Page:Plutarch - Moralia, translator Holland, 1911.djvu/346

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Plutarch's Morals


Over and besides, no man deserveth justly to be envied: for to be in prosperity and in better state than another, is no wrong or injury offered to any person; and yet this is it for which men be envied; whereas contrariwise, many are hated worthily, such as those whom in Greek we call άξιομισήτους, that is to say, worthy of public hatred, as also as many as do not fly from such, detest them not nor abhor their company. And a great argument to verify this point may be gathered from hence, namely, in that some there be who confess and take it upon them that they hate many; but no man will be known that he envieth any: for in truth, the hatred of wicked persons and of wickedness is commended as a quality in men praiseworthy. And to this purpose serveth well that which was said of Charillus, who reigned in Sparta, and was Lycurgus his brother's son, whom, when there were certain that commended for a man of mild behaviour and of a relenting and gentle nature: And how can it be (quoth he who was joined with him in the royal government) that Charillus should be good, seeing he is not sharp and rigorous to the wicked? And the poet Homer, describing the deformity of Thersytes his body, depainted his defects and imperfections in sundry parts of his person, and by many circumlocutions; but his perverse nature and crooked conditions he set down briefly and in one word, in this wise:

Worthy Achilles of all the host
And sage Ulysses, he hated most;

for he could not chuse but be stark naught and wicked in the highest degree, who was so full of hatred unto the best men.

As for those who deny that they are envious, in case they be convinced manifestly therein, they have a thousand pretences and excuses therefore, alleging that they are angry with the man, or stand in fear of him whom indeed they bear envy unto, or that they hate him, colouring and cloaking this passion of envy with the veil of any other whatsoever for to hide and cover it, as if it were the only malady of the soul that would be concealed and dissembled. It cannot chuse, therefore, but that these two passions be nourished and grow as plants of one kind, by the same means, considering that naturally they succeed one the other: howbeit, we rather hate those that be given more to lewdness and wickedness, and we envy such rather who seem to excel others in virtue. And therefore Themistocles (being but a youth) gave out and said that he had done nothing notable, because as yet he was not envied: for like as the flies cantharides