From this view those men who, after the manner
of cattle, judge everything by the standard of
pleasure, vigorously dissent; nor is it strange;
for the raising of the vision to anything lofty, noble
and divine is impossible to men who have abased
their every thought to a thing so lowly and so mean.
Therefore let us dismiss these persons from our
conversation and let us for ourselves believe that
the sentiments of love and of kindly affection spring
from nature, when intimation has been given of
moral worth; for when men have conceived a longing for this virtue they bend towards it and move
closer to it, so that, by familiar association with
him whom they have begun to love, they may enjoy
his character, equal him in affection, become readier
to deserve than to demand his favours, and vie with
him in a rivalry of virtue. Thus the greatest advantages will be realized from friendship, and its origin,
being derived from nature rather than from weakness, will be more dignified and more consonant
with truth. For on the assumption that advantage is
the cement of friendships, if advantage were removed
friendships would fall apart; but since nature is
unchangeable, therefore real friendships are eternal.
You now have my views on the origin of friendship, unless you have something to say in reply.
FANNIUS. Pray go on, Laelius, and I answer for
my friend here, as I have the right to do, since he is