Page:Plutarch - Moralia, translator Holland, 1911.djvu/214

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Plutarch's Morals

vicious and faulty itself, spoileth and marreth clean the intemperate and incontinent person, by making no resistance to his appetites and demands, but letting all lie unfortified, unbarred and unlocked, yielding easy access and entrance to those that will make assault and give the attempt, who may by great gifts and large offers catch and compass the wickedest natures that be: but surely by persuasions and inductions, and by the means withal of this excessive bashfulness, they oftentimes conquer and get the mastery even of such as are of honest and gentle disposition.

Here I pass by the detriments and damages that this bashfulness hath been the cause of in many matters, and that of profit and commodity: namely, how many men, having not the heart to say nay, have put forth and lent their money even to those whose credit they distrust; have been sureties for such as otherwise they would have been loth and unwilling to engage themselves for, who can approve and commend this golden sentence (written upon the temple of Apollo), Be surety thou mayst, but make account then to pay: howbeit, they have not the power to do themselves good by that warning when they come to deal in the world. And how many have come unto their end and died by the means of this foolish quality, it were hard to reckon. For Creon in Euripides, when he spake thus unto Medea:

For me, madame, it were much better now
By flat denial your mind to discontent.
Than having once thus yielded unto you
Sigh afterwards full sore, and ay repent,

gave a very good lesson for others to follow; but himself overcome at length through his foolish bashfulness, granting one day longer of delay at her request, overthrew his own state and his whole house. Some there were also, who doubting and suspecting that they were laid for to be bloodily murdered, or made away by poison, yet upon a foolish modesty not refusing to go into the place of danger, came to their death and were soon destroyed. Thus died Dion; who, notwithstanding he knew well enough that Callippus laid wait for him to take away his life, yet (forsooth) abashed he was to distrust his friend and host, and so to stand upon his guard. Thus was Antipater, the son of Cassander, massacred; who having first invited Demetrius to supper, was bidden the morrow after to his house likewise; and for that he was abashed to mistrust Demetrius, who the day before had trusted him, refused not to go, but after