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[320] Wealth should not be seized: god-given wealth is much better; for if a man takes great wealth violently and perforce, or if he steals it through his tongue, as often happens when gain deceives men's sense and dishonor tramples down honor, [325] the gods soon blot him out and make that man's house low, and wealth attends him only for a little time. Alike with him who does wrong to a suppliant or a guest, or who goes up to his brother's bed and commits unnatural sin in lying with his wife, [330] or who infatuately offends against fatherless children, or who abuses his old father at the cheerless threshold of old age and attacks him with harsh words, truly Zeus himself is angry, and at the last lays on him a heavy requital for his evil doing. [335] But do you turn your foolish heart altogether away from these things, and, as far as you are able, sacrifice to the deathless gods purely and cleanly, and burn rich meats also, and at other times propitiate them with libations and incense, both when you go to bed and when the holy light has come back, [340] that they may be gracious to you in heart and spirit, and so you may buy another's holding and not another yours. Call your friend to a feast; but leave your enemy alone; and especially call him who lives near you: for if any mischief happens in the place, [345] neighbors come ungirt, but kinsmen stay to gird themselves.1 A bad neighbor is as great a plague as a good one is a great blessing; he who enjoys a good neighbor has a precious possession. Not even an ox would die but for a bad neighbor. Take fair measure from your neighbor and pay him back [350] fairly with the same measure, or better, if you can; so that if you are in need afterwards, you may find him sure. Do not get base gain: base gain is as bad as ruin. Be friends with the friendly, and visit him who visits you. Give to one who gives, but do not give to one who does not give. [355] A man gives to the free-handed, but no one gives to the closefisted. Give is a good girl, but Take is bad and she brings death. For the man who gives willingly, even though he gives a great thing, rejoices in his gift and is glad in heart; but whoever gives way to shamelessness and takes something himself, [360] even though it is a small thing, [363] it freezes his heart. He who adds to what he has, will keep off bright-eyed hunger; [361] for if you add only a little to a little and do this often, [362] soon that little will become great. What a man has by him at home does not trouble him: [365] it is better to have your stuff at home, for whatever is abroad may mean loss. It is a good thing to draw on what you have; but it grieves your heart to need something and not to have it, and I bid you mark this. Take your fill when the cask is first opened and when it is nearly spent, but midways be sparing: it is poor saving when you come to the lees.

1 I.e.neighbors come at once and without making preparations, but kinsmen by marriage (who live at a distance) have to prepare, and so are long in coming.

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