Page:Plutarch - Moralia, translator Holland, 1911.djvu/382

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360
Plutarch's Morals


use it as their addition in former time; and if haply one of them by some other be called by that name, he will not answer to it; but if he be a young gentleman indeed, after a smiling and pleasant manner, yea, and blushing withal for shame, he will say thus out of the poet Homer:

I am no god nor heavenly wight:
Why dost thou give to me their right?

For true it is as Æschylus saith:

A damsel young if she have known
And tasted man once carnally.
Her eye doth it bewray anon,
It sparkles fire suspiciously.

But a young man having truly tasted the profit and proceeding in philosophy, hath these signs following him, which the poetess Sappho setteth down in these verses:

When I you see, what do I ail?
First suddenly my voice doth fail.
And then like fire a colour red.
Under my skin doth run and spread.

It would do you good to view his settled and staid countenance to behold the pleasant and sweet regard of his eye, and to hear him when he speaketh: for like as those who are professed in any confraternity of holy mysteries, at their first assembly and meeting together, hurry in tumultuous sort with great noise, insomuch as they thrust and throng one another; but when they come to celebrate the divine service thereto belonging, and that the sacred relics and ornaments are once shewed, they are very attentive with reverent fear and devout silence; so, at the beginning of the study of philosophy, and in the very entry (as it were) of the gate that leadeth unto it, a man shall see' much ado, a foul stir, great audaciousness, insolency, and jangling words more than enough; for that some there be who would intrude themselves rudely, and thrust into the place violently, for the greedy desire they have to win reputation and credit: but he that is once within and seeth the great light, as if the sanctuaries and sacred cabinets or tabernacles were set open, anon he putteth on another habit, and a divers countenance with silence and astonishment, he becometh humble, pliable and modest, ready to follow the discourse of reason and doctrine, no less than the direction of some god. To such as these, methinks, I may do very well to accommodate that speech which Menedemus sometime in mirth spake pleasantly: Many there be that sail to Athens (quoth he) for to go to school there,