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And here may be inserted that wise and facetious answer of Diogenes to one that asked him how he might be revenged of his enemy: The only way, says he, to gall and fret him effectually is for yourself to appear a good and honest man. The common people are generally envious and vexed in their minds, as oft as they see the cattle of those they have no kindness for, their dogs, or their horses, in a thriving condition; they sigh, fret, set their [p. 286] teeth, and show all the tokens of a malicious temper, when they behold their fields well tilled, or their gardens adorned and beset with flowers. If these things make them so restless and uneasy, what dost thou think they would do, what a torment would it be to them, if thou shouldst demonstrate thyself in the face of the world to be in all thy carriage a man of impartial justice, a sound understanding, unblamable integrity, of a ready and eloquent speech, sincere and upright in all your dealings, sober and temperate in all that you eat or drink;
While from the culture of a prudent mind,
Harvests of wise and noble thought you reap.1

Those that are conquered, saith Pindar, must seal up their lips; they dare not open their mouths, no, not even to mutter.2 But all men in these circumstances are not so restrained; but such chiefly as come behind their opposites in the practice of diligence, honesty, greatness of mind, humanity, and beneficence. These are beautiful and glorious virtues, as Demosthenes 3 says, that are too pure and great to be touched by an ill tongue, that stop the mouths of backbiters, choke them and command them to be silent. Make it thy business therefore to surpass the base; for this surely thou canst do. 4 If we would vex them that hate us, we must not reproach our adversary for an effeminate and debauched person, or one of a boorish and filthy conversation; but instead of throwing this dirt, we ourselves must be remarkable for a steady virtue and a wellgoverned behavior; we must speak the truth, and carry ourselves civilly and justly towards all who hold any correspondence or maintain any commerce with us. But if at any time a man is so transported by passion as to utter any bitter words, he must take heed that he himself be not [p. 287] chargeable for those crimes for which he upbraids others; he must descend into himself, examine and cleanse his own breast, that no putrefaction nor rottenness be lodged there; otherwise he will be condemned as the physician is by the tragedian:—

Wilt thou heal others, thou thyself being full of sores?5

If a man should jeer you and say that you are a dunce and illiterate, upon this motive you ought to apply your mind to the taking of pains in the study of philosophy and all kinds of learning. If he abuses you for a coward, then raise up your mind to a courageous manliness and an undaunted boldness of spirit. If he tells you you are lascivious and wanton, this scandal may be wiped off by having your mind barred up against all impressions of lust, and your discourse free from the least obscenity. These are allowable returns, and the most cutting strokes you can give your enemy; there being nothing that carries in it more vexation and disgrace, than that scandalous censures should fall back upon the head of him who was the first author of them. For as the beams of the sun reverberated do most severely affect and punish weak eyes, so those calumnies are most vexatious and intolerable which truth retorts back upon their first broachers. For as the north-east wind gathers clouds, so does a vicious life gather unto itself opprobrious speeches.

1 Aeschyl. Septem, 593 See note on page 202. (G.)

2 Fragment 253

3 Fals. Legat. p. 406, 4.

4 Eurip. Orest. 251.

5 Eurip. Frag. No. 1071.

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