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[6] The good man, as we have said, is both useful and pleasant, but the good man does not become the friend of a superior, unless his superior in rank be also his superior in virtue; otherwise the good man as the inferior party cannot make matters proportionally equal.1 But potentates of such superior excellence are scarcely common.

1 For this ‘proportional equalization’ of the parties to an unequal friendship see 7.2, 13.1. It would appear that the meaning here is, that unless the great man is also better than the good man, the good man cannot give more love or respect to the great man than the great man gives to him, which is the only way in which the good man can compensate the great man for giving more benefits than he gets, and so be put on an equality; see further on 9.1.1.

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