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[p. 288] Polybius, my Sossius Senecio, advised Scipio Africanus never to return from the Forum, where he was conversant about the affairs of the city, before he had gained one new friend. Where I suppose the word friend is not to be taken too nicely, to signify a lasting and unchangeable acquaintance; but, as it vulgarly means, a well-wisher, and as Dicearchus takes it, when he says that we should endeavor to make all men well-wishers, but only good men friends. For friendship is to be acquired by time and virtue; but good-will is produced by a familiar intercourse, or by mirth and trifling amongst civil and genteel men, especially if opportunity assists their natural inclinations to good-nature. But consider whether this advice may not be accommodated to an entertainment as well as the Forum; so that we should not break up the meeting before we had gained one of the company to be a well-wisher and a friend. Other occasions draw men into the Forum, but men of sense come to an entertainment as well to get new friends as to make their old ones merry; indeed to carry away any thing else is sordid and uncivil, but to depart with one friend more than we had is pleasing and commendable. And so, on the contrary, he that doth not aim at this renders the meeting useless and unpleasant to himself, and departs at last, having been a partaker of an entertainment with his belly but not with his mind. For he that makes one at a feast doth not come only to enjoy the meat and drink, but likewise the discourse, mirth, and genteel humor which ends at last in friendship and good-will. The wrestlers, that they may hold fast and lock better, use dust; and so wine mixed with discourse is of extraordinary use to make us hold fast of, and fasten upon, a friend. For wine tempered with discourse carries gentle and kind affections out [p. 289] of the body into the mind; otherwise, it is scattered through the limbs, and serves only to swell and disturb. Thus as a marble, by cooling red-hot iron, takes away its softness and makes it hard, fit to be wrought and receive impression; thus discourse at an entertainment doth not permit the men that are engaged to become altogether liquid by the wine, but confines and makes their jocund and obliging tempers very fit to receive an impression from the seal of friendship if dexterously applied.
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