THAT was a fine and true thought of the poet Afranius about the birth of Wisdom and the means of acquiring it, when he said that she was the daughter of Experience and Memory. For in that way he shows that one who wishes to be wise in human affairs does not need books alone or instruction in rhetoric and dialectics, but ought also to occupy and train himself in becoming intimately acquainted with and testing real life, and in firmly fixing in his memory all such acts and events; and accordingly he must learn wisdom and judgment from the teaching of actual experience, not from what books only, or masters, through vain words and fantasies, have foolishly represented as though in a farce or a dream. The verses of Afranius are in a Roman comedy called The Chair: 1
My sire Experience was, me Memory bore,There is also a line of Pacuvius to about the same purport, which the philosopher Macedo, a good man and my intimate friend, thought ought to be written over the doors of all temples: 2
In Greece called Sophia, Wisdom in Rome.
I hate base men who preach philosophy.For he said that nothing could be more shameful or insufferable than that idle, lazy folk, disguised with beard and cloak, should change the character and [p. 433] advantages of philosophy into tricks of the tongue and of words, and, themselves saturated with vices, should eloquently assail vice.