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But because several persons neither will nor dare take their friends to task whilst they thrive and flourish in the world, looking upon prosperity as a state above the reach of a rebuke, but pour forth their invectives like a river that has overflown its banks, insulting and trampling upon them, when Fortune has already laid them at their feet, out of a sort of satisfaction to see their former state and grandeur reduced to the same level of fortune with themselves; it may not be improper to discourse a little upon this argument, and make some reply to that question of Euripides,—
What need is there of friends when Fortune smiles?1

[p. 144] I answer, to lower those lofty and extravagant thoughts which are usually incident to that condition; for wisdom in conjunction with prosperity is a rare talent and the lot of but few. Therefore most men stand in need of a borrowed prudence, to depress the tumors that attend an exuberant felicity; but when the turn of Fortune itself has abated the swelling, a man's very circumstances are sufficient of themselves to read him a lecture of repentance, so that all other grave and austere corrections are then superfluous and impertinent; and it is on the contrary more proper in such traverses of Fortune to enjoy the company of a compassionate friend,2 who will administer some comfort to the afflicted and buoy him up under the pressure of his affairs. So Xenophon relates that the presence of Clearchus, a person of a courteous and obliging aspect, gave new life and courage to his soldiers in the heat of a battle or any other difficult rencounter. But he who chides and upbraids a man in distress, like him who applies a medicine for clearing the sight to a distempered and inflamed eye, neither works a cure nor allays the pain, but only adds anger to his sorrows and exasperates the patient. A man in health indeed will digest a friendly lecture for his wenching, drinking, idleness, continual recreations and bathing, or unseasonable eating; but for a sick man to be told that all this comes of his intemperance, voluptuousness, high feeding, or whoring, is utterly insupportable and worse than the disease itself. O impertinent man! will such a one say, the physicians prescribe me castor and scammony, and I am just making my last will and testament, and do you lie railing and preaching to me lectures of philosophy? And thus men in adversity stand more in need of our humanity and relief than of sharp and sententious reprimands. For neither will a nurse immediately scold at her child that is fallen, but first help him up, [p. 145] wash him, and put him in order again, and then chide and whip him. They tell us a story to this purpose of Demetrius Phalereus, that, when he dwelt an exile at Thebes in mean beggarly circumstances, he was once extremely concerned to observe the philosopher Crates making towards him, expecting to be treated by him with all the roughness of a cynical behavior. But when Crates had addressed himself courteously to him, and discoursed him upon the point of exile, endeavoring to convince him that it had nothing miserable or uneasy in it, but on the contrary rather rescued him from the nice and hazardous management of public affairs,—advising him withal to repose his confidence in himself and his own conscience,— Demetrius was so taken and encouraged by his discourse, that he is reported to have said to his friends, Cursed be those employs which robbed me so long of the acquaintance of such an excellent person. For

Soft, friendly words revive th' afflicted soul;
But sharp rebukes are only for a fool.

And this is the way of generous and ingenuous friends. But they who servilely admire you in prosperity,—like old fractures and sprains, which (as Demosthenes3 speaks) always ache and pain us when some fresh disease has befallen the body,—stick close to you in the revolution of your fortune, and rejoice and enjoy the change. Whereas, if a man must needs have a remembrancer of a calamity which his own indiscretion hath pulled upon him, it is enough you put him in mind that he owes it not to your advice, for you often dissuaded him from the undertaking.4

1 Eurip. Orestes, 667.

2 Eurip. Ion, 732.

3 See Demosth. Ol. II p. 24, 3.

4 See Il. IX. 108.

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