Page:Plutarch - Moralia, translator Holland, 1911.djvu/115

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93
To Discern a Flatterer from a Friend

much that set King Alexander in such a chafe and rage against Clitus when he reproved him, as for that he did it in the presence and hearing of so many. Aristomenes also, the master and tutor of King Ptolemæus, for that in the sight of an ambassador he awaked him out of a sleep, and willed him to give ear unto the embassage that was delivered, ministered unto his evil-willers and the flatterers about the court great vantage, who thereupon took occasion to seem discontented in the king's behalf, and thus to say: What if after so many travels that your majesty doth undergo, and your long watching for our sakes, some sleep do overtake you otherwhiles; our part it were to tell you of it privately, and not thus rudely to lay hand as it were upon your person in the presence of so many men. Whereupon Ptolemæus being moved at these suggestions, sent unto the man a cup of poison, with commandment that he should drink it off. Aristophanes also casteth this in Cleon his teeth:

For that when strangers were in place
The town with terms he did disgrace,

and thereby provoke the Athenians and bring their high displeasure upon him. And therefore this regard would be had especially above all others, that when we would use our liberty of speech, we do it not by way of ostentation in a vainglory to be popular, and to get applause, but only with an intention to profit and do good, yea and to cure some infirmity thereby.

Over and besides that which Thucydides reporteth of the Corinthians, how they gave out of themselves and not unfitly, that it belonged unto them, and meet men they were to reprove others; the same ought they to have in them that will take upon them to be correctors of other persons. For like as Lysander answered to a certain Megarian who put himself forward in an assembly of associates and allies to speak frankly for the liberty of Greece: These words of yours (my friend) would beseem to have been spoken by some puissant state or city; even so it may be said to every one that will seem freely to reprehend another, that he had need himself to be in manners well reformed. And this most truly ought to be inferred upon all those that will seem to chastise and correct others, namely, to be wiser and of better government than the rest: for thus Plato protested that he reformed Speusippus by example of his own life: and Xenocrates likewise casting but his eye upon Polemon, who was come into his school like a ruffian, by his very look only reclaimed him from his loose life: whereas on the