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Yet there are some that now at this day run in verse; one of which has become notorious above the rest. There is in Phocis a temple consecrated to Hercules the woman-hater, the chief priest of which is forbid by the law and custom of the place to have private familiarity with his wife during the year that he officiates; for which reason they most commonly make choice of old men to perform that function. Nevertheless, some time since a young man, no way vicious and covetous of honor, yet doting upon a new married wife, took upon him the dignity. At first he was very chaste and temperate, and abstained from the woman; but soon after, the young lady coming to give him a visit as he was laid down to rest himself after a brisk dancing and drinking bout, he could not resist the charming temptation. But then, coming to himself and remembering what he had done, perplexed and terrified, he fled to the oracle to consult Apollo upon the crime which he had committed; who returned him this answer,
All things necessary God permitteth.

But should we grant that in our age no oracles are delivered in verse, we should be still doubtful about the ancient times, when the oracles were delivered sometime in verse sometime in prose. Though, whether it be in prose or verse, the oracle is never a whit the falser or the more miraculous, so that we have but a true and religious opinion [p. 91] of the Deity; not irreverently conceiting that formerly he composed a stock of verses to be now repeated by the prophetess, as if he spoke through masks and visors.

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load focus English (Frank Cole Babbitt, 1936)
load focus Greek (Gregorius N. Bernardakis, 1891)
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