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As therefore it is an easy matter to stop the fire that is kindled only in hare's wool, candle-wick, or a little chaff, but if it have once taken hold of matter that hath solidity and thickness, it soon inflames and consumes, as Aeschylus says,—
With youthful vigor the carpenter's lofty work;
so he that observes anger while it is in its beginning, and [p. 38] sees it by degrees smoking and taking fire from some speech or chaff-like scurrility, need take no great pains to extinguish it, but oftentimes can put an end to it only by silence or neglect. For as he that adds no fuel to the fire hath already as good as put it out, so he that doth not feed anger at the first, nor blow the fire in himself, hath prevented and destroyed it. Wherefore Hieronymus, although he taught many other useful things, yet hath given me no satisfaction in saying that anger is not perceptible in its birth, by reason of its suddenness, but only after its birth and while it lives; for there is no other passion, while it is gathering and stirring up, which hath its rise and increase so conspicuous and observable. This is very skilfully taught by Homer, by making Achilles suddenly surprised with grief as soon as ever the word fell on his ear, saying of him,—
This said, a sable cloud of grief covered him o'er;
1
but making Agamemnon grow angry slowly and need many words to inflame him, so that, if these had been stopped and forbidden when they began, the contest had never grown to that degree and greatness which it did. Wherefore Socrates, as oft as he perceived any fierceness of spirit to rise within him towards any of his friends, setting himself like a promontory to break the waves, would speak with a lower voice, bear a smiling countenance, and look with a more gentle eye; and thus, by bending the other way and moving contrary to the passion, he kept himself from falling or being worsted.

1 Il. XVII. 591.

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