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[100] For even on the stage the silliest characters take the parts of old men lacking in foresight and easily deceived.

But in some unaccountable way I have drifted away from the friendship of faultless men—that is, men of wisdom, such wisdom I mean as is observed to fall to the lot of man—and I have rambled on to a discussion of friendships of the frivolous kind. Wherefore, let me return to the topic with which I began and finally put an end even to that.

27. Virtue, my dear Gaius Fannius, and you, my dear Quintus Mucius, Virtue, I say, both creates the bond of friendship and preserves it. For in Virtue is complete harmony, in her is permanence, in her is fidelity; and when she has raised her head and shown her own light and has seen and recognized the same light in another, she moves towards it and in turn receives its beams; as a result love or friendship leaps into flame; for both words are derived from a word meaning “to love.”1 But love is nothing other than the great esteem and affection felt for him who inspires that sentiment, and it is not sought because of material need or for the sake of material gain. Nevertheless even this blossoms forth from friendship, although you did not make it your aim.

1 i.e. amor, “love”; amicitia, “friendship.”

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