Page:Plutarch - Moralia, translator Holland, 1911.djvu/184

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162
Plutarch's Morals

And yet as mighty a prince as he was, you have heard (I am sure) that Alcibiades lay with his wife Tunæa, and she would not bash to call the son that she had by him in adultery Alcibiades, especially amongst her women and waiting-maidens, whispering and speaking as much softly unto them: But what of all that? This crooked cross was no bar unto King Agis, but that he proved the greatest and most renowned personage of all the Greeks in his time. No more was it any hindrance to Stilpo, but that he lived all the days of his life most merrily, and no philosopher like to him in those days, notwithstanding he had a daughter that played the harlot: and when Metrocles the cynic reproached him therewith; Is this (quoth he) my fault or hers? To which when Metrocles answered again: The fault is indeed hers, but the infortunity and mishap is yours: What now (replied Stilpo again), how can that be? Are not (I pray you) all faults rightly named slips or falls? Yes, truly, said the other: And are not falls (quoth Stilpo) mischances or misfortunes? Metrocles could not deny it: Why then (inferred Stilpo at last), what are mischances or misfortunes other than infortunities and mishaps to them whose mischances they are? By this mild kind of sorites and philosophical reasoning thus from point to point, he shewed that the reproachful language of this cynical Metrocles was nothing else but a vain and foolish baying and barking of a cur-dog.

But on the contrary side, the most part of men are provoked and troubled not only for the vices of their friends, familiars, and kinsfolk, but also of their very enemies. For reproachful taunts, anger, envy, malice and spightful jealousies are the mischiefs and plagues (I must needs say) of such especially that have them; howbeit they molest and vex those also that are witless and without discretion, no otherwise than the hasty and choleric fits of our neighbours, the peevish and froward dispositions of our familiar acquaintance, and some shrewd demeanours of our servants in that they go about: with which methinks you also troubling and disquieting yourself as much as with anything else, like unto those physicians of whom Sophocles thus writeth:

Who bitter choler cleanse and scour
With drugs as bitter and as sour,

do unseemly and not iwis for the credit of your person, thus to

Budæus hath translated it, and made no sense at all in Latin. But in Homer the same manner of phrase is used, Iliad, ξ. οἵ μ᾽ οἴσουσιν ἐπὶ ρυφερήν τε καὶ ὑγρήν, i.e., over land and sea.