previous next
Neither ought any, even in their playing and jesting, to give way to their anger, for it turns good-will into hatred; nor when they are disputing, for it turns a desire of knowing truth into a love of contention; nor when they sit in judgment, for it adds violence to authority; nor when they are teaching, for it dulls the learner, and breeds in him a hatred of all learning; nor if they be in prosperity, for it increases envy; nor if in adversity, for it makes them to be unpitied, if they are morose and apt to quarrel with those who commiserate them, as Priam did:— [p. 55]
Be gone, ye upbraiding scoundrels, haven't ye at home
Enough, that to help bear my grief ye come?

On the other hand, good temper doth remedy some things, put an ornament upon others, and sweeten others; and it wholly overcomes all anger and moroseness by gentleness. As may be seen in that excellent example of Euclid, who, when his brother had said in a quarrel, Let me perish if I be not avenged of you, replied, And let me perish if I do not persuade you into a better mind; and by so saying he straightway diverted him from his purpose, and changed his mind. And Polemon, being reviled by one that loved precious stones well and was even sick with the love of costly signets, answered nothing, but noticed one of the signets which the man wore, and looked wistfully upon it. Whereat the man being pleased said: Not so, Polemon, but look upon it in the sunshine, and it will appear much better to you. And Aristippus, when there happened to be a falling out between him and Aeschines, and one said to him, O Aristippus, what is now become of the friendship that was between you two? answered, It is asleep, but I will go and awaken it. Then coming to Aeschines, he said to him, What? dost thou take me to be so utterly wretched and incurable as not to be worth thy admonition? No wonder, said Aeschines, if thou, by nature so excelling me in every thing, didst here also discern before me what was right and fitting to be done.

A woman's, nay a little child's soft hand,
With gentle stroking easier doth command,
And make the bristling boar to couch and fall,
Than any boisterous wrestler of them all.
But we that can tame wild beasts and make them gentle, carrying young wolves and the whelps of lions in our arms, do in a fit of anger cast our own children, friends, and companions out of our embraces; and we let loose our [p. 56] wrath like a wild beast upon our servants and fellow-citizens. And we but poorly disguise our rage when we give it the specious name of zeal against wickedness; and it is with this, I suppose, as with other passions and diseases of the soul,—although we call one forethought, another liberality, another piety, we cannot so acquit and clear ourselves of any of them.

1 Il. XXIV. 239.

Creative Commons License
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.

load focus Greek (Gregorius N. Bernardakis, 1891)
load focus English (W. C. Helmbold, 1939)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: