Page:Plutarch - Moralia, translator Holland, 1911.djvu/25

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Of Moral Virtue

with gratiosity, of good, goodness, of great, greatness, of honest, honesty, and all other such-like dexterities, affabilities, and courtesies, he termed by the name of virtues, and so pestered philosophy with new, strange, and absurd words, more iwis than was needful.

Now these philosophers agree jointly all in this, that they set down virtue to be a certain disposition and power of the principal part of the soul, acquired by reason: or rather, that it is reason itself: and this they suppose as a truth confessed, certain, firm, and irrefragable. They hold also that the part of the soul subject to passions, sensual, brutish, and unreasonable, differeth not from reason by any essential difference, or by nature: but they imagine that the very part and substance of the soul which they call understanding, reason, and the principal part, being wholly turned and changed, as well in sudden passions, as alterations by habitude and disposition, becometh either vice or virtue, and in itself hath no brutishness at all: but is named only unreasonable, according as the motion of the appetite and lust is so powerful that it becometh mistress, and by that means she is driven and carried forcibly to some dishonest and absurd course, contrary to the judgment of reason: For they would have that very motion or passion itself to be reason, howbeit depraved and naught, as taking her force and strength from false and perverse judgment.

Howbeit, all these (as it may seem) were ignorant of this one point; namely, that each one of us (to speak truly) is double and compound: And as for one of these duplicities, they never thoroughly saw; that only which is of the twain more evident, to wit, the mixture or composition of the soul and body they acknowledge. And yet, that there is besides a certain duplicity in the soul itself, which consisteth of two divers and different natures: and namely, that the brutish and reasonless part, in manner of another body, is combined and knit into reason by a certain natural link of necessity: It seemeth that Pythagoras himself was not ignorant: And this we may undoubtedly gather and conjecture by his great diligence which he employed in that music and harmony which he inferred for the dulcing, taming, and appeasing of the soul: as knowing full well that all the parts thereof were not obedient and subject to instruction, learning, and discipline, nor yet such as might by reason be altered and trained from vice to virtue: but required some other kind of persuasive power co-operative with it, for to frame the same and make it gentle and tractable: for otherwise it would be