Into the hosts of brazen-armed menSome indeed of the barbarians poison their swords; but true valor has no need of choler, as being dipped in reason; but anger and fury are weak and easily broken. Wherefore the Lacedaemonians are wont by the sounding of pipes to take off the edge of anger from their soldiers, when they fight; and before they go to battle, to sacrifice to the Muses, that they may have the steady use of their reason; and when they have put their enemies to flight, they pursue them not, but sound a retreat (as it were) to their wrath, which, like a short dagger, can easily be handled and drawn back. But anger makes slaughter of thousands before it can avenge itself, as it did of Cyrus and Pelopidas the Theban. Agathocles, being reviled by some whom he besieged, bore it with mildness; and when one [p. 47] said to him, O Potter, whence wilt thou have pay for thy mercenary soldiers? he answered with laughter, From your city, if I can take it. And when some onefrom the wall derided Antigonus for his deformity, he answered, I thought surely I had a handsome face: and when he had taken the city, he sold those for slaves who had scoffed at him, protesting that, if they reviled him so again, he would call them to account before their masters. Furthermore, I observe that hunters and orators are wont to be much foiled by anger. Aristotle reports that the friends of Satyrus once stopped his ears with wax, when he was to plead a cause, that so he might not confound the matter through anger at the revilings of his enemies. Do we not ourselves oftentimes miss of punishing an offending servant, because he runs away from us in fright when he hears our threatening words? That therefore which nurses say to little children—Do not cry, and thou shalt have it—may not unfitly be applied to our mind when angry. Be not hasty, neither speak too loud, nor be too urgent, and so what you desire will be sooner and better accomplished. For as a father, when he sees his son about to cleave or cut something with an hatchet, takes the hatchet himself and doth it for him; so one taking the work of revenge out of the hand of anger doth himself, without danger or hurt, yea, with profit also, inflict punishment on him that deserves it, and not on himself instead of him, as anger oft-times doth.
Each boldly charged, but ne'er reviled his foe.
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