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[59] But worst of all is the third limitation, which is that “whatever value a man places upon himself, the same value should be placed upon him by his friends.” For often in some men either the spirit is too dejected, or the hope of bettering their fortune is too faint. Therefore, it is not the province of a friend, in such a case, to have the same estimate of another that the other has of himself, but rather it is his duty to strive with all his might to arouse his friend's prostrate soul and lead it to a livelier hope and into a better train of thought. Hence some other limitation of true friendship must be fixed, after I have first stated a view which Scipio used to condemn in the strongest terms. He often said that no utterance could be found more at war with friendship than that of the man who had made this remark: “We should love as if at some time we were going to hate.” And Scipio really could not, he said, be induced to adopt the commonly accepted belief that this expression was made by Bias,1 who was counted one of the Seven Sages; but he thought that it was the speech of some abandoned wretch, or scheming politician, or of someone who regarded everything as an instru- [p. 171] ment to serve his own selfish ends. For how will it be possible for anyone to be a friend to a man who, he believes, may be his foe? Nay, in such a case it will be necessary also for him to desire and pray that his friend may sin as often as possible and thereby give him, as it were, the more handles to lay hold of; and, again, he will be bound to feel grief, pain and envy at the good deeds and good fortune of his friends.

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load focus Introduction (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
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