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When they had all given in their opinions upon this point, Eumetis and Melissa withdrew. Then Periander called for a large bowl full of wine, and drank to Chilo; and Chilo likewise drank to Bias. Ardalus then standing up called to Esop, and said: Will you not hand the cup to [p. 23] your friends at this end of the table, when you behold those persons there swilling up all that good liquor, and imparting none to us here, as if the cup were that of Bathycles. But this cup, quoth Esop, is no public cup, it hath stood so long by Solon's trenchard. Then Pittacus called to Mnesiphilus: Why, saith he, does not Solon drink, but act in contradiction to his own verses?—
I love that ruby God, whose blessings flow
In tides, to recreate my thirsty maw;
Venus I court, the Muses I adore,
Who give us wine and pleasures evermore.

Anacharsis subjoined: He fears your severe law, my friend Pittacus, wherein you decreed the drunkard a double punishment. You seem, said Pittacus, a little to fear the penalty, who have adventured heretofore, and now again before my face, to break that law and to demand a crown for the reward of your debauch. Why not, quoth Anacharsis, when there is a reward promised to the hardest drinker? Why should I not demand my reward, having drunk down all my fellows?—or inform me of any other end men drive at in drinking much wine, but to be drunk. Pittacus laughed at this reply, and Esop told them this fable: The wolf seeing a parcel of shepherds in their booth feeding upon a lamb, approaching near them,—What a bustle and noise and uproar would you have made, saith he, if I had but done what you do! Chilo said: Esop hath very justly revenged himself upon us, who awhile ago stopped his mouth; now he observes how we prevented Mnesiphilus's discourse, when the question was put why Solon did not drink up his wine.

Mnesiphilus then spake to this effect: I know this to be the opinion of Solon, that in every art and faculty, divine and human, the work which is done is more desired than the instrument wherewith it is done, and the end than the means conducing to that end; as, for instance, a weaver [p. 24] thinks a cloak or coat more properly his work than the ordering of his shuttles or the divers motions of his beams. A smith minds the soldering of his irons and the sharpening of the axe more than those little things preparatory to these main matters, as the kindling of the coals and getting ready the stone-dust. Yet farther, a carpenter would justly blame us, if we should affirm it is not his work to build houses or ships but to bore holes or to make mortar; and the Muses would be implacably incensed with him that should say their business is only to make harps, pipes, and such musical instruments, not the institution and correction of manners and the government of those men's passions who are lovers of singing and masters of music. And agreeably copulation is not the work of Venus, nor is drunkenness that of Bacchus; but love and friendship, affection and familiarity, which are begot and improved by the means of these. Solon terms these works divine, and he professes he loves and now prosecutes them in his declining years as vigorously as ever in his youthful days. That mutual love between man and wife is the work of Venus, the greatness of the pleasure affecting their bodies mixes and melts their very souls; divers others, having little or no acquaintance before, have yet contracted a firm and lasting friendship over a glass of wine, which like fire softened and melted their tempers, and disposed them for a happy union. But in such a company, and of such men as Periander hath invited, there is no need of can and chalice, but the Muses themselves throwing a subject of discourse among you, as it were a sober cup, wherein is contained much of delight and drollery and seriousness too, do hereby provoke, nourish, and increase friendship among you, suffering the can to rest quietly upon the bowl, contrary to the rule which Hesiod1 gives for those who have more skill for carousing than for discoursing. [p. 25]

Though all the rest with stated rules we bound,
Unmix'd, unmeasured, are thy goblets crown'd:

for it was the old Greek way, as Homer here tells us, to drink one to another in course and order. So Ajax gave a share of his meat to his next neighbor.

When Mnesiphilus had discoursed after this manner, in comes Chersias the poet, whom Periander had lately pardoned and received into favor upon Chilo's mediation. Saith Chersias: Does not Jupiter distribute to the Gods their proportion and dividend sparingly and severally, as Agamemnon did to his commanders when his guests drank to one another? If, O Chersias, quoth Cleodemus, as you narrate, certain doves bring him his ambrosia every meal, flying with a world of hardship through the rocks called Planctae (or wandering), can you blame him for his sparingness and frugality and dealing out to his guests by measure?

1 Hesiod, Works and Days, 744.

2 Il. IV. 261.

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