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Let us in the next place discourse of the useful and kind offices which the flatterer seems cheerfully ready upon every occasion to perform, thereby rendering the disparity betwixt him and the true friend extremely perplexed and intricate.

For the temper of a friend, like the language of truth, is (as Euripides says) sincere, natural, without paint or varnish; but that of a flatterer, as it is corrupt and diseased in itself, so stands in need of many curious and exquisite remedies to correct it.1 And therefore you shall have friends upon an accidental rencounter, without either giving or receiving a formal salute, content themselves to speak their mutual kindness and familiarity in a nod and a smile; but the flatterer pursues you, runs to meet you, and extends his hand long before he comes at you; and if you chance but to see and salute him first, he swears you must excuse his rudeness, and will produce you witness that he did not see you, if you please. Thus again, a friend dwells not upon every trifling punctilio, is not ceremonious and punctual in the transacting of business, is not inquisitive, and does not intrude into every piece of service; but the parasite is all obedience, all perpetual indefatigable industry, admits no rival in his services, but will wait your commands, which if [p. 131] you lay not upon him, he seems mightily afflicted, the unhappiest man in the world!

1 Eurip. Phoeniss. 472.

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