My child, you must make a marriage that will commend itself to men of sense, who would counsel you neither to shun entirely connection with a poor family, nor to pursue connection with a rich one, but, other things being equal, to prefer always an alliance with a family of moderate means. Such a course will benefit both the State and the united families,1
since in respect of excellence what is evenly balanced and symmetrical is infinitely superior to what is untempered. The man who knows he is unduly hasty and violent in all his actions should win a bride
sprung from steady parents; while the man that is of a contrary nature should proceed to mate himself with one of the opposite kind. Regarding marriage as a whole there shall be one general rule: each man must seek to form such a marriage as shall benefit the State, rather than such as best pleases himself. There is a natural tendency for everyone to make for the mate that most resembles himself, whence it results that the whole State becomes ill-balanced
both in wealth and in moral habits; and because of this, the consequences we least desire are those that generally befall most States. To make express enactments about these matters by law—that, for instance, a rich man must not marry into a rich family, nor a man of wide power with a powerful family, or that man of hasty tempers must be obliged to seek alliances with those of slower tempers, and the slow with the hasty—this, besides being ridiculous, would cause widespread resentment; for people do not find it easy to perceive
that a State should be like a bowl of mixed wine, where the wine when first poured in foams madly, but as soon as it is chastened by the sober deity of water, it forms a fair alliance, and produces a potion that is good and moderate. That this is precisely what happens in the blending of children is a thing which hardly anyone is capable of perceiving; therefrom in the legal code we must omit such rules, and merely try by the spell of words to persuade each one
to value the equality of his children more highly than the equality of a marriage with inordinate wealth, and by means of reproaches to divert from his object him who has set his heart on marrying for money, although we may not compel him by a written law. Concerning marriage these shall be the exhortations given, in addition to those previously given,2
declaring how it is a duty to lay hold on the ever-living reality by providing servants for God in our own stead; and this we do by leaving behind us children's children.