But this natural affection, like many other good qualities [p. 197] in men, may be choked and obscured by vices; as when a wild forest is sown with garden-seeds. Can we say that man loves not himself, because some hang themselves, others break their own necks, Oedipus put out his own eyes,1 and Hegesias, by his disputation, persuaded many of his auditors to pine themselves to death?
For fatal things in various shapes do walk.2

But all these things are disease and craziness of mind, transporting a man out of his own nature; and in this men testify against themselves. For if a sow or a bitch kill the young they have brought forth, men look dejected, are disturbed, sacrifice to the Gods to avert the mischief, and do account it a miracle; because men know that Nature has implanted in all creatures the love of their young, so that they should feed them and not kill them. For as among metals gold, though mixed with much rubbish, will appear; so Nature, even in vicious deeds and affection, declares the love to posterity. For poor people do not rear their children, fearing that, if they should not be well educated, they would prove slavish, clownish, and destitute of all things commendable; since they cannot endure to entail poverty, which they look upon as the worst of all evils or diseases, upon their posterity.

1 Soph. Oed. Tyr. 1276.

2 Eurip. Alcestis, 1159.

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