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[5] If any man seeks for success in stern art and applies his mind to great tasks, let him first perfect his character by the rigid law of frugality. Nor must he care for the lofty frown of the tyrant's palace, or scheme for suppers with prodigals like a client, or drown the fires of his wit with wine in the company[p. 9] of the wicked, or sit before the stage applauding an actor's grimaces for a price.

“But whether the fortress of armoured Tritonis smiles upon him, or the land where the Spartan farmer lives, or the home of the Sirens, let him give the years of youth to poetry, and let his fortunate soul drink of the Maeonian fount. Later, when he is full of the learning of the Socratic school, let him loose the reins, and shake the weapons of mighty Demosthenes like a free man. Then let the company of Roman writers pour about him, and, newly unburdened from the music of Greece, steep his soul and transform his taste. Meanwhile, let him withdraw from the courts and suffer his pages to run free, and in secret make ringing strains in swift rhythm; then let him proudly tell tales of feasts, and wars recorded in fierce chant, and lofty words such as undaunted Cicero uttered. Gird up thy soul for these noble ends; so shalt thou be fully inspired, and shalt pour out words in swelling torrent from a heart the Muses love.”

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