Wherefore, if distress of mind befalls a wise man
(as it certainly does unless we assume that human
sympathy has been rooted out of his heart), why
should we remove friendship entirely from our lives
in order that we may suffer no worries on its account?
For when the soul is deprived of emotion, what
difference is there—I do not say between man and
the beasts of the field, but between man and a
stock or a stone, or any such thing? Nor are we to
listen to those men1
who maintain that virtue is
hard and unyielding and is, as it were, something
made of iron; whereas, in many relations of life,
and especially in friendship, it is so pliable and
elastic that it expands, so to speak, with a friend's
prosperity and contracts with his adversity. Wherefore, that mental anguish of which I spoke and which
often must be felt on a friend's account, has no more
power to banish friendship from life than it has
to cause us to reject virtue because virtue entails
certain cares and annoyances.
But, since, as I said before, virtue knits
friendship together, if there should be some exhibition of shining virtue to which a kindred spirit may
attach and adjust itself, then, when that happens,
love must needs spring forth.