Seeing that friendship includes very many
and very great advantages, it undoubtedly excels all
other things in this respect, that it projects the
bright ray of hope into the future, and does not
suffer the spirit to grow faint or to fall. Again, he
who looks upon a true friend, looks, as it were, upon
a sort of image of himself. Wherefore friends, though
absent, are at hand; though in need, yet abound;
though weak, are strong; and—harder saying still—
though dead, are yet alive; so great is the esteem
on the part of their friends, the tender recollection
and the deep longing that still attends them. These
things make the death of the departed seem fortunate and the life of the survivors worthy of praise.
But if you should take the bond of goodwill out of
the universe no house or city could stand, nor would
even the tillage of the fields abide. If that statement is not clear, then you may understand how
great is the power of friendship and of concord
from a consideration of the results of enmity and
disagreement. For what house is so strong, or
what state so enduring that it cannot be utterly
overthrown by animosities and division?
From this it may be judged how great good there
is in friendship.