Page:Plutarch - Moralia, translator Holland, 1911.djvu/294

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272
Plutarch's Morals


measure for my voice; upon whom the said master replied thus not unproperly: Let him that disputeth with thee be the measure and rule to moderate thy voice by; even so a man may in this case say: The measure that he ought to keep who answereth, is the very will and mind of him that proposeth the question. Moreover, like as Socrates forbade those meats which drew men on to eat when they are not hungry, and likewise those drinks which caused them to drink who are not athirst, even so should a man who is given to much prattle be afraid of those discourses wherein he delighteth most, and which he is wont to use and take greatest pleasure in; and in case he perceive them to run willingly upon him for to withstand the same, and not give them entertainment. As, for example, martial men and warriors love to discourse and tell of battles; which is the reason that the poet Homer bringeth in Nestor[1] eftsoons recounting his own prowess and feats of arms: and ordinary it is with them who in judicial trials have had the upper hand of their adversaries, or who beyond the hope and opinion of every man have obtained grace and favour with kings and princes, to be subject unto this malady that evermore followeth them, namely to report and recount eftsoons the manner how they came in place; after what sort they were brought in; the order of their pleading; how they argued the case; how they convinced their accusers, and overthrew their adversaries; last of all, how they were praised and commended: for to say a truth, joy and mirth is much more talkative than that old Agrypnia which the poets do feign and devise in their comedies: for it rouseth and stirreth up, it reneweth and refresheth itself ever and anon, with many discourses and narrations; whereupon ready they are to fall into such speeches upon every light and colourable occasion: for not only is it true which the common proverb saith:

Look where a man doth feel his pain and grief.
His hand will soon be there to yield relief,

but also joy and contentment draweth unto it the voice, it leadeth the tongue always about with it, and is evermore willing to be remembered and related. Thus we see that amorous lovers pass the greater part of their time in rehearsing certain words which may renew the remembrance of their loves, inso much that if they cannot meet with one person or other to relate the same unto, they will devise and talk of them with such

  1. Hector, rather, as some read.