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AT Athens Erato the musician keeping a solemn feast to the Muses, and inviting a great many to the treat, the company was full of talk, and the subject of the discourse garlands. For after supper many of all sorts of flowers being presented to the guests, Ammonius began to jeer me for choosing a rose chaplet before a laurel, saying that those made of flowers were effeminate, and fitted toyish girls and women more than grave philosophers and men of music. And I admire that our friend Erato, that abominates all flourishing in songs, and blames good Agatho, who first in his tragedy of the Mysians ventured to introduce the chromatic airs, should himself fill his entertainment with such various and such florid colors, and that, while he [p. 261] shuts out all the soft delights that through the ears can enter to the soul, he should introduce others through the eyes and through the nose, and make these garlands, instead of signs of piety, to be instruments of pleasure. For it must be confessed that this ointment gives a better smell than those trifling flowers, which wither even in the hands of those that wreathe them. Besides, all pleasure must be banished the company of philosophers, unless it is of some use or desired by natural appetite; for as those that are carried to a banquet by some of their invited friends (as, for instance, Socrates carried Aristodemus to Agatho's table) are as civilly entertained as the bidden guests, but he that goes on his own account is shut out of doors; thus the pleasures of eating and drinking, being invited by natural appetite, should have admission; but all the others which come on no account, and have only luxury to introduce them, ought in reason to be denied.
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