therefore, is that celebrated saying of Archytas of
Tarentum, I think it was—a saying which I have
heard repeated by our old men who in their turn heard
it from their elders. It is to this effect: “If a
man should ascend alone into heaven and behold
clearly the structure of the universe and the beauty
of the stars, there would be no pleasure for him in
the awe-inspiring sight, which would have filled
him with delight if he had had someone to whom
he could describe what he had seen.” Thus nature,
loving nothing solitary, always strives for some sort of
support, and man's best support is a very dear friend.
But though this same nature declares by
so many utterances what she wishes, what she
seeks, and what she ardently longs for, yet we
somehow grow deaf and do not hearken to her voice.
For varied and complex are the experiences of
friendship, and they afford many causes for suspicion
and offence, which it is wise sometimes to ignore,
sometimes to make light of, and sometimes to endure.
But there is one cause of offence which must be
encountered in order that both the usefulness and
loyalty of friendship may be preserved; for friends
frequently must be not only advised, but also
rebuked, and both advice and rebuke should be kindly
received when given in a spirit of goodwill.