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For this reason the most useful means possible for turning the busybody from his vice is for him to [p. 499] remember what he has previously learned.1 For, as Simonides2 used to say that when he opened his boxes after some time, he always found the fee-box full, but the thanks-box empty, so if one opens from time to time the deposit-box of inquisitiveness and examines it, full as it is of many useless, futile, and unlovely things, perhaps this procedure would give sufficient offence, so completely disagreeable and silly would it appear. Suppose a man should run over the works of the ancients and pick out the worst passages in them and keep a book compiled from such things as ‘headless lines’ in Homer3 and solecisms in the tragedians and the unbecoming and licentious language applied to women by which Archilochus4 makes a sorry spectacle of himself, would he not deserve that curse in the tragedy,
Be damned, compiler of men's miseries?5
And even without this curse, such a man's treasurehouse of other people's faults is unbecoming and useless. It is like the city populated by the vilest and most intractable of men which Philip founded and called Roguesborough.6

Busybodies, however, by gleaning and gathering the blunders and errors and solecisms, not of lines or poems, but of lives, carry about with them a most [p. 501] inelegant and unlovely record-box of evils, their own memory. Therefore just as at Rome there are some who take no account of paintings or statues or even, by Heaven, of the beauty of the boys and women for sale, but haunt the monster-market, examining those who have no calves, or are weasel-armed,7 or have three eyes, or ostrich-heads, and searching to learn whether there has been born some

Commingled shape and misformed prodigy,8
yet if one continually conduct them to such sights, they will soon experience satiety and nausea ; so let those who are curious about life's failures, the blots on the scutcheon, the delinquencies and errors in other people's homes, remind themselves that their former discoveries have brought them no favour or profit.

1 With this chapter may be compared chapter 19 of De Vitioso Pudore (Moralia, 536 c-d).

2 Cf. the same story, illustrating the avarice of Simonides, in Moralia, 555 f; there the box containing his fees is full of silver.

3 Lines which begin with a short syllable instead of the long one demanded by the metre: cf. Moralia, 397 d, 611 b; Athenaeus, xiv. 632 d.

4 Cf. Moralia, 45 a.

5 Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag. 2, p. 913, ades. 388; cf. Moralia, 855 b.

6 Cf. Jacoby, Frag. d. gr. Historiker, ii. B, p. 561, Theopompus, Frag. 110.

7 That is, with exceptionally short arms.

8 Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag. 2, p. 680, Euripides, Frag. 996; cf. Life of Theseus, xv. (6 d).

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