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But because the words of Euripides move many, who seems to frame a heavy charge against banishment and to urge it home, let us see what he says more particularly in his questions and answers about it.
JOCASTA. But is't so sad one's country to forego,
And live in exile? Pray, son, let me know.
POL. Some ills when told are great, when tried are less;
But this is saddest felt, though sad t' express.
JOC. What is't, I pray, afflicts the banished most?
POL. That liberty to speak one's mind is lost.
JOC. He is indeed a slave that dares not utter
His thoughts, nor 'gainst his cruel masters mutter.
POL. But all their insolencies must o'erpass,
And bear their follies tamely like an ass.
1

These assertions of his are neither good nor true. For first, not to speak what one thinks is not a piece of slavery; but it is the part of a prudent man to hold one's peace and be silent when time and the circumstances of affairs require it; as he himself says better elsewhere, that a wise man knows

Both when it's best no tongue to find,
And when it's safe to speak his mind.

Again, as for the rudeness and insolency of such as have power in their hands, they that stay in their country are no less forced to bear and endure it than those that are driven out of it; nay, commonly the former stand more in [p. 31] fear of false informations and the violence of unjust rulers in cities than the latter. But his greatest mistake and absurdity is his taking away all freedom of speech from exiles. It is wonderful indeed if Theodorus had no freedom of this kind, who,—when King Lysimachus said to him: Thou being such a criminal, the country cast thee forth, did it not?—replied: Yes, not being able to bear me; just as Semele cast out Bacchus, when she could bear him no longer. And when the king showed him Telesphorus in an iron cage, with his eyes digged out of their holes, his nose and ears and tongue cut off, and said: So I deal with those that injure me, he was not abashed. What! did not Diogenes retain his wonted freedom of speaking, who coming into King Philip's camp, when he was going to give the Grecians battle, was brought before him for a spy; and confessed that he was so, but that he came to take a view of his unsatiable greediness of empire and of his madness and folly who was going in the short time of a fight to throw a die for his crown and life?

And what say you to Hannibal the Carthaginian? Did not he use a convenient freedom towards Antiochus (he at that time an exile, and the other a king), when upon an advantageous occasion he advised him to give his enemies battle? He, when he had sacrificed, told him the entrails forbade it. Hannibal sharply rebuked him thus: You are for doing what the flesh of a beast, not what the reason of a wise man, adviseth.

Neither does banishment deprive geometricians or mathematicians of the liberty of discoursing freely concerning matters they know and have skill in; and why should any worthy or good man be denied it? But meanness of thought obstructs and hinders the voice, strangles the power of speech, and makes a man a mute. But let us see what follows from Euripides: [p. 32]

JOC. Upon good hopes exiles can thrive, they say.
POL. Hopes have fine looks, but kill one with delay.
2

This is also an accusation of men's folly rather than of banishment; for it is not the well instructed and those that know how to use what they have aright, but such as depend upon what is to come and desire what they have not, that are carried and tossed up and down by hopes, as in a floating vessel, though they have scarce ever stirred beyond the gates of their own city. But to go on:

JOC. Did not your father's friends aid your distress?
POL. Take care to thrive; for if you once are poor,
Those you call friends will know you then no more.
JOC. Did not your high birth stand you in some stead?
POL. It's sad to want, for honor buys no bread.

These also are ungrateful speeches of Polynices, who accuses banishment as casting disparagement upon noble birth and leaving a man without friends, who yet because of his high birth was thought worthy, though an exile, to have a king's daughter given him in marriage, and also by the powerful assistance of his friends gathered such an army as to make war against his own country, as he confesses himself a little after:

Many a famous Grecian peer
And captain from Mycenae here
'In readiness t' assist me tarry;
Sad service 'tis, but necessary.
3

Neither are the words of his lamenting mother any wiser:

No nuptial torch at all I lighted have
To thee, as doth a wedding-feast beseem;
No marriage-song was sung; nor thee to lave
Was water brought from fair Ismenus' stream.

She ought to have been well pleased and rejoiced when she heard that her son dwelt in such kingly palaces; but, whilst she laments that the nuptial torch was not lighted, and the want of waters from Ismenus's river for him to [p. 33] have bathed in (as if people at Argos were destitute both of fire and water at their weddings), she makes those evils, which her own conceit and folly produced, to be the effects of banishment.

1 Eurip. Phoeniss. 388.

2 Eurip. Phoeniss. 396.

3 Ibid., 430 and 344

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