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 Confide in them about matters which require no secrecy as if they were secrets; for if you fail you will not injure yourself, and if you succeed you will have a better knowledge of their character. Prove your friends by means of the misfortunes of life and of their fellowship in your perils; for as we try gold in the fire, so we come to know our friends when we are in misfortune.1 You will best serve your friends if you do not wait for them to ask your help, but go of your own accord at the crucial moment to lend them aid.
1 For both the figure and the sentiment cf. Theog. 415.