When I had said this, Lamprias, sitting (as he always doth) upon a low bed, cried out: Sirs, will you give me leave to correct this sottish judge? And the company bidding him speak freely and tell me roundly of my faults, and not spare, he said: And who can forbear that philosopher, who disposes of places at a feast according to the birth, wealth, or offices of the guests, as if they were seats in a theatre or the Amphictyonic Council, so that pride and arrogance must be admitted even into our mirth and entertainments? In seating our guests we should not have respect to honor, but mirth and conversation; not look after every man's quality, but their agreement and harmony with one another, as those do that join several different things in one composure. Thus a mason doth not set an Athenian or a Spartan stone, because formed in a more noble country, before an Asian or a Spanish; nor does a painter give [p. 209] the most costly color the chiefest place; nor a shipwright the Corinthian fir or Cretan cypress; but they so distribute them as will best serve to the common end, and make the whole composure strong, beautiful, and fit for use. Nay, you see even the Deity himself (by our Pindar named the most skilful artificer) doth not everywhere place the fire above and the earth below; but, as Empedocles hath it,
The oysters, murets of the sea, and shell-fish every one,the earth not having that place that Nature appoints, but that which is necessary to compound bodies and serviceable to the common end, the preservation of the whole. Disorder is in every thing an evil; but then its badness is principally discovered, when it is amongst men whilst they are making merry; for then it breeds contentions and a thousand unspeakable mischiefs, which to foresee and hinder shows a man well skilled in good order and disposing right.
With massy coat, the tortoise eke, with crust as hard as stone,
And vaulted back, which archwise he aloft doth hollow rear,
Show all that heavy earth they do above their bodies bear;