I'm poor, you rich, I'll therefore nothing give;For he who out of his little estate makes small presents to those that have great possessions does them no pleasure; nay, being not believed to give even that little for nothing, he incurs the suspicion of being of a sordid and ungenerous disposition. But since pecuniary presents are both in bounty and beauty far inferior to such as proceed from learning and wisdom, it is honorable both to make such presents, and at our giving them, to desire suitable returns from the receivers. I therefore, sending to you,—and through you to our friends in those parts,—as a first-fruit offering, some discourses concerning the Pythian affairs, confess that I do in requital expect others, both more and better, from you, as being persons conversant in a great city, and enjoying more leisure amongst many books and conferences of all sorts. For indeed our good Apollo seems to cure and solve such difficulties as occur in the ordinary management of our life, by giving his oracles to those that resort to him; but as for those which concern [p. 479] learning, he leaves and proposes them to that faculty of the soul which is naturally addicted to the study of philosophy, imprinting in it a desire leading to truth; as is manifest both in many other matters. and in the consecration of this inscription EI. For it is not probable. that it was by chance or by a lottery (as it were) of letters that this word alone was placed in the principal seat in the God's temple, and received the dignity of a sacred donary and spectacle; but it is highly credible that those who at the beginning philosophized concerning this God gave it that station, either as. seeing it in some peculiar and extraordinary power, or using it as a symbol to signify some other thing worthy of our attention. Having therefore often formerly declined and avoided this discourse, when proposed in the school, I was lately surprised by my own children as I was debating with certain strangers, who were on their departure out of Delphi, so that I could not in civility hold them in suspense nor yet refuse discoursing with them, since they were exceeding earnest to hear something. Being therefore set down by the temple, I began myself to search into some things, and to ask them concerning others, being by the place and the very talk put in mind of those things we had heretofore, when Nero passed through these parts, heard Ammonius and some others discourse; the same difficulty having been then likewise in this very place propounded.
Lest me or fool or beggar you believe.
This text is part of:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.