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But because several accidental emergencies in conversation will now and then invite a man, though bad enough himself, to correct others, the most dexterous way of doing it will be to involve ourselves in the same guilt with those we reprehend; as in this passage of Homer,
Fie, what's the matter, Diomede, that we
Have now forgot our former gallantry?

and in this other,

We are not worth one single Hector all.1

Thus Socrates would handsomely twit the young men with their ignorance by professing his own, pretending for his part he had need with them to study morality and make more accurate enquiries into the truth of things. For a confession of the same guilt, and a seeming endeavor to reform ourselves as well as our friends, gives credit to the reprimand and recommends it to their affections. But he who gravely magnifies himself, whilst he imperiously detracts from others, as being a man forsooth of no imperfections, unless his age or a celebrated reputation indeed commands our attention, is only impertinent and troublesome to no purpose. And therefore it was not without reason that Phoenix, checking Achilles for his intemperate anger, confessed his own unhappiness in that particular, how he [p. 151] had like once to have slain his own father through a transport of passion had not the scandalous name of parricide held his hands;2 that the hero might not imagine he took that liberty with him because he had never offended in the like kind himself. For such inoffensive reproofs leave a deeper impress behind them, when they seem the result of sympathy rather than contempt.

But because a mind subject to the disorders of passion, like an inflamed eye that cannot bear a great and glaring light, is impatient of a rebuke, without some temperament to qualify and allay its poignancy, therefore the best remedy in this case will be to dash it with a little praise, as in the following:

Think, and subdue ! on dastards dead to fame
I waste no anger, for they feel no shame;
But you, the pride, the flower of all our host,
My heart weeps blood to see your glory lost!

Where, Pandarus, are all thy honors now,
Thy winged arrows and unerring bow,
Thy matchless skill, thy yet unrivall'd fame,
And boasted glory of the Lycian name!

And such rebukes as these are also most effectual in reclaiming those that are ready to fall into gross enormities:

O where are Oedipus and all his riddles now?


Is this the speech of daring Hercules?4

For a mixture of both together not only abates and takes off from that roughness and command which a blunt reprehension seems to carry along with it, but raises in a man a generous emulation of himself, whilst the remembrance of his past virtues shames him out of his present vices and makes him propose his former actions for his future example. But if you compare him with other men, as with his fellow-citizens, his contemporaries, or relations, then vice, [p. 152] which loves to dispute the victory, renders him uneasy and impatient under the comparison, and will be apt to make him grumble, and in an huff bid you be gone then to his betters and not trouble him any longer. And therefore we ought not to fall upon other men's commendations before him whom we take the liberty to rebuke, unless indeed they be his parents; as Agamemnon in Homer,—

Ah! how unlike his sire is Tydeus' son!5

and Ulysses in the tragedy called the Scyrians, speaking to Achilles,—

Dost thou, who sprang from a brave Grecian race
By spinning thy great ancestors disgrace?

1 Il. XI. 313; VIII. 234.

2 Il. IX. 461.

3 Il. XIII. 116; V. 171.

4 Eurip. Phoeniss. 1688; Hercules Furens, 1250.

5 Il. V. 800.

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