Page:Plutarch - Moralia, translator Holland, 1911.djvu/412

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Plutarch's Morals

Semblable is the case of wise sentences and of good friends; the best and most assured be those reputed which are present with us in our calamities, not in vain and for a shew, but to aid and succour us: for many there be who will not stick to present themselves, yea, and be ready to confer and talk with their friends in time of adversity; howbeit, to no good purpose at all, but rather with some danger to themselves, like as unskilful divers, when they go about to help those that are at point to be drowned, being clasped about the body, sink together with them for company. Now the speeches and discourses which come from friends and such as would seem to be helpers ought to tend unto the consolation of the party afflicted, and not to the defence and justification of the thing that afflicteth: for little need have we of such persons as should weep and lament with us in our tribulations and distresses, as the manner is of the chori or quires in tragedies, but those rather who will speak their minds frankly unto us, and make remonstrance plainly: That for a man to be sad and sorrowful, to afflict and cast down himself, is not only every way bootless and unprofitable, but also most vain and foolish: but where the adverse occurrents themselves being well handled and managed by reason, when they are discovered what they be, give a man occasion to say thus unto himself:

Thou hast no cause thus to complain,
Unless thou be dispos'd to fain.

A mere ridiculous folly it were to ask either of body and flesh what it aileth, or of soul what it suffereth, and whether by the occurrence of this accident it fare worse than before; but to have recourse unto strangers without, to teach us what our grief is, by wailing, sorrowing, and grieving together with us: and therefore, when we are apart and alone by ourselves, we ought each one to examine our own heart and soul about all and every mishap and infortunity, yea, and to peise and weigh them, as if they were so many burdens, for the body is pressed down only by the weight of the fardel that loadeth it; but the soul oftentimes of itself giveth a surcharge over and above the things that molest it. A stone of the own nature is hard, and ice of itself cold; neither is there anything without that giveth casually to the one the hardness to resist, or to the other the coldness to congeal; but banishments, disgraces, repulse, and loss of dignity, as also contrariwise, crowns, honours, sovereign magistracies, pre-eminences, and highest places, being powerful