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Insomuch that Plato, when he was in company with any persons that were guilty of unhandsome actions, was wont thus to reflect upon himself and ask this question, Am I of the like temper and disposition with these men? In like manner, whosoever passes a hard censure upon another man's life should presently make use of selfexamination, and enquire what his own is; by which means he will come to know what his failings are, and how to amend [p. 288] them. Thus the very censures and backbitings of his enemy will redound to his advantage, although in itself this censorious humor is a very vain, empty, and useless thing. For every one will laugh at and deride that man who is humpbacked and baldpated, while at the same time he makes sport with the natural deformities of his brethren; it being a very ridiculous unaccountable thing to scoff at another for those very imperfections for which you yourself may be abused. As Leo Byzantinus replied upon the humpbacked man, who in drollery reflected on the weakness of his eyes, You mock me for a human infirmity, but you bear the marks of divine vengeance on your own back.

Wherefore no man should arraign another of adultery, when he himself is addicted to a more bestial vice. Neither may one man justly accuse another of extravagance or looseness, when he himself is stingy and covetous. Alcmaeon told Adrastus, that he was near akin to a woman that killed her husband; to which Adrastus gave a very pat and sharp answer,—Thou with thy own hands didst murder thy mother.1 After the same sarcastical way of jesting did Domitius ask Crassus whether he did not weep for the death of the lamprey that was bred in his fish-pond; to which Crassus makes this present reply,—But have I not heard that you did not weep when you carried out three wives to their burial.

Whence we may infer that it behooves every man who takes upon him to correct or censure another not to be too clamorous or merry upon his faults, but to be guilty of no such crime as may expose him to the chastisement and reproach of others. For the great God seems to have given that commandment of Know thyself to those men more especially who are apt to make remarks upon other men's actions and forget themselves. So, as Sophocles hath well observed, They often hear that which they would not, because [p. 289] they allow themselves the liberty of talking what they please.

1 From the Adrastus of Euripides.

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