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[22] Therefore, among men like those just mentioned, friendship offers advantages1 almost beyond my power to describe. In the first place, how can life be what Ennius calls “the life worth living,” if it does not repose on the mutual goodwill of a friend? What is sweeter than to have someone with whom you may dare discuss anything as if you were communing with yourself? How could your enjoyment in times of prosperity be so great if you did not have someone whose joy in them would be equal to your [p. 133] own? Adversity would indeed be hard to bear, without him to whom the burden would be heavier even than to yourself. In short, all other objects of desire are each, for the most part, adapted to a single end-riches, for spending; influence, for honour; public office, for reputation; pleasures, for sensual enjoyment; and health, for freedom from pain and full use of the bodily functions; but friendship embraces innumerable ends; turn where you will it is ever at your side; no barrier shuts it out; it is never untimely and never in the way. Therefore, we do not use the proverbial2 “fire and water” on more occasions than we use friendship. I am not now speaking of the ordinary and commonplace friendship—delightful and profitable as it is—but of that pure and faultless kind, such as was that of the few whose friendships are known to fame. For friendship adds a brighter radiance to prosperity and lessens the burden of adversity by dividing and sharing it.3

1 Or more literally “adaptabilities,” “occasions when it can be fitly used.”

2 Proverbial, that is, as representing the prime necessities of life.

3 Cf. Bacon's Friendship: “This communicating of a man's self to his friend worketh two contrary effects; for it redoubleth Joys and cutteth Griefs in Halves.”

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