[p. 313] What is your opinion at present, Sossius Senecio, of the pleasures of mind and body, is not evident to me;
Because us two a thousand things divide,But formerly, I am sure, you did not lean to nor like their opinion, who will not allow the soul to have any proper agreeable pleasure, which without respect to the body she desires for herself; but define that she lives as a form assistant to the body, is directed by the passions of it, and, as that is affected, is either pleased or grieved, or, like a looking-glass, only receives the images of those sensible impressions made upon the body. This sordid and debas ing opinion is especially in this way confuted; for at a feast, the genteel well-bred men after supper fall upon some topic or another as second course, and cheer one another by their pleasant talk. Now the body hath very little or no share in this; which evidently proves that this is a particular banquet for the soul, and that those pleasures are peculiar to her, and different from those which pass to her through the body and are vitiated thereby. Now, as nurses, when they feed children, taste a little of their pap, and have but small pleasure therefrom, but when the infants are satisfied, leave crying, and go to sleep, then being at their own disposal, they take such meat and drink as is agreeable to their own bodies; thus the soul partakes of the pleasures that arise from eating and drinking, like a nurse, being subservient to the appetites of the body, kindly yielding to its necessities and wants, and calming its desires; but when that is satisfied and at rest, then being free from her business and servile employment, she seeks her own proper pleasures, revels on discourse, problems, stories, curious questions, or subtle resolutions. [p. 314] Nay, what shall a man say, when he sees the dull unlearned fellows after supper minding such pleasures as have not the least relation to the body? They tell tales, propose riddles, or set one another a guessing at names, comprised and hid under such and such numbers. Thus mimics, drolls, Menander and his actors were admitted into banquets, not because they can free the eye from any pain, or raise any tickling motion in the flesh; but because the soul, being naturally philosophical and a lover of instruction, covets its own proper pleasure and satisfaction, when it is free from the trouble of looking after the body.
Vast shady hills, and the rough ocean's tide.