by the facts becoming known;[658] or if they have promised to
help friends in a lawsuit, they turn round and hide their diminished
heads, and run away from fear of the other side. Many also, who have
accepted on behalf of a daughter or sister an unprofitable offer of
marriage at the bidding of bashfulness, have afterwards been compelled
to break their word, and break off the match.

§ X. He that said all the dwellers in Asia were slaves to one man
because they could not say the one syllable No, spoke in jest and not in
earnest; but bashful persons, even if they say nothing, can by raising
or dropping their eyebrows decline many disagreeable and unpleasant acts
of compliance. For Euripides says, "Silence is an answer to wise
men,"[659] but we stand more in need of it to inconsiderate persons, for
we can talk over the sensible. And indeed it is well to have at hand and
frequently on our lips the sayings[660] of good and famous men to quote
to those who importune us, as that of Phocion to Antipater, "You cannot
have me both as a friend and flatterer;" or his remark to the Athenians,
when they applauded him and bade him contribute to the expenses of a
festival, "I am ashamed to contribute anything to you, till I have paid
yonder person my debts to him," pointing out his creditor Callicles.
For, as Thucydides says, "It is not disgraceful to admit one's poverty,
but it is very much so not to try to mend it."[661] But he who through
stupidity or softness is too bashful to say to anyone that importunes

  "Stranger, no silver white is in my caves,"

but goes bail for him as it were through his promises,

  "Is bound by fetters not of brass but shame."[662]

But Persæus,[663] when he lent a sum of money to one of his friends, had
the fact duly attested by a banker in the market-place, remembering
belike that line in Hesiod,[664]

  "E'en to a brother, smiling, bring you witness."

And he wondering and saying, "Why all these legal forms, Persæus?" he
replied, "Ay, verily, that my money may be paid back in a friendly way,
and that I may not have to use legal forms to get it back." For many, at
first too bashful to see to security, have afterwards had to go to law,
and lost their friend.[665]

§ XI. Plato again, giving Helicon of Cyzicus a letter for Dionysius,
praised the bearer as a man of goodness and moderation, but added at the
end of the letter, "I write you this about a man, an animal by nature
apt to change." But Xenocrates, though a man of austere character, was
prevailed upon through his bashfulness to recommend to Polysperchon by
letter, one who was no good man as the event showed; for when the
Macedonian welcomed him, and inquired if he wanted any money, he asked
for a talent, and Polysperchon gave it him, but wrote to Xenocrates
advising him for the future to be more careful in the choice of people
he recommended. But Xenocrates knew not the fellow's true character; we
on the other hand very often when we know that such and such men are
bad, yet give them testimonials and money, doing ourselves injury, and
not getting any pleasure for it, as people do get in the company of
whores and flatterers, but being vexed and disgusted at the importunity
that has upset and forced our reason. For the line

   "I know that what I'm going to do is bad,"[666]

is especially applicable to people that importune us, when one is going
to perjure oneself, or deliver an unjust verdict, or vote for a measure
that is inexpedient, or borrow money for someone who will never pay it

§ XII. And so repentance follows more closely upon bashfulness than upon
any emotion, and that not afterwards, but in the very act. For we are
vexed with ourselves when we give, and ashamed when we perjure
ourselves, and get ill-fame from our advocacies, and are put to the
blush, when we cannot fulfil our promises. For frequently, from
inability to say No, we promise impossibilities to persevering
applicants, as introductions at court, and audiences with princes, from
reluctance or want of nerve to say, "The king does not know us, others
have his regard far more." But Lysander, when he was out of favour with
Agesilaus, though he was thought to have very great influence with him
owing to his great reputation, was not ashamed to dismiss suitors, and
bid them go and pay their court to others who had more influence with
the king. For not to be able to do everything carries no disgrace with
it, but to undertake and try and force your way to what you are unable
to do, or unqualified by nature for, is in addition to the disgrace
incurred a task full of trouble.

§ XIII. To take another element into consideration, all seemly and
modest requests we ought readily to comply with, not bashfully but
heartily, whereas in injurious or unreasonable requests we ought ever to
remember the conduct of Zeno, who, meeting a young man he knew walking
very quietly near a wall, and learning from him that he was trying to
get out of the way of a friend who wanted him to perjure himself on his
behalf, said to him, "O stupid fellow, what do you tell me? Is he not
afraid or ashamed to press you to what is not right? And dare not you
stand up boldly against him for what is right?" For he that said
"villainy is no bad weapon against villainy"[667] taught people the bad
practice of standing on one's defence against vice by imitating it; but
to get rid of those who shamelessly and unblushingly importune us by
their own effrontery, and not to gratify the immodest in their
disgraceful desires through false modesty, is the right and proper
conduct of sensible people.

§ XIV. Moreover it is no great task to resist disreputable and low and
worthless fellows who importune you, but some send such off with a laugh
or a jest, as Theocritus did, who, when two fellows in the public baths,
one a stranger, the other a well-known thief, wanted to borrow his
scraper,[668] put them both off with a playful answer, "You, sir, I
don't know, and you I know too well." And Lysimache,[669] the priestess
of Athene Polias at Athens, when some muleteers that bore the sacred
vessels asked her to give them a drink, answered, "I hesitate to do so
from fear that you would make a practice of it." And when a certain
young man, the son of a distinguished officer, but himself effeminate
and far from bold, asked Antigonus for promotion, he replied, "With me,
young man, honours are given for personal prowess, not for the prowess
of ancestors."

§ XV. But if the person that importunes us be famous or a man of power,
for such persons are very hard to move by entreaty or to get rid of when
they come to sue for your vote and interest, it will not perhaps be easy
or even necessary to behave as Cato, when quite a young man, did to
Catulus. Catulus was in the highest repute at Rome, and at that time
held the office of censor, and went to Cato, who then held the office of
quæstor, and tried to beg off someone whom he had fined, and was urgent
and even violent in his petitions, till Cato at last lost all patience,
and said, "To have you, the censor, removed by my officers against your
will, Catulus, would not be a seemly thing for you." So Catulus felt
ashamed, and went off in a rage. But see whether the answers of
Agesilaus and Themistocles are not more modest and in better form.
Agesilaus, when he was asked by his father to pronounce sentence
contrary to the law, said, "Father, I was taught by you even from my
earliest years to obey the laws, so now I shall obey you and do nothing
contrary to law." And Themistocles, when Simonides asked him to do
something unjust, replied, "Neither would you be a good poet if your
lines violated the laws of metre, nor should I be a good magistrate if I
gave decisions contrary to law."

§ XVI. And yet it is not on account of want of metrical harmony in
respect to the lyre, to borrow the words of Plato, that cities quarrel
with cities and friends with friends, and do and suffer the worst woes,
but on account of deviations[670] from law and justice. And yet some,
who themselves pay great attention to melody and letters and measures,
do not think it wrong for others to neglect what is right in
magistracies and judicial sentences and business generally. One must
therefore deal with them in the following manner. Does an orator ask a
favour of you when you are acting as juryman, or a demagogue when you
are sitting in council? Say you will grant his request if he first utter
a solecism, or introduce a barbarism into his speech; he will refuse
because of the shame that would attach itself to him; at any rate we see
some that will not in a speech let two vowels come together. If again
some illustrious and distinguished person importune you to something
bad, bid him come into the market-place dancing or making wry faces, and
if he refuse you will have an opportunity to speak, and ask him which is
more disgraceful, to utter a solecism and make wry faces, or to violate
the law and one's oath, and contrary to justice to do more for a bad
than for a good man. Nicostratus the Argive, when Archidamus offered him
a large sum of money and any Lacedæmonian bride he chose if he would
deliver up Cromnum, said Archidamus could not be a descendant of
Hercules, for he travelled about and killed evil-doers, whereas
Archidamus tried to make evil-doers of the good. In like manner, if a
man of good repute tries to force and importune us to something bad, let
us tell him that he is acting in an ignoble way, and not as his birth
and virtue would warrant.

§ XVII. But in the case of people of no repute you must see whether you
can persuade the miser by your importunity to lend you money without a
bond, or the proud man to yield you the better place, or the ambitious
man to surrender some office to you when he might take it himself. For
truly it would seem monstrous that, while such remain firm and
inflexible and unmoveable in their vicious propensities, we who wish to
be, and profess to be, men of honour and justice should be so little
masters of ourselves as to abandon and betray virtue. For indeed, if
those who importune us do it for glory and power, it is absurd that we
should adorn and aggrandize others only to get infamy and a bad name
ourselves; like unfair umpires in the public games, or like people
voting only to ingratiate themselves, and so bestowing improperly
offices and prizes[671] and glory on others, while they rob themselves
of respect and fair fame. And if we see that the person who importunes
us only does so for money, does it not occur to one that it is monstrous
to be prodigal of one's own fame and reputation merely to make somebody
else's purse heavier? Why the idea must occur to most people, they sin
with their eyes open; like people who are urged hard to toss off big
bumpers, and grunt and groan and make wry faces, but at last do as they
are told.

§ XVIII. Such weakness of mind is like a temperament of body equally
susceptible to heat and cold; for if such people are praised by those
that importune them they are overcome and yield at once, whereas they
are mortally afraid of the blame and suspicions of those whose desires
they do not comply with. But we ought to be stout and resolute in either
case, neither yielding to bullying nor cajolery. Thucydides indeed tells
us, since envy necessarily follows ability, that "he is well advised who
incurs envy in matters of the highest importance."[672] But we, thinking
it difficult to escape envy, and seeing that it is altogether impossible
not to incur blame or give offence to those we live with, shall be well
advised if we prefer the hatred of the perverse to that of those who
might justly find fault with us for having iniquitously served their
turn. And indeed we ought to be on our guard against praise from those
who importune us, which is sure to be altogether insincere, and not to
resemble swine, readily allowing anyone that presses to make use of us
from our pleasure at itching and tickling, and submitting ourselves to
their will. For those that give their ears to flatterers differ not a
whit from such as let themselves be tripped up at wrestling, only their
overthrow and fall is more disgraceful; some forbearing hostility and
reproof in the case of bad men, that they may be called merciful and
humane and compassionate; and others on the contrary persuaded to take
up unnecessary and dangerous animosities and charges by those who praise
them as the only men, the only people that never flatter, and go so far
as to entitle them their mouthpieces and voices. Accordingly Bio[673]
compared such people to jars, that you could easily take by the ears and
turn about at your will. Thus it is recorded that the sophist Alexinus
in one of his lectures said a good many bad things about Stilpo the
Megarian, but when one of those that were present said, "Why, he was
speaking in your praise only the other day," he replied, "I don't doubt
it; for he is the best and noblest of men." Menedemus on the contrary,
having heard that Alexinus[674] frequently praised him, replied, "But I
always censure him, for that man is bad who either praises a bad man or
is blamed by a good." So inflexible and proof was he against such
flattery, and master of that advice which Hercules in Antisthenes[675]
gave, when he ordered his sons to be grateful to no one that praised
them; which meant nothing else than that they should not be
dumbfoundered at it, nor flatter again those who praised them. Very apt,
I take it, was the remark of Pindar to one who told him that he praised
him everywhere and to all persons, "I am greatly obliged to you, and
will make your account true by my actions."

§ XIX. A useful precept in reference to all passions is especially
valuable in the case of the bashful. When they have been overcome by
this infirmity, and against their judgement have erred and been
confounded, let them fix it in their memories, and, remembering the pain
and grief it gave them, let them recall it to their mind and be on their
guard for a very long time. For as travellers that have stumbled against
a stone, or pilots that have been wrecked off a headland, if they
remember these occurrences, not only dread and are on their guard
continually on those spots, but also on all similar ones; so those that
frequently remember the disgrace and injury that bashfulness brought
them, and its sorrow and anguish, will in similar cases be on their
guard against their weakness, and will not readily allow themselves to
be subjugated by it again.

    [636] Or _bashfulness_, _shamefacedness_, what the
    French call _mauvaise honte_.

    [637] Shakespeare puts all this into one line: "Most
    subject is the fattest soil to weeds."--_2 Henry IV._,
    A. iv. Sc. iv.

    [638] Or _girls_. [Greek: korê] means both a girl, and
    the pupil of the eye.

    [639] So Wyttenbach.

    [640] These lines are quoted again "On Moral Virtue," §

    [641] "Iliad," xxiv. 44, 45.

    [642] Euripides, "Bellerophon," Fragm., 313.

    [643] Soph., Fragm., 736.

    [644] Surely it is necessary to read [Greek:
    prodiaphthareisa tô akolastô].

    [645] See Plato, "Charmides," 165 A.

    [646] Euripides, "Medea," 290, 291.

    [647] "Works and Days," 342.

    [648] Reading with Wyttenbach, [Greek: mêd hypolabe
    pisteuein, dokounta].

    [649] See Horace's very amusing "Satire," i. ix., on
    such tiresome fellows.

    [650] [Greek: epitribô] is used in the same sense by
    Demosthenes, p. 288.

    [651] On such social pests see Juvenal, i. 1-14.

    [652] See Pausanias, i. 2. Euripides left Athens about
    409 B.C., and took up his abode for good in Macedonia at
    the court of Archelaus, where he died 406 B.C.

    [653] For a drachma was only worth 6 obols, or 9¾_d._ of
    our money, nearly = Roman denarius.

    [654] A talent was 6,000 drachmæ, or 36,000 obols, about
    £243 15_s._ of our money.

    [655] "Olynth." iii. p. 33, § 19.

    [656] Compare "On Education," § vii.

    [657] Our "Out of the frying-pan into the fire." Cf.
    "Incidit in Scyllam cupiens vitare Charybdim."

    [658] By their having to borrow themselves.

    [659] Fragm. 947.

    [660] Or apophthegms, of which Plutarch and Lord Verulam
    have both left us collections.

    [661] Thucydides, ii. 40. Pericles is the speaker.

    [662] A slightly-changed line from Euripides'
    "Pirithous," Fragm. 591. Quoted correctly "On Abundance
    of Friends," § vii.

    [663] "Zenonis discipulus."--_Reiske._

    [664] "Works and Days," 371.

    [665] Cf. Shakspere, "Hamlet," i. iii. 76.

    [666] Euripides, "Medea," 1078.

    [667] Our "Set a thief to catch a thief."

    [668] Or strigil. See Otto Jahn's note on Persius, v.

    [669] "Forsitan illa quam nominat Pausanias, i.

    [670] Literally "want of tune in." We cannot well keep
    up the metaphor. Compare with this passage, "That virtue
    may be taught," § ii.

    [671] Literally "crowns."

    [672] Thucydides, ii. 64. Pericles is the speaker.
    Quoted again in "How one may discern a flatterer from a
    friend," § XXXV.

    [673] "Est Bio Borysthenita, de quo vide Diog.

    [674] "De Alexino Eleo vide Diog. Laërt., ii. 109.
    Nostri p. 1063, 3."--_Reiske._

    [675] Antisthenes wrote a book called "Hercules." See
    Diogenes Laertius, vi. 16.



§ I. _Sylla._ Those painters, Fundanus, seem to me to do well who,
before giving the finishing touches to their paintings, lay them by for
a time and then revise them; because by taking their eyes off them for a
time they gain by frequent inspection a new insight, and are more apt to
detect minute differences, that continuous familiarity would have
hidden. Now since a human being cannot so separate himself from himself
for a time, and make a break in his continuity, and then approach
himself again--and that is perhaps the chief reason why a man is a worse
judge of himself than of others--the next best thing will be for a man
to inspect his friends after an interval, and likewise offer himself to
their scrutiny, not to see whether he has aged quickly, or whether his
bodily condition is better or worse, but to examine his moral character,
and see whether time has added any good quality, or removed any bad one.
On my return then to Rome after an absence of two years, and having been
with you now five months, I am not at all surprised that there has been
a great increase and growth in those good points which you formerly had
owing to your admirable nature; but when I see how gentle and obedient
to reason your former excessive impetuosity and hot temper has become,
it cannot but occur to me to quote the line,

  "Ye gods, how much more mild is he become!"[676]

And this mildness has not wrought in you sloth or weakness, but like
cultivation of the soil it has produced a smoothness and depth fit for
action, instead of the former impetuosity and vehemence. And so it is
clear that your propensity to anger has not been effaced by any
declining vigour or through some chance, but has been cured by good
precepts. And indeed, for I will tell you the truth, when our friend
Eros[677] reported this change in you to me, I suspected that owing to
goodwill he bare witness not of the actual state of the case, but of
what was becoming to all good and virtuous men, although, as you know,
he can never be persuaded to depart from his real opinion to ingratiate
himself with anyone. But now he is acquitted of false witness, and do
you, as your journey gives you leisure, narrate to me the mode of cure
you employed to make your temper so under control, so natural, gentle
and obedient to reason.

_Fundanus._ Most friendly Sylla, take care that you do not in your
goodwill and affection to me rest under any misconception of my real
condition. For it is possible that Eros, not being able always himself
to keep his temper in its place in the obedience that Homer speaks
of,[678] but sometimes carried away by his hatred of what is bad, may
think me grown milder than I really am, as in changes of the scale in
music the lowest notes become the highest.

_Sylla._ Neither of these is the case, Fundanus, but oblige me by doing
as I ask.

§ II. _Fundanus._ One of the excellent precepts then of Musonius that I
remember, Sylla, is this, that those who wish to be well should diet
themselves all their life long. For I do not think we must employ reason
as a cure, as we do hellebore, by purging it out with the disease, but
we must retain it in the soul, to restrain and govern the judgement. For
the power of reason is not like physic, but wholesome food, which
co-operates with good health in producing a good habit of body in those
by whom it is taken. But admonition and reproof, when passion is at its
height and swelling, does little or no good, but resembles very closely
those strong-smelling substances, that are able to set on their legs
again those that have fallen in epileptic fits, but cannot rid them of
their disease. For although all other passions, even at the moment of
their acme, do in some sort listen to reason and admit it into the soul,
yet anger does not, for, as Melanthius says,

  "Fell things it does when it the mind unsettles,"

for it absolutely turns reason out of doors, and bolts it out, and, like
those persons who burn themselves and houses together, it makes all the
interior full of confusion and smoke and noise, so that what would be
advantageous can neither be seen nor heard. And so an empty ship in a
storm at open sea would sooner admit on board a pilot from without, than
a man in a tempest of rage and anger would listen to another's advice,
unless his own reason was first prepared to hearken. But as those who
expect a siege get together and store up supplies, when they despair of
relief from without, so ought we by all means to scour the country far
and wide to derive aids against anger from philosophy, and store them up
in the soul: for, when the time of need comes, we shall find it no easy
task to import them. For either the soul doesn't hear what is said
without because of the uproar, if it have not within its own reason
(like a boatswain as it were) to receive at once and understand every
exhortation; or if it does hear, it despises what is uttered mildly and
gently, while it is exasperated by harsh censure. For anger being
haughty and self-willed and hard to be worked upon by another, like a
fortified tyranny, must have someone born and bred within it[679] to
overthrow it.

§ III. Now long-continued anger, and frequent giving way to it, produces
an evil disposition of soul, which people call irascibility, and which
ends in passionateness, bitterness, and peevishness, whenever the mind
becomes sore and vexed at trifles and querulous at everyday occurrences,
like iron thin and beaten out too fine. But when the judgement checks
and suppresses at once the rising anger, it not only cures the soul for
the moment, but restores its tone and balance for the future. It has
happened to myself indeed twice or thrice, when I strongly fought
against anger, that I was in the same plight as the Thebans, who after
they had once defeated the Lacedæmonians, whom they had hitherto thought
invincible, never lost a battle against them again. I then felt
confident that reason can win the victory. I saw also that anger is not
only appeased by the sprinkling of cold water, as Aristotle attested,
but is also extinguished by the action of fear; aye, and, as Homer tells
us, anger has been cured and has melted away in the case of many by some
sudden joy. So that I came to the conclusion that this passion is not
incurable for those who wish to be cured. For it does not arise from
great and important causes, but banter and joking, a laugh or a nod, and
similar trifles make many angry, as Helen by addressing her niece,

  "Electra, maiden now for no short time,"[680]

provoked her to reply,

  "Your wisdom blossoms late, since formerly
   You left your house in shame;"[681]

and Callisthenes incensed Alexander, by saying, when a huge cup was
brought to him, "I will not drink to Alexander till I shall require the
help of Æsculapius."

§ IV. As then it is easy to put out a flame kindled in the hair of hares
and in wicks and rubbish, but if it once gets hold of things solid and
thick, it quickly destroys and consumes them, "raging amidst the lofty
work of the carpenters," as Æschylus[682] says; so he that observes
anger in its rise, and sees it gradually smoking and bursting forth into
fire from some chatter or rubbishy scurrility, need have no great
trouble with it, but can frequently smother it merely by silence and
contempt. For as a person puts out a fire by bringing no fuel to it, so
with respect to anger, he that does not in the beginning fan it, and
stir up its rage in himself, keeps it off and destroys it. And so,
though Hieronymus has given us many useful sayings and precepts, I am
not pleased with his remark that there is no perception of anger in its
birth, but only in its actual developement, so quick is it. For none of
the passions when stirred up and set in motion has so palpable a birth
and growth as anger. As indeed Homer skilfully shows us, where he
represents Achilles as seized at once with grief, when word was brought
him _of Patroclus' death_, in the line,

  "Thus spake he, and grief's dark cloud covered him;"[683]

whereas he represents him as waxing angry with Agamemnon slowly, and as
inflamed by his many words, which if either of them[684] had abstained
from, their quarrel would not have attained such growth and magnitude.
And so Socrates, as often as he perceived any anger rising in him
against any of his friends, "setting himself like some ocean promontory
to break the violence of the waves," would lower his voice, and put on a
smiling countenance, and give his eye a gentler expression, by inclining
in the other direction and running counter to his passion, thus keeping
himself from fall and defeat.

§ V. For the first way, my friend, to overcome anger, like the putting
down of some tyrant, is not to obey or listen to it when it bids you
speak loud, and look fierce, and beat yourself, but to remain quiet, and
not to make the passion more intense, as one would a disease, by tossing
about and crying out. In love affairs indeed, such things as revellings,
and serenadings, and crowning the loved one's door with garlands, may
indeed bring, some pleasant and elegant relief.

  "I went, but asked not who or whose she was,
   I merely kissed her door-post. If that be
   A crime, I do plead guilty to the same."[685]

In the case of mourners also giving up to weeping and wailing takes away
with the tears much of the grief. But anger on the contrary is much more
fanned by what angry persons do and say. It is best therefore to be
calm, or to flee and hide ourselves and go to a haven of quiet, when we
feel the fit of temper coming upon us as an epileptic fit, that we fall
not, or rather fall not on others, for it is our friends that we fall
upon most and most frequently. For we do not love all, nor envy all, nor
fear all men; but nothing is untouched or unassailed by anger; for we
are angry with friends and enemies, parents and children, aye, and with
the gods, and beasts, and even things inanimate, as was Thamyris,

  "Breaking his gold-bound horn, breaking the music
   Of well-compacted lyre;"[686]

and Pandarus, who called down a curse upon himself, if he did not burn
his bow "after breaking it with his hands."[687] And Xerxes inflicted
stripes and blows on the sea, and sent letters to Mount Athos, "Divine
Athos, whose top reaches heaven, put not in the way of my works stones
large and difficult to deal with, or else I will hew thee down, and
throw thee into the sea." For anger has many formidable aspects, and
many ridiculous ones, so that of all the passions it is the most hated
and despised. It will be well to consider both aspects.

§ VI. To begin then, whether my process was wrong or right I know not,
but I began my cure of anger by noticing its effects in others, as the
Lacedæmonians study the nature of drunkenness in the Helots. And in the
first place, as Hippocrates tells us that disease is most dangerous in
which the face of the patient is most unlike himself, so observing that
people beside themselves with anger change their face, colour, walk, and
voice, I formed an impression as it were of that aspect of passion, and
was very disgusted with myself if ever I should appear so frightful and
like one out of his mind to my friends and wife and daughters, not only
wild and unlike oneself in appearance, but also with a voice savage and
harsh, as I had noticed in some[688] of my acquaintance, who could
neither preserve for anger their ordinary behaviour, or demeanour, or
grace of language, or persuasiveness and gentleness in conversation.
Caius Gracchus, indeed, the orator, whose character was harsh and style
of oratory impassioned, had a pitch-pipe made for him, such as musicians
use to heighten or lower their voices by degrees, and this, when he was
making a speech, a slave stood behind him and held, and used to give him
a mild and gentle note on it, whereby he lowered his key, and removed
from his voice the harsh and passionate element, charming and laying the
heat of the orator,

  "As shepherds' wax-joined reed sounds musically
   With sleep provoking strain."[689]

For myself if I had some elegant and sprightly companion, I should not
be vexed at his showing me a looking-glass in my fits of anger, as they
offer one to some after a bath to little useful end. For to behold
oneself unnaturally distorted in countenance will condemn anger in no
small degree. The poets playfully tell us that Athene when playing on
the pipe was rebuked thus by a Satyr,

  "That look no way becomes you, take your armour,
   Lay down your pipes, and do compose your cheeks,"

and though she paid no attention to him, yet afterwards when she saw her
face in a river, she felt vexed and threw her pipes away, although art
had made melody a compensation for her unsightliness. And Marsyas, it
seems, by a sort of mouthpiece forcibly repressed the violence of his
breath, and tricked up and hid the contortion of his face,

  "Around his shaggy temples put bright gold,
   And o'er his open mouth thongs tied behind."

Now anger, that puffs up and distends the face so as to look ugly,
utters a voice still more harsh and unpleasant,

  "Moving the mind's chords undisturbed before."

They say that the sea is cleansed when agitated by the winds it throws
up tangle and seaweed; but the intemperate and bitter and vain words,
which the mind throws up when the soul is agitated, defile the speakers
of them first of all and fill them with infamy, as always having those
thoughts within their bosom and being defiled with them, but only giving
vent to them in anger. And so for a word which is, as Plato styles it,
"a very small matter," they incur a most heavy punishment, for they get
reputed to be enemies, and evil speakers, and malignant in disposition.

§ VII. Seeing and observing all this, it occurs to me to take it as a
matter of fact, and record it for my own general use, that if it is good
to keep the tongue soft and smooth in a fever, it is better to keep it
so in anger. For if the tongue of people in a fever be unnatural, it is
a bad sign, but not the cause of their malady; but the tongue of angry
people, being rough and foul, and breaking out into unseemly speeches,
produces insults that work irremediable mischief, and argue deep-rooted
malevolence within. For wine drunk neat does not exhibit the soul in so
ungovernable and hateful a condition as temper does: for the outbreaks
of the one smack of laughter and fun, while those of the other are
compounded with gall: and at a drinking-bout he that is silent is
burdensome to the company and tiresome, whereas in anger nothing is more
highly thought of than silence, as Sappho advises,

  "When anger's busy in the brain
   Thy idly-barking tongue restrain."

§ VIII. And not only does the consideration of all this naturally arise
from observing ourselves in the moments of anger, but we cannot help
seeing also the other properties of rage, how ignoble it is, how
unmanly, how devoid of dignity and greatness of mind! And yet to most
people its noise seems vigour, its threatening confidence, and its
obstinacy force of character; some even not wisely entitle its
savageness magnanimity, and its implacability firmness, and its morosity
hatred of what is bad. For their actions and motions and whole demeanour
argue great littleness and meanness, not only when they are fierce with
little boys, and peevish with women, and think it right to treat dogs
and horses and mules with harshness, as Otesiphon the pancratiast
thought fit to kick back a mule that had kicked him, but even in the
butcheries that tyrants commit their littleness of soul is apparent in
their savageness, and their suffering in their action, so that they are
like the bites of serpents, that, when they are burnt and smart with
pain, violently thrust their venom on those that have hurt them. For as
a swelling is produced in the flesh by a heavy blow, so in softest souls
the inclination to hurt others gets its greater strength from greater
weakness. Thus women are more prone to anger than men, and people ill
than people well, and old men than men in their prime, and the
unfortunate than the prosperous; the miser is most prone to anger with
his steward, the glutton with his cook, the jealous man with his wife,
the vain man when he is spoken ill of; and worst of all are those "men
who are too eager in states for office, or to head a faction, a manifest
sorrow," to borrow Pindar's words. So from the very great pain and
suffering of the soul there arises mainly from weakness anger, which is
not like the nerves of the soul, as some one defined it, but like its
strainings and convulsions when it is excessively vehement in its thirst
for revenge.

§ IX. Such bad examples as these were not pleasant to look at but
necessary, but I shall now proceed to describe people who have been mild
and easy in dealing with anger, conduct gratifying either to see or hear
about, being utterly disgusted[690] with people who use such language

  "You have a man wronged: shall a man stand this?"


  "Put your heel upon his neck, and dash his head against
    the ground,"

and other provoking expressions such as these, by which some not well
have transferred anger from the woman's side of the house to the man's.
For manliness in all other respects seems to resemble justice, and to
differ from it only in respect to gentleness, with which it has more
affinities. For it sometimes happens to worse men to govern better ones,
but to erect a trophy in the soul against anger (which Heraclitus says
it is difficult to contend against, for whatever it wishes is bought at
the price of the soul), is a proof of power so great and victorious as
to be able to apply the judgement as if it were nerves and sinews to the
passions. So I always try to collect and peruse the remarks on this
subject not only of the philosophers, who foolish[691] people say had no
gall in their composition, but still more of kings and tyrants. Such was
the remark of Antigonus to his soldiers, when they were abusing him near
his tent as if he were not listening, so he put his staff out, and said,
"What's to do? can you not go rather farther off to run me down?" And
when Arcadio the Achæan, who was always railing against Philip, and
advising people to flee

  "Unto a country where they knew not Philip,"

visited Macedonia afterwards on some chance or other, the king's friends
thought he ought to be punished and the matter not looked over; but
Philip treated him kindly, and sent him presents and gifts, and
afterwards bade inquiry to be made as to what sort of account of him
Arcadio now gave to the Greeks; and when all testified that the fellow
had become a wonderful praiser of the king, Philip said, "You see I knew
how to cure him better than all of you." And at the Olympian games when
there was defamation of Philip, and some of his suite said to him, that
the Greeks ought to smart for it, because they railed against him when
they were treated well by him, he replied, "What will they do then if
they are treated badly by me?" Excellent also was the behaviour of
Pisistratus to Thrasybulus, and of Porsena to Mucius, and of Magas to
Philemon. As to Magas, after he had been publicly jeered at by Philemon
in one of his comedies at the theatre in the following words,

  "Magas, the king hath written thee a letter,
   Unhappy Magas, since thou can'st not read,"

after having taken Philemon, who had been cast on shore by a storm at
Parætonium, he commanded one of his soldiers only to touch his neck with
the naked sword and then to go away quietly, and dismissed him, after
sending him a ball and some dice as if he were a silly boy. And Ptolemy
on one occasion, flouting a grammarian for his ignorance, asked him who
was the father of Peleus, and he answered, "I will tell you, if you tell
me first who was the father of Lagus." This was a jeer at the obscure
birth of the king, and all his courtiers were indignant at it as an
unpardonable liberty; but Ptolemy said, "If it is not kingly to take a
flout, neither is it kingly to give one." And Alexander was more savage
than usual in his behaviour to Callisthenes and Clitus. So Porus, when
he was taken captive, begged Alexander to use him as a king. And on his
inquiring, "What, nothing more?" he replied "No. For everything is
included in being used as a king." So they call the king of the gods
Milichius,[692] while they call Ares Maimactes;[693] and punishment and
torture they assign to the Erinnyes and to demons, not to the gods or

§ X. As then a certain person passed the following remark on Philip when
he had razed Olynthus to the ground, "He certainly could not build such
another city," so we may say to anger, "You can root up, and destroy,
and throw down, but to raise up and save and spare and tolerate is the
work of mildness and moderation, the work of a Camillus, a Metellus, an
Aristides, a Socrates; but to sting and bite is to resemble the ant and
horse-fly. For, indeed, when I consider revenge, I find its angry method
to be for the most part ineffectual, since it spends itself in biting
the lips and gnashing the teeth, and in vain attacks, and in railings
coupled with foolish threats, and eventually resembles children running
races, who from feebleness ridiculously tumble down before they reach
the goal they are hastening to. So that speech of the Rhodian to a
lictor of the Roman prætor who was shouting and talking insolently was
not inapt, "It is no matter to me what you say, but what your master
thinks."[694] And Sophocles, when he had introduced Neoptolemus and
Eurypylus as armed for the battle, gives them this high

  "They rushed into the midst of armed warriors,"

Some barbarians indeed poison their steel, but bravery has no need of
gall, being dipped in reason, but rage and fury are not invincible but
rotten. And so the Lacedæmonians by their pipes turn away the anger of
their warriors, and sacrifice to the Muses before commencing battle,
that reason may abide with them, and when they have routed a foe do not
follow up the victory,[696] but relax their rage, which like small
daggers they can easily take back. But anger kills myriads before it is
glutted with revenge, as happened in the case of Cyrus and Pelopidas the
Theban. But Agathocles bore mildly the revilings of those he was
besieging, and when one of them cried out, "Potter, how are you going to
get money to pay your mercenaries?" he replied laughingly, "Out of your
town if I take it." And when some of those on the wall threw his
ugliness into the teeth of Antigonus, he said to them, "I thought I was
rather a handsome fellow." But after he had taken the town, he sold for
slaves those that had flouted him, protesting that, if they insulted him
again, he would bring the matter before their masters. I have noticed
also that hunters and orators are very unsuccessful when they give way
to anger.[697] And Aristotle tells us that the friends of Satyrus
stopped up his ears with wax when he was to plead a cause, that he might
not make any confusion in the case through rage at the abuse of his
enemies. And does it not frequently happen with ourselves that a slave
who has offended escapes punishment, because they abscond in fear of our
threats and harsh words? What nurses then say to children, "Give up
crying, and you shall have it," may usefully be applied to anger, thus,
"Do not be in a hurry, or bawl out, or be vehement, and you will sooner
and better get what you want." For a father, seeing his boy trying to
cut or cleave something with a knife, takes the knife from him and does
it himself: and similarly a person, taking revenge out of the hand of
passion, does himself safely and usefully and without harm punish the
person who deserves punishment, and not himself instead, as anger often

§ XI. Now though all the passions need such discipline as by exercise
shall tame and subdue their unreasoning and disobedient elements, yet
there is none which we ought to keep under by such discipline so much as
the exhibition of anger to our servants. For neither envy, nor fear, nor
rivalry come into play between them and us; but our frequent displays of
anger to them, creating many offences and faults, make us to slip as if
on slippery ground owing to our autocracy with our servants, which no
one resists or prevents. For it is impossible to check irresponsible
power so as never to break out under the influence of passion, unless
one wields power with much meekness, and refuses to listen to the
frequent complaints of one's wife and friends charging one with being
too easy and lax with one's servants. And by nothing have I been more
exasperated against them, as if they were being ruined for want of
correction. At last, though late, I got to see that in the first place
it is better to make them worse by forbearance, than by bitterness and
anger to distort oneself for the correction of others. In the next place
I observed that many for the very reason that they were not corrected
were frequently ashamed to be bad, and made pardon rather than
punishment the commencement of their reformation, aye, and made better
slaves to some merely at their nod silently and cheerfully than to
others with all their beatings and brandings, and so I came to the
conclusion that reason gets better obeyed than temper, for it is not as
the poet said,

  "Where there is fear, there too is self-respect,"

but it is just the other way about, for self-respect begets that kind of
fear that corrects the behaviour. But perpetual and pitiless beating
produces not so much repentance for wrong-doing as contrivances to
continue in it without detection. In the third place, ever remembering
and reflecting within myself that, just as he that teaches us the use of
the bow does not forbid us to shoot but only to miss the mark, so it
will not prevent punishment altogether to teach people to do it in
season, and with moderation, utility, and decorum, I strive to remove
anger most especially by not forbidding those who are to be corrected to
speak in their defence, but by listening to them. For the interval of
time gives a pause to passion, and a delay that mitigates it, and so
judgement finds out both the fit manner and adequate amount of
punishment. Moreover he that is punished has nothing to allege against
his correction, if he is punished not in anger but only after his guilt
is brought home to him. And the greatest disgrace will not be incurred,
which is when the servant seems to speak more justly than the master. As
then Phocion, after the death of Alexander, to stop the Athenians from
revolting and believing the news too soon, said to them, "Men of Athens,
if he is dead to-day, he will certainly also be dead to-morrow and the
next day," so I think the man who is in a hurry to punish anyone in his
rage ought to consider with himself, "If this person has wronged you
to-day, he will also have wronged you to-morrow and the next day; and
there will be no harm done if he shall be punished somewhat late;
whereas if he shall be punished at once, he will always seem to you to
have been innocent, as has often happened before now." For which of us
is so savage as to chastise and scourge a slave because five or ten days
before he over-roasted the meat, or upset the table, or was somewhat
tardy on some errand? And yet these are the very things for which we put
ourselves out and are harsh and implacable, immediately after they have
happened and are recent. For as bodies seem greater in a mist, so do
little matters in a rage. We ought therefore to consider such arguments
as these at once, and if, when there is no trace of passion left, the
matter appear bad to calm and clear reason, then it ought to be taken in
hand, and the punishment ought not to be neglected or abandoned, as we
leave food when we have lost our appetites. For nothing causes people to
punish so much when their anger is fierce, as that when it is appeased
they do not punish at all, but forget the matter entirely, and resemble
lazy rowers, who lie in harbour when the sea is calm, and then sail out
to their peril when the wind gets up. So we, condemning reason for
slackness and mildness in punishing, are in a hurry to punish, borne
along by passion as by a dangerous gale. He that is hungry takes his
food as nature dictates, but he that punishes should have no hunger or
thirst for it, nor require anger as a sauce to stimulate him to it, but
should punish when he is as far as possible from having any desire for
it, and has to compel his reason to it. For we ought not, as Aristotle
tells us slaves in his time were scourged in Etruria to the music of the
flute, to go headlong into punishing with a desire and zest for it, and
to delight in punishing, and then afterwards to be sorry at it--for the
first is savage, and the last womanish--but we should without either
sorrow or pleasure chastise at the dictates of reason, giving anger no
opportunity to interfere.

§ XII. But this perhaps will not appear a cure of anger so much as a
putting away and avoiding such faults as men commit in anger. And yet,
though the swelling of the spleen is only a symptom of fever, the fever
is assuaged by its abating, as Hieronymus tells us. Now when I
contemplated the origin of anger itself, I observed that, though
different persons fell into it for different reasons, yet in nearly all
of them was the idea of their being despised and neglected to be found.
So we ought to help those who try to get rid of anger, by removing as
far as possible from them any action savouring of contempt or contumely,
and by looking upon their anger as folly or necessity, or emotion, or
mischance, as Sophocles says,

  "In those that are unfortunate, O king,
   No mind stays firm, but all their balance lose."[698]

And so Agamemnon, ascribing to Ate his carrying off Briseis, yet says to

  "I wish to please you in return, and give
   Completest satisfaction."[699]

For suing is not the action of one who shews his contempt, and when he
that has done an injury is humble he removes all idea of slighting one.
But the angry person must not expect this, but rather take to himself
the answer of Diogenes, who, when it was said to him, "These people
laugh at you," replied, "But I am not one to be laughed at," and not
think himself despised, but rather despise the person who gave the
offence, as acting from weakness, or error, or rashness, or
heedlessness, or illiberality, or old age, or youth. Nor must we
entertain such notions with regard to our servants and friends. For they
do not despise us as void of ability or energy, but owing to our
evenness and good-nature, some because we are mild, and others presuming
on our affection for them. But as it is we not only fly into rages with
wife and slaves and friends, as if we were slighted by them, but we also
frequently, from forming the same idea of being slighted, fall foul of
innkeepers and sailors and muleteers, and are vexed at dogs that bark
and asses that are in our way: like the man who was going to beat an
ass-driver, but when he cried out he was an Athenian, he said to the
ass, "You are not an Athenian anyway," and beat it with many stripes.

§ XIII. Moreover those continuous and frequent fits of anger that gather
together in the soul by degrees, like a swarm of bees or wasps, are
generated within us by selfishness and peevishness, luxury and softness.
And so nothing causes us to be mild to our servants and wife and friends
so much as easiness and simplicity, and the learning to be content with
what we have, and not to require a quantity of superfluities.

  "He who likes not his meat if over-roast
   Or over-boiled, or under-roast or under-boiled,
   And never praises it however dressed,"

but will not drink unless he have snow to cool his drink, nor eat bread
purchased in the market, nor touch food served on cheap or earthenware
plates, nor sleep upon any but a feather bed that rises and falls like
the sea stirred up from its depths, and with rods and blows hastens his
servants at table, so that they run about and cry out and sweat as if
they were bringing poultices to sores, he is slave to a weak querulous
and discontented mode of life, and, like one who has a continual cough
or various ailments, whether he is aware of it or not, he is in an
ulcerous and catarrh-like condition as regards his proneness to anger.
We must therefore train the body to contentment by plain living, that it
may be easily satisfied: for they that require little do not miss much;
and it is no great hardship to begin with our food, and take it silently
whatever it is, and not by being choleric and peevish to thrust upon
ourselves and friends the worst sauce to meat, anger.

  "No more unpleasant supper could there be"[700]

than that wherein the servants are beaten, and the wife scolded, because
something is burnt or smoked or not salt enough, or because the bread is
too cold. Arcesilaus was once entertaining some friends and strangers,
and when dinner was served, there was no bread, through the servants
having neglected to buy any. In such a case as this which of us would
not have broken the walls with vociferation? But he only smiled and
said, "How unfit a sage is to give an entertainment!" And when Socrates
once took Euthydemus home with him from the wrestling-school, Xanthippe
was in a towering rage, and scolded, and at last upset the table, and
Euthydemus rose and went away full of sorrow. But Socrates said to him,
"Did not a hen at your house the other day fly in and act in the very
same way? And we did not put ourselves out about it." We ought to
receive our friends with gaiety and smiles and welcome, not knitting our
brows, or inspiring fear and trembling in the attendants. We ought also
to accustom ourselves to the use of any kind of ware at table, and not
to stint ourselves to one kind rather than another, as some pick out a
particular tankard or horn, as they say Marius did, out of many, and
will not drink out of anything else; and some act in the same way with
regard to oil-flasks and scrapers,[701] being content with only one out
of all, and so, if such an article is broken or lost, they are very much
put out about it, and punish with severity. He then that is prone to
anger should not use rare and dainty things, such as choice cups and
seals and precious stones: for if they are lost they put a man beside
himself much more than the loss of ordinary and easily got things would
do. And so when Nero had got an eight-cornered tent constructed, a
wonderful object both for its beauty and costliness, Seneca said to him,
"You have now shown yourself to be poor, for if you should lose this,
you will not be able to procure such another." And indeed it did so
happen that the tent was lost by shipwreck, but Nero bore its loss
patiently, remembering what Seneca had said. Now this easiness about
things generally makes a man also easy and gentle to his servants, and
if to them, then it is clear he will be so to his friends also, and to
all that serve under him in any capacity. So we observe that
newly-purchased slaves do not inquire about the master who has bought
them, whether he is superstitious or envious, but only whether he is a
bad-tempered man: and generally speaking we see that neither can men put
up with chaste wives, nor wives with loving husbands, nor friends with
one another, if they be ill-tempered to boot. So neither marriage nor
friendship is bearable with anger, though without anger even drunkenness
is a small matter. For the wand of Dionysus punishes sufficiently the
drunken man, but if anger be added it turns wine from being the
dispeller of care and inspirer of the dance into a savage and fury. And
simple madness can be cured by Anticyra,[702] but madness mixed with
anger is the producer of tragedies and dreadful narratives.

§ XIV. So we ought to give anger no vent, either in jest, for that draws
hatred to friendliness; or in discussion, for that turns love of
learning into strife; or on the judgement-seat, for that adds insolence
to power; or in teaching, for that produces dejection and hatred of
learning: or in prosperity, for that increases envy; or in adversity,
for that deprives people of compassion, when they are peevish and run
counter to those who condole with them, like Priam,

  "A murrain on you, worthless wretches all,
   Have you no griefs at home, that here you come
   To sympathize with me?"[703]

Good temper on the other hand is useful in some circumstances, adorns
and sweetens others, and gets the better of all peevishness and anger by
its gentleness. Thus Euclides,[704] when his brother said to him in a
dispute between them, "May I perish, if I don't have my revenge on you!"
replied, "May I perish, if I don't persuade you!" and so at once turned
and changed him. And Polemo, when a man reviled him who was fond of
precious stones and quite crazy for costly seal-rings, made no answer,
but bestowed all his attention on one of his seal-rings, and eyed it
closely; and he being delighted said, "Do not look at it so, Polemo, but
in the light of the sun, and it will appear to you more beautiful." And
Aristippus, when there was anger between him and Æschines, and somebody
said, "O Aristippus, where is now your friendship?" replied, "It is
asleep, but I will wake it up," and went to Æschines, and said to him,
"Do I seem to you so utterly unfortunate and incurable as to be unworthy
of any consideration?" And Æschines replied, "It is not at all wonderful
that you, being naturally superior to me in all things, should have been
first to detect in this matter too what was needful."

  "For not a woman only, but young child
   Tickling the bristly boar with tender hand,
   Will lay him prostrate sooner than an athlete."

But we that tame wild beasts and make them gentle, and carry in our arms
young wolves and lions' whelps, inconsistently repel our children and
friends and acquaintances in our rage, and let loose our temper like
some wild beast on our servants and fellow-citizens, speciously trying
to disguise it not rightly under the name of hatred of evil, but it is,
I suppose, as with the other passions and diseases of the soul, we
cannot get rid of any of them by calling one prudence, and another
liberality, and another piety.

§ XV. And yet, as Zeno said the seed was a mixture and compound drawn
from all the faculties of the soul, so anger seems a universal seed from
all the passions. For it is drawn from pain and pleasure and
haughtiness, and from envy it gets its property of malignity--and it is
even worse than envy,[705] for it does not mind its own suffering if it
can only implicate another in misery--and the most unlovely kind of
desire is innate in it, namely the appetite for injuring another. So
when we go to the houses of spendthrifts we hear a flute-playing girl
early in the morning, and see "the dregs of wine," as one said, and
fragments of garlands, and the servants at the doors reeking of
yesterday's debauch; but for tokens of savage and peevish masters these
you will see by the faces, and marks, and manacles of their servants:
for in the house of an angry man

  "The only music ever heard is wailing,"

stewards being beaten within, and maids tortured, so that the spectators
even in their jollity and pleasure pity these victims of passion.

§ XVI. Moreover those to whom it happens through their genuine hatred of
what is bad to be frequently overtaken by anger, can abate its excess
and acerbity by giving up their excessive confidence in their intimates.
For nothing swells the anger more, than when a good man is detected of
villainy, or one who we thought loved us falls out and jangles with us.
As for my own disposition, you know of course how mightily it inclines
to goodwill and belief in mankind. As then people walking on empty
space,[706] the more confidently I believe in anybody's affection, the
more sorrow and distress do I feel if my estimate is a mistaken one. And
indeed I could never divest myself of my ardour and zeal in affection,
but as to trusting people I could perhaps use Plato's caution as a curb.
For he said he so praised Helicon the mathematician, because he was by
nature a changeable animal, but that he was afraid of those that were
well educated in the city, lest, being human beings and the seed of
human beings, they should reveal by some trait or other the weakness of
human nature. But Sophocles' line,

  "Trace out most human acts, you'll find them base,"

seems to trample on human nature and lower its merits too much. Still
such a peevish and condemnatory verdict as this has a tendency to make
people milder in their rage, for it is the sudden and unexpected that
makes people go distracted. And we ought, as Panætius somewhere said, to
imitate Anaxagoras, and as he said at the death of his son, "I knew that
I had begotten a mortal," so ought every one of us to use the following
kind of language in those contretemps that stir up our anger, "I knew
that the slave I bought was not a philosopher," "I knew that the friend
I had was not perfect," "I knew that my wife was but a woman." And if
anyone would also constantly put to himself that question of Plato, "Am
I myself all I should be?" and look at home instead of abroad, and curb
his propensity to censoriousness, he would not be so keen to detect evil
in others, for he would see that he stood in need of much allowance
himself. But now each of us, when angry and punishing, quote the words
of Aristides and Cato, "Do not steal, Do not tell lies," and "Why are
you lazy?" And, what is most disgraceful of all, we blame angry people
when we are angry ourselves, and chastise in temper faults that were
committed in temper, unlike the doctors who

  "With bitter physic purge the bitter bile,"

for we rather increase and aggravate the disease. Whenever then I busy
myself with such considerations as these, I try also to curtail my
curiosity. For to scrutinize and pry into everything too minutely, and
to overhaul every business of a servant, or action of a friend, or
pastime of a son, or whisper of a wife, produces frequent, indeed daily,
fits of anger, caused entirely by peevishness and harshness of
character. Euripides says that the Deity

  "In great things intervenes, but small things leaves
   To fortune;"[707]

but I am of opinion that a prudent man should commit nothing to fortune,
nor neglect anything, but should put some things in his wife's hands to
manage, others in the hands of his servants, others in the hands of his
friends, (as a governor has his stewards, and financiers, and
controllers), while he himself superintends the most important and
weighty matters. For as small writing strains the eyes, so small matters
even more strain and bother people, and stir up their anger, which
carries this evil habit to greater matters. Above all I thought that
saying of Empedocles, "Fast from evil,"[708] a great and divine one, and
I approved of those promises and vows as not ungraceful or
unphilosophical, to abstain for a year from wine and Venus, honouring
the deity by continence, or for a stated time to give up lying, taking
great heed to ourselves to be truthful always whether in play or
earnest. With these I compared my own vow, as no less pleasing to the
gods and holy, first to abstain from anger for a few days, like spending
days without drunkenness or even without wine at all, offering as it
were wineless offerings of honey.[709] Then I tried for a month or two,
and so in time made some progress in forbearance by earnest resolve, and
by keeping myself courteous and without anger and using fair language,
purifying myself from evil words and absurd actions, and from passion
which for a little unlovely pleasure pays us with great mental
disturbance and the bitterest repentance. In consequence of all this my
experience, and the assistance of the deity, has made me form the view,
that courtesy and gentleness and kindliness are not so agreeable, and
pleasant, and delightful, to any of those we live with as to ourselves,
that have those qualities.[710]

    [676] Homer, "Iliad," xxii. 373.

    [677] Alluded to again "On the tranquillity of the
    mind," § i.

    [678] The allusion is to Homer's "Odyssey," xx. 23.

    [679] Reading [Greek: ex heautou] with Reiske.

    [680] Euripides, "Orestes," 72.

    [681] Euripides, "Orestes," 99.

    [682] Fragment 361.

    [683] Homer, "Iliad," xvii. 591.

    [684] The reading of the MSS. is [Greek: autôn].

    [685] Lines of Callimachus. [Greek: phliên] is the
    admirable emendation of Salmasius.

    [686] Sophocles, "Thamyras," Fragm. 232.

    [687] "Iliad," v. 214-216.

    [688] Reading [Greek: eniois], as Wyttenbach suggests.

    [689] Aeschylus, "Prometheus," 574, 575.

    [690] It will be seen I adopt the reading and
    punctuation of Xylander.

    [691] This is the reading of Reiske and Dübner.

    [692] That is _mild_. Zeus is so called, Pausanias, i.
    37; ii. 9, 20.

    [693] That is, _fierce_, _furious_. It will be seen I
    adopt the suggestion of Reiske.

    [694] Literally "is silent about." It is like the saying
    about Von Moltke that he can be silent in six or seven

    [695] Adopting Reiske's reading.

    [696] Compare Pausanias, iv. 8.

    [697] Dübner puts this sentence in brackets.

    [698] Sophocles, "Antigone," 563, 564.

    [699] Homer, "Iliad," xix. 138.

    [700] Homer, "Odyssey," xx. 392.

    [701] Or strigils.

    [702] Anticyra was famous for its hellebore, which was
    prescribed in cases of madness. See Horace, "Satires,"
    ii. 3. 82, 83.

    [703] Homer, "Iliad," xxiv. 239, 240.

    [704] A philosopher of Megara, and disciple of Socrates.
    Compare our author, "De Fraterno Amore," § xviii.

    [705] So Reiske. Dübner reads [Greek: phobou]. The MSS.
    have [Greek: phonou], which Wyttenbach retains, but is
    evidently not quite satisfied with the text. Can [Greek:
    phthonou]--[Greek: heteron] be an account of [Greek:

    [706] Up in the clouds. Cf. [Greek: aerobateô].

    [707] Horace, remembering these lines no doubt, says "De
    Arte Poetica," 191, 192,

    "Nec deus intersit nisi dignus vindice nodus Inciderit."

    [708] It is quite likely that the delicious poet Robert
    Herrick borrowed hence his "To starve thy sin not bin,
    That is to keep thy Lent." For we know he was a student
    of the "Moralia" when at the University of Cambridge.

    [709] See Æschylus, "Eumenides," 107. Sophocles,
    "Oedipus Colonæus," 481. See also our author's "De
    Sanitate Præcepta," § xix.

    [710] Jeremy Taylor has closely imitated parts of this
    Dialogue in his "Holy Living," chapter iv. sect. viii.,
    "Twelve remedies against anger, by way of exercise,"
    "Thirteen remedies against anger, by way of
    consideration." Such a storehouse did he make of the



§ I. It was late when I received your letter, asking me to write to you
something on contentedness of mind, and on those things in the Timæus
that require an accurate explanation. And it so fell out that at that
very time our friend Eros was obliged to set sail at once for Rome,
having received a letter from the excellent Fundanus, urging haste
according to his wont. And not having as much time as I could have
wished to meet your request, and yet not thinking for one moment of
letting my messenger go to you entirely empty-handed, I copied out the
notes that I had chanced to make on contentedness of mind. For I thought
that you did not desire this discourse merely to be treated to a subject
handled in fine style, but for the real business of life. And I
congratulate you that, though you have friendships with princes, and
have as much forensic reputation as anybody, yet you are not in the same
plight as the tragic Merops, nor have you like him by the felicitations
of the multitude been induced to forget the sufferings of humanity; but
you remember, what you have often heard, that a patrician's slipper[712]
is no cure for the gout, nor a costly ring for a whitlow, nor a diadem
for the headache. For how can riches, or fame, or power at court help us
to ease of mind or a calm life, unless we enjoy them when present, but
are not for ever pining after them when absent? And what else causes
this but the long exercise and practice of reason, which, when the
unreasoning and emotional part of the soul breaks out of bounds, curbs
it quickly, and does not allow it to be carried away headlong from its
actual position? And as Xenophon[713] advised that we should remember
and honour the gods most especially in prosperity, that so, when we
should be in any strait, we might confidently call upon them as already
our well-wishers and friends; so sensible men would do well before
trouble comes to meditate on remedies how to bear it, that they may be
the more efficacious from being ready for use long before. For as savage
dogs are excited at every sound, and are only soothed by a familiar
voice, so also it is not easy to quiet the wild passions of the soul,
unless familiar and well-known arguments be at hand to check its

§ II. He then that said, that the man that wished to have an easy mind
ought to have little to do either public or private, first of all makes
ease of mind a very costly article for us, if it is to be bought at the
price of doing nothing, as if he should advise every sick person,

  "Lie still, poor wretch, in bed."[714]

And indeed stupor is a bad remedy for the body against despair,[715] nor
is he any better physician of the soul who removes its trouble and
anxiety by recommending a lazy and soft life and a leaving our friends
and relations and country in the lurch. In the next place, it is false
that those that have little to do are easy in mind. For then women would
be easier in mind than men, since they mostly stay at home in
inactivity, and even now-a-days it is as Hesiod says,[716]

  "The North Wind comes not near a soft-skinned maiden;"

yet griefs and troubles and unrest, proceeding from jealousy or
superstition or ambition or vanity, inundate the women's part of the
house with unceasing flow. And Laertes, though he lived for twenty years
a solitary life in the country,

  "With an old woman to attend on him,
   Who duly set on board his meat and drink,"[717]

and fled from his country and house and kingdom, yet had sorrow and
dejection[718] as a perpetual companion with leisure. And some have been
often thrown into sad unrest merely from inaction, as the following,

  "But fleet Achilles, Zeus-sprung, son of Peleus,
   Sat by the swiftly-sailing ships and fumed,
   Nor ever did frequent th' ennobling council,
   Nor ever join the war, but pined in heart,
   Though in his tent abiding, for the fray."[719]

And full of emotion and distress at this state of things he himself

  "A useless burden to the earth I sit
   Beside the ships."[720]

So even Epicurus thinks that those who are desirous of honour and glory
should not rust in inglorious ease, but use their natural talents in
public life for the benefit of the community at large, seeing that they
are by nature so constituted that they would be more likely to be
troubled and afflicted at inaction, if they did not get what they
desired. But he is absurd in that he does not urge men of ability to
take part in public life, but only the restless. But we ought not to
estimate ease or unrest of mind by our many or few actions, but by their
fairness or foulness. For the omission of fair actions troubles and
distresses us, as I have said before, quite as much as the actual doing
of foul actions.

§ III. As for those who think that one kind of life is especially free
from trouble, as some think that of farmers, others that of bachelors,
others that of kings, Menander sufficiently exposes their error in the
following lines:

  "Phania, I thought those rich who need not borrow,
   Nor groan at nights, nor cry out 'Woe is me,'
   Kicked up and down in this untoward world,
   But sweet and gentle sleep they may enjoy."

He then goes on to remark that he saw the rich suffering the same as the

  "Trouble and life are truly near akin.
   With the luxurious or the glorious life
   Trouble consorts, and in the life of poverty
   Lasts with it to the end."

But just as people on the sea, timid and prone to sea-sickness, think
they will suffer from it less on board a merchantman than on a boat, and
for the same reason shift their quarters to a trireme, but do not attain
anything by these changes, for they take with them their timidity and
qualmishness, so changes of life do not remove the sorrows and troubles
of the soul; which proceed from want of experience and reflection, and
from inability or ignorance rightly to enjoy the present. These afflict
the rich as well as the poor; these trouble the married as well as the
unmarried; these make people shun the forum, but find no happiness in
retirement; these make people eagerly desire introductions at court,
though when got they straightway care no more about them.

  "The sick are peevish in their straits and needs."[721]

For the wife bothers them, and they grumble at the doctor, and they find
the bed uneasy, and, as Ion says,

  "The friend that visits them tires their patience,
   And yet they do not like him to depart."

But afterwards, when the illness is over, and a sounder condition
supervenes, health returns and makes all things pleasant and acceptable.
He that yesterday loathed eggs and cakes of finest meal and purest bread
will to-day eat eagerly and with appetite coarsest bread with a few
olives and cress.

§ IV. Such contentedness and change of view in regard to every kind of
life does the infusion of reason bring about. When Alexander heard from
Anaxarchus of the infinite number of worlds, he wept, and when his
friends asked him what was the matter, he replied, "Is it not a matter
for tears that, when the number of worlds is infinite, I have not
conquered one?" But Crates, who had only a wallet and threadbare cloak,
passed all his life jesting and laughing as if at a festival. Agamemnon
was troubled with his rule over so many subjects,

  "You look on Agamemnon, Atreus' son,
   Whom Zeus has plunged for ever in a mass
   Of never-ending cares."[722]

But Diogenes when he was being sold sat down and kept jeering at the
auctioneer, and would not stand up when he bade him, but said joking and
laughing, "Would you tell a fish you were selling to stand up?" And
Socrates in prison played the philosopher and discoursed with his
friends. But Phäethon,[723] when he got up to heaven, wept because
nobody gave to him his father's horses and chariot. As therefore the
shoe is shaped by the foot, and not the foot by the shoe, so does the
disposition make the life similar to itself. For it is not, as one said,
custom that makes the best life seem sweet to those that choose it, but
it is sense that makes that very life at once the best and sweetest. Let
us cleanse therefore the fountain of contentedness, which is within us,
that so external things may turn out for our good, through our putting
the best face on them.

  "Events will take their course, it is no good
   Our being angry at them, he is happiest
   Who wisely turns them to the best account."[724]

§ V. Plato compared human life to a game at dice, wherein we ought to
throw according to our requirements, and, having thrown, to make the
best use of whatever turns up. It is not in our power indeed to
determine what the throw will be, but it is our part, if we are wise, to
accept in a right spirit whatever fortune sends, and so to contrive
matters that what we wish should do us most good, and what we do not
wish should do us least harm. For those who live at random and without
judgement, like those sickly people who can stand neither heat nor cold,
are unduly elated by prosperity, and cast down by adversity; and in
either case suffer from unrest, but 'tis their own fault, and perhaps
they suffer most in what are called good circumstances. Theodorus, who
was surnamed the Atheist, used to say that he held out arguments with
his right hand, but his hearers received them with their left; so
awkward people frequently take in a clumsy manner the favours of
fortune; but men of sense, as bees extract honey from thyme which is the
strongest and driest of herbs,[725] so from the least auspicious
circumstances frequently derive advantage and profit.

§ VI. We ought then to cultivate such a habit as this, like the man who
threw a stone at his dog, and missed it, but hit his step-mother, and
cried out, "Not so bad." Thus we may often turn the edge of fortune when
things turn not out as we wish. Diogenes was driven into exile; "not so
bad;" for his exile made him turn philosopher. And Zeno of Cittium,[726]
when he heard that the only merchantman he had was wrecked, cargo and
all, said, "Fortune, you treat me handsomely, since you reduce me to my
threadbare cloak and piazza."[727] What prevents our imitating such men
as these? Have you failed to get some office? You will be able to live
in the country henceforth, and manage your own affairs. Did you court
the friendship of some great man, and meet with a rebuff? You will live
free from danger and cares. Have you again had matters to deal with that
required labour and thought? "Warm water will not so much make the limbs
soft by soaking," to quote Pindar,[728] as glory and honour and power
make "labour sweet, and toil to be no toil."[729] Or has any bad luck or
contumely fallen on you in consequence of some calumny or from envy? The
breeze is favourable that will waft you to the Muses and the Academy, as
it did Plato when his friendship with Dionysius came to an end. It does
indeed greatly conduce to contentedness of mind to see how famous men
have borne the same troubles with an unruffled mind. For example, does
childlessness trouble you? Consider those kings of the Romans, none of
whom left his kingdom to a son. Are you distressed at the pinch of
poverty? Who of the Boeotians would you rather prefer to be than
Epaminondas, or of the Romans than Fabricius? Has your wife been
seduced? Have you never read that inscription at Delphi,

  "Agis the king of land and sea erected me;"

and have you not heard that his wife Timæa was seduced by Alcibiades,
and in her whispers to her handmaidens called the child that was born
Alcibiades? Yet this did not prevent Agis from being the most famous and
greatest of the Greeks. Neither again did the licentiousness of his
daughter prevent Stilpo from leading the merriest life of all the
philosophers that were his contemporaries. And when Metrocles reproached
him with her life, he said, "Is it my fault or hers?" And when Metrocles
answered, "Her fault, but your misfortune," he rejoined, "How say you?
Are not faults also slips?" "Certainly," said he. "And are not slips
mischances in those matters wherein we slip?" Metrocles assented. "And
are not mischances misfortunes in those matters wherein we mischance?"
By this gentle and philosophical argument he demonstrated the Cynic's
reproach to be an idle bark.

§ VII. But most people are troubled and exasperated not only at the bad
in their friends and intimates, but also in their enemies. For railing
and anger and envy and malignity and jealousy and ill-will are the bane
of those that suffer from those infirmities, and trouble and exasperate
the foolish: as for example the quarrels of neighbours, and peevishness
of acquaintances, and the want of ability in those that manage state
affairs. By these things you yourself seem to me to be put out not a
little, as the doctors in Sophocles, who

  "With bitter physic purge the bitter bile,"[730]

so vexed and bitter are you at people's weaknesses and infirmities,
which is not reasonable in you. Even your own private affairs are not
always managed by simple and good and suitable instruments, so to speak,
but very frequently by sharp and crooked ones. Do not think it then
either your business, or an easy matter either, to set all these things
to rights. But if you take people as they are, as the surgeon uses his
bandages and instruments for drawing teeth, and with cheerfulness and
serenity welcome all that happens, as you would look upon barking dogs
as only following their nature, you will be happier in the disposition
you will then have than you will be distressed at other people's
disagreeableness and shortcomings. For you will forget to make a
collection of disagreeable things,[731] which now inundate, as some
hollow and low-lying ground, your littleness of mind and weakness, which
fills itself with other people's bad points. For seeing that some of the
philosophers censure compassion to the unfortunate (on the ground that
it is good to help our neighbours, and not to give way to sentimental
sympathy in connection with them), and, what is of more importance, do
not allow those that are conscious of their errors and bad moral
disposition to be dejected and grieved at them, but bid them cure their
defects without grief at once, is it not altogether unreasonable, look
you, to allow ourselves to be peevish and vexed, because all those who
have dealings with us and come near us are not good and clever? Let us
see to it, dear Paccius, that we do not, whether we are aware of it or
not, play a part, really looking[732] not at the universal defects of
those that approach us, but at our own interests through our
selfishness, and not through our hatred of evil. For excessive
excitement about things, and an undue appetite and desire for them, or
on the other hand aversion and dislike to them, engender suspiciousness
and peevishness against persons, who were, we think, the cause of our
being deprived of some things, and of being troubled with others. But he
that is accustomed to adapt himself to things easily and calmly is most
cheerful and gentle in his dealings with people.

§ VIII. Wherefore let us resume our argument. As in a fever everything
seems bitter and unpleasant to the taste, but when we see others not
loathing but fancying the very same eatables and drinkables, we no
longer find the fault to be in them but in ourselves and our disease, so
we shall cease to blame and be discontented with the state of affairs,
if we see others cheerfully and without grief enduring the same. It also
makes for contentedness, when things happen against our wish, not to
overlook our many advantages and comforts, but by looking at both good
and bad to feel that the good preponderate. When our eyes are dazzled
with things too bright we turn them away, and ease them by looking at
flowers or grass, while we keep the eyes of our mind strained on
disagreeable things, and force them to dwell on bitter ideas, well-nigh
tearing them away by force from the consideration of pleasanter things.
And yet one might apply here, not unaptly, what was said to the man of

  "Malignant wretch, why art so keen to mark
   Thy neighbour's fault, and seest not thine own?"

Why on earth, my good sir, do you confine your view to your troubles,
making them so vivid and acute, while you do not let your mind dwell at
all on your present comforts? But as cupping-glasses draw the worst
blood from the flesh, so you force upon your attention the worst things
in your lot: acting not a whit more wisely than that Chian, who, selling
much choice wine to others, asked for some sour wine for his own supper;
and one of his slaves being asked by another, what he had left his
master doing, replied, "Asking for bad when good was by." For most
people overlook the advantages and pleasures of their individual lives,
and run to their difficulties and grievances. Aristippus, however, was
not such a one, for he cleverly knew as in a scale to make the better
preponderate over the worse. So having lost a good farm, he asked one of
those who made a great show of condolence and sympathy, "Have you not
only one little piece of ground, while I have three fields left?" And
when he admitted that it was so, he went on to say, "Ought I not then to
condole with you rather than you with me?" For it is the act of a madman
to distress oneself over what is lost, and not to rejoice at what is
left; but like little children, if one of their many playthings be taken
away by anyone, throw the rest away and weep and cry out, so we, if we
are assailed by fortune in some one point, wail and mourn and make all
other things seem unprofitable in our eyes.

§ IX. Suppose someone should say, What blessings have we? I would reply,
What have we not? One has reputation, another a house, another a wife,
another a good friend. When Antipater of Tarsus was reckoning up on his
death-bed his various pieces of good fortune, he did not even pass over
his favourable voyage from Cilicia to Athens. So we should not overlook,
but take account of everyday blessings, and rejoice that we live, and
are well, and see the sun, and that no war or sedition plagues our
country, but that the earth is open to cultivation, the sea secure to
mariners, and that we can speak or be silent, lead a busy or an idle
life, as we choose. We shall get more contentedness from the presence of
all these blessings, if we fancy them as absent, and remember from time
to time how people ill yearn for health, and people in war for peace,
and strangers and unknown in a great city for reputation and friends,
and how painful it is to be deprived of all these when one has once had
them. For then each of these blessings will not appear to us only great
and valuable when it is lost, and of no value while we have it. For not
having it cannot add value to anything. Nor ought we to amass things we
regard as valuable, and always be on the tremble and afraid of losing
them as valuable things, and yet, when we have them, ignore them and
think little of them; but we ought to use them for our pleasure and
enjoyment, that we may bear their loss, if that should happen, with more
equanimity. But most people, as Arcesilaus said, think it right to
inspect minutely and in every detail, perusing them alike with the eyes
of the body and mind, other people's poems and paintings and statues,
while they neglect to study their own lives, which have often many not
unpleasing subjects for contemplation, looking abroad and ever admiring
other people's reputations and fortunes, as adulterers admire other
men's wives, and think cheap of their own.

§ X. And yet it makes much for contentedness of mind to look for the
most part at home and to our own condition, or if not, to look at the
case of people worse off than ourselves, and not, as most people do, to
compare ourselves with those who are better off. For example, those who
are in chains think those happy who are freed from their chains, and
they again freemen, and freemen citizens, and they again the rich, and
the rich satraps, and satraps kings, and kings the gods, content with
hardly anything short of hurling thunderbolts and lightning. And so they
ever want something above them, and are never thankful for what they

  "I care not for the wealth of golden Gyges,"


  "I never had or envy or desire
   To be a god, or love for mighty empire,
   Far distant from my eyes are all such things."

But this, you will say, was the language of a Thasian. But you will find
others, Chians or Galatians or Bithynians, not content with the share of
glory or power they have among their fellow-citizens, but weeping
because they do not wear senators' shoes; or, if they have them, that
they cannot be prætors at Rome; or, if they get that office, that they
are not consuls; or, if they are consuls, that they are only proclaimed
second and not first. What is all this but seeking out excuses for being
unthankful to fortune, only to torment and punish oneself? But he that
has a mind in sound condition, does not sit down in sorrow and dejection
if he is less renowned or rich than some of the countless myriads of
mankind that the sun looks upon, "who feed on the produce of the wide
world,"[734] but goes on his way rejoicing at his fortune and life, as
far fairer and happier than that of myriads of others. In the Olympian
games it is not possible to be the victor by choosing one's competitors.
But in the race of life circumstances allow us to plume ourselves on
surpassing many, and to be objects of envy rather than to have to envy
others, unless we pit ourselves against a Briareus or a Hercules.
Whenever then you admire anyone carried by in his litter as a greater
man than yourself, lower your eyes and look at those that bear the
litter. And when you think the famous Xerxes happy for his passage over
the Hellespont, as a native of those parts[735] did, look too at those
who dug through Mount Athos under the lash, and at those whose ears and
noses were cut off because the bridge was broken by the waves, consider
their state of mind also, for they think your life and fortunes happy.
Socrates, when he heard one of his friends saying, "How dear this city
is! Chian wine costs one mina,[736] a purple robe three, and half a pint
of honey five drachmæ," took him to the meal market, and showed him half
a peck of meal for an obol, then took him to the olive market, and
showed him a peck of olives for two coppers, and lastly showed him that
a sleeveless vest[737] was only ten drachmæ. At each place Socrates'
friend exclaimed, "How cheap this city is!" So also we, when we hear
anyone saying that our affairs are bad and in a woful plight, because we
are not consuls or governors, may reply, "Our affairs are in an
admirable condition, and our life an enviable one, seeing that we do not
beg, nor carry burdens, nor live by flattery."

§ XI. But since through our folly we are accustomed to live more with an
eye to others than ourselves, and since nature is so jealous and envious
that it rejoices not so much in its own blessings as it is pained by
those of others, do not look only at the much-cried-up splendour of
those whom you envy and admire, but open and draw, as it were, the gaudy
curtain of their pomp and show, and peep within, you will see that they
have much to trouble them, and many things to annoy them. The well-known
Pittacus,[738] whose fame was so great for fortitude and wisdom and
uprightness, was once entertaining some guests, and his wife came in in
a rage and upset the table, and as the guests were dismayed he said,
Every one of you has some trouble, and he who has mine only is not so
bad off.

  "Happy is he accounted at the forum,
   But when he opens the door of his own house
   Thrice miserable; for his wife rules all,
   Still lords it over him, and is ever quarrelling.
   Many griefs has he that I wot not of."

Many such cases are there, unknown to the public, for family pride casts
a veil over them, to be found in wealth and glory and even in royalty.

  "O happy son of Atreus, child of destiny,
   Blessed thy lot;"[739]

congratulation like this comes from an external view, from a halo of
arms and horses and the pomp of war, but the inward voice of emotion
testifies against all this vain glory;

  "A heavy fate is laid on me by Zeus
   The son of Cronos."[740]


  "Old man, I think your lot one to be envied,
   As that of any man who free from danger
   Passes his life unknown and in obscurity."[741]

By such reflections as these one may wean oneself from that discontent
with one's fortune, which makes one's own condition look low and mean
from too much admiring one's neighbour's.

§ XII. Another thing, which is a great hindrance to peace of mind, is
not to proportion our desires to our means, but to carry too much sail,
as it were, in our hopes of great things and then, if unsuccessful, to
blame destiny and fortune, and not our own folly. For he is not
unfortunate who wishes to shoot with a plough, or hunt the hare with an
ox; nor has he an evil genius opposed to him, who does not catch deer
with fishing nets, but merely is the dupe of his own stupidity and folly
in attempting impossibilities. Self-love is mainly to blame, making
people fond of being first and aspiring in all matters, and insatiably
desirous to engage in everything. For people not only wish at one and
the same time to be rich, and learned, and strong, and boon-companions,
and agreeable, and friends of kings, and governors of cities, but they
are also discontented if they have not dogs and horses and quails and
cocks of the first quality. Dionysius the elder was not content with
being the most powerful monarch of his times, but because he could not
beat Philoxenus the poet in singing, or surpass Plato in dialectics, was
so angry and exasperated that he put the one to work in his stone
quarries, and sent the other to Ægina and sold him there. Alexander was
of a different spirit, for when Crisso the famous runner ran a race with
him, and seemed to let the king outrun him on purpose, he was greatly
displeased. Good also was the spirit of Achilles in Homer, who, when he

  "None of the Achæan warriors is a match
   For me in war,"


                   "Yet in the council hall
  Others there are who better are than me."[742]

And when Megabyzus the Persian visited the studio of Apelles, and began
to chatter about art, Apelles stopped him and said, "While you kept
silence you seemed to be somebody from your gold and purple, but now
these lads that are grinding colours are laughing at your nonsense." But
some who think the Stoics only talk idly, in styling their wise man not
only prudent and just and brave but also orator and general and poet and
rich man and king, yet claim for themselves all those titles, and are
indignant if they do not get them. And yet even among the gods different
functions are assigned to different personages; thus one is called the
god of war, another the god of oracles, another the god of gain, and
Aphrodite, as she has nothing to do with warlike affairs, is despatched
by Zeus to marriages and bridals.

§ XIII. And indeed there are some pursuits which cannot exist together,
but are by their very nature opposed. For example oratory and the study
of the mathematics require ease and leisure; whereas political ability
and the friendship of kings cannot be attained without mixing in affairs
and in public life. Moreover wine and indulgence in meat make the body
indeed strong and vigorous, but blunt the intellect; and though
unremitting attention to making and saving money will heap up wealth,
yet despising and contemning riches is a great help to philosophy. So
that all things are not within any one's power, and we must obey that
saying inscribed in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, _Know thyself_,[743]
and adapt ourselves to our natural bent, and not drag and force nature
to some other kind of life or pursuit. "The horse to the chariot, and
the ox to the plough, and swiftly alongside the ship scuds the dolphin,
while he that meditates destruction for the boar must find a staunch
hound."[744] But he that chafes and is grieved that he is not at one and
the same time "a lion reared on the mountains, exulting in his
strength,"[745] and a little Maltese lap-dog[746] reared in the lap of a
rich widow, is out of his senses. And not a whit wiser is he who wishes
to be an Empedocles, or Plato, or Democritus, and write about the world
and the real nature of things, and at the same time to be married like
Euphorion to a rich wife, or to revel and drink with Alexander like
Medius; and is grieved and vexed if he is not also admired for his
wealth like Ismenias, and for his virtue like Epaminondas. But runners
are not discontented because they do not carry off the crowns of
wrestlers, but rejoice and delight in their own crowns. "You are a
citizen of Sparta: see you make the most of her." So too said Solon:

  "We will not change our virtue for their wealth,
   For virtue never dies, but wealth has wings,
   And flies about from one man to another."

And Strato the natural philosopher, when he heard that Menedemus had
many more pupils than he had, said, "Is it wonderful at all that more
wish to wash than to be anointed?" And Aristotle, writing to Antipater,
said, "Not only has Alexander a right to plume himself on his rule over
many subjects, but no less legitimate is satisfaction at entertaining
right opinions about the gods." For those that think so highly of their
own walk in life will not be so envious about their neighbours'. We do
not expect a vine to bear figs, nor an olive grapes, yet now-a-days,
with regard to ourselves, if we have not at one and the same time the
privilege of being accounted rich and learned, generals and
philosophers, flatterers and outspoken, stingy and extravagant, we
slander ourselves and are dissatisfied, and despise ourselves as living
a maimed and imperfect life. Furthermore, we see that nature teaches us
the same lesson.[747] For as she provides different kinds of beasts with
different kinds of food, and has not made all carnivorous, or
seed-pickers, or root-diggers, so she has given to mankind various means
of getting a livelihood, "one by keeping sheep, another by ploughing,
another by fowling,"[748] and another by catching the fish of the sea.
We ought each therefore to select the calling appropriate for ourselves
and labour energetically in it, and leave other people to theirs, and
not demonstrate Hesiod as coming short of the real state of things when
he said,

  "Potter is wroth with potter, smith with smith."[749]

For not only do people envy those of the same trade and manner of life,
but the rich envy the learned, and the famous the rich, and advocates
sophists, aye, and freemen and patricians admire and think happy
comedians starring it at the theatres, and dancers, and the attendants
at kings' courts, and by all this envy give themselves no small trouble
and annoyance.

§XIV. But that every man has in himself the magazines of content or
discontent, and that the jars containing blessings and evils are not on
the threshold of Zeus,[750] but lie stored in the mind, is plain from
the differences of men's passions. For the foolish overlook and neglect
present blessings, through their thoughts being ever intent on the
future; but the wise make the past clearly present to them through
memory. For the present giving only a moment of time to the touch, and
then evading our grasp, does not seem to the foolish to be ours or to
belong to us at all. And like that person[751] painted as rope-making in
Hades and permitting an ass feeding by to eat up the rope as fast as he
makes it, so the stupid and thankless forgetfulness of most people comes
upon them and takes possession of them, and obliterates from their mind
every past action, whether success, or pleasant leisure, or society, or
enjoyment, and breaks the unity of life which arises from the past being
blended with the present; for detaching to-day from both yesterday and
to-morrow, it soon makes every event as if it had never happened from
lack of memory. For as those in the schools, who deny the growth of our
bodies by reason of the continual flux of substance, make each of us in
theory different from himself and another man, so those who do not keep
or recall to their memory former things, but let them drift, actually
empty themselves daily, and hang upon the morrow, as if what happened a
year ago, or even yesterday and the day before yesterday, had nothing to
do with them, and had hardly occurred at all.

§ XV. This is one great hindrance to contentedness of mind, and another
still greater is whenever, like flies that slide down smooth places in
mirrors, but stick fast in rough places or where there are cracks, men
let pleasant and agreeable things glide from their memory, and pin
themselves down to the remembrance of unpleasant things; or rather, as
at Olynthus they say beetles, when they get into a certain place called
Destruction-to-beetles, cannot get out, but fly round and round till
they die, so men will glide into the remembrance of their woes, and will
not give themselves a respite from sorrow. But, as we use our brightest
colours in a picture, so in the mind we ought to look at the cheerful
and bright side of things, and hide and keep down the gloomy, for we
cannot altogether obliterate or get rid of it. For, as the strings of
the bow and lyre are alternately tightened and relaxed, so is it with
the order of the world; in human affairs there is nothing pure and
without alloy. But as in music there are high and low notes, and in
grammar vowels and mutes, but neither the musician nor grammarian
decline to use either kinds, but know how to blend and employ them both
for their purpose, so in human affairs which are balanced one against
another,--for, as Euripides says,

  "There is no good without ill in the world,
   But everything is mixed in due proportion,"--

we ought not to be disheartened or despondent; but as musicians drown
their worst music with the best, so should we take good and bad
together, and make our chequered life one of convenience and harmony.
For it is not, as Menander says,

  "Directly any man is born, a genius
   Befriends him, a good guide to him for life,"

but it is rather, as Empedocles states, two fates or genii take hold of
each of us when we are born and govern us. "There were Chthonia and
far-seeing Heliope, and cruel Deris, and grave Harmonia, and Callisto,
and Æschra, and Thoosa, and Denæa, and charming Nemertes, and Asaphea
with the black fruit."

§ XVI. And as[752] at our birth we received the mingled seeds of each of
these passions, which is the cause of much irregularity, the sensible
person hopes for better things, but expects worse, and makes the most of
either, remembering that wise maxim, _Not too much of anything._ For not
only will he who is least solicitous about to-morrow best enjoy it when
it comes, as Epicurus says, but also wealth, and renown, and power and
rule, gladden most of all the hearts of those who are least afraid of
the contrary. For the immoderate desire for each, implanting a most
immoderate fear of losing them, makes the enjoyment of them weak and
wavering, like a flame under the influence of a wind. But he whom reason
enables to say to fortune without fear or trembling,

  "If you bring any good I gladly welcome it,
   But if you fail me little does it trouble me,"

he can enjoy the present with most zest through his confidence, and
absence of fear of the loss of what he has, which would be unbearable.
For we may not only admire but also imitate the behaviour of Anaxagoras,
which made him cry out at the death of his son, "I knew I had begot a
mortal," and apply it to every contingency. For example, "I know that
wealth is ephemeral and insecure; I know that those who gave power can
take it away again; I know that my wife is good, but still a woman; and
that my friend, since a human being, is by nature a changeable animal,
to use Plato's expression." For such a prepared frame of mind, if
anything happens unwished for but not unexpected, not admitting of such
phrases as "I shouldn't have dreamed of it," or "I expected quite a
different lot," or "I didn't look for this," abates the violent[753]
beatings and palpitations of the heart, and quickly causes wild unrest
to subside. Carneades indeed reminds us that in great matters the
unexpected makes the sum total of grief and dejection. Certainly the
kingdom of Macedonia was many times smaller than the Roman Empire, but
when Perseus lost Macedonia, he not only himself bewailed his wretched
fate, but seemed to all men the most unfortunate and unlucky of mankind;
yet Æmilius who conquered him, though he had to give up to another the
command both by land and sea, yet was crowned, and offered sacrifice,
and was justly esteemed happy. For he knew that he had taken a command
which he would have to give up, but Perseus lost his kingdom without
expecting it. Well also has the poet[754] shown the power of anything
that happens unexpectedly. For Odysseus wept bitterly at the death of
his dog, but was not so moved when he sat by his wife who wept, for in
the latter case he had come fully determined to keep his emotion under
the control of reason, whereas in the former it was against his
expectation, and therefore fell upon him as a sudden blow.

§ XVII. And since generally speaking some things which happen against
our will pain and trouble us by their very nature, while in the case of
most we accustom ourselves and learn to be disgusted with them from
fancy, it is not unprofitable to counteract this to have ever ready that
line of Menander,

  "You suffer no dread thing but in your fancy."

For what, if they touch you neither in soul nor body, are such things to
you as the low birth of your father, or the adultery of your wife, or
the loss of some prize or precedence, since even by their absence a man
is not prevented from being in excellent condition both of body and
soul. And with respect to the things that seem to pain us by their very
nature, as sickness, and anxieties, and the deaths of friends and
children, we should remember, that line of Euripides,

  "Alas! and why alas? we only suffer
   What mortals must expect."

For no argument has so much weight with emotion when it is borne down
with grief, as that which reminds it of the common and natural necessity
to which man is exposed owing to the body, the only handle which he
gives to fortune, for in his most important and influential part[755] he
is secure against external things. When Demetrius captured Megara, he
asked Stilpo if any of his things had been plundered, and Stilpo
answered, "I saw nobody carrying off anything of mine."[756] And so when
fortune has plundered us and stripped us of everything else, we have
that within ourselves

  "Which the Achæans ne'er could rob us of."[757]

So that we ought not altogether to abase and lower nature, as if she had
no strength or stability against fortune; but on the contrary, knowing
that the rotten and perishable part of man, wherein alone he lies open
to fortune, is small, while we ourselves are masters of the better part,
wherein are situated our greatest blessings, as good opinions and
teaching and virtuous precepts, all which things cannot be abstracted
from us or perish, we ought to look on the future with invincible
courage, and say to fortune, as Socrates is supposed to have said to his
accusers Anytus and Melitus before the jury, "Anytus and Melitus can
kill me, but they cannot hurt me." For fortune can afflict us with
disease, take away our money, calumniate us to the people or king, but
cannot make a good and brave and high-souled man bad and cowardly and
low and ignoble and envious, nor take away that disposition of mind,
whose constant presence is of more use for the conduct of life than the
presence of a pilot at sea. For the pilot cannot make calm the wild wave
or wind, nor can he find a haven at his need wherever he wishes, nor can
he await his fate with confidence and without trembling, but as long as
he has not despaired, but uses his skill, he scuds before the gale,
"lowering his big sail, till his lower mast is only just above the sea
dark as Erebus," and sits at the helm trembling and quaking. But the
disposition of a wise man gives calm even to the body, mostly cutting
off the causes of diseases by temperance and plain living and moderate
exercise; but if some beginning of trouble arise from without, as we
avoid a sunken rock, so he passes by it with furled sail, as Asclepiades
puts it; but if some unexpected and tremendous gale come upon him and
prove too much for him, the harbour is at hand, and he can swim away
from the body, as from a leaky boat.

§ XVIII. For it is the fear of death, and not the desire of life, that
makes the foolish person to hang to the body, clinging to it, as
Odysseus did to the fig-tree from fear of Charybdis that lay below,

  "Where the wind neither let him stay, or sail,"

so that he was displeased at this, and afraid of that. But he who
understands somehow or other the nature of the soul, and reflects that
the change it will undergo at death will be either to something better
or at least not worse, he has in his fearlessness of death no small help
to ease of mind in life. For to one who can enjoy life when virtue and
what is congenial to him have the upper hand, and that can fearlessly
depart from life, when uncongenial and unnatural things are in the
ascendant, with the words on his lips,

  "The deity shall free me, when I will,"[758]

what can we imagine could befall such a man as this that would vex him
and wear him and harass him? For he who said, "I have anticipated you, O
fortune, and cut off all your loopholes to get at me," did not trust to
bolts or keys or walls, but to determination and reason, which are
within the power of all persons that choose. And we ought not to despair
or disbelieve any of these sayings, but admiring them and emulating them
and being enthusiastic about them, we ought to try and test ourselves in
smaller matters with a view to greater, not avoiding or rejecting that
self-examination, nor sheltering ourselves under the remark, "Perhaps
nothing will be more difficult." For inertia[759] and softness are
generated by that self-indulgence which ever occupies itself only with
the easiest tasks, and flees from the disagreeable to what is most
pleasant. But the soul that accustoms itself to face steadily sickness
and grief and exile, and calls in reason to its help in each case, will
find in what appears so sore and dreadful much that is false, empty, and
rotten, as reason will show in each case.

§ XIX. And yet many shudder at that line of Menander,

  "No one can say, I shall not suffer this or that,"

being ignorant how much it helps us to freedom from grief to practise to
be able to look fortune in the face with our eyes open, and not to
entertain fine and soft fancies, like one reared in the shade on many
hopes that always yield and never resist. We can, however, answer
Menander's line,

  "No one can say, I shall not suffer this or that,"

for a man can say, "I will not do this or that, I will not lie, I will
not play the rogue, I will not cheat, I will not scheme." For this is in
our power, and is no small but great help to ease of mind. As on the

  "The consciousness of having done ill deeds,"[760]

like a sore in the flesh, leaves in the mind a regret which ever wounds
it and pricks it. For reason banishes all other griefs, but itself
creates regret when the soul is vexed with shame and self-tormented. For
as those who shudder in ague-fits or burn in fevers feel more trouble
and distress than those who externally suffer the same from cold or
heat, so the grief is lighter which comes externally from chance, but
that lament,

  "None is to blame for this but I myself,"

coming from within on one's own misdeeds, intensifies one's bitterness
by the shame felt. And so neither costly house, nor quantity of gold,
nor pride of race, nor weighty office, nor grace of language, nor
eloquence, impart so much calm and serenity to life, as a soul pure from
evil acts and desires, having an imperturbable and undefiled character
as the source of its life; whence good actions flow, producing an
enthusiastic and cheerful energy accompanied by loftiness of thought,
and a memory sweeter and more lasting than that hope which Pindar says
is the support of old age. Censers do not, as Carneades said, after they
are emptied, long retain their sweet smell; but in the mind of the wise
man good actions always leave a fresh and fragrant memory, by which joy
is watered and flourishes, and despises those who wail over life and
abuse it as a region of ills, or as a place of exile for souls in this

§ XX. I am very taken with Diogenes' remark to a stranger at Lacedæmon,
who was dressing with much display for a feast, "Does not a good man
consider every day a feast?" And a very great feast too, if we live
soberly. For the world is a most holy and divine temple, into which man
is introduced at his birth, not to behold motionless images made by
hands, but those things (to use the language of Plato) which the divine
mind has exhibited as the visible representations of invisible things,
having innate in them the principle of life and motion, as the sun moon
and stars, and rivers ever flowing with fresh water, and the earth
affording maintenance to plants and animals. Seeing then that life is
the most complete initiation into all these things, it ought to be full
of ease of mind and joy; not as most people wait for the festivals of
Cronos[761] and Dionysus and the Panathenæa and other similar days, that
they may joy and refresh themselves with bought laughter, paying actors
and dancers for the same. On such occasions indeed we sit silently and
decorously, for no one wails when he is initiated, or groans when he
beholds the Pythian games, or when he is drinking at the festival of
Cronos:[761] but men shame the festivals which the deity supplies us
with and initiates us in, passing most of their time in lamentation and
heaviness of heart and distressing anxiety. And though men delight in
the pleasing notes of musical instruments, and in the songs of birds,
and behold with joy the animals playing and frisking, and on the
contrary are distressed when they roar and howl and look savage; yet in
regard to their own life, when they see it without smiles and dejected,
and ever oppressed and afflicted by the most wretched sorrows and toils
and unending cares, they do not think of trying to procure alleviation
and ease. How is this? Nay, they will not even listen to others'
exhortation, which would enable them to acquiesce in the present without
repining, and to remember the past with thankfulness, and to meet the
future hopefully and cheerfully without fear or suspicion.

    [711] Or cheerfulness, or tranquillity of mind. Jeremy
    Taylor has largely borrowed again from this treatise in
    his "Holy Living," ch. ii. § 6, "Of Contentedness in all
    Estates and Accidents."

    [712] Reading with Salmasius [Greek: kaltios patrikios].

    [713] "Locus Xenophontis est Cyropæd.," l. i. p.

    [714] Euripides, "Orestes," 258.

    [715] So Wyttenbach, Dübner. Vulgo [Greek:

    [716] "Works and Days," 519.

    [717] "Odyssey," i. 191, 192.

    [718] I read [Greek: katêpheian].

    [719] "Iliad," i. 488-492.

    [720] "Iliad," xviii. 104.

    [721] Euripides, "Orestes," 232.

    [722] Homer, "Iliad," x. 88, 89.

    [723] The story of Phäethon is a very well-known one,
    and is recorded very fully by Ovid in the
    "Metamorphoses," Book ii.

    [724] Euripides, "Bellerophon." Fragm. 298.

    [725] Supplying [Greek: phytôn] with Reiske.

    [726] In Cyprus. Zeno was the founder of the Stoics.

    [727] Zeno and his successors taught in the Piazza at
    Athens called the Painted Piazza. See Pausanias, i. 15.

    [728] Pindar, Nem. iv. 6.

    [729] Euripides, "Bacchæ," 66.

    [730] Quoted again by our author "On Restraining Anger,"
    § xvi.

    [731] As will be seen, I follow Wyttenbach's guidance in
    this very corrupt passage, which is a true crux.

    [732] Reading [Greek: dedorkotes].

    [733] See "On Curiosity," § i.

    [734] Simonides.

    [735] See Herodotus, vii. 56.

    [736] A mina was 100 drachmæ (_i.e._ £4. 1_s._ 3_d._),
    and 600 obols.

    [737] A slave's ordinary dress.

    [738] One of the Seven Wise Men.

    [739] Homer, "Iliad," iii. 182.

    [740] Homer, "Iliad," ii. 111.

    [741] Words of Agamemnon to the House Porter. Euripides,
    "Iphigenia in Aulis," 17-19.

    [742] "Iliad," xviii. 105, 106.

    [743] See Pausanias, x. 24.

    [744] Pindar, Fragm., 258. Quoted "On Moral Virtue," §

    [745] Homer, "Iliad," xvii. 61; "Odyssey," vi. 130.

    [746] A famous breed of dogs from the island Melita,
    near Dalmatia. See Pliny, "Hist. Nat.," iii. 26, extr. §
    30; xxx. 5, extr. § 14.

    [747] That _Non omnia possumus omnes_.

    [748] Pindar, "Isthm.," i. 65-70.

    [749] Hesiod, "Works and Days," 25. Our "two of a trade
    seldom agree."

    [750] An allusion to "Iliad," xxiv. 527-533.

    [751] Ocnus. See Pausanias, x. 29.

    [752] So Wyttenbach, who reads [Greek: Hôs de toutôn].

    [753] Reading [Greek: oia] with Reiske.

    [754] Homer to wit.

    [755] The soul.

    [756] The reading here is rather doubtful. That I have
    adopted is Reiske's and Wyttenbach's.

    [757] "Iliad," v. 484.

    [758] Euripides, "Bacchæ," 498. Compare Horace,
    "Epistles," i. xvi. 78, 79.

    [759] Reading with Dübner [Greek: argian]. Reiske has
    [Greek: atonian].

    [760] Euripides, "Orestes," 396.

    [761] The _Saturnalia_ (as the Romans called this feast)
    was well known as a festival of merriment and license.


§ I. Outwardly there seems no difference between hatred and envy, but
they seem identical. For generally speaking, as vice has many hooks, and
is swayed hither and thither by the passions that hang on it, there are
many points of contact and entanglement between them, for as in the case
of illnesses there is a sympathy between the various passions. Thus the
prosperous man is equally a source of pain to hate and envy. And so we
think benevolence the opposite of both these passions, being as it is a
wish for our neighbour's good, and we think hate and envy identical, for
the desire of both is the very opposite of benevolence. But since their
similarities are not so great as their dissimilarities, let us
investigate and trace out these two passions from their origin.

§ II. Hatred then is generated by the fancy that the person hated is
either bad generally or bad to oneself. For those who think they are
wronged naturally hate those who they think wrong them, and dislike and
are on their guard against those who are injurious or bad to
others;[762] but people envy merely those they think prosperous. So envy
seems illimitable, being, like ophthalmia, troubled at everything
bright, whereas hatred is limited, since it settles only on what seems

§ III. In the second place people feel hatred even against the brutes;
for some hate cats and beetles and toads and serpents. Thus Germanicus
could not bear the crowing or sight of a cock, and the Persian magicians
kill their mice, not only hating them themselves but thinking them
hateful to their god, and the Arabians and Ethiopians abominate them as
much. Whereas we envy only human beings.

§ IV. Indeed among the brutes it is not likely that there should be any
envy, for they have no conception of prosperity or adversity, nor have
they any idea of reputation or want of reputation, which are the things
that mainly excite envy; but they hate one another, and are hostile to
one another, and fight with one another to the death, as eagles and
dragons, crows and owls, titmice and finches, insomuch that they say
that even the blood of these creatures will not mix, and if you try to
mix it it will immediately separate again. It is likely also that there
is strong hatred between the cock and the lion, and the pig and the
elephant, owing to fear. For what people fear they naturally hate. We
see also from this that envy differs from hatred, for the animals are
capable of the one, but not of the other.

§ V. Moreover envy against anyone is never just, for no one wrongs
another by his prosperity, though that is what he is envied for; but
many are hated with justice, for we even think others[763] worthy of
hatred, if they do not flee from such, and are not disgusted and vexed
at them. A great indication of this is that some people admit they hate
many, but declare they envy nobody. Indeed hatred of evil is reckoned
among praiseworthy things; and when some were praising Charillus, the
nephew of Lycurgus and king of Sparta, for his mildness and gentleness,
his colleague said, "How can Charillus be good, who is not even harsh to
the bad?" And so the poet described the bodily defects of Thersites at
much length, whereas he expressed his vile moral character most shortly
and by one remark, "He was most hateful both to Achilles and
Odysseus."[764] For to be hated by the most excellent is the height of
worthlessness. But people deny that they are envious, and, if they are
charged with being so, they put forward ten thousand pleas, saying they
are angry with the man or fear him or hate him, suggesting any other
passion than envy, and concealing it as the only disorder of the soul
which is abominable.

§ VI. Of necessity then these two passions cannot, like plants, be fed
and nourished and grow on the same roots; for they are by nature
different.[765] For we hate people more as they grow worse, but they are
envied only the more the more they advance in virtue. And so
Themistocles, when quite a lad, said he had done nothing remarkable, for
he was not yet envied. For as insects attack most ripe corn and roses in
their bloom, so envy fastens most on the good and on those who are
growing in virtue and good repute for moral character. Again extreme
badness intensifies hatred. So hated indeed and loathed were the
accusers of Socrates, as guilty of extreme vileness, by their
fellow-citizens, that they would neither supply them with fire, nor
answer their questions, nor touch the water they had bathed in, but
ordered the servants to pour it away as polluted, till they could bear
this hatred no longer and hung themselves. But splendid and exceptional
success often extinguishes envy. For it is not likely that anyone envied
Alexander or Cyrus, after their conquests made them lords of the world.
But as the sun, when it is high over our heads and sends down its rays,
makes next to no shadow, so at those successes that attain such a height
as to be over its head envy is humbled, and retires completely dazzled.
So Alexander had none to envy him, but many to hate him, by whom he was
plotted against till he died. So too misfortunes stop envy, but they do
not remove hatred. For people hate their enemies even when they lie
prostrate at their feet, but no one envies the unfortunate. But the
remark of one of the sophists of our day is true, that the envious are
very prone to pity; so here too there is a great difference between
these two passions, for hatred abandons neither the fortunate nor
unfortunate, whereas envy is mitigated in the extreme of either fortune.

§ VII. Let as look at the same again from opposite points of view. Men
put an end to their enmity and hatred, either if persuaded they have not
been wronged, or if they come round to the view that those they hated
are good men and not bad, or thirdly if they receive a kindness. For, as
Thucydides says, the last favour conferred, even though a smaller one,
if it be seasonable, outweighs a greater offence.[766] Yet the
persuasion that they have not been wronged does not put an end to envy,
for people envy although absolutely persuaded that they have not been
wronged; and the two other cases actually increase envy; for people look
with an evil eye even more on those they think good, as having virtue,
which is the greatest blessing; and if they are treated kindly by the
prosperous it grieves them, for they envy both their will and power to
do kindnesses, the former proceeding from their goodness, the latter
from their prosperity, but both being blessings. Thus envy is a passion
altogether different from hatred, seeing that what abates the one pains
and exasperates the other.

§ VIII. Let us now look at the intent of each of these passions. The
intent of the person who hates is to do as much harm as he can, so they
define hatred to be a disposition and intent on the watch for an
opportunity to do harm. But this is altogether foreign to envy.[767] For
those who envy their relations and friends would not wish them to come
to ruin, or fall into calamity, but are only annoyed at their
prosperity; and would hinder, if they could, their glory and renown, but
they would not bring upon them irremediable misfortunes: they are
content to remove, as in the case of a lofty house, what stands in their

    [762] [Greek: allôs] MSS. Wyttenbach [Greek: allôn].
    Malo [Greek: allois].

    [763] So Wyttenbach.

    [764] Homer, "Iliad," ii. 220.

    [765] So Wyttenbach. The reading in this passage is very

    [766] Thucydides, i. 42.

    [767] Reading [Greek: apestin holôs. Oi gar
    phthonountes]. What can be made of [Greek: pollous]


§ I. To speak to other people about one's own importance or ability,
Herculanus, is universally declared to be tiresome and illiberal, but in
fact not many even of those who censure it avoid its unpleasantness.
Thus Euripides, though he says,

  "If words had to be bought by human beings,
   No one would wish to trumpet his own praises.
   But since one can get words _sans_ any payment
   From lofty ether, everyone delights
   In speaking truth or falsehood of himself,
   For he can do it with impunity;"

yet uses much tiresome boasting, intermixing with the passion and action
of his plays irrelevant matter about himself. Similarly Pindar says,
that "to boast unseasonably is to play an accompaniment to
madness,"[768] yet he does not cease to talk big about his own merit,
which indeed is well worthy of encomium, who would deny it? But those
who are crowned in the games leave it to others to celebrate their
victories, to avoid the unpleasantness of singing their own praises. So
we are with justice disgusted at Timotheus[769] for trumpeting his own
glory inelegantly and contrary to custom in the inscription for his
victory over Phrynis, "A proud day for you, Timotheus, was it when the
herald cried out, 'The Milesian Timotheus is victorious over the son of
Carbo and his Ionic notes.'" As Xenophon says, "Praise from others is
the pleasantest thing a man can hear,"[770] but to others a man's
self-praise is most nauseous. For first we think those impudent who
praise themselves, since modesty would be becoming even if they were
praised by others; secondly, we think them unjust in giving themselves
what they ought to receive from others; thirdly, if we are silent we
seem to be vexed and to envy them, and if we are afraid of this
imputation, we are obliged to heap praise upon them contrary to our real
opinion, and to bear them out, undertaking a task more befitting gross
flattery than honour.

§ II. And yet, in spite of all this, there are occasions when a
statesman may venture to speak in his own praise, not to cry up his own
glory and merit, but when the time and matter demand that he should
speak the truth about himself, as he would about another; especially
when it is mentioned that another has done good and excellent
things,[771] there is no need for him to suppress the fact that he has
done as well. For such self-praise bears excellent fruit, since much
more and better praise springs from it as from seed. For the statesman
does not ask for reputation as a reward or consolation, nor is he merely
pleased at its attending upon his actions, but he values it because
credit and character give him opportunities to do good on a larger
scale. For it is both easy and pleasant to benefit those who believe in
us and are friendly to us, but it is not easy to act virtuously against
suspicion and calumny, and to force one's benefits on those that reject
them. Let us now consider, if there are any other reasons warranting
self-praise in a statesman, what they are, that, while we avoid vain
glory and disgusting other people, we may not omit any useful kind of

§ III. That is vain glory then when men seem to praise themselves that
they may call forth the laudation of others; and it is especially
despised because it seems to proceed from ambition and an unseasonable
opinion of oneself. For as those who cannot obtain food are forced to
feed on their own flesh against nature, and that is the end of famine,
so those that hunger after praise, if they get no one else to praise
them, disgrace themselves by their anxiety to feed their own vanity. But
when, not merely content with praising themselves, they vie with the
praise of others, and pit their own deeds and actions against theirs,
with the intent of outshining them, they add envy and malignity to their
vanity. The proverb teaches us that to put our foot into another's dance
is meddlesome and ridiculous; we ought equally to be on our guard
against intruding our own panegyric into others' praises out of envy and
spite, nor should we allow others either to praise us then, but we
should make way for those that are being honoured, if they are worthy of
honour, and even if they seem to us undeserving of honour and worthless,
we ought not to strip them of their praise by self-laudation, but by
direct argument and proof that they are not worthy of all these
encomiums. It is plain then that we ought to avoid all such conduct as

§ IV. But self-praise cannot be blamed, if it is an answer to some
charge or calumny, as those words of Pericles, "And yet you are angry
with such a man as me, a man I take it inferior to no one either in
knowledge of what should be done, or in ability to point out the same,
and a lover of my country to boot, and superior to bribes."[772] For not
only did he avoid all swagger and vainglory and ambition in talking thus
loftily about himself, but he also exhibited the spirit and greatness of
his virtue, which could abase and crush envy because it could not be
abased itself. For people will hardly condemn such men, for they are
elevated and cheered and inspired by noble self-laudation such as this,
if it have a true basis, as all history testifies. Thus the Thebans,
when their generals were charged with not returning home, and laying
down their office of Boeotarchs when their time had expired, but instead
of that making inroads into Laconia, and helping Messene, hardly
acquitted Pelopidas, who was submissive and suppliant, but for
Epaminondas,[773] who gloried in what he had done, and at last said that
he was ready to die, if they would confess that he had ravaged Laconia,
and restored Messene, and made Arcadia one state, against the will of
the Thebans, they would not pass sentence upon him, but admired his
heroism, and with rejoicing and smiles set him free. So too we must not
altogether find fault with Sthenelus in Homer saying,

  "We boast ourselves far better than our fathers,"[774]

when we remember the words of Agamemnon,

  "How now? thou son of brave horse-taming Tydeus,
   Why dost thou crouch for fear, and watch far off
   The lines of battle? How unlike thy father!"[775]

For it was not because he was defamed himself, but he stood up for his
friend[776] that was abused, the occasion giving him a reasonable excuse
for self-commendation. So too the Romans were far from pleased at
Cicero's frequently passing encomiums upon himself in the affair of
Catiline, yet when Scipio said they ought not to try him (Scipio), since
he had given them the power to try anybody, they put on garlands, and
accompanied him to the Capitol, and sacrificed with him. For Cicero was
not compelled to praise himself, but only did so for glory, whereas the
danger in which Scipio stood removed envy from him.

§ V. And not only on one's trial and in danger, but also in misfortune,
is tall talk and boasting more suitable than in prosperity. For in
prosperity people seem to clutch as it were at glory and enjoy it, and
so gratify their ambition; but in adversity, being far from ambition
owing to circumstances, such self-commendation seems to be a bearing up
and fortifying the spirit against fortune, and an avoidance altogether
of that desire for pity and condolence, and that humility, which we
often find in adversity. As then we esteem those persons vain and
without sense who in walking hold themselves very erect and with a stiff
neck, yet in boxing or fighting we commend such as hold themselves up
and alert, so the man struggling with adversity, who stands up straight
against his fate, "in fighting posture like some boxer,"[777] and
instead of being humble and abject becomes through his boasting lofty
and dignified, seems to be not offensive and impudent, but great and
invincible. This is why, I suppose, Homer has represented Patroclus
modest and without reproach in prosperity, yet at the moment of death
saying grandiloquently,

  "Had twenty warriors fought me such as thou,
   All had succumbed to my victorious spear."[778]

And Phocion, though in other respects he was gentle, yet after his
sentence exhibited his greatness of soul to many others, and notably to
one of those that were to die with him, who was weeping and wailing, to
whom he said, "What! are you not content to die with Phocion?"

§ VI. Not less, but still more, lawful is it for a public man who is
wronged to speak on his own behalf to those who treat him with
ingratitude. Thus Achilles generally conceded glory to the gods, and
modestly used such language as,

                        "If ever Zeus
  Shall grant to me to sack Troy's well-built town;"[779]

but when insulted and outraged contrary to his deserts, he utters in his
rage boastful words,

  "Alighting from my ships twelve towns I sacked,"[780]


  "For they will never dare to face my helmet
   When it gleams near."[781]

For frank outspokenness, when it is part of one's defence, admits of
boasting. It was in this spirit no doubt that Themistocles, who neither
in word nor deed had given any offence, when he saw the Athenians were
tired of him and treating him with neglect, did not abstain from saying,
"My good sirs, why do you tire of receiving benefits so frequently at
the same hands?" and[782] "When the storm is on you fly to me for
shelter as to a tree, but when fine weather comes again, then you pass
by and strip me of my leaves."

§ VII. They then that are wronged generally mention what they have done
well to those who are ungrateful. And the person who is blamed for what
he has done well is altogether to be pardoned, and not censured, if he
passes encomiums on his own actions: for he is in the position of one
not scolding but making his defence. This it was that made Demosthenes'
freedom of speech splendid, and prevented people being wearied out by
the praise which in all his speech _On the Crown_ he lavished on
himself, pluming himself on those embassies and decrees in connection
with the war with which fault had been found.

§ VIII. Not very unlike this is the grace of antithesis, when a person
shows that the opposite of what he is charged with is base and low. Thus
Lycurgus when he was charged at Athens with having bribed an informer to
silence, replied, "What kind of a citizen do you think me, who, having
had so long time the fingering of your public money, am detected in
giving rather than taking unjustly?" And Cicero, when Metellus told him
that he had destroyed more as a witness than he had got acquitted as an
advocate, answered, "Who denies that my honesty is greater than my
eloquence?" Compare such sayings of Demosthenes as, "Who would not have
been justified in killing me, had I tried in word only to impair the
ancient glory of our city?"[783] And, "What think you these wretches
would have said, if the states had departed, when I was curiously
discussing these points?"[784] And indeed the whole of that speech _On
the Crown_ most ingeniously introduces his own praises in his
antitheses, and answers to the charges brought against him.

§ IX. However it is worth while to notice in his speech that he most
artistically inserts praise of his audience in the remarks about
himself, and so makes his speech less egotistical and less likely to
raise envy. Thus he shows how the Athenians behaved to the Euboeans and
to the Thebans, and what benefits they conferred on the people of
Byzantium and on the Chersonese, claiming for himself only a subordinate
part in the matter. Thus he cunningly insinuates into the audience with
his own praises what they will gladly hear, for they rejoice at the
enumeration of their successes,[785] and their joy is succeeded by
admiration and esteem for the person to whom the success was due. So
also Epaminondas, when Meneclidas once jeered at him as thinking more of
himself than Agamemnon ever did, replied, "It is your fault then, men of
Thebes, by whose help alone I put down the power of the Lacedæmonians in
one day."

§ X. But since most people very much dislike and object to a man's
praising himself, but if he praises some one else are on the contrary
often glad and readily bear him out, some are in the habit of praising
in season those that have the same pursuits business and characters as
themselves, and so conciliate and move the audience in their own favour;
for the audience know at the moment such a one is speaking that, though
he is speaking about another, yet his own similar virtue is worthy of
their praise.[786] For as one who throws in another's teeth things of
which he is guilty himself must know that he upbraids himself most, so
the good in paying honour to the good remind those who know their
character of themselves, so that their hearers cry out at once, "Are not
you such a one yourself?" Thus Alexander honouring Hercules, and
Androcottus again honouring Alexander, got themselves honoured on the
same grounds. Dionysius on the contrary pulling Gelon to pieces, and
calling him the Gelos[787] of Sicily, was not aware that through his
envy he was weakening the importance and dignity of his own authority.

§ XI. These things then a public man must generally know and observe.
But those that are compelled to praise themselves do so less offensively
if they do not ascribe all the honour to themselves, but, being aware
that their glory will be tiresome to others, set it down partly to
fortune, partly to the deity. So Achilles said well,

  "Since the gods granted us to kill this hero."[788]

Well also did Timoleon, who erected a temple at Syracuse to the goddess
of Fortune after his success, and dedicated his house to the Good
Genius. Excellently again did Pytho of Ænos, (when he came to Athens
after killing Cotys, and when the demagogues vied with one another in
praising him to the people, and he observed that some were jealous and
displeased,) in coming forward and saying, "Men of Athens, this is the
doing of one of the gods, I only put my hands to the work." Sulla also
forestalled envy by ever praising fortune, and eventually he proclaimed
himself as under the protection of Aphrodite.[789] For men would rather
ascribe their defeat to fortune than the enemy's valour, for in the
former case they consider it an accident, whereas in the latter case
they would have to blame themselves and set it down to their own
shortcomings. So they say the legislation of Zaleucus pleased the
Locrians not least, because he said that Athene visited him from time to
time, and suggested to him and taught him his laws, and that none of
those he promulgated were his own idea and plan.

§ XII. Perhaps this kind of remedy by talking people over must be
contrived for those who are altogether crabbed or envious; but for
people of moderation it is not amiss to qualify excessive praise. Thus
if anyone should praise you as learned, or rich, or influential, it
would be well to bid him not talk about you in that strain, but say that
you were good and harmless and useful. For the person that acts so does
not introduce his own praise but transfers it, nor does he seem to
rejoice in people passing encomiums upon him, but rather to be vexed at
their praising him inappropriately and on wrong grounds, and he seems to
hide bad traits by better ones, not wishing to be praised, but showing
how he ought to be praised. Such seems the intent of such words as the
following, "I have not fortified the city with stones or bricks, but if
you wish to see how I have fortified it, you will find arms and horses
and allies."[790] Still more in point are the last words of Pericles.
For as he was dying, and his friends very naturally were weeping and
wailing, and reminded him of his military services and his power, and
the trophies and victories and towns he had won for Athens, and was
leaving as a legacy, he raised himself up a little and blamed them as
praising him for things common to many, and some of them the results of
fortune rather than merit, while they had passed over the best and
greatest of his deeds and one peculiarly his own, that he had never been
the cause of any Athenian's wearing mourning. This gives the orator an
example, if he be a good man, when praised for his eloquence, to
transfer the praise to his life and character, and the general who is
admired for his skill and good fortune in war to speak with confidence
about his gentleness and uprightness. And again, if any very extravagant
praise is uttered, such as many people use in flattery which provokes
envy, one can reply,

  "I am no god; why do you liken me
   To the immortals?"[791]

If you really know me, praise my integrity, or my sobriety, or my
kindheartedness, or my philanthropy. For even envy is not reluctant to
give moderate praise to one that deprecates excessive praise, and true
panegyric is not lost by people refusing to accept idle and false
praise. So those kings who would not be called gods or the sons of gods,
but only fond of their brothers or mother, or benefactors,[792] or dear
to the gods, did not excite the envy of those that honoured them by
those titles, that were noble but still such as men might claim. Again,
people dislike those writers or speakers who entitle themselves wise,
but they welcome those who content themselves with saying that they are
lovers of philosophy, and have made some progress, or use some such
moderate language about themselves as that, which does not excite envy.
But rhetorical sophists, who expect to hear "Divine, wonderful, grand,"
at their declamations, are not even welcomed with "Pretty fair, so so."

§ XIII. Moreover, as people anxious not to injure those who have weak
eyes, draw a shade over too much light, so some people make their praise
of themselves less glaring and absolute, by pointing out some of their
small defects, or miscarriages, or errors, and so remove all risk of
making people offended or envious. Thus Epeus, who boasts very much of
his skill in boxing, and says very confidently,

  "I can your body crush, and break your bones,"[793]

yet says,

  "Is't not enough that I'm in fight deficient?"[794]

But Epeus is perhaps a ridiculous instance, excusing his bragging as an
athlete by his confession of timidity and want of manliness. But
agreeable and graceful is that man who mentions his own forgetfulness,
or ignorance, or ambition, or eager desire for knowledge and
conversation. Thus Odysseus of the Sirens,

  "My heart to listen to them did incline,
   I bade my comrades by a nod to unloose me."[795]

And again of the Cyclops,

  "I did not hearken (it had been far better),
   I wished to see the Cyclops, and to taste
   His hospitality."[796]

And generally speaking the admixture with praise of such faults as are
not altogether base and ignoble stops envy. Thus many have blunted the
point of envy by admitting and introducing, when they have been praised,
their past poverty and straits, aye, and their low origin. So Agathocles
pledging his young men in golden cups beautifully chased, ordered some
earthenware pots to be brought in, and said, "See the fruits of
perseverance, labour, and bravery! Once I produced pots like these, but
now golden cups." For Agathocles it seems was so low-born and poor that
he was brought up in a potter's shop, though afterwards he was king of
almost all Sicily.

§ XIV. These are external remedies against self-praise. There are other
internal ones as it were, such as Cato applied, when he said "he was
envied, because he had to neglect his own affairs, and lie awake every
night for the interests of his country." Compare also the following

  "How should I boast? who could with ease have been
   Enrolled among the many in the army,
   And had a fortune equal to the wisest;"[797]


  "I shrink from squandering past labours' grace,
   Nor do I now reject all present toil."[797]

For as it is with house and farm, so also is it with glory and
reputation, people for the most part envy those who have got them easily
or for nothing, not those who have bought them at the cost of much toil
and danger.

§ XV. Since then we can praise ourselves not only without causing pain
or envy but even usefully and advantageously, let us consider, that we
may not seem to have only that end in view but some other also, if we
might praise ourselves to excite in our hearers emulation and ambition.
For Nestor, by reciting his battles and acts of prowess, stirred up
Patroclus and nine others to single combat with Hector. For the
exhortation that adds deed to word and example and proper emulation is
animating and moving and stimulating, and with its impulse and
resolution inspires hope that the things we aim at are attainable and
not impossible. That is why in the choruses at Lacedæmon the old men

  "We once were young and vigorous and strong,"

and then the boys,

  "We shall be stronger far than now we are,"

and then the youths,

  "We now are strong, look at us if you like."

In this wise and statesmanlike manner did the legislator exhibit to the
young men the nearest and dearest examples of what they should do in the
persons of those who had done so.

§ XVI. Moreover it is not amiss sometimes, to awe and repress and take
down and tame the impudent and bold, to boast and talk a little big
about oneself. As Nestor did, to mention him again,

  "For I have mixed ere now with better men
   Than both of you, and ne'er did they despise me."[798]

So also Aristotle told Alexander that not only had they that were rulers
over many subjects a right to think highly of themselves, but also those
that had right views about the gods. Useful too against our enemies and
foes is the following line,

  "Ill-starred are they whose sons encounter me."[799]

Compare also the remark of Agesilaus about the king of the Persians, who
was called great, "How is he greater than me, if he is not also more
upright?" And that also of Epaminondas to the Lacedæmonians who were
inveighing against the Thebans, "Anyhow we have made you talk at greater
length than usual." But these kind of remarks are fitting for enemies
and foes; but our boasting is also good on occasion for friends and
fellow-citizens, not only to abate their pride and make them more
humble, but also when they are in fear and dejection to raise them up
again and give them confidence. Thus Cyrus talked big in perils and on
battle-fields, though at other times he was no boaster. And the second
Antigonus, though he was on all other occasions modest and far from
vanity, yet in the sea-fight off Cos, when one of his friends said to
him, "See you not how many more ships the enemy have got than we have?"
answered, "How many do you make me equal to then?" This Homer also seems
to have noticed. For he has represented Odysseus, when his comrades were
dreadfully afraid of the noise and whirlpool of Charybdis, reminding
them of his former cleverness and valour;

  "We are in no worse plight than when the Cyclops
   By force detained us in his hollow cave;
   But even then, thanks to my valour, judgement,
   And sense, we did escape."[800]

For such is not the self-praise of a demagogue or sophist, or of one
that asks for clapping or applause, but of one who makes his valour and
experience a pledge of confidence to his friends. For in critical
conjunctures the reputation and credit of one who has experience and
capacity in command plays a great part in insuring safety.

§ XVII. As I have said before, to pit oneself against another's praise
and reputation is by no means fitting for a public man: however, in
important matters, where mistaken praise is injurious and detrimental,
it is not amiss to confute it, or rather to divert the hearer to what is
better by showing him the difference between true and false merit.
Anyone would be glad, I suppose, when vice was abused and censured, to
see most people voluntarily keep aloof from it; but if vice should be
well thought of, and honour and reputation come to the person who
promoted its pleasures or desires, no nature is so well constituted or
strong that it would not be mastered by it. So the public man must
oppose the praise not of men but of bad actions, for such praise is
corrupting, and causes people to imitate and emulate what is base as if
it were noble. But it is best refuted by putting it side by side with
the truth: as Theodorus the tragic actor is reported to have said once
to Satyrus the comic actor, "It is not so wonderful to make an audience
laugh as to make them weep and cry." But what if some philosopher had
answered him, "To make an audience weep and cry is not so noble a thing
as to make them forget their sorrows." This kind of self-laudation
benefits the hearer, and changes his opinion. Compare the remark of Zeno
in reference to the number of Theophrastus' scholars, "His is a larger
body, but mine are better taught." And Phocion, when Leosthenes was
still in prosperity, being asked by the orators what benefit he had
conferred on the city, replied, "Only this, that during my period of
office there has been no funeral oration, but all the dead have been
buried in their fathers' sepulchres." Wittily also did Crates parody the

  "Eating and wantonness and love's delights
   Are all I value,"


  "Learning and those grand things the Muses teach one
   Are all I value."

Such self-praise is good and useful and teaches people to admire and
love what is valuable and expedient instead of what is vain and
superfluous. Let so much suffice on the question proposed.

§ XVIII. It remains to me now to point out, what our subject next
demands and calls for, how everyone may avoid unseasonable self-praise.
For there is a wonderful incentive to talking about oneself in
self-love, which is frequently strongly implanted in those who seem to
have only moderate aspirations for fame. For as it is one of the rules
to preserve good health to avoid altogether places where sickness is, or
to exercise the greatest precaution if one must go there, so talking
about oneself has its slippery times and places that draw it on on any
pretext. For first, when others are praised, as I said before, ambition
makes people talk about themselves, and a certain desire and impulse for
fame which is hard to check bites and tickles that ambition, especially
if the other person is praised for the same things or less important
things than the hearer thinks he is a proficient in. For as hungry
people have their appetite more inflamed and sharpened by seeing others
eat, so the praise of one's neighbours makes those who eagerly desire
fame to blaze out into jealousy.

§ XIX. In the second place the narration of things done successfully and
to people's mind entices many unawares to boasting and bragging in their
joy; for falling into conversation about their victories, or success in
state affairs, or their words or deeds commended by great men, they
cannot keep themselves within bounds. With this kind of self-laudation
you may see that soldiers and sailors are most taken. To be in this
state of mind also frequently happens to those who have returned from
important posts and responsible duties, for in their mention of
illustrious men and men of royal rank they insert the encomiums they
have passed on themselves, and do not so much think they are praising
themselves as merely repeating the praises of others about themselves.
Others think their hearers do not detect them at all of self-praise,
when they recount the greeting and welcome and kindness they have
received from kings and emperors, but only imagine them to be
enumerating the courtesy and kindliness of those great personages. So we
must be very much on our guard in praising others to free ourselves from
all suspicion of self-love and self-recommendation, and not to seem to
be really praising ourselves "under pretext of Patroclus."[801]

§ XX. Moreover that kind of conversation that mainly consists of
censuring and running down others is dangerous as giving opportunity for
self-laudation to those who pine for fame. A fault into which old men
especially fall, when they are led to scold others and censure their bad
ways and faulty actions, and so extol themselves as being remarkably the
opposite. In old men we must allow all this, especially if to age they
add reputation and merit, for such fault-finding is not without use, and
inspires those who are rebuked with both emulation and love of
honour.[802] But all other persons must especially avoid and fear that
roundabout kind of self-praise. For since generally speaking censuring
one's neighbours is disagreeable and barely tolerable and requires great
wariness, he that mixes up his own praise with blame of another, and
hunts for fame by defaming another, is altogether tiresome and inspires
disgust, for he seems to wish to get credit through trying to prove
others unworthy of credit.

§ XXI. Furthermore, as those that are naturally prone and inclined to
laughter must be especially on their guard against tickling and
touching, such as excites that propensity by contact with the smoothest
parts of the body, so those that have a great passion for reputation
ought to be especially advised to abstain from praising themselves when
they are praised by others. For a person ought to blush when praised,
and not to be past blushing from impudence, and ought to check those who
extol him too highly, and not to rebuke them for praising him too
little; though very many people do so, themselves prompting and
reminding their praisers of others of their own acts and virtues, till
by their own praise they spoil the effect of the praise that others give
them. For some tickle and puff themselves up by self-praise, while
others, malignantly holding out the small bait of eulogy, provoke others
to talk about themselves, while others again ask questions and put
inquiries, as was done to the soldier in Menander, merely to poke fun at

  "'How did you get this wound?' 'Sir, by a javelin.'
   'How in the name of Heaven?' 'I was on
    A scaling ladder fastened to a wall.'
    I show my wound to them in serious earnest,
    But they for their part only mock at me."

§ XXII. As regards all these points then we must be on our guard as much
as possible not to launch out into praise of ourselves, or yield to it
in consequence of questions put to us to draw us. And the best caution
and security against this is to pay attention to others who praise
themselves, and to consider how disagreeable and objectionable the
practice is to everybody, and that no other conversation is so offensive
and tiring. For though we cannot say that we suffer any other evil at
the hands of those who praise themselves, yet being naturally bored by
the practice, and avoiding it, we are anxious to get rid of them and
breathe again; insomuch that even the flatterer and parasite and needy
person in his distress finds the rich man or satrap or king praising
himself hard to bear and wellnigh intolerable; and they say that having
to listen to all this is paying a very large shot to their
entertainment, like the fellow in Menander;

  "To hear their foolish[803] saws, and soldier talk,
   Such as this cursed braggart bellows forth,
   Kills me; I get lean even at their feasts."

For as we may use this language not only about soldiers or men who have
newly become rich,[804] who spin us a long yarn of their great and grand
doings, being puffed up with pride and talking big about themselves; if
we remember that the censure of others always follows our self-praise,
and that the end of this vain-glory is a bad repute, and that, as
Demosthenes says,[805] the result will be that we shall only tire our
hearers, and not be thought what we profess ourselves to be, we shall
cease talking about ourselves, unless by so doing we can bestow great
benefit on ourselves or our hearers.

    [768] Pindar, "Olymp." ix. 57, 58.

    [769] Mentioned by Pausanias, iii. 12; viii. 50.

    [770] "Memorabilia," ii. l. 31.

    [771] Reading as Wyttenbach suggests, [Greek: malista de
    hotan legêtai ta allô pepragmena] _sq._

    [772] Thucydides, ii. 60.

    [773] See Pausanias, ix. 14, 15.

    [774] Homer, "Iliad," iv. 405.

    [775] Homer, "Iliad," iv. 370, 371.

    [776] Diomede.

    [777] Sophocles, "Trachiniæ," 442.

    [778] Homer, "Iliad," xvi. 847, 848. Plutarch only
    quotes the first line. I have added the second for the
    English reader, as necessary for the sense.

    [779] Homer, "Iliad," i. 128, 129.

    [780] "Iliad," ix. 328.

    [781] "Iliad," xvi. 70, 71. [782] So Wyttenbach.

    [783] Demosthenes, "De Corona," p. 260.

    [784] "De Corona," p. 307.

    [785] After Wyttenbach.

    [786] After Wyttenbach.

    [787] That is, laughing-stock. A play on the word Gelon.

    [788] Homer, "Iliad," xxii. 379. He speaks of Hector.

    [789] Others take it "as fortune's favourite."

    [790] Words of Demosthenes, "De Corona," p. 325.
    Plutarch condenses them.

    [791] Homer, "Odyssey," xvi. 187.

    [792] Titles of the Ptolemies, Philadelphus Philometor,

    [793] Homer, "Iliad," xxiii. 673.

    [794] Ibid. 670.

    [795] Homer, "Odyssey," xii. 192-194.

    [796] Ibid. ix. 228, 229.

    [797] Fragments from the "Philoctetes" of Euripides.

    [798] Homer, "Iliad," i. 260, 261.

    [799] Homer, "Iliad," vi. 127.

    [800] Homer, "Odyssey," xii. 209-212.

    [801] An allusion to Homer, "Iliad," xix. 302.

    [802] Adopting the reading of Dübner.

    [803] Adopting the reading of Salmasius.

    [804] _Nouveaux riches, novi homines_.

    [805] Demosthenes, "De Corona," p. 270.


_A discussion between Patrocleas, Plutarch, Timon, and

§ I. When Epicurus had made these remarks, Quintus, and before any of us
who were at the end of the porch[806] could reply, he went off abruptly.
And we, marvelling somewhat at his rudeness, stood still silently but
looked at one another, and then turned and pursued our walk as before.
And Patrocleas was the first to speak. "Are we," said he, "to leave the
question unanswered, or are we to reply to his argument in his absence
as if he were present?" Then said Timon, "Because he went off the moment
he had thrown his missile at us, it would not be good surely to leave it
sticking in us; for we are told that Brasidas plucked the javelin that
had been thrown at him out of his body, and with it killed the hurler of
it; but there is of course no need for us to avenge ourselves so on
those that have launched on us an absurd or false argument, it will be
enough to dislodge the notion before it gets fixed in us." Then said I,
"Which of his words has moved you most? For the fellow seemed to rampage
about, in his anger and abusive language, with a long disconnected and
rambling rhapsody drawn from all sources, and at the same time inveighed
against Providence."

§ II. Then said Patrocleas, "The slowness and delay of the deity in
punishing the wicked used to seem[807] to me a very dreadful thing, but
now in consequence of his speech I come as it were new and fresh to the
notion. Yet long ago I was vexed when I heard that line of Euripides,

  "He does delay, such is the Deity
   In nature."[808]

For indeed it is not fitting that the deity should be slow in anything,
and least of all in the punishment of the wicked, seeing that they are
not slow or sluggish in doing evil, but are hurried by their passions
into crime at headlong speed. Moreover, as Thucydides[809] says, when
punishment follows as closely as possible upon wrong-doing, it blocks up
the road at once for those who would follow up their villainy if it were
successful. For no debt so much as that of justice paid behind time
damps the hopes and dejects the mind of the wronged person, and
aggravates the audacity and daring of the wrong-doer; whereas the
punishment that follows crime immediately not only checks future
outbreaks but is also the greatest possible comfort to the injured. And
so I am often troubled when I consider that remark of Bias, who told, it
seems, a bad man that he was not afraid that he would escape punishment,
but that he would not live to see it. For how did the Messenians who
were killed long before derive any benefit from the punishment of
Aristocrates? For he had been guilty of treason at the battle of _The
Great Trench_, but had reigned over the Arcadians for more than twenty
years without being found out, but afterwards was detected and paid the
penalty, but they were no longer alive.[810] Or what consolation was
brought to the people of Orchomenus, who lost their sons and friends and
relatives in consequence of the treason of Lyciscus, by the disease
which settled upon him long afterwards and spread all over his body? For
he used to go and dip and soak his feet in the river, and uttered
imprecations and prayed that they might rot off if he was guilty of
treason or crime. Nor was it permitted to the children's children of
those that were slain to see at Athens the tearing out of their graves
the bodies of those atrocious criminals that had killed them, and the
carrying them beyond their borders. And so it seems strange in Euripides
using the following argument to deter people from vice:

  "Fear not, for vengeance will not strike at once
   Your heart, or that of any guilty wretch,
   But silently and with slow foot it moves,[811]
   And when their time's come will the wicked reach."

This is no doubt the very reason why the wicked incite and cheer
themselves on to commit lawless acts, for crime shows them a fruit
visible and ripe at once, but a punishment late, and long subsequent to
the enjoyment."

§ III. When Patrocleas had said thus much, Olympicus interfered, "There
is another consideration, Patrocleas, the great absurdity involved in
these delays and long-suffering of the deity. For the slowness of
punishment takes away belief in providence, and the wicked, observing
that no evil follows each crime except long afterwards, attribute it
when it comes to mischance, and look upon it in the light more of
accident than punishment, and so receive no benefit from it, being
grieved indeed when the misfortune comes, but feeling no remorse for
what they have done amiss. For, as in the case of a horse, the whipping
or spurring that immediately follows upon a stumble or some other fault
is a corrective and brings him to his duty, but pulling and backing him
with the bit and shouting at him long afterwards seems to come from some
other motive than a desire to teach him, for he is put to pain without
being shown his fault; so the vice which each time it stumbles or
offends is at once punished and checked by correction is most
likely[812] to come to itself and be humble and stand in awe of the
deity, as one that beholds men's acts and passions and does not punish
behind time; whereas that justice that, according to Euripides, "steals
on silently and with slow foot," and falls upon the wicked some time or
other, seems to resemble more chance than providence by reason, of its
uncertainty, delay, and irregularity. So that I do not see what benefit
there is in those mills of the gods that are said to grind late,[813]
since they obscure the punishment, and obliterate the fear, of

§ IV. When Olympicus had done speaking, and I was musing with myself on
the matter, Timon said, "Am I to put the finishing touch of difficulty
on our subject, or am I to let him first contend earnestly against these
views?" Then said I, "Why should we bring up the third wave[814] and
drown the argument, if he is not able to refute or evade the charges
already brought? To begin then with the domestic hearth, as the saying
is,[815] let us imitate that cautious manner of speaking about the deity
in vogue among the Academic philosophers, and decline to speak about
these things as if we thoroughly understood them. For it is worse in us
mortals than for people ignorant of music to discuss music, or for
people ignorant of military matters to discuss the art of war, to
examine too closely into the nature of the gods and demons, like people
with no knowledge of art trying to get at the intention of artists from
opinion and fancy and probabilities. For if[816] it is no easy matter
for anyone not a professional to conjecture why the surgeon performed an
operation later rather than sooner, or why he ordered his patient to
take a bath to-day rather than yesterday, how is it easy or safe for a
mortal to say anything else about the deity than that he knows best the
time to cure vice, and applies to each his punishment as the doctor
administers a drug, and that a punishment not of the same magnitude, or
applied at the same time, in all cases. For that the cure of the soul,
which is called justice, is the greatest of all arts is testified by
Pindar as well as by ten thousand others, for he calls God, the ruler
and lord of all things, the greatest artificer as the creator of
justice, whose function it is to determine when, and how, and how far,
each bad man is to be punished. And Plato says that Minos, the son of
Zeus, was his father's pupil in this art, not thinking it possible that
any one could succeed in justice, or understand how to succeed in it,
without he had learned or somehow got that science. For the laws which
men make are not always merely reasonable, nor is their meaning always
apparent, but some injunctions seem quite ridiculous, for example, the
Ephors at Lacedæmon make proclamation, directly they take office, that
no one is to let his moustache grow, but that all are to obey the laws,
that they be not grievous to them. And the Romans lay a light rod on the
bodies of those they make freemen, and when they make their wills, they
nominate some as their heirs, while to others they sell the property,
which, seems strange. But strangest of all is that ordinance of Solon,
that the citizen who, when his city is in faction, will not side with
either party is to lose his civic rights. And generally one might
mention many absurdities in laws, if one did not know the mind of the
legislator, or understand the reason for each particular piece of
legislation. How is it wonderful then, if human affairs are so difficult
to comprehend, that it is no easy task to say in connection with the
gods, why they punish some offenders early, and others late?

§ V. This is not a pretext for evading the subject, but merely a request
for lenient judgement, that our discourse, looking as it were for a
haven and place of refuge, may rise to the difficulty with greater
confidence basing itself on probability. Consider then first that,
according to Plato, god, making himself openly a pattern of all things
good, concedes human virtue, which is in some sort a resemblance to
himself, to those who are able to follow him. For all nature, being in
disorder, got the principle of change and became order[817] by a
resemblance to and participation in the nature and virtue of the deity.
The same Plato also tells us that nature put eyesight into us, in order
that the soul by beholding and admiring the heavenly bodies might
accustom itself to welcome and love harmony and order, and might hate
disorderly and roving propensities, and avoid aimless reliance on
chance, as the parent of all vice and error. For man can enjoy no
greater blessing from god than to attain to virtue by the earnest
imitation of the noblest qualities of the divine nature. And so he
punishes the wicked leisurely and long after, not being afraid of error
or after repentance through punishing too hastily, but to take away from
us that eager and brutish thirst for revenge, and to teach us that we
are not to retaliate on those that have offended us in anger, and when
the soul is most inflamed and distorted with passion and almost beside
itself for rage, like people satisfying fierce thirst or hunger, but to
imitate the mildness and long-suffering of the deity, and to avenge
ourselves in an orderly and decent manner, only when we have taken
counsel with time long enough to give us the least possible likelihood
of after repentance. For it is a smaller evil, as Socrates said, to
drink dirty water when excessively thirsty, than, when one's mind is
disturbed and full of rage and fury, before it is settled and becomes
pure, to glut our revenge on the person of a relation and kinsman. For
it is not the punishment that follows as closely as possible upon
wrong-doing, as Thucydides said,[818] but that which is more remote,
that observes decorum. For as Melanthius says of anger,

  "Fell things it does when it the mind unsettles,"[819]

so also reason acts with justice and moderation, when it banishes rage
and passion. So also people are made milder by the example of other men,
as when they hear that Plato, when he held his stick over his slave to
correct him, waited some time, as he himself has told us, to compose his
anger; and that Archytas, having learned of some wrong or disorderly
action on the part of some of his farm labourers, knowing that at the
time he was in a very great rage and highly incensed at them, did
nothing to them, but merely departed, saying, "You may thank your stars
that I am in a rage with you." If then the remembrance of the words and
recorded acts of men abates the fierceness and intensity of our rage,
much more likely is it that we (observing that the deity, though without
either fear or repentance in any case, yet puts off his punishments and
defers them for some time) shall be reserved in our views about such
matters, and shall think that mildness and long-suffering which the god
exhibits a divine part of virtue, reforming a few by speedy punishment,
but benefiting and correcting many by a tardy one.

§ VI. Let us consider in the second place that punishments inflicted by
men for offences regard only retaliation, and, when the offender is
punished, stop and go no further; so that they seem to follow offences
yelping at them like a dog, and closely pursuing at their heels as it
were. But it is likely that the deity would look at the state of any
guilty soul that he intended to punish, if haply it might turn and
repent, and would give[820] time for reformation to all whose vice was
not absolute and incurable. For knowing how great a share of virtue
souls come into the world with, deriving it from him, and how strong and
lasting is their nobility of nature, and how it breaks out into vice
against its natural disposition through the corruption of bad habits and
companions, and afterwards in some cases reforms itself, and recovers
its proper position, he does not inflict punishment on all persons
alike; but the incorrigible he at once removes from life and cuts off,
since it is altogether injurious to others, but most of all to a man's
own self, to live in perpetual vice, whereas to those who seem to have
fallen into wrong-doing, rather from ignorance of what was good than
from deliberate choice of what was bad, he gives time to repent. But if
they persist in vice he punishes them too, for he has no fear that they
will escape him. Consider also how many changes take place in the life
and character of men, so that the Greeks give the names [Greek: tropos]
and [Greek: êthos] to the character, the first word meaning _change_,
and the latter the immense force and power of _habit_. I think also that
the ancients called Cecrops half man and half dragon[821] not because,
as some say, he became from a good king wild and dragon-like, but
contrariwise because he was originally perverse and terrible, and
afterwards became a mild and humane king. And if this is uncertain, at
any rate we know that Gelon and Hiero, both Sicilians, and Pisistratus
the son of Hippocrates, though they got their supreme power by bad
means, yet used it for virtuous ends, and though they mounted the throne
in an irregular way, yet became good and useful princes. For by good
legislation and by encouraging agriculture they made the citizens
earnest and industrious instead of scoffers and chatterers. As for
Gelon, after fighting valiantly and defeating the Carthaginians in a
great battle, he would not conclude with them the peace they asked for
until they inserted an article promising to cease sacrificing their sons
to Cronos. And Lydiades was tyrant in Megalopolis, yet in the very
height of his power changing his ideas and being disgusted with
injustice, he restored their old constitution to the citizens,[822] and
fell gloriously, fighting against the enemy in behalf of his country.
And if any one had slain prematurely Miltiades the tyrant of the
Chersonese, or had prosecuted and got a conviction against Cimon for
incest with his sister, or had deprived Athens of Themistocles for his
wantonness and revellings and outrages in the market, as in later days
Athens lost Alcibiades, by an indictment, should we not have had to go
without the glory of Marathon, and Eurymedon, and beautiful Artemisium,
"where the Athenian youth laid the bright base of liberty?"[823] For
great natures produce nothing little, nor can their energy and activity
rust owing to their keen intellect, but they toss to and fro as at sea
till they come to a settled and durable character. As then one
inexperienced in farming, seeing a spot full of thick bushes and rank
growth, full of wild beasts and streams and mud, would not think much of
it, while to one who has learnt how to discriminate and discern between
different kind of soils all these are various tokens of the richness and
goodness of the land, so great natures break out into many strange
excesses, which exasperate us at first beyond bearing, so that we think
it right to cut off such offenders and stop their career at once,
whereas a better judge, seeing the good and noble even in these, waits
for age and the season which nature appoints for gathering fruit to
bring sense and virtue.

§ VII. So much for this point. Do you not think also that some of the
Greeks did well to adopt that Egyptian law which orders a pregnant woman
condemned to death not to suffer the penalty till after she has given
birth?" "Certainly," said all the company. I continued, "Put the case
not of a woman pregnant, but of a man who can in process of time bring
to light and reveal some secret act or plan, point out some unknown
evil, or devise some scheme of safety, or invent something useful and
necessary, would it not be better to defer his execution, and wait the
result of his meditation? That is my opinion, at least." "So we all
think," said Patrocleas. "Quite right," said I. "For do but consider,
had Dionysius had vengeance taken on him at the beginning of his
tyranny, none of the Greeks would have dwelt in Sicily, which was laid
waste by the Carthaginians. Nor would the Greeks have dwelt in
Apollonia, or Anactorium, or the peninsula of the Leucadians, had not
Periander's chastisement been postponed for a long time. I think also
that Cassander's punishment was deferred that Thebes might be repeopled.
And of the mercenaries that plundered this very temple most crossed over
into Sicily with Timoleon, and after they had conquered the
Carthaginians and put down their authority, perished miserably,
miserable wretches that they were. For no doubt the deity makes use of
some wicked men, as executioners, to punish others, and so I think he
crushes as it were most tyrants. For as the gall of the hyena and rennet
of the seal, both nasty beasts in all other respects, are useful in
certain diseases, so when some need sharp correction, the deity casts
upon them the implacable fury of some tyrant, or the savage ferocity of
some prince, and does not remove the bane and trouble till their fault
be got rid of and purged. Such a potion was Phalaris to the
Agrigentines, and Marius to the Romans. And to the people of Sicyon the
god distinctly foretold that their city needed a scourge, when they took
away from the Cleonæans (as if he was a Sicyonian) the lad Teletias, who
was crowned in the Pythian games, and tore him to pieces. As for the
Sicyonians, Orthagoras became their tyrant, and subsequently Myro and
Clisthenes, and these three checked their wanton outbreaks; but the
Cleonæans, not getting such a cure, went to ruin. You have of course
heard Homer's lines,

  "'From a bad father sprang a son far better,
    Excelling in all virtue;'[824]

"and yet that son of Copreus never performed any brilliant or notable
action: but the descendants of Sisyphus and Autolycus and Phlegyas
nourished in the glory and virtues of great kings. Pericles also sprang
of a family under a curse,[825] and Pompey the Great at Rome was the son
of Pompeius Strabo, whose dead body the Roman people cast out and
trampled upon, so great was their hatred of him. How is it strange then,
since the farmer does not cut down the thorn till he has taken his
asparagus, nor do the Libyans burn the twigs till they have gathered the
ledanum, that god does not exterminate the wicked and rugged root of an
illustrious and royal race till it has produced its fit fruit? For it
would have been better for the Phocians to have lost ten thousand of the
oxen and horses of Iphitus, and for more gold and silver to have gone
from Delphi, than that Odysseus and Æsculapius should not have been
born, nor those others who from bad and wicked men became good and

§ VIII. "And do you not all think that it is better that punishment
should take place at the fitting time and in the fitting manner rather
than quickly and on the spur of the moment? Consider the case of
Callippus, who with the very dagger with which he slew Dion, pretending
to be his friend, was afterwards slain by his own friends. And when
Mitius the Argive was killed in a tumult, a brazen statue in the
market-place fell on his murderer and killed him during the public
games. And of course, Patrocleas, you know all about Bessus the Pæonian,
and about Aristo the Oetæan leader of mercenaries." "Not I, by Zeus,"
said Patrocleas, "but I should like to hear." "Aristo," I continued, "at
the permission of the tyrants removed the necklace of Eriphyle[826]
which was hung up in this temple, and took it to his wife as a present;
but his son being angry with his mother for some reason or other, set
the house on fire, and burnt all that were in it. As for Bessus, it
seems he had killed his father, though his crime was long undiscovered.
But at last going to sup with some strangers, he knocked down a nest of
swallows, pricking it with his lance, and killed all the young swallows.
And when the company said, as it was likely they would, 'Whatever makes
you act in such a strange manner?' 'Have they not,' he replied, 'been
long bearing false witness against me, crying out that I had killed my
father?' And the company, astonished at his answer, laid the matter
before the king, and the affair was inquired into, and Bessus punished."

§ IX. "These cases," I continued, "we cite supposing, as has been laid
down, that there is a deferring of punishment to the wicked; and, for
the rest, I think we ought to listen to Hesiod, who tells us--not like
Plato, who asserts that punishment is a condition that follows
crime--that it is contemporaneous with it, and grows with it from the
same source and root. For Hesiod says,

  "Evil advice is worst to the adviser;"[827]


  "He who plots mischief 'gainst another brings
   It first on his own pate."[828]

The cantharis is said to have in itself the antidote to its own sting,
but wickedness, creating its own pain and torment, pays the penalty of
its misdeeds not afterwards but at the time of its ill-doing. And as
every malefactor about to pay the penalty of his crime in his person
bears his cross, so vice fabricates for itself each of its own torments,
being the terrible author of its own misery in life, wherein in addition
to shame it has frequent fears and fierce passions and endless remorse
and anxiety. But some are just like children, who, seeing malefactors in
the theatres in golden tunics and purple robes with crowns on and
dancing, admire them and marvel at them, thinking them happy, till they
see them goaded and lashed and issuing fire from their gaudy but cheap
garments.[829] For most wicked people, though they have great households
and conspicuous offices and great power, are yet being secretly punished
before they are seen to be murdered or hurled down rocks, which is
rather the climax and end of their punishment than the punishment
itself. For as Plato tells us that Herodicus the Selymbrian having
fallen into consumption, an incurable disease, was the first of mankind
to mix exercise with the art of healing, and so prolonged his own life
and that of others suffering from the same disease, so those wicked
persons who seem to avoid immediate punishment, receive a longer and not
slower punishment, not later but extending over a wider period; for they
are not punished in their old age, but rather grow old in perpetual
punishment. I speak of course of long time as a human being, for to the
gods all the period of man's life is as nothing, and so to them 'now and
not thirty years ago' means no more than with us torturing or hanging a
malefactor in the evening instead of the morning would mean; especially
as man is shut up in life as in a prison from which there is no egress
or escape, and though doubtless during his life he has much feasting and
business and gifts and favours and amusement, yet, just like people
playing at dice or draughts in a prison, the rope is all the time
hanging over his head."[830]

§ X. "And indeed what prevents our asserting that people in prison under
sentence of death are not punished till their heads are cut off, or that
the person who has taken hemlock, and walks about till he feels it is
getting into his legs, suffers not at all till he is deprived of
sensation by the freezing and curdling of his blood, if we consider the
last moment of punishment all the punishment, and ignore all the
intermediate sufferings and fears and anxiety and remorse, the destiny
of every guilty wretch? That would be arguing that the fish that has
swallowed the hook is not caught, till we see it boiled by the cook or
sliced at table. For every wrong-doer is liable to punishment, and soon
swallows the pleasantness of his wrong-doing like a bait, while his
conscience still vexes and troubles him,

  "As through the sea the impetuous tunny darts."

For the recklessness and audacity of vice is strong and rampant till the
crime is committed, but afterwards, when the passion subsides like a
storm, it becomes timid and dejected and a prey to fears and
superstitions. So that Stesichorus in his account of Clytæmnestra's
dream may have represented the facts and real state of the case, where
he says, "A dragon seemed to appear to her with its lofty head smeared
all over with blood, and out of it seemed to come king Orestes the
grandson of Plisthenes." For visions in dreams, and apparitions during
the day, and oracles, and lightning, and whatever is thought to come
from the deity, bring tempests of apprehension to the guilty. So they
say that one time Apollodorus in a dream saw himself flayed by the
Scythians, and then boiled, and that his heart out of the caldron spoke
to him in a low voice and said, "I am the cause of this;" and at another
time he dreamed that he saw his daughters running round him in a circle
all on fire and in flames. And Hipparchus the son of Pisistratus, a
little before his death, dreamt that Aphrodite threw some blood on his
face out of a certain phial. And the friends of Ptolemy Ceraunus dreamed
that he was summoned for trial by Seleucus, and that the judges were
vultures and wolves, who tore his flesh and distributed it wholesale
among his enemies. And Pausanias at Byzantium, having sent for Cleonice
a free-born maiden, intending to outrage her and pass the night with
her, being seized with some alarm or suspicion killed her, and
frequently saw her in his dreams saying to him, "Come near for
judgement, lust is most assuredly a grievous bane to men," and as this
apparition did not cease, he sailed, it seems, to Heraclea to the place
where the souls of the dead could be summoned, and by propitiations and
sacrifices called up the soul of the maiden, and she appeared to him and
told him that this trouble would end when he got to Lacedæmon, and
directly he got there he died."[831]

§ XI. "And so, if nothing happens to the soul after death, but that
event is the end of all enjoyment or punishment, one would be rather
inclined to say that the deity was lax and indulgent in quickly
punishing the wicked and depriving them of life. For even if we were to
say that the wicked had no other trouble in a long life, yet, when their
wrong-doing was proved to bring them no profit or enjoyment, no good or
adequate return for their many and great anxieties, the consciousness of
that would be quite enough to throw[832] their mind off its balance. So
they record of Lysimachus that he was so overcome by thirst that he
surrendered himself and his forces to the Getæ for some drink, but after
he had drunk and bethought him that he was now a captive, he said,
"Alas! How guilty am I for so brief a gratification to lose so great a
kingdom!" And yet it is very difficult to resist a necessity of nature.
But when a man, either for the love of money, or for political place or
power, or carried away by some amorous propensity, does some lawless and
dreadful deed, and, after his eager desire is satisfied, sees in process
of time that only the base and terrible elements of his crime remain,
while nothing useful, or necessary, or advantageous has flowed from it,
is it not likely that the idea would often present itself to him that,
moved by vain-glory, or for some illiberal and unlovely pleasure, he had
violated the greatest and noblest rights of mankind, and had filled his
life with shame and trouble? For as Simonides used to say playfully that
he always found his money-chest full but his gratitude-chest empty,[833]
so the wicked contemplating their own vice soon find out that their
gratification is joyless and hopeless,[834] and ever attended by fears
and griefs and gloomy memories, and suspicions about the future, and
distrust about the present. Thus we hear Ino, repenting for what she had
done, saying on the stage,

  "Dear women, would that I could now inhabit
   For the first time the house of Athamas,
   Guiltless of any of my awful deeds!"[835]

It is likely that the soul of every wicked person will meditate in this
way, and consider how it can escape the memory of its ill-deeds, and lay
its conscience to sleep, and become pure, and live another life over
again from the beginning. For there is no confidence, or reality, or
continuance, or security, in what wickedness proposes to itself, unless
by Zeus we shall say that evil-doers are wise, but wherever the greedy
love of wealth or pleasure or violent envy dwells with hatred and
malignity, there will you also see and find stationed superstition, and
remissness for labour, and cowardice in respect to death, and sudden
caprice in the passions, and vain-glory and boasting. Those that censure
them frighten them, and they even fear those that praise them as wronged
by their deceit, and as most hostile to the bad because they readily
praise those they think good. For as in the case of ill-tempered steel
the hardness of vice is rotten, and its strength easily shattered. So
that in course of time, understanding their real selves, they are vexed
and disgusted with their past life and abhor it. For if a bad man who
restores property entrusted to his care, or becomes surety for a friend,
or contributes very generously and liberally to his country out of love
of glory or honour, at once repents and is sorry for what he has done
from the fickleness and changeableness of his mind; and if men applauded
in the theatres directly afterwards groan, their love of glory subsiding
into love of money; shall we suppose that those who sacrificed men to
tyrannies and conspiracies as Apollodorus did, or that those who robbed
their friends of money as Glaucus the son of Epicydes did,[836] never
repented, or loathed themselves, or regretted their past misdeeds? For
my part, if it is lawful to say so, I do not think evil-doers need any
god or man to punish them, for the marring and troubling of all their
life by vice is in itself adequate punishment."

§ XII. "But consider now whether I have not spoken too long." Then Timon
said, "Perhaps you have, considering what remains and the time it will
take. For now I am going to start the last question, as if it were a
combatant in reserve, since the other two questions have been debated
sufficiently. For as to the charge and bold accusation that Euripides
brings against the gods, for visiting the sins of the parents upon the
children, consider that even those of us who are silent agree with
Euripides. For if the guilty were punished themselves there would be no
further need to punish the innocent, for it is not fair to punish even
the guilty twice for the same offence, whereas if the gods through
easiness remit the punishment of the wicked, and exact it later on from
the innocent, they do not well to compensate for their tardiness by
injustice. Such conduct resembles the story told of Æsop's coming to
this very spot,[837] with money from Croesus, to offer a splendid
sacrifice to the god, and to give four minæ to each of the Delphians.
And some quarrel or difference belike ensuing between him and the
Delphians here, he offered the sacrifice, but sent the money back to
Sardis, as though the Delphians were not worthy to receive that benefit,
so they fabricated against him a charge of sacrilege, and put him to
death by throwing him headlong down yonder rock called Hyampia. And in
consequence the god is said to have been wroth with them, and to have
brought dearth on their land, and all kinds of strange diseases, so that
they went round at the public festivals of the Greeks, and invited by
proclamation whoever wished to take satisfaction of them for Æsop's
death. And three generations afterwards came Idmon[838] a Samian, no
relation of Æsop's, but a descendant of those who had purchased Æsop as
a slave at Samos, and by giving him satisfaction the Delphians got rid
of their trouble. And it was in consequence of this, they say, that the
punishment of those guilty of sacrilege was transferred from Hyampia to
Nauplia.[839] And even great lovers of Alexander, as we are, do not
praise his destroying the city of the Branchidæ and putting everybody in
it to death because their great-grandfathers betrayed the temple at
Miletus.[840] And Agathocles, the tyrant of Syracuse, laughing and
jeering at the Corcyræans for asking him why he wasted their island,
replied, "Because, by Zeus, your forefathers welcomed Odysseus." And
when the people of Ithaca likewise complained of his soldiers carrying
off their sheep, he said, "Your king came to us, and actually put out
the shepherd's eye to boot."[841] And is it not stranger still in Apollo
punishing the present inhabitants of Pheneus, by damming up the channel
dug to carry off their water,[842] and so flooding the whole of their
district, because a thousand years ago, they say, Hercules carried off
to Pheneus the oracular tripod? and in telling the Sybarites that the
only end of their troubles would be propitiating by their ruin on three
occasions the wrath of Leucadian Hera? And indeed it is no long time
since the Locrians have ceased sending maidens[843] to Troy,

  "Who without upper garments and barefooted,
   Like slave-girls, in the early morning swept
   Around Athene's altar all unveiled,
   Till old age came upon them with its burdens,"

all because Ajax violated Cassandra. Where is the reason or justice in
all this? Nor do we praise the Thracians who to this day, in honour of
Orpheus, mark their wives;[844] nor the barbarians on the banks of the
Eridanus who, they say, wear mourning for Phäethon. And I think it would
be still more ridiculous if the people living at the time Phäethon
perished had neglected him, and those who lived five or ten generations
after his tragic death had begun the practice of wearing mourning and
grieving for him. And yet this would be only folly, there would be
nothing dreadful or fatal about it, but what should make the anger of
the gods subside at once and then afterwards, like some rivers, burst
out against others till they completely ruin them?

§ XIII. Directly he left off, fearing that if he began again he would
introduce more and greater absurdities, I asked him, "Well, do you
believe all this to be true?" And he replied, "If not all, but only
some, of it is true, do you not think that the subject presents the same
difficulty?" "Perhaps," said I, "it is as with those in a raging fever,
whether they have few or many clothes on the bed they are equally hot or
nearly so, yet to ease them we shall do well to remove some of the
clothes; but let us waive this point, if you don't like the line of
argument, though a good deal of what you have said seems myth and fable,
and let us recall to our minds the recent festival in honour of Apollo
called Theoxenia,[845] and the noble share in it which the heralds
expressly reserve for the descendants of Pindar, and how grand and
pleasant it seemed to you." "Who could help being pleased," said he,
"with such a delightful honour, so Greek and breathing the simple spirit
of antiquity, had he not, to use Pindar's own phrase, 'a black heart
forged when the flame was cold?'" "I pass over then," said I, "the
similar proclamation at Sparta, 'After the Lesbian singer,' in honour
and memory of old Terpander, for it is a similar case. But you
yourselves certainly lay claim to be better than other Boeotians as
descended from Opheltes,[846] and than other Phocians because of your
ancestor Daiphantus,[847] and you were the first to give me help and
assistance in preserving for the Lycormæ and Satilæi their hereditary
privilege of wearing crowns as descendants of Hercules, when I contended
that we ought to confirm the honours and favours of the descendants of
Hercules more especially because, though he was such a benefactor to the
Greeks, he had had himself no adequate favour or return." "You remind
me," he said, "of a noble effort, and one well worthy of a philosopher."
"Dismiss then," said I, "my dear fellow, your vehement accusation
against the gods, and do not be so vexed that some of a bad or evil
stock are punished by them, or else do not joy in and approve of the
honour paid to descent from a good stock. For it is unreasonable, if we
continue to show favour to a virtuous stock, to think punishment wrong
in the case of a criminal stock, or that it should not correspond with
the adequate reward of merit. And he that is glad to see the descendants
of Cimon honoured at Athens, but is displeased and indignant that the
descendants of Lachares or Aristo are in exile, is too soft and easy, or
rather too fault-finding and peevish with the gods, accusing them if the
descendants of a bad and wicked man are fortunate, and accusing them
also if the progeny of the bad are wiped off the face of the earth; thus
finding fault with the deity alike, whether the descendants of the good
or bad father are unfortunate."

§ XIV. "Let these remarks," I continued, "be your bulwarks as it were
against those excessively bitter and railing accusations. And taking up
again as it were the initial clue to our subject, which as it is about
the deity is dark and full of mazes and labyrinths, let us warily and
calmly follow the track to what is probable and plausible, for certainty
and truth are things very difficult to find even in every-day life. For
example, why are the children of those that have died of consumption or
dropsy bidden to sit with their feet in water till the dead body is
burnt? For that is thought to prevent the disease transferring itself to
them. Again, when a she-goat takes a bit of eringo into her mouth, why
do the whole herd stand still, till the goatherd comes up and takes it
out of her mouth? There are other properties that have connection and
communication, and that transfer themselves from one thing to another
with incredible[848] quickness and over immense distances. But we marvel
more at intervals of time than place. And yet is it more wonderful that
Athens should have been smitten with a plague[849] that started in
Arabia, and of which Pericles died and Thucydides fell sick, than that,
when the Delphians and Sybarites became wicked, vengeance should have
fallen on their descendants.[850] For properties have relations and
connections between ends and beginnings, and although the reason of them
may not be known by us, they silently perform their errand."

§ XV. "Moreover the public punishments of cities by the gods admits of a
just defence. For a city is one continuous entity, a sort of creature
that never changes from age, or becomes different by time, but is ever
sympathetic with and conformable to itself, and is answerable for
whatever it does or has done for the public weal, as long as the
community by its union and federal bonds preserves its unity. For he
that would make several, or rather any quantity of, cities out of one by
process of time would be like a person who made one human being several,
by regarding him now as an old man, now as a young man, now as a
stripling. Or rather this kind of reasoning resembles the arguments of
Epicharmus, from whom the sophists borrowed the piled-up method of
reasoning,[851] for example, he incurred the debt long ago, so he does
not owe it now, being a different person, or, he was invited to dinner
yesterday, but he comes uninvited to-day, for he is another person. And
yet age produces greater changes in any individual than it does commonly
in cities. For any one would recognize Athens again if he had not seen
it for thirty years, for the present habits and feelings of the people
there, their business, amusements, likes and dislikes, are just what
they were long ago; whereas a man's friend or acquaintance meeting him
after some time would hardly recognize his appearance, for the change of
character easily introduced by every thought and deed, feeling and
custom, produce a wonderful strangeness and novelty in the same person.
And yet a man is reckoned to be the same person from birth to death, and
similarly we think it right for a city always remaining the same to be
liable to reproach for the ill deeds of its former inhabitants, on the
same principle as it enjoys its ancient glory and power; or shall we,
without being aware of it, throw everything into Heraclitus' river, into
which he says a person cannot step twice,[852] since nature is ever
changing and altering everything?"

§ XVI. "If then a city is one continuous entity, so of course is a race
that starts from one beginning, that can trace back intimate union and
similarity of faculties, for that which is begot is not, like some
production of art, unlike the begetter, for it proceeds from him, and is
not merely produced by him, so that it appropriately receives his share,
whether that be honour or punishment. And if I should not seem to be
trifling, I should say that the bronze statue of Cassander melted down
by the Athenians, and the body of Dionysius thrown out of their
territory by the Syracusans after his death, were treated more unjustly
than punishing their posterity would have been. For there was none of
the nature of Cassander in the statue, and the soul of Dionysius had
left his dead body before this outrage, whereas Nysæus and
Apollocrates,[853] Antipater and Philip,[854] and similarly other sons
of wicked parents had innate in them a good deal of their fathers, and
that no listless or inactive element, but one by which they lived and
were nourished, and by which their ideas were controlled. Nor is it at
all strange or absurd that some should have their fathers'
characteristics. And to speak generally, as in surgery whatever is
useful is also just, and that person would be ridiculous who should say
it was unjust to cauterize the thumb when the hip-joints were in pain,
and to lance the stomach when the liver was inflamed, or when oxen were
tender in their hoofs to anoint the tips of their horns, so he that
looks for any other justice in punishment than curing vice, and is
dissatisfied if surgery is employed to one part to benefit another, as
surgeons open a vein to relieve ophthalmia, can see nothing beyond the
evidence of the senses, and does not remember that even a schoolmaster
by correcting one lad admonishes others, and that by decimation a
general makes his whole army obey. And so not only by one part to
another comes benefit, but also to the soul through the soul, even more
often than to the body through the body, come certain dispositions, and
vices or improvement of character. For just as it is likely in the case
of the body that the same feelings and changes will take place, so the
soul, being worked upon by fancies, naturally becomes better or worse
according as it has more confidence or fear."

§ XVII. While I was thus speaking, Olympicus interposed, and said, "You
seem in your argument to assume the important assumption of the
permanence of the soul." I replied, "You too concede it, or rather did
concede it. For that the deity deals with everyone according to his
merit has been the assumption of our argument from the beginning." Then
said he, "Do you think that it follows, because the gods notice our
actions and deal with us accordingly, that souls are either altogether
imperishable, or for some time survive dissolution?" Then said I, "Not
exactly so, my good sir, but is the deity so little and so attached to
trifles, if we have nothing divine in ourselves, nothing resembling him,
nothing lasting or sure, but that we all do fade as a leaf, as
Homer[855] says, and die after a brief life, as to take the
trouble--like women that tend and cultivate their gardens of Adonis[856]
in pots--to create souls to flourish in a delicate body having no
stability only for a day, and then to be annihilated at once[857] by any
occasion? And if you please, leaving the other gods out of the question,
consider the case of our god here.[858] Does it seem likely to you that,
if he knew that the souls of the dead perish immediately, and glide out
of their bodies like mist or smoke, he would enjoin many propitiatory
offerings for the departed and honours for the dead, merely cheating and
beguiling those that believed in him? For my own part, I shall never
abandon my belief in the permanence of the soul, unless some second
Hercules[859] shall come and take away the tripod of the Pythian
Priestess, and abolish and destroy the oracle. For as long as many such
oracles are still given, as was said to be given to Corax of Naxos
formerly, it is impious to declare that the soul dies." Then said
Patrocleas, "What oracle do you refer to? Who was this Corax? To me both
the occurrence and name are quite strange." "That cannot be," said I,
"but I am to blame for using the surname instead of the name. For he
that killed Archilochus in battle was called Calondes, it seems, but his
surname was Corax. He was first rejected by the Pythian Priestess, as
having slain a man sacred to the Muses, but after using many entreaties
and prayers, and urging pleas in defence of his act, he was ordered to
go to the dwelling of Tettix, and appease the soul of Archilochus. Now
this place was Tænarum, for there they say Tettix the Cretan had gone
with a fleet and founded a city, and dwelt near the place where departed
souls were conjured up. Similarly also, when the Spartans were bidden by
the oracle to appease the soul of Pausanias, the necromancers were
summoned from Italy, and, after they had offered sacrifice, they got the
ghost out of the temple."

§ XVIII. "It is one and the same argument," I continued, "that confirms
the providence of the deity and the permanence of the soul of man, so
that you cannot leave one if you take away the other. And if the soul
survives after death, it makes the probability stronger that rewards or
punishments will be assigned to it. For during life the soul struggles,
like an athlete, and when the struggle is over, then it gets its
deserts. But what rewards or punishments the soul gets when by itself in
the unseen world for the deeds done in the body has nothing to do with
us that are alive, and is perhaps not credited by us, and certainly
unknown to us; whereas those punishments that come on descendants and on
the race are evident to all that are alive, and deter and keep back many
from wickedness. For there is no more disgraceful or bitter punishment
than to see our children in misfortune through our faults, and if the
soul of an impious or lawless man could see after death, not his statues
or honours taken from him, but his children or friends or race in great
adversity owing to him, and paying the penalty for his misdeeds, no one
would ever persuade him, could he come to life again, to be unjust and
licentious, even for the honours of Zeus. I could tell you a story on
this head, which I recently heard, but I hesitate to do so, lest you
should regard it only as a myth; I confine myself therefore to
probability." "Pray don't," said Olympicus, "let us have your story."
And as the others made the same request, I said, "Permit me first to
finish my discourse according to probability, and then, if you like, I
will set my myth a going, if it is a myth."

§ XIX. Bion says the deity in punishing the children of the wicked for
their fathers' crimes is more ridiculous than a doctor administering a
potion to a son or grandson for a father's or grandfather's disease. But
the cases, though in some respects similar and like, are in others
dissimilar. For to cure one person of a disease does not cure another,
nor is one any better, when suffering from ophthalmia or fever, by
seeing another anointed or poulticed. But the punishments of evil-doers
are exhibited to everybody for this reason, that it is the function of
justice, when it is carried out as reason dictates, to check some by the
punishment of others. So that Bion did not see in what respect his
comparison touched our subject. For sometimes, when a man falls into a
grievous but not incurable malady, which afterwards by intemperance and
negligence ruins his constitution and kills him, is not his son, who is
not supposed to be suffering from the same malady but only to have a
predisposition for it, enjoined to a careful manner of living by his
medical man, or friend, or intelligent trainer in gymnastics, or honest
guardian, and recommended to abstain from fish and pastry, wine and
women, and to take medicine frequently, and to go in for training in the
gymnasiums, and so to dissipate and get rid of the small seeds of what
might be a serious malady, if he allowed it to come to a head? Do we not
indeed give advice of this kind to the children of diseased fathers or
mothers, bidding them take care and be cautious and not to neglect
themselves, but at once to arrest the first germ, of the malady, nipping
it in the bud while removable, and before it has got a firm footing in
the constitution?" "Certainly we do," said all the company. "We are not
then," I continued, "acting in a strange or ridiculous but in a
necessary and useful way, in arranging their exercise and food and
physic for the sons of epileptic or atrabilious or gouty people, not
when they are ill, but to prevent their becoming so. For the offspring
of a poor constitution does not require punishment, but it does require
medical treatment and care, and if any one stigmatizes this, because it
curtails pleasure and involves some self-denial and pain, as a
punishment inflicted by cowardice and timidity, we care not for his
opinion. Can it be right to tend and care for the body that has an
hereditary predisposition to some malady, and are we to neglect the
growth and spread in the young character of hereditary taint of vice,
and to dally with it, and wait till it be plainly mixed up with the
feelings, and, to use the language of Pindar, "produce malignant fruit
in the heart?"

§ XX. Or is the deity in this respect no wiser than Hesiod, who exhorts
and advises, "not to beget children on our return from a sad funeral,
but after a banquet with the gods,"[860] as though not vice or virtue
only, but sorrow or joy and all other propensities, came from
generation, to which the poet bids us come gay and agreeable and
sprightly. But it is not Hesiod's function, or the work of human wisdom,
but it belongs to the deity, to discern and accurately distinguish
similarities and differences of character, before they become obvious by
resulting in crime through the influence of the passions. For the young
of bears and wolves and apes manifest from their birth the nature innate
in them in all its naked simplicity; whereas mankind, under the
influence of customs and opinions and laws, frequently conceal their bad
qualities and imitate what is good, so as altogether to obliterate and
escape from the innate taint of vice, or to be undetected for a long
time, throwing the veil of craft round their real nature, so that we are
scarce conscious of their villainy till we feel the blow or smart of
some unjust action, so that we are in fact only aware that there is such
a thing as injustice when men act unjustly, or as vice when men act
viciously, or as cowardice when men run away, just as if one were to
suppose that scorpions had a sting only when they stung us, or that
vipers were venomous only when they bit us, which would be a very silly
idea. For every bad man is not bad only when he breaks out into crime,
but he has the seeds of vice in his nature, and is only vicious in act
when he has opportunity and means, as opportunity makes the thief
steal,[861] and the tyrant violate the laws. But the deity is not
ignorant of the nature and disposition of every man, inasmuch as by his
very nature he can read the soul better than the body, and does not wait
to punish violence in the act, or shamelessness in the tongue, or
lasciviousness in the members. For he does not retaliate upon the
wrong-doer as having been ill-treated by him, nor is he angry with the
robber as having been plundered by him, nor does he hate the adulterer
as having himself suffered from his licentiousness, but it is to cure
him that he often punishes the adulterous or avaricious or unjust man in
embryo, before he has had time to work out all his villainy, as we try
to stop epileptic fits before they come on.

§ XXI. Just now we were dissatisfied that the wicked were punished late
and tardily, whereas at present we find fault with the deity for
correcting the character and disposition of same before they commit
crime, from our ignoring that the future deed may be worse and more
dreadful than the past, and the hidden intention than the overt act; for
we are not able fully to understand the reasons why it is better to
leave some alone in their ill deeds, and to arrest others in the
intention; just as no doubt medicine is not appropriate in the case of
some patients, which would be beneficial to others not ill, but yet
perhaps in a more dangerous condition still. And so the gods do not
visit all the offences of parents on their children, but if a good man
is the son of a bad one, as the son of a sickly parent is sometimes of a
good constitution, he is exempt from the punishment of his race, as not
being a participator in its viciousness. But if a young man imitates his
vicious race it is only right that he should inherit the punishment of
their ill deeds, as he would their debts. For Antigonus was not punished
for Demetrius, nor, of the old heroes,[862] Phyleus for Augeas, or
Nestor for Neleus, for though their sires were bad they were good, but
those whose nature liked and approved the vices of their ancestors,
these justice punished, taking vengeance on their similarity in
viciousness. For as the warts and moles and freckles of parents often
skip a generation, and reappear in the grandsons and granddaughters, and
as a Greek woman, that had a black baby and so was accused of adultery,
found out that she was the great granddaughter of an Ethiopian,[863] and
as the son of Pytho the Nisibian who recently died, and who was said to
trace his descent to the Sparti,[864] had the birthmark on his body of
the print of a spear the token of his race, which though long dormant
had come up again as out of the deep, so frequently earlier generations
conceal and suppress the mental idiosyncrasies and passions of their
race, which afterwards nature causes to break out in other members of
the family, and so displays the family bent either to vice or virtue."

§ XXII. When I had said thus much I was silent, but Olympicus smiled and
said, "We do not praise you, lest we should seem to forget your promised
story, as though what you had advanced was adequate proof enough, but we
will give our opinion when we have heard it." Then I began as follows.
"Thespesius of Soli, an intimate friend of that Protogenes[865] who
lived in this city with us for some time, had been very profligate
during the early part of his life, and had quickly run through his
property, and for some time owing to his straits had given himself up to
bad practices, when repenting of his old ways, and following the pursuit
of riches, he resembled those profligate husbands that pay no attention
to their wives while they live with them, but get rid of them, and then,
after they have married other men, do all they can wickedly to seduce
them. Abstaining then from nothing dishonourable that could bring either
enjoyment or gain, in no long time he got together no great amount of
property, but a very great reputation for villainy. But what most
damaged his character was the answer he received from the oracle of
Amphilochus.[866] For he sent it seems a messenger to consult the god
whether he would live the rest of his life better, and the answer was he
would do better after his death. And indeed this happened in a sense not
long after. For he fell headlong down from a great height, and though he
had received no wound nor even a blow, the fall did for him, but three
days after (just as he was about to be buried) he recovered. He soon
picked up his strength again, and went home, and so changed his manner
of life that people would hardly credit it. For the Cilicians say that
they know nobody who was in those days more fairdealing in business, or
more devout to the deity, or more disagreeable to his enemies, or more
faithful to his friends; insomuch that all who had any dealings with him
desired to hear the reason of this change, not thinking that so great a
reformation of character could have proceeded from chance, and their
idea was correct, as his narrative to Protogenes and others of his great
friends showed. For he told them that, when his soul left the body, the
change he first underwent was as if he were a pilot thrown violently
into the sea out of a ship. Then raising himself up a little, he thought
he recovered the power of breathing again altogether, and looked round
him in every direction, as if one eye of the soul was open. But he saw
none of the things he had ever seen before, but stars enormous in size
and at immense distance from one another, sending forth a wonderful and
intense brightness of colour, so that the soul was borne along and moved
about everywhere quickly and easily, like a ship is fair weather. But
omitting most of the sights he saw, he said that the souls of the dead
mounted into the air, which yielded to them and formed fiery bubbles,
and then, when each bubble quietly broke, they assumed human forms,
light in weight but with different kinds of motion, for some leapt about
with wonderful agility and darted straight upwards, while others like
spindles flitted round all together in a circle, some in an upward
direction, some in a downward, with mixed and confused motion, hardly
stopping at all, or only after a very long time. As to most of these he
was ignorant who they were, but he saw two or three that he knew, and
tried to approach them and talk with them, but they would not listen to
him, and did not seem to be in their right minds, but out of their
senses and distraught, avoiding every sight and touch, and at first
turned round and round alone, but afterwards meeting many other souls
whirling round and in the same condition as themselves, they moved about
promiscuously with no particular object in view, and uttered
inarticulate sounds, like yells, mixed with wailing and terror. Other
souls in the upper part of the air seemed joyful, and frequently
approached one another in a friendly way, and avoided those troubled
souls, and seemed to mark their displeasure by keeping themselves to
themselves, and their joy and delight by extension and expansion. At
last he said he saw the soul of a relation, that he thought he knew but
was not quite sure, as he died when he was a boy, which came up to him
and said to him, "Welcome, Thespesius." And he wondering, and saying
that his name was not Thespesius but Aridæus, the soul replied, "That
was your old name, but henceforth it will be Thespesius. For assuredly
you are not dead, but by the will of the gods are come here with your
intellect, for the rest of your soul you have left in the body like an
anchor; and as a proof of what I say both now and hereafter notice that
the souls of the dead have no shadow and do not move their eyelids."
Thespesius, on hearing these words, pulled himself somewhat more
together again, and began to use his reason, and looking more closely he
noticed that an indistinct and shadow-like line was suspended over him,
while the others shone all round and were transparent, but were not all
alike; for some were like the full-moon at its brightest, throwing out
one smooth even and continuous colour, others had spots or light marks
here and there, while others were quite variegated and strange to the
sight, with black spots like snakes, while others again had dim

Then the kinsman of Thespesius (for there is nothing to prevent our
calling the souls by the name of the persons), pointed out everything,
and told him that Adrastea, the daughter of Necessity and Zeus, was
placed in the highest position to punish all crimes, and no criminal was
either so great or so small as to be able to escape her either by fraud
or violence. But, as there were three kinds of punishment, each had its
own officer and administering functionary. "For speedy Vengeance
undertakes the punishment of those that are to be corrected at once in
the body and through their bodies, and she mildly passes by many
offences that only need expiation; but if the cure of vice demands
further pains, then the deity hands over such criminals after death to
Justice, and those whom Justice rejects as altogether incurable, Erinnys
(the third and fiercest of Adrastea's officers), pursues as they are
fleeing and wandering about in various directions, and with pitiless
severity utterly undoes them all, and thrusts them down to a place not
to be seen or spoken about. And, of all these punishments, that which is
administered in this life by Vengeance is most like those in use among
the barbarians. For as among the Persians they pluck off and scourge the
garments and tiaras of those that are to be punished, while the
offenders weep and beg them to cease, so most punishments by fine or
bodily chastisement have no sharp touch, nor do they reach vice itself,
but are only for show and sentiment. And whoever goes from this world to
that incorrigible and impure, Justice takes him aside, naked as he is in
soul, and unable to veil or hide or conceal his villainy, but descried
all round and in all points by everybody, and shows him first to his
good parents, if such they were, to let them see what a wretch he is and
how unworthy of his ancestors; but if they were wicked too, seeing them
punished and himself being seen by them, he is chastised for a long time
till he is purged of each of his bad propensities by sufferings and
pains, which as much exceed in magnitude and intensity all sufferings in
the flesh, as what is real is more vivid than a dream. But the scars and
marks of the stripes for each bad propensity are more visible in some
than in others. Observe also, he continued, the different and various
colours of the souls. That dark dirty-brown colour is the pigment of
illiberality and covetousness, and the blood-red the sign of cruelty and
savageness, and where the blue is there sensuality and love of pleasure
are not easily eradicated, and that violet and livid colour marks malice
and envy, like the dark liquid ejected by the cuttle fish. For as during
life vice produces these colours by the soul being acted upon by
passions and reacting upon the body, so here it is the end of
purification and correction when they are toned down, and the soul
becomes altogether bright and one colour. But as long as these colours
remain, there are relapses of the passions accompanied by palpitation
and throbbing of the heart, in some faint and soon suppressed, in others
more violent and lasting. And some of these souls by being again and
again corrected recover their proper disposition and condition, while
others again by their violent ignorance and excessive love of
pleasure[867] are carried into the bodies of animals; for one by
weakness of reasoning power, and slowness of contemplation, is impelled
by the practical element in him to generation, while another, lacking an
instrument to satisfy his licentiousness, desires to gratify his
passions immediately, and to get that gratification through the medium
of the body; for here there is no real fruition, but only an imperfect
shadow and dream of incomplete pleasure."

After he had said this, Thespesius' kinsman hurried him at great speed
through immense space, as it seemed to him, though he travelled as
easily and straight as if he were carried on the wings of the sun's
rays. At last he got to an extensive and bottomless abyss, where his
strength left him, as he found was the case with the other souls there:
for keeping together and making swoops, like birds, they flitted all
round the abyss, but did not venture to pass over it. To internal view
it resembled the caverns of Bacchus, being beautiful throughout[868]
with trees and green foliage and flowers of all kinds, and it breathed a
soft and gentle air, laden with scents marvellously pleasant, and
producing the effect that wine does on those who are topers; for the
souls were elevated by its fragrance, and gay and blithe with one
another: and the whole spot was full of mirth and laughter, and such
songs as emanate from gaiety and enjoyment. And Thespesius' kinsman told
him that this was the way Dionysus went up to heaven by, and by which he
afterwards took up Semele, and it was called the place of Oblivion. But
he would not let Thespesius stay there, much as he wished, but forcibly
dragged him away, instructing and telling him that the intellect was
melted and moistened by pleasure, and that the irrational and corporeal
element being watered and made flesh stirs up the memory of the body,
from which comes a yearning and strong desire for generation, so called
from being an inclination to the earth,[869] when the soul is weighed
down with moisture.

Next Thespesius travelled as far in another direction, and seemed to see
a great crater into which several rivers emptied themselves, one whiter
than the foam of the sea or snow, another like the purple of the
rainbow, and others of various hues whose brightness was apparent at
some distance, but when he got nearer the air became thinner and the
colours grew dim, and the crater lost all its gay colours but white. And
he saw three genii sitting together in a triangular position, mixing the
rivers together in certain proportions. Then the guide of Thespesius'
soul told him, that Orpheus got as far as here, when he came in quest of
the soul of his wife,[870] and from not exactly remembering what he had
seen spread a false report among mankind, that the oracle at Delphi was
common to Apollo and Night, though Apollo had no communion with Night:
but this, pursued the guide, is an oracle common to Night and the Moon,
that utters forth its oracular knowledge in no particular part of the
world, nor has it any particular seat, but wanders about everywhere in
men's dreams and visions. Hence, as you see, dreams receive and
disseminate a mixture[871] of simple truth with deceit and error. But
the oracle of Apollo you do not know, nor can you see it, for the
earthiness of the soul does not suffer it to soar upwards, but keeps it
down in dependence on the body. And taking him nearer his guide tried to
show him the light from the tripod, which, as he said, shone as far as
Parnassus through the bosom of Themis, but though he desired to see it
he could not for its brightness, but as he passed by he heard the shrill
voice of a woman speaking in verse several things, among others, he
thought, telling the time of his death. That, said the genius, was the
voice of the Sibyl, who sang about the future as she was being borne
about in the Orb of the moon. Though desirous then to hear more, he was
conveyed into another direction by the violent motion of the moon, as if
he had been in the eddies of a whirlpool, so that he heard very little
more, only a prophecy about Mt. Vesuvius and that Dicæarchia[872] would
be destroyed by fire, and a short piece about the Emperor then
reigning,[873] that "though he was good he would lose his empire through

After this Thespesius and his guide turned to see those that were
undergoing punishment. And at first they saw only distressing and
pitiable sights, but after that, Thespesius, little expecting it, found
himself among his friends and acquaintances and kinsfolk who were being
punished, and undergoing dreadful sufferings and hideous and bitter
tortures, and who wept and wailed to him. And at last he descried his
father coming up out of a certain gulf covered with marks and scars,
stretching out his hands, and not allowed to keep silence, but compelled
by those that presided over his torture to confess that he had been an
accursed wretch and poisoned some strangers that had gold, and during
his lifetime had escaped the detection of everybody; but had been found
out here, and his guilt brought home to him, for which he had already
suffered much, and was being dragged on to suffer more. So great was his
consternation and fear that he did not dare to intercede or beg for his
father's release, but wishing to turn and flee he could no longer see
his gentle and kind guide, but he was thrust forward by some persons
horrible to look at, as if some dire necessity compelled him to go
through with the business, and saw that the shades of those that had
been notorious criminals and punished in their life-time were not so
severely tortured here or like the others, but had an incomplete[874]
though toilsome punishment for their irrational passions.[875] Whereas
those who under the mask and show of virtue had lived all their lives in
undetected vice were forced by their torturers with labour and pain to
turn their souls inside out, unnaturally wriggling and writhing about,
like the sea-scolopendras who, when they have swallowed the hook, turn
themselves inside out; but some of them their torturers flayed and
crimped so as to show their various inward vices which were only skinned
over, which were deep in their soul the principal part of man. And he
said he saw other souls, like snakes two or three or even more twined
together, devouring one another in malignity and malevolence for what
they had suffered or done in life. He said also that there were several
lakes running parallel, one of boiling gold, another most cold of lead,
another hard of iron, and several demons were standing by, like smiths,
who lowered down and drew up by turns with instruments the souls of
those whose criminality lay in insatiable cupidity. For when they were
red-hot and transparent through their bath in the lake of gold, the
demons thrust them into the lake of lead and dipped them in that; and
when they got congealed in it and hard as hail, they dipped them into
the lake of iron, and there they became wonderfully black, and broken
and crushed by the hardness of the iron, and changed their appearance,
and after that they were dipped again in the lake of gold, after
suffering, he said, dreadful agony in all these changes of torment. But
he said those souls suffered most piteously of all that, when they
seemed to have escaped justice, were arrested again, and these were
those whose crimes had been visited on their children or descendants.
For whenever one of these latter happened to come up, he fell into a
rage and cried out, and showed the marks of what he had suffered, and
upbraided and pursued the soul of the parent, that wished to fly and
hide himself but could not. For quickly did the ministers of torture
pursue them, and hurry them back again to Justice,[876] wailing all the
while on account of their fore-knowledge of what their punishment would
be. And to some of them he said many of their posterity clung at once,
and just like bees or bats stuck to them, and squeaked and gibbered[877]
in their rage at the memory of what they had suffered owing to them.
Last of all he saw the souls of those that were to come into the world a
second time, forcibly moulded and transformed into various kinds of
animals by artificers appointed for the very purpose with instruments
and blows, who broke off all the limbs of some, and only wrenched off
some of others, and polished others down or annihilated them altogether,
to fit them for other habits and modes of life. Among them he saw the
soul of Nero tortured in other ways, and pierced with red-hot nails. And
the artificers having taken it in hand and converted it into the
semblance of a Pindaric viper, which gets its way to life by gnawing
through its mother's womb, a great light, he said, suddenly shone, and a
voice came out of the light, ordering them to change it into something
milder, so they devised of it the animal that croaks about lakes and
marshes, for he had been punished sufficiently for his crimes, and now
deserved some favour at the hands of the gods, for he had freed Greece,
the noblest nation of his subjects and the best-beloved of the
gods.[878] So much did Thespesius behold, but as he intended to return a
horrible dread came upon him. For a woman, marvellous in appearance and
size, took hold of him and said to him, "Come here that you may the
better remember everything you have seen." And she was about to strike
him with a red-hot iron pin, such as the encaustic painters use,[879]
when another woman prevented her; and he was suddenly sucked up, as
through[880] a pipe, by a strong and violent wind, and lit upon his own
body, and woke up and found that he was close to his tomb.

    [806] In the temple at Delphi, the scene of the
    discussion, as we see later on, §§ vii. xii.

    [807] Reading [Greek: edokei] with Reiske.

    [808] Euripides, "Orestes," 420. Cf. "Ion," 1615.

    [809] Thucydides, iii. 38.

    [810] See the circumstances in Pausanias, iv. 17 and 22.

    [811] Compare Petronius, "Satyricon," 44: "Dii pedes
    lanatos habent." Compare also "Tibullus," i. 9. 4: "Sera
    tamen tacitis Poena venit pedibus."

    [812] Reading [Greek: maliota] (for [Greek: molis]) with

    [813] An allusion to the proverb [Greek: Opse Theôu
    aleousi myloi, aleousi de lepta]. See Erasmus, "Adagia,"
    p. 1864.

    [814] Cf. Plato, "Republic," 472 A.

    [815] See Note, "On Abundance of Friends," § ii.

    [816] Reading [Greek: ei gar].

    [817] Or _a world_.

    [818] See above, § ii.

    [819] Quoted also in "On restraining Anger," § ii.

    [820] It seems necessary to read either [Greek:
    porizein] with Mez, or [Greek: horizein] with

    [821] Compare Aristophanes, "Vespæ," 438.

    [822] See Pausanias, viii. 27.

    [823] Pindar.

    [824] Homer, "Iliad," xv. 641, 642.

    [825] See Thucydides, i. 127.

    [826] See Pausanias, v. 17; viii. 24; ix. 41; x. 29.

    [827] Hesiod, "Works and Days," 266.

    [828] Ibid. 265. Compare Pausanias, ii. 9; Ovid, A. A.
    i. 655, 656.

    [829] "Significat martyres Christianos, in tunica
    molesta fumantes."--_Reiske._

    [830] Like the sword of Damocles. See Horace, "Odes,"
    iii. 1. 17, 21.

    [831] See also Pausanias, iii. 17.

    [832] Surely [Greek: an anatrepoi] must be read.

    [833] Compare "On Curiosity," § x.

    [834] The reading is very doubtful. I adopt [Greek:
    hêdonês men euthus kenên charin, elpidos erêmon

    [835] Euripides, "Ino."

    [836] See Herodotus, vi. 86; Juvenal, xiii, 199-207.

    [837] The company are in the temple at Delphi, be it

    [838] Called Iadmon in Herodotus, ii. 134, where this
    story is also told.

    [839] Wyttenbach suggests Daulis.

    [840] To Xerxes.

    [841] The allusion is to the well-known story of
    Odysseus and the Cyclops Polyphemus, who is supposed to
    have dwelt in the island of Sicily, where Agathocles was

    [842] See Pausanias, viii. 14.

    [843] Two were to be sent for 1,000 continuous years. So
    the Oracle.

    [844] See Pausanias ix. 30; Herodotus, v. 6.

    [845] See Pausanias, vii. 27; Athenæus, 372 A.

    [846] A former king of Thebes. See Pausanias, ix. 5.

    [847] Called Daiphantes, Pausanias, x. 1.

    [848] Reading [Greek: apistois] with Xylander.

    [849] The famous plague. See Thucydides, ii. 47-54.

    [850] The allusion is to the circumstances mentioned in
    § xii.

    [851] "Videtur idem cum _sorita_ esse."--_Reiske._

    [852] Compare our author, "De EI a pud Delphos," §
    xviii. See also Seneca, "Epist.," lviii. p. 483; and
    Plato, "Cratylus," 402 A.

    [853] Sons of Dionysius.

    [854] Sons of Cassander.

    [855] "Iliad" vi. 146-149.

    [856] Compare Plato, "Phædrus," 276 B. These gardens of
    Adonis were what we might call flowerpot gardens. See
    Erasmus, "Adagia."

    [857] [Greek: euthys] seems the best reading, [Greek:
    aei] is flat.

    [858] Apollo.

    [859] See § xii.

    [860] Hesiod, "Works and Days," 735, 736.

    [861] Compare the French Proverb, "L'occasion fait le
    larron." And Juvenal's "Nemo repente fuit turpissimus."

    [862] So Reiske very ingeniously.

    [863] A rather far-fetched pedigree.

    [864] See Pansanias, viii. 11; ix. 5, 10. See also Ovid,
    "Metamorphoses," Book iii. 100-130.

    [865] Compare "On Love," § ii.

    [866] At Mallus, in Cilicia. See Pausanias, i. 34.

    [867] Reading [Greek: philêdonias ischys] with Reiske.

    [868] Reading [Greek: diapepoikilmenon on] with

    [869] A paronomasia on [Greek: genesis] as if [Greek:
    epi gên neusis]. We cannot English it.

    [870] Eurydice.

    [871] "[Greek: mignymenon], Turn, et Bong.," _Reiske._
    Surely the right reading.

    [872] Latin Puteoli.

    [873] Vespasian. See Suetonius, "Vespasian," ch. 24, as
    to the particulars of his death.

    [874] The reading is very doubtful. I have followed
    Wyttenbach in reading [Greek: tribomenên tribên atelê].

    [875] Such as that of the Danaides. So Wyttenbach.

    [876] Adopting the arrangement of Wyttenbach.

    [877] Compare Homer, "Odyssey," xxiv. 5-10.

    [878] See Pausanias, vii. 17, for a sneaking kindness
    for Nero.

    [879] See Athenæus, 687 B.

    [880] Reading [Greek: dia] with Reiske.


§ I. Plato in his Laws[881] does not permit neighbours to use one
another's water, unless they have first dug for themselves as far as the
clay, and reached ground that is unsuitable for a well. For clay, having
a rich and compact nature, absorbs the water it receives, and does not
let it pass through. But he allows people that cannot make a well of
their own to use their neighbour's water, for the law ought to relieve
necessity. Ought there not also to be a law about money, that people
should not borrow of others, nor go to other people's sources of income,
until they have first examined their own resources at home, and
collected, as by drops, what is necessary for their use? But nowadays
from luxury and effeminacy and lavish expenditure people do not use
their own resources, though they have them, but borrow from others at
great interest without necessity. And what proves this very clearly is
the fact that people do not lend money to the needy, but only to those
who, wanting an immediate supply, bring a witness and adequate security
for their credit, so that they can be in no actual necessity of

§ II. Why pay court to the banker or trader? Borrow from your own table.
You have cups, silver dishes, pots and pans. Use them in your need.
Beautiful Aulis or Tenedos will furnish you with earthenware instead,
purer than silver, for they will not smell strongly and unpleasantly of
interest, a kind of rust that daily soils your sumptuousness, nor will
they remind you of the calends and the new moon, which, though the most
holy of days, the money-lenders make ill-omened and hateful. For those
who instead of selling them put their goods out at pawn cannot be saved
even by Zeus the Protector of Property: they are ashamed to sell, they
are not ashamed to pay interest on their goods when out at pawn. And yet
the famous Pericles made the ornament of Athene, which weighed forty
talents of fine gold, removable at will, for "so," he said, "we can use
the gold in war, and at some other time restore as costly a one." So
should we too in our necessities, as in a siege, not receive a garrison
imposed on us by a hostile money-lender, nor allow our goods to go into
slavery; but stripping our table, our bed, our carriages, and our diet,
of superfluities, we should keep ourselves free, intending to restore
all those things again, if we have good luck.

§ III. So the Roman matrons offered their gold and ornaments as
first-fruits to Pythian Apollo, out of which a golden cup was made and
sent to Delphi;[883] and the Carthaginian matrons had their heads shorn,
and with the hair cut off made cords for the machines and engines to be
used in defence of their country.[884] But we being ashamed of
independence enslave ourselves to covenants and conditions, when we
ought to restrict and confine ourselves to what is useful, and dock or
sell useless superfluities, to build a temple of liberty for ourselves,
our wives, and children. The famous Artemis at Ephesus gives asylum and
security from their creditors to debtors, when they take refuge in her
temple; but the asylum and sanctuary of frugality is everywhere open to
the sober-minded, affording them joyful and honourable and ample space
for much ease. For as the Pythian Priestess told the Athenians at the
time of the Median war that the god had given them wooden walls,[885]
and they left the region and city, their goods and houses, and took
refuge in their ships for liberty, so the god gives us a wooden table,
and earthenware plate, and coarse garments, if we wish to live free.
Care not for fine horses or chariots with handsome harness, adorned with
gold[886] and silver, which swift interest will catch up and outrun, but
mounted on any chance donkey or nag flee from the hostile and tyrannical
money-lender, not demanding like the Mede land and water,[887] but
interfering with your liberty, and lowering your status. If you pay him
not, he duns you; if you offer the money, he won't have it; if you are
selling anything, he cheapens the price; if you don't want to sell, he
forces you; if you sue him, he comes to terms with you; if you swear, he
hectors; if you go to his house, he shuts the door in your face; whereas
if you stay at home, he billets himself on you, and is ever rapping at
your door.

§ IV. How did Solon benefit the Athenians by ordaining that debtors
should no longer have to pay in person? For they are slaves to all
money-lenders,[888] and not to them only, what would there be so
monstrous in that? but to their slaves, who are insolent and savage
barbarians, such as Plato represents the fiery torturers and
executioners in Hades who preside over the punishment of the impious.
For they make the forum a hell for wretched debtors, and like vultures
devour and rend them limb from limb, "piercing into their bowels,"[889]
and stand over others and prevent their tasting their own grapes or
crops, as if they were so many Tantaluses. And as Darius sent Datis and
Artaphernes to Athens with manacles and chains in their hands for their
captives, so they bring into Greece boxes full of bonds and agreements,
like fetters, and visit the towns and scour the country round, sowing
not like Triptolemus harmless corn, but planting the toilsome and
prolific and never-ending roots of debts, which grow and spread all
round, and ruin and choke cities. They say that hares at once give birth
and suckle and conceive again, but the debts of these knaves and
barbarians give birth before they conceive; for at the very moment of
giving they ask back, and take up what they laid down, and lend what
they take for lending.

§ V. It is a saying among the Messenians, that "there is a Pylos before
Pylos, and another Pylos too." So it may be said with respect to these
money-lenders, "there is interest before interest, and other interest
too." Then of course they laugh at those natural philosophers who say
that nothing can come of nothing, for they get interest on what neither
is nor was; and they think it disgraceful to farm out the taxes, though
the law allows it, while they themselves against the law exact tribute
for what they lend, or rather, if one is to say the truth, defraud as
they lend, for he who receives less than he signs his name for is
defrauded. The Persians indeed think lying a secondary crime, but debt a
principal one, for lying frequently follows upon debt, but money-lenders
tell more lies, for they make fraudulent entries in their account-books,
writing down that they have given so-and-so so much, when they have
really given less. And the only excuse for their lying is covetousness,
not necessity, not utter poverty, but insatiable greediness, the outcome
of which is without enjoyment and useless to themselves, and fatal to
their victims. For neither do they farm the fields which they rob their
debtors of, nor do they inhabit their houses when they have thrust them
out, nor use their tables or apparel, but first one is ruined, and then
a second is hunted down, for whom the first one serves as a decoy. For
the bane spreads and grows like a fire, to the destruction and ruin of
all who fall into their clutches, for it consumes one after another; and
the money-lender, who fans and feeds this flame to ensnare many, gets no
more advantage from it but that some time after he can take his
account-book and read how many he has sold up, how many turned out of
house and home, and track the sources of his wealth, which is ever
growing into a larger pile.

§ VI. And do not think I say this as an enemy proclaiming war against
the money-lenders,

  "For never did they lift my cows or horses,"[890]

but merely to prove to those who too readily borrow money what disgrace
and servitude it brings with it, and what extreme folly and weakness it
is. Have you anything? do not borrow, for you are not in a necessitous
condition. Have you nothing? do not borrow, for you will never be able
to pay back. Let us consider either case separately. Cato said to a
certain old man who was a wicked fellow, "My good sir, why do you add
the shame that comes from wickedness to old age, that has so many
troubles of its own?" So too do you, since poverty has so many troubles
of its own, not add the terrible distress that comes from borrowing
money and from debt; and do not take away from poverty its only
advantage over wealth, its freedom from corroding care. For the proverb
that says, "I cannot carry a goat, put an ox on my shoulder," has a
ridiculous ring. Unable to bear poverty, are you going to put on your
back a money-lender, a weight hard to carry even for a rich man? How
then, will you say, am I to maintain myself? Do you ask this, having two
hands, two legs, and a tongue, in short, being a man, to love and be
loved, to give and receive benefits? Can you not be a schoolmaster or
tutor, or porter, or sailor, or make coasting voyages? Any of these ways
of getting a livelihood is less disgraceful and difficult than to always
have to hear, "Pay me that thou owest."

§ VII. The well-known Rutilius went up to Musonius at Rome, and said to
him, "Musonius, Zeus Soter, whom you imitate and emulate, does not
borrow money." And Musonius smilingly answered, "Neither does he lend."
For you must know Rutilius, himself a lender, was bantering Musonius for
being a borrower. What Stoic inflatedness was all this! What need was
there to bring in Zeus Soter? For all nature teaches the same lesson.
Swallows do not borrow money, nor do ants, although nature has given
them no hands, or reason, or profession. But men have intellect in
excess, and so ingenious are they that they keep near them horses, and
dogs, and partridges, and jackdaws. Why then do you despair, who are as
impressible as a jackdaw, have as much voice as a partridge, and are as
noble as a dog, of getting some person to befriend you, by looking after
him, winning his affections, guarding him, fighting his battles? Do you
not see how many opportunities there are both on land and sea? As Crates

  "Miccylus and his wife, to ward off famine
   In these bad times, I saw both carding wool."

And King Antigonus asked Cleanthes, when he saw him at Athens after a
long interval, "Do you still grind, Cleanthes?" And he replied, "I do, O
king, but for my living, yet so as not to desert philosophy." Such was
the admirable spirit of the man who, coming from the mill and
kneading-trough, wrote with the hand that had baked and ground about the
gods, and the moon, and stars, and the sun. But those kinds of labour
are in our view servile! And so that we may appear free we borrow money,
and flatter and dance attendance on slaves, and give them dinners and
presents, and pay taxes as it were to them, not on account of our
poverty (for no one lends money to a poor man), but from our love of
lavish expenditure. For if we were content with things necessary for
subsistence, the race of money-lenders would be as extinct as Centaurs
and Gorgons are; it is luxury that has created them as much as
goldsmiths, and silversmiths, and perfumers, and dyers in bright
colours. For we do not owe money for bread and wine, but for estates,
and slaves, and mules, and dining-rooms, and tables, and for our lavish
public entertainments, in our unprofitable and thankless ambition. And
he that is once involved in debt remains in it all his time, like a
horse bitted and bridled that takes one rider after another, and there
is no escape to green pastures and meadows, but they wander about like
those demons who were driven out of heaven by the gods who are thus
described by Empedocles:--

  "Into the sea the force of heaven thrusts them,
   The sea rejects them back upon the land;
   To the sun's rays th' unresting earth remits them;
   The sun anon whirls them to heaven again."

So one after another usurer or trader gets hold of the poor wretch,
hailing either from Corinth, or Patræ, or Athens, till he gets set on to
by them all, and torn to bits, and cut into mince-meat as it were for
his interest. For as a person who is fallen into the mire must either
get up out of it or remain in it, and if he turns about in it, and
wallows in it, and bedabbles his body all over in it, he contracts only
the greater defilement, so by borrowing from one person to pay another
and changing their money-lenders they contract and incur fresh interest,
and get into greater liabilities, and closely resemble sufferers from
cholera, whose case does not admit of cure because they evacuate
everything they are ordered to take, and so ever add to the disease. So
these will not get cleansed from the disease of debt, but at regular
times in the year pay their interest with pain and agony, and then
immediately another creditor presents his little account, so again their
heads swim and ache, when they ought to have got rid of their debts
altogether, and regained their freedom.

§ VIII. I now turn my attention to those who are rich and luxurious, and
use language like the following, "Am I then to go without slaves and
hearth and home?" As if any dropsical person, whose body was greatly
swollen and who was very weak, should say to his doctor, "Am I then to
become lean and empty?" And why not, to get well? And do you too go
without a slave, not to be a slave yourself; and without chattels, not
to be another man's chattel. Listen to a story about two vultures; one
was vomiting and saying it would bring its inside up, and the other who
was by said, "What harm if you do? For it won't be your inside you bring
up, but that dead body we devoured lately." And so any debtor does not
sell his own estate, or his own house, but his creditor's, for he has
made him by law master of them. Nay, but by Zeus, says one, my father
left me this field. Yes, and your father also left you liberty and a
status in the community, which you ought to value more than you do. And
your father begot you with hand and foot, but should either of them
mortify, you pay the surgeon to cut it off. Thus Calypso clad and
"dressed" Odysseus "in raiment smelling sweet,"[891] like the body of an
immortal, as a gift and token of her affection for him; but when his
vessel was upset and he himself immersed, and owing to this wet and
heavy raiment could hardly keep himself on the top of the waves, he
threw it off and stripped himself, and covered his naked breast with
Ino's veil,[892] and "swam for it gazing on the distant shore,"[893] and
so saved his life, and lacked neither food nor raiment. What then? have
not poor debtors storms, when the money-lender stands over them and
says, _Pay_?

  "Thus spoke Poseidon, and the clouds did gather,
   And lashed the sea to fury, and at once
   Eurus and Notus and the stormy Zephyr
   Blew all together."[894]

Thus interest rolls on interest as wave upon wave, and he that is
involved in debt struggles against the load that bears him down, but
cannot swim away and escape, but sinks to the bottom, and carries with
him to ruin his friends that have gone security for him. But Crates the
Theban, though he had neither duns nor debts, and was only disgusted at
the distracting cares of housekeeping, gave up a property worth eight
talents, and assumed the philosopher's threadbare cloak and wallet, and
took refuge in philosophy and poverty. And Anaxagoras left his
sheep-farm. But why need I mention these? since the lyric poet
Philoxenus, obtaining by lot in a Sicilian colony much substance and a
house abounding in every kind of comfort, but finding that luxury and
pleasure and absence of refinement was the fashion there, said, "By the
gods these comforts shall not undo me, I will give them up," and he left
his lot to others, and sailed home again. But debtors have to put up
with being dunned, subjected to tribute, suffering slavery, passing
debased coin, and like Phineus, feeding certain winged Harpies, who
carry off and lay violent hands on their food, not at the proper season,
for they get possession of their debtors' corn before it is sown, and
they traffic for oil before the olives are ripe; and the money-lender
says, "I have wine at such and such a price," and takes a bond for it,
when the grapes are yet on the vine waiting for Arcturus to ripen them.

    [881] Page 844, A. B. C.

    [882] Reading with Wyttenbach [Greek: didousi] and
    [Greek: echousi].

    [883] See Livy, v. 25.

    [884] See Appian, lv. 26.

    [885] See Herodotus, vii. 141-143; viii. 51.

    [886] Reading with Reiske [Greek: katachrusa].

    [887] The technical term for submission to an enemy. See
    Pausanias, iii. 12; x. 20. Herodotus, v. 17, 18; vii.

    [888] Reading with Reiske [Greek: daneistais]. Perhaps
    [Greek: aphanistais] originally came after [Greek:
    agriois], and got somehow displaced.

    [889] See Homer, "Odyssey," xi. 578, 579, and context.

    [890] Homer, "Iliad," i. 154.

    [891] "Odyssey," v. 264.

    [892] "Odyssey," v. 333-375.

    [893] "Odyssey," v. 439.

    [894] "Odyssey," v. 291-295.


§ I. He who uttered this precept[895] certainly did not wish to live
unknown, for he uttered it to let all the world know he was a superior
thinker, and to get to himself unjust glory by exhorting others to shun

  "I hate the wise man for himself not wise."[896]

They say that Philoxenus the son of Eryxis and Gnatho the Sicilian,
being exceedingly greedy where good fare was going, would blow their
nose in the dishes, to disgust all others at the table, that they alone
might take their fill of the choicest dishes. So those that are
insatiable pursuers of glory calumniate glory to others who are their
rivals, that they may get it without antagonists. In this they resemble
rowers, who face the stern of the vessel but propel it ahead, that by
the recoil from the stroke of their oars they may reach port, so those
that give vent to precepts like this pursue glory with their face turned
in the opposite direction. For otherwise what need was there to utter a
precept like this, or to write and hand it down to posterity, if he
wished to live unknown to his own generation, who did not wish to live
unknown to posterity?

§ II. Look at the matter in the following way.[897] Has not that "live
unknown" a villainous ring, as though one had broken open graves? Is
your life so disgraceful that we must all be ignorant of it? For my part
I should say, Even if your life be bad do not live unknown, but be
known, reform, repent; if you have virtue, be not utterly useless in
life; if you are vicious, do not continue unreformed. Point out then and
define to whom you recommend this precept. If to an ignorant or wicked
or senseless person, you resemble one who should say to a person in a
fever or delirium, "Be unknown. Don't let the doctor know your
condition. Go and throw yourself into some dark place, that you and your
ailments may be unknown." So you say to a vicious man, "Go off with your
vice, and hide your deadly and irremediable disease from your friends,
fearful to show your superstitious fears, palpitations as it were, to
those who could admonish you and cure you." Our remote ancestors paid
public attention to the sick, and if any one had either had or cured a
similar complaint, he communicated his experience to the patient, and so
they say medical art became great by these contributions from
experience. We ought also in the same way to expose to everyone diseased
lives and the passions of the soul, and to handle them, and to examine
the condition of each,[898] and say, Are you a passionate man? Be on
your guard against anger. Are you of a jealous turn? Look to it. Are you
in love? I myself was in love once, but I had to repent. But nowadays
people deny and conceal and cloak their vices, and so fix them deeper in

§ III. Moreover if you advise men of worth to live unknown and in
obscurity, you say to Epaminondas, Do not be a general; and to Lycurgus,
Do not be a legislator; and to Thrasybulus, Do not be a tyrannicide; and
to Pythagoras, Do not teach; and to Socrates, Do not discourse; and
first and foremost you bid yourself, Epicurus, to refrain from writing
letters to your friends in Asia, and from enrolling Egyptian strangers
among your disciples, and from dancing attendance on the youths of
Lampsacus, and sending books to all quarters to display your wisdom to
all men and all women, and leaving directions in your will about your
funeral. What is the meaning of those common tables of yours? what that
crowd of friends and handsome youths? Why those many thousand lines
written and composed so laboriously on Metrodorus, and Aristobulus, and
Chæredemus, that they may not be unknown even in death, if[899] you
ordain for virtue oblivion, for art inactivity, for philosophy silence,
and for success that it should be speedily forgotten?

§ IV. But if you exclude all knowledge about life, like putting the
lights out at a supper party, that you may go from pleasure to pleasure
undetected,[900] then "live unknown." Certainly if I am going to pass my
life with the harlot Hedeia, or my days with Leontium, and spurn at
virtue, and put my _summum bonum_ in sensual gratifications, these are
ends that require darkness and night, on these oblivion and ignorance
are rightly cast. But if any one in nature sings the praises of the
deity and justice and providence, and in morals upholds the law and
society and the constitution, and in the constitution what is honourable
and not expedient, why should he "live unknown"? Is it that he should
instruct nobody, inspire in nobody an emulation for virtue, and be to
nobody a pattern in good?[901] Had Themistocles been unknown at Athens,
Greece would not have repelled Xerxes; had Camillus been unknown at
Rome, Rome would not have remained a state; had Plato been unknown to
Dion, Sicily would not have won its freedom. And as light, I take it,
makes us not only visible but useful to one another, so knowledge gives
not only glory but impetus to virtue. Epaminondas in obscurity up to his
fortieth year was no use to the Thebans, but when his merits became
known and he was put into power, he saved his state from ruin, and
liberated Greece from slavery, making his abilities efficacious in
emergency through his reputation like the bright shining of a light. For
Sophocles' words,

  "Brightly shines brass in use, but when unused
   It groweth dull in time, and mars the house,"[902]

are also appropriate to the character of a man, which gets rusty and
senile by not mixing in affairs but living in obscurity. For mute
inglorious ease, and a sedentary life devoted to leisure, not only
injure the body but also the soul: and as hidden waters overshadowed and
stagnant get foul because they have no outlet, so the innate powers of
unruffled lives, that neither imbibe nor pass on anything, even if they
had any useful element in them once, seem to be effete and wasted.

§ V. Have you never noticed how when night comes on a tired languor
seizes the body, and inactive torpor overpowers the soul, and reason
shrinks within itself like a fire going out, and feeling quite worn out
is gently agitated by disordered fancies, only just indicating that the
man is alive? But when the sun rises and scares away deceitful dreams,
and brings on as it were the everyday world[903] and with its light
rouses and stimulates the thoughts and actions of everybody, then, as
Democritus says, "men form new ideas for the day," and betake themselves
to their various pursuits with mutual impetuosity, as if drawn by a
strong impulse.

§ VI. And I think that life itself, and the way we come into the world,
is so ordained by the deity that we should know one another. For
everyone comes into this great universe obscure and unknown casually and
by degrees, but when he mixes with his fellows and grows to maturity he
shines forth, and becomes well-known instead of obscure, and conspicuous
instead of unknown. For knowledge is not the road to being, as some say,
but being to knowledge, for being does not create but only exhibits
things, as death is not the reducing of existence to non-existence, but
rather the result of dissolution is obscurity. So people considering the
Sun as Apollo according to hereditary and ancient institutions, call him
Delius[904] and Pythius; whereas the lord of the world of darkness,
whether god or demon, they call Hades[905] (for when we die we go into
an unseen and invisible place), and the lord of dark night and idle
sleep. And I think our ancestors called man himself by a word meaning
light,[906] because by their relationship to light all have implanted in
them a strong and vehement desire to know and to be known. And some
philosophers think that the soul itself is light in its essence,
inferring so on other grounds and because it can least endure ignorance
about facts, and hates[907] everything obscure, and is disturbed at
everything dark, which inspires fear and suspicion in it, whereas light
is so dear and welcome to it that it thinks nothing otherwise delightful
bearable without it, as indeed light makes every pleasure pastime and
enjoyment gay and cheerful, like the application of some sweet and
general flavour. But the man who thrusts himself into obscurity, and
wraps himself up in darkness and buries himself alive, is like one who
is dissatisfied with his birth, and renounces his being.

§ VII. And yet _Pindar_ tells us[908] that the abode of the blest is a
glorious existence, where the sun shines bright through the entire night
in meadows red with roses, an extensive plain full of shady trees ever
in bloom never in fruit, watered by gentle purling streams, and there
the blest ones pass their time away in thinking and talking about the
past and present in social converse....[909] But the third road is of
those who have lived unholy and lawless lives, that thrusts their souls
to Erebus and the bottomless pit, where sluggish streams of murky night
belch forth endless darkness, which receive those that are to be
punished and conceal them in forgetfulness and oblivion. For vultures do
not always prey on the liver of wicked persons lying on the ground,[910]
for it is destroyed by fire or has rolled away; nor does the carrying of
heavy burdens press upon and tire out the bodies of those that undergo

  "For their strength has no longer flesh and bones,"[911]

nor have the dead any vestige of body that can receive the infliction of
punishment that can make impression; but in reality the only punishment
of those who have lived ill is infamy and obscurity and utter
annihilation, which hurries them off to the dark river of oblivion,[912]
and plunges them into the abyss of a fathomless sea, involving them in
uselessness and idleness, ignorance and obscurity.

    [895] Probably Epicurus, as we infer from the very
    personal § iii.

    [896] Euripides, Fragm. 930.

    [897] Reading with Wyttenbach, [Greek: Alla touto men

    [898] Reading [Greek: ekastou] for [Greek: ekaston].
    Reiske proposed [Greek: ekastôn].

    [899] Reading [Greek: ei] (for [Greek: hina]) with
    Xylander and Wyttenbach.

    [900] Reading with Wyttenbach.

    [901] Adopting the suggestion of Wyttenbach, "Forte
    [Greek: kalou], at Amiot."

    [902] Frag. 742.

    [903] "Dormiens quisque in peculiarem abest mumdum,
    expergefactus in communem redit."--_Xylander._ Compare
    Herrick's Poem, "_Dreames._"

    [904] Bright.

    [905] Invisible.

    [906] [Greek: phôs].

    [907] Reading with Wyttenbach [Greek: echthairei].

    [908] Reading [Greek: phêsin] for [Greek: physin].

    [909] Hiatus hic valde deflendus.

    [910] As was fabled about Tityus, "Odyssey," xi.

    [911] "Odyssey," xi. 219.

    [912] So Reiske, [Greek: potamin tês lêthês].


§ I. They say those discourses, like friends, are best and surest that
come to our refuge and aid in adversity, and are useful. For many who
come forward do more harm than good in the remarks they make to the
unfortunate, as people unable to swim trying to rescue the drowning get
entangled with them and sink to the bottom together. Now the discourse
that ought to come from friends and people disposed to be helpful should
be consolation, and not mere assent with a man's sad feelings. For we do
not in adverse circumstances need people to weep and wail with us like
choruses in a tragedy, but people to speak plainly to us and instruct
us, that grief and dejection of mind are in all cases useless and idle
and senseless; and that where the circumstances themselves, when
examined by the light of reason, enable a man to say to himself that his
trouble is greater in fancy than in reality, it is quite ridiculous not
to inquire of the body what it has suffered, nor of the mind if it is
any the worse for what has happened, but to employ external sympathizers
to teach us what our grief is.

§ II. Therefore let us examine alone by ourselves the weight of our
misfortunes, as if they were burdens. For the body is weighed down by
the burden of what presses on it, but the soul often adds to the real
load a burden of its own. A stone is naturally hard, and ice naturally
cold, but they do not receive these properties and impressions from
without; whereas with regard to exile and loss of reputation or honours,
as also with regard to their opposites, as crowns and office and
position, it is not their own intrinsic nature but our opinion of them
that is the gauge of their real joy or sorrow, so that each person makes
them for himself light or heavy, easy to bear or hard to bear. When
Polynices was asked

  "What is't to be an exile? Is it grievous?"

he replied to the question,

  "Most grievous, and in deed worse than in word."[913]

Compare with this the language of Alcman, as the poet has represented
him in the following lines. "Sardis, my father's ancient home, had I had
the fortune to be reared in thee, I should have been dressed in gold as
a priest of Cybele,[914] and beaten the fine drums; but as it is my name
is Alcman, and I am a citizen of Sparta, and I have learned to write
Greek poetry, which makes me greater than the tyrants Dascyles or
Gyges." Thus the very same thing one man's opinion makes good, like
current coin, and another's bad and injurious.

§ III. But let it be granted that exile is, as many say and sing, a
grievous thing. So some food is bitter, and sharp, and biting to the
taste, yet by an admixture with it of sweet and agreeable food we take
away its unpleasantness. There are also some colours unpleasant to look
at, that quite confuse and dazzle us by their intensity and excessive
force. If then we can relieve this by a mixture of shadow, or by
diverting the eye to green or some agreeable colour, so too can we deal
with misfortunes, mixing up with them the advantages and pleasant things
we still enjoy, as wealth, or friends, or leisure, and no deficiency in
what is necessary for our subsistence. For I do not think that there are
many natives of Sardis who would not choose your fortune even with
exile, and be content to live as you do in a strange land, rather than,
like snails who have no other home than their shells, enjoy no other
blessing but staying at home in ease.

§ IV. As then he in the comedy that was exhorting an unfortunate friend
to take courage and bear up against fortune, when he asked him "how,"
answered "as a philosopher," so may we also play the philosopher's part
and bear up against fortune manfully. How do we do when it rains, or
when the North Wind doth blow? We go to the fire, or the baths, or the
house, or put on another coat: we don't sit down in the rain and cry. So
too can you more than most revive and cheer yourself for the chill of
adversity, not standing in need of outward aid, but sensibly using your
actual advantages. The surgeon's cupping-glasses extract the worst
humours from the body to relieve and preserve the rest of it, whereas
the melancholy and querulous by ever dwelling on their worst
circumstances, and thinking only of them, and being engrossed by their
troubles, make even useful things useless to them, at the very time when
the need is most urgent. For as to those two jars, my friend, that
Homer[915] says are stored in Heaven, one full of good fortunes, one of
bad, it is not Zeus that presides as the dispenser of them, giving to
some a gentle and even portion, and to others unmixed streams of evils,
but ourselves. For the sensible make their life pleasanter and more
endurable by mitigating their sorrows with the consideration of their
blessings, while most people, like sieves, let the worst things stick to
them while the best pass through.

§ V. And so, if we fall into any real trouble or evil, we ought to get
cheerfulness and ease of mind from the consideration of the actual
blessings that are still left to us, mitigating outward trouble by
private happiness. And as to those things which are not really evil in
their nature, but only so from imagination and empty fancy, we must act
as we do with children who are afraid of masks: by bringing them near,
and putting them in their hands, and turning them about, we accustom
them never to heed them at all: and so we by bringing reason to bear on
it may discover the rottenness and emptiness and exaggeration of our
fancy. As a case in point let us take your present exile from what you
deem your country. For in nature no country, or house, or field, or
smithy, as Aristo said, or surgery, is peculiarly ours, but all such
things exist or rather take their name in connection with the person who
dwells in them or possesses them. For man, as Plato says, is not an
earthly and immovable but heavenly plant, the head making the body erect
as from a root, and turned up to heaven.[916] And so Hercules said well,

  "Argive or Theban am I, I vaunt not
   To be of one town only, every tower
   That does to Greece belong, that is my country."

But better still said Socrates, that he was not an Athenian or Greek,
but a citizen of the world (as a man might say he was a Rhodian or
Corinthian), for he did not confine himself to Sunium, or Tænarum, or
the Ceraunian mountains.

  "See you the boundless reach of sky above,
   And how it holds the earth in its soft arms?"

These are the boundaries of our country, nor is there either exile or
stranger or foreigner in these, where there is the same fire, water and
air, the same rulers controllers and presidents, the sun the moon and
the morning star, the same laws to all, under one appointment and
ordinance the summer and winter solstices, the equinoxes, Pleias and
Arcturus, the seasons of sowing and planting; where there is one king
and ruler, God, who has under his jurisdiction the beginning and middle
and end of everything, and travels round and does everything in a
regular way in accordance with nature; and in his wake to punish all
transgressions of the divine law follows Justice, whom all men naturally
invoke in dealing with one another as fellow citizens.

§ VI. As to your not dwelling at Sardis, that is nothing. Neither do all
the Athenians dwell at Colyttus, nor all the Corinthians at Craneum, nor
all the Lacedæmonians at Pitane. Do you consider all those Athenians
strangers and exiles who removed from Melita to Diomea, where they call
the month Metageitnion,[917] and keep the festival Metageitnia to
commemorate their migration, and gladly and gaily accept and are content
with their neighbourhood with other people? Surely you would not. What
part of the inhabited world or of the whole earth is very far distant
from another part, seeing that mathematicians teach us that the whole
earth is a mere point compared to heaven? But we, like ants or bees, if
we get banished from one ant-hill or hive are in sore distress and feel
lost, not knowing or having learnt to make and consider all things our
own, as indeed they are. And yet we laugh at the stupidity of one who
asserts that the moon shines brighter at Athens than at Corinth, though
in a sort we are in the same case ourselves, when in a strange land we
look on the earth, the sea, the air, the sky, as if we doubted whether
or not they were different from those we had been accustomed to. For
nature makes us free and unrestrained, but we bind and confine immure
and force ourselves into small and scanty space. Then too we laugh at
the Persian kings, who, if the story be true, drink only of the water of
the Choaspes, thus making the rest of the world waterless as far as they
are concerned, but when we migrate to other places, we desire the water
of the Cephisus, or we yearn for the Eurotas, or Taygetus, or Parnassus,
and so make the whole world for ourselves houseless and homeless.

§ VII. Some Egyptians, who migrated to Ethiopia because of the anger and
wrath of their king, to those who begged them to return to their wives
and children very immodestly exposed their persons, saying that they
would never be in want of wives or children while so provided. It is far
more becoming and less low to say that whoever has the good fortune to
be provided with the few necessaries of life is nowhere a stranger,
nowhere without home and hearth, only he must have besides these
prudence and sense, as an anchor and helm, that he may be able to moor
himself in any harbour. For a person indeed who has lost his wealth it
is not easy quickly to get another fortune, but every city is at once
his country to the man who knows how to make it such, and has the roots
by which he can live and thrive and get acclimatized in every place, as
was the case with Themistocles and Demetrius of Phalerum. The latter
after his banishment became a great friend of Ptolemy at Alexandria, and
not only passed his days in abundance, but also sent gifts to the
Athenians. And Themistocles, who was publicly entertained at the king's
expense, is stated to have said to his wife and children, "We should
have been ruined, if we had not been ruined." And so Diogenes the Cynic
to the person who said to him, "The people of Sinope have condemned you
to banishment from Pontus," replied, "And I have condemned them to stay
in Pontus, 'by the high cliffs of the inhospitable sea.'"[918] And
Stratonicus asked his host at Seriphus, for what offence exile was the
appointed punishment, and being told that they punished rogues by exile,
said, "Why then are not you a rogue, to escape from this hole of a
place?" For the comic poet says they get their crop of figs down there
with slings, and that the island is very barely supplied with the
necessaries of life.

§ VIII. For if you look at the real facts and shun idle fancy, he that
has one city is a stranger and foreigner in all others. For it does not
seem to such a one fair and just to leave his own city and dwell in
another. "It has been your lot to be a citizen of Sparta, see that you
adorn your native city," whether it be inglorious, or unhealthy, or
disturbed with factions, or has its affairs in disorder. But the person
whom fortune has deprived of his own city, she allows to make his home
in any he fancies. That was an excellent precept of Pythagoras, "Choose
the best kind of life, custom will make it easy." So too it is wise and
profitable to say here, "Choose the best and pleasantest city, time will
make it your country, and a country that will not always distract you
and trouble you and give you various orders such as, 'Contribute so much
money, Go on an embassy to Rome, Entertain the prefect, Perform public
duties.'" If a person in his senses and not altogether silly were to
think of these things, he would prefer to live in exile in some island,
like Gryarus or Cinarus,

  "Savage, and fruitless, ill repaying tillage,"

and that not in dejection and wailing, or using the language of those
women in Simonides,

  "I am shut in by the dark roaring sea
   That foams all round,"

but he will rather be of the mind of Philip, who when he was thrown in
wrestling, and turned round, and noticed the mark his body made in the
dust, said, "O Hercules, what a little part of the earth I have by
nature, though I desire all the world!"

§ IX. I think also you have seen Naxos, or at any rate Hyria, which is
close here. But the former was the home of Ephialtes and Otus, and the
latter was the dwelling-place of Orion. And Alcmæon, when fleeing from
the Furies, so the poets tell us, dwelt in a place recently formed by
the silting of the Achelous;[919] but I think he chose that little spot
to dwell in ease and quiet, merely to avoid political disturbances and
factions, and those furies informers. And the Emperor Tiberius lived the
last seven years of his life in the island of Capreæ, and the sacred
governing power of the world enclosed in his breast during all that time
never changed its abode. But the incessant and constant cares of empire,
coming from all sides, made not that island repose of his pure and
complete. But he who can disembark on a small island, and get rid of
great troubles, is a miserable man, if he cannot often say and sing to
himself those lines of Pindar, "To love the slender cypress, and to
leave the Cretan pastures lying near Ida. I have but little land, where
I grow strong, and have nothing to do with sorrow or faction,"[920] or
the ordinances of princes, or public duties in political emergencies, or
state functions hard to get off.

§ X. For if that seems a good saying of Callimachus, "Do not measure
wisdom by a Persian rope," much less should we measure happiness by
ropes and parasangs, and if we inhabit an island containing 200 furlongs
only, and not (like Sicily) four days' sail round, ought we to wail and
lament as if we were very unfortunate? For how does plenty of room bring
about an easy life? Have you not heard Tantalus saying in the play,[921]

  "I sow a field that takes twelve days to travel round,
   The Berecyntian region,"

but shortly after he says,

  "My fortunes, that were once as high as heaven,
   Now to the ground are fallen, and do say to me,
  'Learn not to make too much of earthly things.'"

And Nausithous leaving the spacious Hyperia because of the proximity of
the Cyclopes, and migrating to an island "far from all enterprising
men,"[922] and living an unsocial life,

  "Apart from men beside the stormy sea,"[923]

yet contrived to make the life of his citizens very pleasant. And the
Cyclades were first inhabited by the sons of Minos, and afterwards by
the sons of Codrus and Neleus, though foolish people now think they are
punished if they are exiled to them. And yet what island used as a place
of exile is not of larger extent than Scillus, where Xenophon after his
military service saw a comfortable old age?[924] And the Academy, a
small place bought for only 3,000 drachmæ,[925] was the domicile of
Plato and Xenocrates and Polemo, who taught and lived there all their
lives, except one day every year, when Xenocrates went to Athens to
grace the festival of Dionysus, so they said, and to see the new plays
exhibited. And Theocritus of Chios twitted Aristotle with loving to live
at the courts of Philip and Alexander, and preferring to dwell at the
mouth of the Borborus to dwelling in the Academy. For there is a river
near Pella that the Macedonians call Borborus. As to islands Homer seems
to sing their praise, and recommend them to us as if on purpose, as

  "She came to Lemnos, town of sacred Thoas;"[926]


  "What Lesbos has, the seat of the immortals;"[927]


  "He captured lofty Scyros, citadel
   Of Enyeus;"[928]


  "And those who from Dulichium came, and from
   The sacred islands called th' Echinades,
   That lie across the sea opposite Elis;"[929]

and of the illustrious men that dwelt in islands he mentions Æolus the
favourite of the gods, and Odysseus most wise, and Ajax most brave, and
Alcinous most kind to strangers.

§ XI. When Zeno learned that the only ship he had left was with all its
freight lost at sea, he said, "Fortune, you deal kindly with me,
confining me to my threadbare cloak and the life of a philosopher." And
a man not altogether silly, or madly in love with crowds, might, I
think, not blame fortune for confining him in an island, but might even
praise her for relieving him from weariness and anxiety, and wanderings
in foreign countries, and perils by sea, and the uproar of the forum,
and for giving him truly a secure, quiet, undistracted and private life,
putting him as it were inside a circle in which everything necessary for
him was contained. For what island has not a house, a promenade, a bath,
and fish and hares for those who love fishing and field-sports? And the
greatest blessing, quiet, which others frequently pant for, you can
freely enjoy.[930] And whereas in the world,[930] when men are playing
at dice or otherwise enjoying the privacy of their homes, informers and
busybodies hunt them up and pursue them from their houses and gardens in
the suburbs, and drag them by force to the forum and court, in an island
no one comes to bother one or dun one or to borrow money, or to beg one
to be surety for him or canvass for him: only one's best friends and
intimates come to visit one out of good will and affection, and the rest
of one's life is a sort of holy retirement to whoever wishes or has
learnt to live the life of leisure. But he who thinks those happy who
are always scouring the country, and pass most of their lives in inns
and ferryboats, is like a person who thinks the planets happier than
fixed stars. And yet every planet keeps its order, rolling in one
sphere, as in an island. For, as Heraclitus says, the sun will never
deviate from its bounds, for if it did, the Furies, who are the
ministers of Justice, would find it out.

§ XII. Let us use such and similar language, my friend, and harp upon
it, to those who are banished to an island, and are debarred all access
with others

  "By the sea waves, which many keep apart."[931]

But you who are not tied down to one spot, but only forbidden to live in
one, have by that prohibition liberty to go to all others. Moreover to
the considerations, I am not in office, or a member of the senate, or an
umpire in the games, you may oppose these, I do not belong to any
faction, I have no large sums to spend, I have not to dance attendance
at the doors of the prefect, it is no odds to me who has got by lot the
province, whether he is hot-tempered or an objectionable person. But
just as Archilochus overlooked the fruitful fields and vineyards of
Thasos, and abused that island as rocky and uneven, and said of it,

  "It stands like donkey's chine crowned with wild forest,"

so we, fixing our eyes only on one aspect of exile, its inglorious
state, overlook its freedom from cares, its leisure, its liberty. And
yet people thought the kings of Persia happy, because they passed their
winter in Babylon, their summer in Media, and the pleasant season of
spring at Susa. So can the exile be present at the Eleusinian mysteries,
at the festival of Dionysus at Athens, at the Nemean games at Argos, at
the Pythian games at Delphi, and can pass on and be a spectator of the
Isthmian and Corinthian games, if he is fond of sight-seeing; and if
not, he has leisure, can walk about, read, sleep without being
disturbed, and can say like Diogenes, "Aristotle has to dine when Philip
thinks fit, Diogenes can dine at any time he himself chooses," having no
business, or magistrate, or prefect, to put him out of his general
habits of living.

§ XIII. And so it is that you will find few of the wisest and most
intelligent men buried in their own countries, but most (even without
any compulsion) have themselves weighed anchor, and transferred their
course, and removed, some to Athens, some from it. For who ever bestowed
such encomium upon his country as Euripides did in the following lines?

  "First we are not a race brought in from other parts,
   But are indigenous, when all other cities
   Are, draughts-men like, transferred from place to place,
   And are imported from elsewhere. And, lady,
   If it is not beside the mark to boast,
   We have above us a well-tempered sky,
   A climate not too hot, nor yet too cold.
   And all the finest things in Greece or Asia
   We do procure as an attraction here."[932]

And yet the author of these lines went to Macedonia, and lived all the
latter part of his life at the court of Archelaus. And of course you
have heard the following epitaph;

  "Here lies Euphorion's son, Athenian Æschylus,
   To whom death came in corn-producing Gela."

For he, like Simonides before him, went to Sicily. And many have changed
the commencing words of Herodotus, "This is the setting forth of the
history of Herodotus of Halicarnassus" into "Herodotus of Thurii." For
he migrated to Thurii, and participated in that colony. As to the divine
and sacred spirit of the Muses, the poet of the Trojan war, Homer, did
not many cities claim him as theirs, because he did not cry up one city
only? And Hospitable Zeus has many great honours.

§ XIV. And if anyone shall say that these pursued glory and honour, go
to the philosophers, and their schools and lectures, consider those at
the Lyceum, the Academy, the Porch, the Palladium, the Odeum. If you
admire and prefer the Peripatetic school, Aristotle was a native of
Stagira, Theophrastus of Eresus, Strato of Lampsacus, Glyco of Troas,
Aristo of Ceos, Critolaus of Phaselis. If you prefer the Stoic school,
Zeno was a native of Cittium, Cleanthes of Assus, Chrysippus of Soli,
Diogenes of Babylon, Antipater of Tarsus; and the Athenian Archidemus
migrated to the country of the Parthians, and left at Babylon a
succession of the Stoic school. Who exiled these men? Nobody; it was
their own pursuit of quiet, of which no one who is famous or powerful
can get much at home, that made them teach us this by their practice,
while they taught us other things by their precepts. And even nowadays
most excellent and renowned persons live in strange lands, not in
consequence of being expelled or banished, but at their own option, to
avoid business and distracting cares, and the want of leisure which
their own country would bring them. For it seems to me that the Muses
aided our old writers to complete their finest and most esteemed works
by calling in exile as a fellow-worker. Thus Thucydides the Athenian
wrote the history of the war between the Peloponnesians and the
Athenians in Thrace near the forest of Scapte, Xenophon wrote at Scillus
in Elis, Philistus in Epirus, Timæus of Tauromenium at Athens, Androtion
of Athens at Megara, and Bacchylides the poet[933] in Peloponnesus. All
these and many more, though exiled from their country, did not despair
or give themselves up to dejection, but so happy was their disposition
that they considered exile a resource given them by fortune, whereby
they obtained universal fame after their deaths, whereas no memorial is
left of those who were factious against them and banished them.

§ XV. He therefore is ridiculous who thinks that any ignominy attaches
itself to exile. What say you? Was Diogenes without glory, whom
Alexander saw basking in the sun, and stopped to ask if he wanted
anything, and when he answered, "Nothing, but that you would get a
little out of my light," Alexander, astonished at his spirit, said to
his friends, "If I were not Alexander, I would be Diogenes." Was
Camillus without glory when banished from Rome, of which he is now
accounted the second founder? And indeed Themistocles did not lose by
his exile the glory he had obtained among the Greeks, but he added to it
among the barbarians, and there is no one so without honour, so ignoble,
who would prefer to be Leobates who indicted him rather than
Themistocles the exile, or Clodius who banished Cicero rather than the
banished one, or Aristophon the accuser rather than Timotheus who got
driven by him from his country.

§ XVI. But since a good many are moved by the lines of Euripides, who
seems to bring a strong indictment against exile, let us see what it is
he says in each question and answer about it.

  _Jocasta._ What is't to be an exile? Is it grievous?

  _Polynices._ Most grievous, and in deed worse than in word.

  _Jocasta._ What is its aspect? What is hard for exiles?

  _Polynices._ This is the greatest, that they have no freedom.

  _Jocasta._ This is a slave's life not to speak one's thoughts!

  _Polynices._ Then one must put up with one's masters' follies.[934]

But this is not a right or true estimate.[935] For first of all, not to
say out all one thinks is not the action of a slave but of a sensible
man, in times and matters that require reticence and silence, as
Euripides himself has said elsewhere better,

  "Be silent where 'tis meet, speak where 'tis safe."

Then as for the follies of one's masters, one has to put up with them
just as much in one's own country as in exile. Indeed, more frequently
have the former reason to fear that the powerful in cities will act
unjustly to them either through calumny or violence. But his greatest
and absurdest error is that he takes away from exiles freedom of speech.
It is wonderful, if Theodorus had no freedom of speech, that when
Lysimachus the king said to him, "Did not your country cast you out
because of your character?" replied, "Yes, as Semele cast out Dionysus,
when unable to bear him any longer." And when he showed him Telesphorus
in a cage,[936] with his eyes scooped out, and his nose and ears and
tongue cut off, and said to him, "This is how I treat those that act ill
to me." * *[937] And had not Diogenes freedom of speech, who, when he
visited Philip's camp just as he was on the eve of offering battle to
the Greeks, and was taken before the king as a spy, told him he had come
to see his insatiable folly, who was going shortly to stake his
dominions and life on a mere die. And did not Hannibal the Carthaginian
use freedom of speech to Antiochus, though he was an exile, and
Antiochus a king? For as a favourable occasion presented itself he urged
the king to attack the enemy, and when after sacrifice he reported that
the entrails forbade it, Hannibal chided him and said, "You listen
rather to what flesh tells you than to the instruction of a man of
experience." Nor does exile deprive geometricians or grammarians of
their freedom of speech, or prevent their discussing what they know and
have learnt. Why should it then good and worthy men? It is meanness
everywhere that stops a man's speech, ties and gags his tongue, and
forces him to be silent. But what are the next lines of Euripides?

  _Jocasta._ Hopes feed the hearts of exiles, so they say.

  _Polynices._ Hopes have a flattering smile, but still delay.[938]

But this is an accusation against folly rather than exile. For it is not
those who have learnt and know how to enjoy the present, but those who
ever hang on the future, and hope after what they have not, that float
as it were on hope as on a raft, though they never get beyond the

  _Jocasta._ But did your father's friends do nothing for you?

  _Polynices._ Be fortunate! Friends are no use in trouble.

  _Jocasta._ Did not your good birth better your condition?

  _Polynices._ 'Tis bad to want. Birth brought no bread to me.[940]

But it was ungrateful in Polynices thus to rail against exile as
discrediting his good birth and robbing him of friends, for it was on
account of his good birth that he was deemed worthy of a royal bride
though an exile, and he came to fight supported by a band of friends and
allies, a great force, as he himself admits a little later,

      "Many of the princes of the Danai
  And from Mycenæ are with me, bestowing
  A sad but necessary kindness on me."[941]

Nor was there any more justice in the lament of his

  "I never lit for you the nuptial torch
   In marriage customary, nor did Ismenus
   Furnish you with the usual solemn bath."[942]

She ought to have been pleased and content to hear that her son dwelt in
such a palace _as that at Argos_, and in lamenting that the nuptial
torch was not lit, and that he had not had the usual bath in the river
Ismenus, as though there was no water or fire at Argos for wedded
people, she lays on exile the evils really caused by pride and

§ XVII. But exile, you will say, is a matter of reproach. It may be
among fools, who also jeer at the beggar, the bald man, the dwarf, aye,
and even the stranger and resident alien. But those who are not carried
away in that manner admire good men, whether they are poor, or strangers
or exiles. Do we not see that all men adore the temple of Theseus as
well as the Parthenon and Eleusinium? And yet Theseus was an exile from
Athens, though it was owing to him that Athens is now inhabited, and he
was banished from a city which he did not merely dwell in, but had
himself built. And what glory is left to Eleusis, if we are ashamed of
Eumolpus, who migrated from Thrace, and taught the Greeks (as he still
teaches them) the mysteries? And who was the father of Codrus that
reigned at Athens? Was it not Melanthus, an exile from Messene? And do
you not praise the answer of Antisthenes to the person who told him that
his mother was a Phrygian, "So also is the mother of the gods." If you
are twitted then with exile, why do you not answer, "The father of the
glorious victor Hercules was an exile." And Cadmus, the grandfather of
Dionysus, when he was sent from home to find Europa, and never came
back, "though a Phoenician born he changed his country,"[943] and
migrated to Thebes, and became[944] the grandfather of "Dionysus, who
rejoices in the cry of Evoe, the exciter of women, who delights in
frantic honours." As for what Æschylus obscurely hints at in the line,

  "Apollo the chaste god, exile from heaven,"

let me keep a religious silence, as Herodotus[945] says. And Empedocles
commences his system of philosophy as follows, "It is an ordinance of
necessity, an ancient decree of the gods, when anyone stains his hands
with crime and murder, the long-lived demons get hold of him, so that he
wanders away from the gods for thirty thousand years. Such is my
condition now, that of an exile and wanderer from the gods." In these
words he not only speaks of himself, but points out that all of us men
similarly are strangers and foreigners and exiles in this world. For he
says, "O men, it is not blood or a compounded spirit that made the being
or beginning of the soul, but it is your earth-born and mortal body that
is made up of these." He calls speciously by the mildest of names the
birth of the soul that has come from elsewhere a living in a strange
country. But the truth is the soul is an exile and wanderer, being
driven about by the divine decrees and laws, and then, as in some
sea-girt island, gets joined to the body like an oyster to its shell, as
Plato says, because it cannot call to mind or remember from what honour
and greatness of happiness it migrated, not from Sardis to Athens, nor
from Corinth to Lemnos or Scyros, but exchanging heaven and the moon for
earth and life upon earth, if it shifts from place to place for ever so
short a time it is put out and feels strange, and fades away like a
dying plant. But although one soil is more suitable to a plant than
another, and it thrives and grows better on such a soil, yet no
situation can rob a man of his happiness or virtue or sense. It was in
prison that Anaxagoras wrote his squaring of the circle, and that
Socrates, even after drinking the hemlock, talked philosophically, and
begged his friends to be philosophers, and was esteemed happy by them.
On the other hand, Phaëthon and Tantalus, though they got up to heaven,
fell into the greatest misfortunes through their folly, as the poets
tell us.

    [913] Euripides, "Phoenissæ," 388, 389.

    [914] Reading [Greek: bakelas]. _Gallus_ in Latin.

    [915] "Iliad," xxiv. 527-533.

    [916] Plato, "Timæus," p. 90 A. Compare Ovid,
    "Metamorphoses," i. 84-86.

    [917] Derived from [Greek: meta, geitôn], because then
    people flitted and changed their neighbours.

    [918] Euripides, "Iphigenia in Tauris," 253.

    [919] See also Pausanias, viii. 24.

    [920] Pindar, Fragm. 126.

    [921] Æschylus, "Niobe," Fragm. 146.

    [922] "Odyssey," vi. 8. I read [Greek: andrôn] as

    [923] "Odyssey," vi. 204.

    [924] See Pausanias, v. 6.

    [925] In our money about £121 17_s._ 6_d._

    [926] "Iliad," xiv. 230.

    [927] "Iliad," xxiv. 544.

    [928] "Iliad," ix. 668.

    [929] "Iliad," ii. 625, 626.

    [930] So Reiske.

    [931] "Iliad," xxi. 59.

    [932] Euripides, Fragm. 950.

    [933] Reiske suggests [Greek: Bakchylidês ho Keios]. A
    very probable suggestion.

    [934] Euripides, "Phoenissæ," 388-393.

    [935] Omitting [Greek: prhôtôs], which probably got in
    from [Greek: prôton] following, and for which Reiske
    conjectured [Greek: horas hôs].

    [936] Such as Cardinal Balue was shut up by Louis XI in
    for fourteen years.

    [937] The answer of Theodorus is wanting.

    [938] Euripides, "Phoenissæ," 396, 397.

    [939] That is, they never get any further.

    [940] Euripides, "Phoenissæ," 402-405.

    [941] Euripides, "Phoenissæ," 430-432.

    [942] Ibid. 344-346.

    [943] Reading [Greek: chthonos]. "Sic mutandum censet

    [944] Through his daughter Semele.

    [945] Herodotus, ii. 171.


§ I. "Fortune, not wisdom, rules the affairs of mortals."[946] And does
not justice, and fairness, and sobriety, and decorum rule the affairs of
mortals? Was it of fortune or owing to fortune that Aristides persevered
in his poverty, when he might have been lord of much wealth? And that
Scipio after taking Carthage neither saw nor received any of the spoil?
Was it of fortune or owing to fortune that Philocrates spent on harlots
and fish the money he had received from Philip? And that Lasthenes and
Euthycrates lost Olynthus, measuring happiness by their belly and lusts?
Was it of fortune that Alexander the son of Philip not only himself
abstained from the captive women, but punished others that outraged
them? Was it under the influence of an evil genius and fortune that
Alexander,[947] the son of Priam, intrigued with the wife of his host
and ran away with her, and filled two continents with war and evils? For
if all these things are due to fortune, what hinders our saying that
cats and goats and apes are under the influence of fortune in respect of
greediness, and lust, and ribaldry?

§ II. And if there are such things as sobriety and justice and
fortitude, with what reason can we deny the existence of prudence, and
if prudence exists, how can we deny the existence of wisdom? For
sobriety is a kind of prudence, as people say, and justice also needs
the presence of prudence. Nay more, we call the wisdom and prudence that
makes people good in regard to pleasure self-control and sobriety, and
in dangers and hardships endurance and fortitude, and in dealings
between man and man and in public life equity and justice. And so, if we
are to ascribe to fortune the acts of wisdom, let us ascribe justice and
sobriety to fortune also, aye, and let us put down to fortune stealing,
and picking pockets, and lewdness, and let us bid farewell to argument,
and throw ourselves entirely on fortune, as if we were, like dust or
refuse, borne along and hurried away by a violent wind. For if there be
no wisdom, it is not likely that there is any deliberation or
investigation of matters, or search for expediency, but Sophocles only
talked nonsense when he said,

  "Whate'er is sought is found, what is neglected
   Escapes our notice;"[948]

and again in dividing human affairs,

  "What can be taught I learn, what can be found out
   Duly investigate, and of the gods
   I ask for what is to be got by prayer."[949]

For what can be found out or learnt by men, if everything is due to
fortune? And what deliberative assembly of a state is not annulled, what
council of a king is not abrogated, if all things are subject to
fortune? whom we abuse as blind because we ourselves are blind in our
dealings with her. Indeed, how can it be otherwise, seeing that we
repudiate wisdom, which is like plucking out our eyes, and take a blind
guide of our lives?

§ III. Supposing any of us were to assert that seeing is a matter of
fortune, not of eyesight, nor of the eyes that give light, as Plato
says, and that hearing is a matter of fortune, and not the imbibing of a
current of air through the ear and brain, it would be well for us then
to be on our guard against the evidence of our senses. But indeed nature
has given us sight and hearing and taste and smell, and all other parts
of the body and their functions, as ministers of wisdom and prudence.
For "it is the mind that sees, and the mind that hears, everything else
is deaf and blind." And just as, if there were no sun, we should have
perpetual night for all the stars, as Heraclitus says, so man for all
his senses, if he had no mind or reason, would be little better than the
beasts. But as it is, it is not by fortune or chance that we are
superior to them and masters of them, but Prometheus, that is reason, is
the cause of this,

  "Presenting us with bulls, horses, and asses,
   To ease us of our toil, and serve instead,"

as Æschylus says.[950] For as to fortune and natural condition, most of
the beasts are better off than we are. For some are armed with horns and
tusks and stings, and as for the hedgehog, as Empedocles says, it has
its back all rough with sharp bristles, and some are shod and protected
by scales and fur and talons and hoofs worn smooth by use, whereas man
alone, as Plato says, is left by nature naked, unarmed, unshod, and
uncovered. But by one gift, that of reason and painstaking and
forethought, nature compensates for all these deficiencies. "Small
indeed is the strength of man, but by the versatility of his intellect
he can tame the inhabitants of the sea, earth, and air."[951] Nothing is
more agile and swift than horses, yet they run for man; the dog is a
courageous and high-spirited creature, yet it guards man; fish is most
pleasant to the taste, the pig the fattest of all animals, yet both are
food and delicacies for man. What is huger or more formidable in
appearance than the elephant? Yet it is man's plaything, and a spectacle
at public shows, and learns to dance and kneel. And all these things are
not idly introduced, but to the end that they may teach us to what
heights reason raises man, and what things it sets him above, and how it
makes him master of everything.

  "For we are not good boxers, nor good wrestlers,
   Nor yet swift runners,"[952]

for in all these points we are less fortunate than the beasts. But by
our experience and memory and wisdom and cunning, as Anaxagoras says, we
make use of them, and get their honey and milk, and catch them, and
drive and lead them about at our will. And there is nothing of fortune
in this, it is all the result of wisdom and forethought.

§ IV. Moreover the labours of carpenters and coppersmiths and
house-builders and statue-makers are affairs of mortals, and we see that
no success in such trades is got by fortune or chance. For that fortune
plays a very small part in the life of a wise man, whether coppersmith
or house-builder, and that the greatest works are wrought by art alone,
is shown by the poet in the following lines:--

  "All handicraftsmen go into the street,
   Ye that with fan-shaped baskets worship Ergane,
   Zeus' fierce-eyed daughter;"[953]

for Ergane[954] and Athene, and not Fortune, do the trades regard as
their patrons. They do indeed say that Nealces,[955] on one occasion
painting a horse, was quite satisfied with his painting in all other
respects, but that some foam on the bridle from the horse's breath did
not please him, so that he frequently tried to rub it out; at last in
his anger he threw his sponge (just as it was, full of colours) at the
picture, and this very wonderfully produced exactly the effect he
desired. This is the only fortunate accident in art that history
records. Artificers everywhere use rules and weights and measures, that
none of their work may be done at random and anyhow. And indeed the arts
may be considered as wisdom on a small scale, or rather as emanations
from and fragments of wisdom scattered about among the necessities of
life; as the fire of Prometheus is riddled to have been divided and
scattered about in all quarters of the world. For thus small particles
and fragments of wisdom, breaking up as it were and getting divided into
pieces, have formed into order.

§ V. It is strange then that the arts do not require fortune to attain
to their ends, and yet that the most important and complete of all the
arts, the sum total of man's glory and merit, should be so completely
powerless. Why, there is a kind of wisdom even in the tightening or
slackening of chords, which people call music, and in the dressing of
food, which we call the art of cooking, and in cleaning clothes, which
we call the art of the fuller, and we teach boys how to put on their
shoes and clothes generally, and to take their meat in the right hand
and their bread in the left, since none of these things come by fortune,
but require attention and care. And are we to suppose that the most
important things which make so much for happiness do not call for
wisdom, and have nothing to do with reason and forethought? Why, no one
ever yet wetted earth with water and then left it, thinking it would
become bricks by fortune and spontaneously, or procured wool and
leather, and sat down and prayed Fortune that it might become clothes
and shoes; nor does anyone getting together much gold and silver and a
quantity of slaves, and living in a spacious hall with many doors, and
making a display of costly couches and tables, believe that these things
will constitute his happiness, and give him a painless happy life secure
from changes, unless he be wise also. A certain person asked the general
Iphicrates in a scolding way who he was, as he seemed neither a
heavy-armed soldier, nor a bowman, nor a targeteer, and he replied, "I
am the person who rule and make use of all these."

§ VI. So wisdom is neither gold, nor silver, nor fame, nor wealth, nor
health, nor strength, nor beauty. What is it then? It is what can use
all these well, and that by means of which each of these things becomes
pleasant and esteemed and useful, and without which they are useless;
and unprofitable and injurious, and a burden and disgrace to their
possessor. So Hesiod's Prometheus gives very good advice to Epimetheus,
"not to receive gifts from Olympian Zeus but to send them back,"[956]
meaning external things and things of fortune. For as if he urged one
who knew nothing of music not to play on the pipe, or one who knew
nothing of letters not to read, or one who was not used to horses not to
ride, so he advised him not to take office if he were foolish, nor to
grow rich if he were illiberal, nor to marry if likely to be ruled by
his wife. For success beyond their merit is to foolish persons a cause
of folly, as Demosthenes said,[957] and good fortune beyond their merit
is to those who are not sensible a cause of misfortune.[958]

    [946] A line from Chæremon.

    [947] Better known as Paris.

    [948] "Oedipus Tyrannus," 110, 111. Wyttenbach compares
    Terence, "Heauton Timorumenos," 675. "Nil tam
    difficilest, quin quærende investigari possiet."

    [949] Soph., Frag. 723.

    [950] Æschylus, Fragm. 180. Reading [Greek: antidoula]
    with Reiske and the MSS.

    [951] Euripides, "Æolus," Fragm. 27.

    [952] Homer, "Odyssey," viii. 246, 247.

    [953] Soph., Frag. 724.

    [954] "The Worker." Generally a title of Athene, as
    Pausanias, i. 24; iii. 17; v. 14; vi. 26; viii. 32; ix.
    26. Gataker thinks [Greek: kai tên] should be expunged.
    Hercher omits [Greek: kai tên 'Athênan] altogether.

    [955] So Hercher after Madvig. See Pliny, "Hist. Nat.,"
    XXXV. 36, 20.

    [956] Hesiod, "Works and Days," 86, 87.

    [957] "Olynth.," i. 23.

    [958] The whole of this essay reminds one of the
    well-known lines of Juvenal, twice repeated--namely, x.
    365, 366; and xiv. 315, 316:--

      "Nullum numen habes, si sit prudentia; nos te,
       Nos facimus, Fortuna, deam caeloque locamus."


Abrotonus, 37.

Absence, the test of affection, 122.

Academy, the, 385.

Achilles, 5, 52, 102, 172, 187, 196, 200, 271, 290, 291, 301, 319.

Acropolis, statue of Leæna in the, 221.

Admetus, 52.

Adonis, 43, 352.

Adultery, the fruit of curiosity, 245.
  Love of change, 298.

Æschines, 17, 188, 285.

Æschylus, quoted or referred to, 33, 45, 47, 55, 61, 125,
  126, 130, 176, 203, 205, 242, 271, 273, 385, 388, 393, 396.

Æsculapius, 244, 270.

Æsop, fables of alluded to, 72, 81, 88, 125, 142.

Agamemnon, 292, 300, 301.

Agathoclea, 37.

Agathocles, 278, 324, 325, 347.

Agave, 144.

Agesilaus, 129, 136, 161, 166, 262, 264, 326.

Agis, 294.

Aglaonice, her knowledge of eclipses, 83.

Ajax, 113, 347.

Alcæus, 56, 59.

Alcestis, 53.

Alcibiades, 54, 128, 135, 160, 192, 294, 338.

Alcman, 379.

Alexander, the Great, 16, 50, 113, 124, 137, 151, 162, 172, 174,
  184, 185, 195, 250, 270, 277, 280, 292, 301, 303, 314, 321, 389,
  390, 394.

Alexinus, 266.

Ammonius, Plutarch's master, 194.

Amoebeus, 102.

Amphictyones, 121, 230.

Anacharsis, 125, 219.

Anacreon, 33.

Anaxagoras, 136, 306, 373, 394, 397.

Anaxarchus, 107, 113, 253, 292.

Anger, how to restrain, 267-288.

Animals, appeal to, 21-25.
  Use of, 202.

Answers, three different kinds of, 234.

Anticyra, 284.

Antigonus, 16, 38, 222, 258, 263, 276, 278, 326, 370.

Antileon, 50.

Antimachus, poet, 234.

Antipater, 77, 124, 182, 237, 260, 297.

Antipatridas, 50.

Antiphanes, 125.

Antiphon, 189.

Antisthenes, 266.

Antony, 176.

Anytus, 54, 141.

Apelles, 10, 171, 302.

Aphrodite, 34, 43, 44, 49, 76, 78, 80, 219.

Apollo, 154, 347, 377.

Araspes, 136.

Arcadio, 276.

Arcesilaus, 180, 283.

Archelaus, 258, 388.

Archidamus, king, 2, 264.

Archilochus, 215, 247, 387.

Archytas, of Tarentum, 11, 15, 336.

Ares, 44, 45, 47, 49.

Argus, 146.

Aristæus (the _Saint Hubert_ of the Middle Ages), 45.

Aristides, 120, 136.

Aristippus, 6, 32, 93, 127, 128, 240, 285, 297.

Aristo, 98, 241.

Aristocrates, 322.

Aristogiton, 50, 67, 189, 220.

Aristomenes, the hero, 52.

Aristomenes, tutor of Ptolemy Epiphanes, 195.

Aristonica, 37.

Aristophanes, 15, 27, 43, 93, 195, 241.

Aristotle, 100, 101, 110, 124, 162, 215, 270, 278, 281, 303, 326,

Arisinoe, sister and wife of Ptolemy Philadelphus, 16.

Artemis, 367.

Asopichus, 52.

Ass-driver, story of Athenian, 282.

Athene, ornament of, 366.
  Athene and the Satyr, 273.
  Athene Chalcioecus, 228.
  Called Ergane, 397.

Athenians, oracle given to the, 367.

Attis, 43.

Augustus, 189, 224, 225.

Aulis, famous for earthenware, 366.

Bacchis, 37.

Barbers, a talkative race, 226, 227.

Baxter, Richard, and Plutarch, Preface, viii, note.

Belestiche, 38.

Bellerophon, 246, 255.

Bessus, story about, 341.

Bias, 176, 217, 332.

Bion, 10, 67, 132, 172, 258, 354.

Bocchoris, 255.

Books, value of, 12.

Boys, not to be overworked, 13.
  To be taught to speak the truth, 16.
  Love of, 17, 31, 33-35, 50, 51, 52, 54, 61, 64, 65, 67.

Brasidas, 120, 126, 331.

Briareus, 146, 150, 299.

Brides, custom of in Boeotia, 70, 71.
  Custom of at Leptis in Libya, 79.

Caeneus, his change of sex, 120.

Cæsar, Julius, 210.

Callimachus, 272, 385.

Callisthenes, 270.

Callixenus, 141.

Camma, story about, 63, 64.

Carneades, 172, 235, 237, 306, 310.

Cassander, 256, 339, 351.

Cassandra, 347.

Cato, 48, 72, 211, 212, 263, 325, 369.

Cebes, 17.

Cephisocrates, 181.

Cephisodorus, 52.

Ceramicus, at Athens, 219, 259.

Cestus of Aphrodite, 76, 219.

Chæron, son of Plutarch, 87.

Chæron, and Chæronea, 238.

Chæronea, Plutarch's native place, 238.

Chalcis, people of, 51.

Chameleon, 158, 162.

Character, moral, 102.

Childless, paid court to, 28.

Chilo, 151, 202.

Chrysippus, 44, 99, 110, 113, 114, 115.

Cicero, 210, 318, 320, 390.

Cimon, father of Miltiades, 27, 52.

Claudia, 84.

Cleanthes, 370.

Clearchus, 191.

Cleomachus, 51.

Cleonice, 343, 344.

Clitus, 113, 195, 277.

Clodius, 231, 232.

Clytæmnestra, dream of, 343.

Conjugal constancy, 81.
  Conjugal precepts, 70-84.

Contentedness of mind, on, 289-311.

Contracts, 139.

Corax, 352.

Cornelia, sister of Scipio, 84.

Correction of servants, 279-281.

Crassus, 207, 208.

Crates, 76, 141, 191, 203, 292, 328, 370, 372.

Creon, his daughter, 151.

Crete, 202.

Crisso, 172.

Croesus, 171, 192.

Ctesiphon, 275.

Curiosity, 238-252.

Cybele, 47, 55, 82, 379.

Cyclades, 385.

Cynic, story about, 258.

Cynosarges, 32, note.

Cyrus, 79, 236, 250, 314, 326.

Danaus, 27.

Darius, 157, 250.

Deity, on those who are punished late by the, 331-365.

Demaratus, 193.

Demetrius, 8, 191, 230.

Democritus, 14, 110, 129, 142, 249, 377.

Demosthenes, 9, 128, 192, 205, 257, 259, 320, 321, 323, 331, 399.

Diogenes, 2, 7, 93, 118, 123, 124, 127, 131, 140, 141, 193, 201, 203,
  205, 248, 258, 259, 282, 292, 294, 301, 311, 383, 388, 389, 390,

Dion, 11, 151, 161, 162, 192, 256.

Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily, 76, 151, 160, 161, 162, 163, 168, 187,
  188, 189, 226, 230, 261, 294, 321, 339.

Dionysius, a Corinthian poet, 51.

Dionysus (the Latin _Bacchus_), 45, 47, 91, 145, 393.

Dioxippus, 248.

Disease, the sacred, 41, note.

Disorders, of mind or body, which worse? 142, 145.

Dolon, 113, 120.

Domitian, 251.

Domitius, 207, 211.

Dorian measure, 134.

Drink, 2, 216, 217, 284.

Dryads, 45.

Earthenware, 366.

Education, 1-21.

Egyptian, answer of an, 240.

Emerson, on Plutarch, _see_ Title-page, and Preface, p. ix.

Empedocles, 43, 145, 149, 180, 288, 305, 371, 393, 396.

Empone, her devotion to her husband, 67-69.

Enemies, how a man may be benefited by his, 201-213.

Enthusiasm, 47.

Envy, 212, 213, 243, 304.
  On envy and hatred, 312-315.
  How one can praise oneself without exciting envy, 315-331.

Epaminondas, 11, 52, 136, 161, 294, 318, 321, 326, 376.

Ephesus, 367.

Ephorus, 236.

Epicharmus, 188, 189, 350.

Epicureans, argued against, 21-28, 373-378.

Epicurus, 24, 291, 306, 373, 375.

Epitaphs, 247, 248.

Erasistratus, 25, 244.

Ergane, name of Athene, 397.

Eumenes, 222.

Euphemism, 112, 143, 144, 167.

Euphorion, 303.

Eupolis, 163.

Euripides, quoted or referred to, 1, 8, 9, 14, 17, 27, 28, 40, 42, 43,
  44, 50, 53, 56, 58, 60, 67, 79, 80, 86, 89, 107, 112, 119, 136, 138,
  144, 146, 150, 151, 152, 155, 160, 170, 178, 179, 182, 190, 191, 194,
  196, 197, 199, 205, 206, 207, 209, 214, 216, 222, 223, 236, 247, 251,
  255, 256, 260, 261, 262, 270, 287, 290, 292, 293, 301, 305, 307, 309,
  310, 315, 325, 332, 333, 334, 345, 346, 373, 379, 383, 388, 390, 391,
  392, 397.

Eurydice of Hierapolis, 21.

Eurydice, wife of Orpheus, 53.

Euthydemus, 283.

Eutropio, cook to King Antigonus, 16.

Evenus, sayings of, 27, 155.

Exercise, value of, 12.

Exile, 378-394.

Fabius Maximus, 224, 225.

Fabricius, 294.

Family, defects and idiosyncrasies of, 356, 357.

Fancy, power of, 307.

Fathers, not to be too strict, 20.
  To set a good example to their sons, 20, 21.
  The _jus trium liberorum_, 22.
  Saying of Evenus about fathers, 27.

Favour, _the_, 33, 34.
  Reminding of favours unpleasant, 181.

Feast, every day a, 311.

Fickleness, 146.

Flatterers, 19.
  Saying of Phocion about, 77, 182.
  How to be discerned from friends, 153-201.

Flute-girls at marriages, 40.

Fortune, not to be railed at, 89-91.
  Fortune's rope-dance, 139.
  Fortune and vice, 140, 141.
  On Fortune, 394-399.

Freedom of speech, 185-201.

Friends, on abundance of, 145-153.
  Friendship going in pairs, 146, 147.
  Originated by similarity, 152, 158, 159.
  How friends are to be distinguished from flatterers, 153-201.

Galba, story about, 49.

Geese, ingenuity of, 229.

Germanicus, idiosyncrasy of, 312.

Glaucus, son of Epicydes, 353.

Gobryas, 157.

Gods considered as forces, 44, 302.
  Perform their benefits secretly, 181.

Gorgias, 81.

Gorgo, wife of Leonidas, 84.

Gracchus, 273.

Great, the, especially open to flatterers, 184, 185.

Grief, immoderate at death to be avoided, 86, 87, 88.
  Unexpected grief worst, 113, 306.

Gylippus, 15.

Habit, force of, 3, 4, 337.

Hannibal, remark of, 391.

Happiness, the mind the seat of, 95.

Hares, 368.

Harmodius, 67, 189, 220.

Hatred, and envy, 312-315.

Hegesias, 28.

Helicon, Mount, 29, 30.

Helots, 272.

Hemlock, how affected by wine, 228.

Heraclea, 343.

Heraclitus, 41, 93, 231, 276, 350, 387, 396.

Hercules, 39, 52, 299, 321, 347, 348, 352.

Heredity, 1, 2, 351, 355.

Hermes, his functions, 46.
  Proverbial saying about, 215.

Herodotus, 72, 94, 141, 157, 171, 192, 299, 367, 388, 393.

Herophilus, 244.

Herrick, and Plutarch, _see_ Preface, viii, 288, note.

Hesiod, quoted or alluded to, 14, 36, 44, 96, 121, 123, 155, 180, 212,
  256, 261, 290, 304, 341, 355, 398, 399.

Hiero, 209, 338.

Hieronymus, 271, 281.

Hipparchus, dream of, 343.

Hippocrates, 132, 237, 238.

Hippothorus, a tune, 70.

Homer, alluded to or quoted, 16, 23, 24, 26, 33, 44, 45, 48, 52, 54, 55,
  56, 61, 65, 66, 71, 75, 76, 80, 83, 91, 95, 101, 102, 108, 110, 113,
  117, 118, 122, 127, 128, 130, 132, 138, 139, 142, 147, 149, 160, 161,
  165, 170, 172, 176, 179, 187, 192, 195, 196, 197, 199, 200, 204, 209,
  216, 217, 218, 219, 221, 222, 223, 226, 227, 235, 239, 246, 247, 254,
  268, 270, 271, 272, 281, 283, 284, 290, 291, 292, 300, 301, 302, 304,
  307, 308, 309, 313, 318, 319, 322, 323, 324, 326, 327, 329, 340, 341,
  347, 352, 368, 369, 372, 378, 385, 386, 387, 397, 398.

Hyperides, 187.

Hypsipyle, her foster-child, 146.

Ibycus, story about, 228.

Idæan Dactyli, 136.

Ignorance of self, 143.

Imagination, power of, 101, 102.

Indian wives, 140.
  Indian sages, 140, 141.

Infants, death of, 92.

Iolaus, nephew of Hercules, 39, 52.

Iphicrates, answer of, 94, 398.

Knowledge of self, 154, 185, 207, 302.

Labour, its power, 3.

Lacydes, friend of Arcesilaus, 181.

Lacydes, king of the Argives, 208.

Lais, famous courtesan, 32, 49, 63.

Law, martial, 211.

Leæna, her heroism, 220, 221.

Lemnos, the women of, 41.

Leo of Byzantium, saying of, 206.

Life, the three kinds of, 11.
  Like a game at dice, 293.
  Chequered, 305.
  "Live unknown," whether a wise precept, 373-378.

Litigation, evil effects of, 145.

Livia, wife of Augustus, 225.

Liver, the seat of desire, 115.

Locrians, custom of the, 347.

Locris, authorities of, 245.

Love, to one's offspring, 21-28.
  On love generally, 29-69.
  God of Love, his festival at Thespiæ, 29, 63.
  Pandemian and Celestial love, 57.
  No strong love without jealousy, 135.
  Lovers admire even the defects of their loves, 136, 167, 168, 209,
  Love blind, 153.

Loxias, name of Apollo, meaning of, 231.

Lyciscus, 332, 333.

Lycurgus, 3, 136, 230, 320.

Lydiades, 238.

Lydian measure, 134.
  Lydian produce, 145.

Lynceus, 203.

Lysander, 76, 262.

Lysias, 218.

Lysimache, 263.

Lysimachus, king, 225, 241, 344, 390, 391.

Mæcenas, 49.

Magas, 113, 276, 277.

Man, his wretchedness, 26, 142.
  Different views of men, 114.
  Man's various idiosyncrasies and fortunes, 149.

Marriage, 20, 31-39, 63-69.
  Hesiod on the proper age for marriage, 36.
  No _Meum_ and _Tuum_ to exist in marriage, 62, 74, 75.
  Mutual respect a vital necessity in marriage, 62.
  Conjugal Precepts, 70-84.

Marsyas, 273.

Means, various kinds of, 104, 105.

Measures, Dorian and Lydian, 134.

Median war, 367.

Medius, 184, 303.

Megabyzus, 171, 302.

Megara, wife of Hercules, 39.

Megarians, their sacrifice to Poseidon, 133.

Melanippus, 50.

Melanthius, 81, 336.

Meleager, 52.

Meletus, 120, 141.

Memory, the storehouse of learning, 14.

Menander, 55, 96, 114, 115, 146, 150, 164, 173, 179, 257, 291, 305, 307,
  310, 330.

Menedemus, 98, 130, 165, 303.

Metageitnion, 382.

Metella, wife of Sulla, 219.

Metellus, 222, 277, 320.

Metrocles, 140, 295.

Metrodorus, saying of, 77.

Mice, dislike to, 312.

Miltiades, the son of Cimon, 27, 135, 338.

Mirrors of the ancients, 59, note.
  Comparison of wives to mirrors, 73.
  Proper use of the mirror, 76.
  Comparison of the flatterer to a mirror, 161.

Mithridates, 170, 219.

Money, against borrowing, 365-373.

Montaigne, and Plutarch, Preface, vii.

Mothers, to be carefully selected, 1.
  To suckle their children, 4.

Munychia, 38.

Music, power of, 102.

Musonius, 370.

Nasica, saying of, 205.

Nations, most warlike also most amorous, 52.

Natures, great, 338.

Nealces, story about, 397.

Neglect, not liked, 150.

Neocles, father of Themistocles, 27.

Nero, 151, 168, 175, 220, 284, 365.

Nicostratus, 49, 264.

Night, Greek word for, 249.

Ninus and Semiramis, 37, 38.

Niobe, 50.

No, saying, 255, 260, 262.

Ocnus, 304.

Odysseus, self-restraint of, 101, 221, 307.

Oedipus, 28, 197, 250, 251.

Oenanthe, 37.

Old age querulous, 329.

Olympia, remarkable portico at, 214.

Olympias, wife of King Philip, 75, 76.

Olynthus, 305.

Onomademus, wise advice of, 212.

Oratory, extempore and prepared, 9, 10, 128.
  Laconic oratory, 230.

Orpheus, 53.

Paley, F. A., on the Moralia, Preface, vii.

Pan, 47.

Panthea, 136.

Parmenides, his Cosmogony, 44.

Parmenio, 151.

Parthian juice, 141.

Passions, difference in, 113, 114.

Patroclus, 172, 187, 319, 325.

Pausanias and Cleonice, 343, 344.

Pederasty, _see_ Boys, love of.

Perfection, not in mortals, 287.

Pericles, son of Xanthippus, 9, 11, 27, 258, 317, 323, 340, 349, 366.

Perseus, 192, 193, 307.

Persia, kings of, 73, 124, 140, 382, 387.

Phäethon, 293, 347, 394.

Phalaris, 120, 168, 339.

Phayllus and his wife, 49, 50.

Phidias, 78.

Philip, King, 49, 50, 75, 80, 82, 188, 193, 230, 247, 276, 277, 384.

Philippides, comic poet, 32, 225, 241.

Philosophy, its importance, 11, 97, 98.
  Philosophers' dress, 129, 141, 160, 203.
  Birthplace of various philosophers, 389.

Philotas, 151.

Philotimus, 198.

Philoxenus, 373.

Phocion, 77, 136, 182, 260, 280, 319, 327, 328.

Phocylides, 5.

Phoenix, tutor of Achilles, 5, 196.

Phryne, 38, 49.

Phrynis, 134.

Pindar, 33, 34, 45, 54, 116, 138, 183, 190, 205, 210, 212, 267, 275,
  294, 302, 303, 310, 315, 316, 335, 339, 348, 355, 377, 384.

Pirithous, 151.

Piso, Pupius, story about, 231, 232.

Pittacus, 222, 300.

Plato, 2, 5, 7, 8, 12, 15, 17, 27, 29, 34, 47, 49, 62, 66, 74, 77, 82,
  83, 93, 96, 99, 100, 106, 113, 114, 115, 118, 120, 125, 132, 135, 136,
  153, 154, 157, 158, 160, 161, 162, 167, 187, 188, 192, 194, 196, 206,
  209, 213, 220, 230, 255, 261, 264, 274, 286, 287, 293, 294, 306, 311,
  334, 335, 336, 341, 342, 365, 385, 393, 395, 396.

Plutarch's wife, _see_ Timoxena.

Polemo, 196, 285, 385.

Polycletus, 138.

Polypus, the, 152, 158, 161.

Polysperchon, 256, 261.

Pompey, the Great, 208, 210, 340.
  His father Pompeius Strabo, 340.

Portico, remarkable, 214.

Porus, 277.

Poseidon, 133.

Postumia, 208.

Praise of self, 315-331.

Proteus, 152.

Proverbs, 4, 5, 9, 14, 18, 19, 20, 49, 62, 75, 80, 82, 121, 146, 147,
  154, 157, 175, 183, 189, 212, 215, 217, 235, 260, 263, 306, 317,
  333, 334, 341, 355, 369.

Ptolemy Auletes, 168.

Ptolemy Epiphanes, 195.

Ptolemy Philadelphus, 16.

Ptolemy Philopator, 168.

Ptolemy Physcon, 174.

Punishment, on those that receive late punishment from the Deity,

Puppies, differently trained, 3, 4.

Pydna, 192.

Pyrrho, saying of, 132.

Pythagoras, 2, 18, 19, 100, 151, 194, 211, 240, 245, 383.

Pythian Priestess, 233, 367.

Reason, power of, 101, 133, 221, 289.

Remorse, 344, 345.

Repartee, 206, 207.

Respites, 339.

Rusticus, 251.

Rutilius, 370.

Sabinus, story about, 67-69.

Sappho, 34, 55, 84, 130, 274.

Saturnalia, 311, note.

Satyr, story about the, 202, 203.

Scaurus, 211.

Scilurus, and the bundle of sticks, 231.

Scipio, 318.

Sejanus, 151.

Seleucus Callinicus, 226.

Self, love of, 153, 154, 301.
  Ignorance of, 143.
  Knowledge of, 154, 185, 207, 302.

Semiramis, 37, 38.

Senator, story about Roman, 223, 224.

Seneca, 284.

Sextius, 123.

Shyness, 252-267.

Silence, benefit of, 220-222, 230-232, 237.

Simonides, 23, 106, 108, 126, 135, 154, 183, 184, 212, 237, 246, 299,
  344, 384.

Sinatus, 63, 64.

Sinorix, 63, 64.

Socrates, 2, 8, 15, 17, 54, 76, 136, 140, 145, 188, 192, 194, 196, 210,
  232, 234, 235, 240, 250, 271, 277, 283, 292, 293, 299, 300, 308, 314,
  336, 394.

Solon, 33, 34, 56, 124, 171, 192, 213, 303, 335, 367.
  His legislation for husbands, 65.
  His direction to brides, 70.

Sophocles, quoted or referred to, 3, 43, 44, 47, 49, 50, 53, 62, 64, 76,
  106, 122, 125, 134, 148, 150, 162, 197, 200, 207, 218, 227, 232, 242,
  249, 251, 255, 272, 278, 281, 286, 295, 319, 376, 395, 397.

Sotades, 16.

Speusippus, nephew of Plato, 15, 192, 196.

Step-ladders, 156.

Step-mothers, 79, note.

Stilpo, 8, 133, 266, 295, 308.

Stoics, 172, 254, 302.

Stratocles, 32.

Suicide, always possible, 309.

Sulla, 219, 322.

Sycophant, origin of word, 252.

Talkativeness, 214-238.

Tantalus, 49, 138, 385, 394.

Tavern-frequenting, 131, note.

Taylor, Jeremy, and Plutarch, Preface, vii, viii, 84, note, 238, note,
  245, note, 288, note.

Telephus, 207.

Tenedos, famous for earthenware, 366.

Theano, wife of Pythagoras, 78, 84.

Thebans, and Lacedæmonians, 270.

Themistocles, and his son, 1, 2.
  His father Neocles, 27.
  Themistocles and Miltiades, 135, 213, 338.
  Suspicion about, 208.
  Sayings of, 264, 314, 320.

Theocritus, the Sophist, 16, 263.

Theodorus, 141, 293, 327, 390, 391.

Theognis, his advice, 152.

Theophrastus, 124, 327.

Thero, the Thessalian, 52.

Theseus, 151, 392.

Thespesius, of Soli, curious story about, 357-365.

Thessalians very pugnacious, 3, note.

Thessaly famous for enchantments, 75, note, 83.

Thucydides, 127, 152, 167, 195, 198, 208, 261, 265, 314, 317, 332, 336,
  349, 389.

Tiberius, 151, 174, 175, 225, 384.

Timæa, 294.

Timesias, oracle given to, 151.

Timoleon, 322.

Timon, 107.

Timotheus, 316.

Timoxena, wife of Plutarch, consolatory letter to, 85-92.

Timoxena, daughter of Plutarch, 85-92.

Tongue, government of the, 15, 16, 209, 210, 214-238, 274.
  Barricaded by nature, 216.

Training, power of, 5-7.

Triptolemus, 368.

Truth, a divine thing, 154.

Tutors, choice of, 5-7;
  Habits they teach boys, 94.

Versatility, 152, 153.

Vespasian, 67, 69.

Vice, not got rid of as easily as a wife, 96.
  Uneasiness of, 96, 97, 139.
  Whether it is sufficient to cause unhappiness, 138-142.
  Vice in embryo, 355, 356.

Virtue, its two elements, 18.
  Can be taught, 92-95.
  On virtue and vice, 95-98.
  On moral virtue, 98-118.
  On progress in virtue, 118-138.

Washing hands usual before dinner, 156.

Wealth, has wings, 124, 303.

Wives, to be carefully selected, 1.
  Rich wives, 20, 138.
  Indian wives, 140.

Words, winged, 223.

Wyttenbach, his criticism on Reiske, Preface, viii, ix.

Xanthippe, wife of Socrates, 210, 283.

Xanthippus, father of Pericles, 27.

Xenocrates, 66, 77, 118, 196, 248, 261, 385.

Xenophanes, 55, 108, 257.

Xenophon, 17, 83, 166, 191, 202, 239, 250, note, 289, 316, 335, 389.

Xerxes, 272, 299.

Youth, a ticklish period of life, 17, 18.

Zaleucus, 322.

Zeno, founder of the Stoics, 99, 102, 124, 132, 203, 217, 220, 262, 263,
  285, 294, 327, 386.

Zeuxis, his remark on painting, 148.


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