Scorn all his joy, and laughter all his aim;1alleging the pleasantness of his humor as the cause of his favor at court. Thus you shall meet with several smart and satirical reflections in a comedy; but the mixture of jest and fool in the play, like ill sauce to good meat, abates their poignancy and renders them insignificant; so that, upon the whole, the poet acquires only the character of a saucy and foul-mouthed buffoon, and the auditors lose that advantage which they might otherwise reap from remarks of that nature. We may do well therefore to reserve our jollity and mirth for more suitable occasions, but we must by all [p. 143] means be serious and candid in our admonitions; which, if they be upon important points, must be so animated with our gestures, passion, and eagerness of voice, as to give them weight and credit and so awaken a tender concern in the persons to whom they are addressed. We are again to time our reproofs as seasonably as we can; for a mistake in the opportunities, as it is of ill consequence in all other things, is so peculiarly in our reprehensions. And therefore, I presume, it is manifest, we ought not to fall foul upon men in their drink. For first, he who broaches any sour disagreeable discourse amidst the pleasantry and good humor of friends casts a cloud over the serenity of the company, and acts counter to the God Lysius,2 who, as Pindar words it, unties the band of all our cares. Besides, such unseasonable remonstrances are not without danger; for wine is apt to warm men into passion, and make them quarrel at the freedom you take. And in short, it is no argument of any brave and generous, but rather of an unmanly temper, not to dare to speak one's sense when men are sober, but to keep barking like a cowardly cur at table. And therefore we need not enlarge any further upon this topic.
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