Page:Plutarch - Moralia, translator Holland, 1911.djvu/247

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225
Of Brotherly Love or Amity


manner impossible, that in all things and in every respect any one of them should excel the rest. For true it is, that the four elements, which they say were created of one and the same matter, have powers and qualities altogether contrary; but surely it was never yet seen that of two brethren by one father ind mother, the one should be like unto that wise man whom the Stoics do feign and imagine, to wit, fair, lovely, bountiful, honourable, rich, eloquent, studious, civil, and courteous; and the other, foul, ill-favoured, contemptible, illiberal, needy, not able to speak and deliver his mind, untaught, ignorant, uncivil and unsociable. But even in those that are more obscure, base, and abject than others there is after a sort some spark of grace, of valour, of aptness and inclination to one good thing or other: for as the common proverb goeth:

With calthrap thistles, rough and keen, with prickyxest-harow,
Close Sions fair and soft, yea, white-wallflowers are seen to grow.

These good parts, therefore, be they more or less in others, if he that seemeth to have them in far better and in greater measure, do not debase, smother, hide, and hinder them, nor deject his brother (as in some solemnity of games for the prize) from all the principal honours, but rather yield reciprocally unto him in some points, and acknowledge openly that in many things he is more excellent, and hath a greater dexterity than himself, withdrawing always closely all occasions and matter of envy, as it were fuel from the fire, shall either quench all debate, or rather lot suffer it at all to breed or grow to any head and substance.

Now he that always taketh his brother as a colleague, counsellor, and coadjutor with him, in those causes wherein limself is taken to be his superior: as, for example, if he be I professed rhetorician and orator, using his brother to plead causes; if he be a politician, asking his advice in government; of a man greatly friended, employing him in actions and affairs abroad; and in one word, in no matter of consequence and which may win credit and reputation, leaving not his brother but, but making him his fellow and companion in all great and honourable occasions, and so giving out of him, taking his counsel if he be present, and expecting his presence if he be absent, and generally making it known that he is a man not of less execution than himself, but one rather that loveth not much to put himself forth, nor stands so much upon winning reputation in the world, and seeking to be advanced in credit; by this means he shall lose nothing of his own, but gain much unto his