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WHILST Glaucias was discoursing thus, the former tumultuous talk seemed to be pretty well lulled; and that it might be quite forgotten, Nicostratus started another question, saying, he never valued the matter before, whilst he thought it a Persian custom, but since it was discovered to be the Greek fashion too, it wanted (he thought) some reason to excuse or defend its seeming absurdity. For our reason (said he), like our eye, whilst it floats in too much moisture, is hard to be moved, and unable to perform its operations. And all sorts of troubles and discontents creeping forth, like insects to the sun, and being agitated [p. 396] by a glass of wine, make the mind irresolute and inconstant. Therefore as a bed is more convenient for a man whilst making merry than a chair, because it contains the whole body and keeps it from all disturbing motion, so it is best to have the soul perfectly at quiet; or, if that cannot be, we must give it, as to children that will be doing, not a sword or spear, but a rattle or ball,—in this following the example of the God himself, who puts into the hands of those that are making merry a ferula, the lightest and softest of all weapons, that, when they are most apt to strike, they may hurt least. Over a glass of wine men should make only ridiculous slips, and not such as may prove tragical, lamentable, or of any considerable concern. Besides, in serious debates, it is chiefly to be considered, that persons of mean understanding and unacquainted with business should be guided by the wise and experienced; but wine destroys this order. Insomuch that Plato says, wine is called οἶνος, because it makes those that drink it think that they have wit (οἴεσθαι νοῦν ἔχεν); for none over a glass of wine thinks himself so noble, beauteous, or rich (though he fancies himself all these), as wise; and therefore wine is babbling, full of talk, and of a dictating humor; so that we are rather for being heard than hearing, for leading than being led. But a thousand such objections may be raised, for they are very obvious. But let us hear which of the company, either old or young, can allege any thing for the contrary opinion.
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