Page:Plutarch - Moralia, translator Holland, 1911.djvu/261

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239
Of Brotherly Love or Amity


to pass and spend whole days together in good fellowship and company, is so effectual to hold and maintain the concord and goodwill of brethren, as to hate and love the same persons; to joy in the same acquaintance: and contrariwise to abhor and shun the same company; for when brethren have friends common between them, the said friends will never suffer any surmises, calumniations and quarrels to grow between; and say that peradventure there do arise some sudden heat of choler or grudging fit of complaint, presently it is cooled, quenched and suppressed by the mediation of conunon friends; for ready they will be to take up the quarrel and scatter it so as it shall vanish away to nothing if they be indifferently affectionate to them both, and that their love incline no more to the one side than to the other: for like as tin-solder doth knit and rejoin a crackt piece of brass, in touching and taking hold of both sides and edges of the broken pieces, for that it agreeth and sorteth as well to the one as to the other, and suffereth from them both alike; even so ought a friend to be fitted and suitable indifferently unto both brethren, if he would knit surely, and confirm strongly their mutual benevolence and goodwill. But such as are unequal and cannot intermeddle and go between the one as well as the other, make a separation and disjunction, and not a sound joint, like as certain notes or discords in music. And therefore it may well be doubted and question made whether Hesiodus did well or no when he said:

Make not a feere I thee advise
Thy brother's peer in any wise.

For a discreet and sober companion common to both (as I said) 3efore, or rather incorporate (as it were) into them, shall ever be a sure knot to fasten brotherly love. But Hesiodus (as it should seem) meant and feared this in the ordinary and vulgar sort of men, who are many of them naught, by reason that so customably they be given to jealousy and suspicion, yea and to self-love, which if we consider and observe, it is well; but with this regard always, that although a man yield equal goodwill unto a friend as unto a brother, yet nevertheless in case of concurrence, he ought to reserve ever the pre-eminence and first place for his brother, whether it be in preferring him in my election of magistrates, or to the managing of state affairs or in bidding and inviting him to a solemn feast, or public assembly to consult and debate of weighty causes; or in recommending him to princes and great lords. For in such