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We may be glad to find even a few friends of this sort. 11.

But do we need friends more in prosperity or in adversity? As a matter of fact men seek friends in both. The unfortunate require assistance; the prosperous want companions, and recipients of their bounty, since they wish to practise beneficence. Hence friendship is more necessary in adversity, so then it is useful friends that are wanted; but it is nobler in prosperity, so the prosperous seek also for good men as friends, since these are preferable both as objects of beneficence and as associates. [2]

Also1 the mere presence of friends is pleasant both in prosperity and adversity. Sorrow is lightened by the sympathy of friends. Hence the question may be raised whether friends actually share the burden of grief, or whether, without this being the case, the pain is nevertheless diminished by the pleasure of their company and by the consciousness of their sympathy. Whether one of these reasons or some other gives the true explanation of the consoling power of friendship need not now be considered, but in any case it appears to have the effect described. [3]

Yet the pleasure that the company of friends affords seems to be of a mixed nature. It is true that the very sight of them is pleasant,

1 This gives a further reason for the second sentence of the chapter, and adds the motive of pleasure to those of utility and virtue.

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