Upon this discourse of Callistratus, my father Lamprias, seeing the musicians grow bolder, said: That is not the reason, sir, and, in my opinion, the ancients were much out when they named Bacchus the son of Forgetfulness. They ought to have called him his father; for it seems he [p. 378] hath made you forget that some of those faults which are committed about pleasures proceed from a loose intemperate inclination, and others from heedlessness or ignorance. Where the ill effect is very plain, there intemperate inclination captivates reason, and forces men to sin; but where the just reward of intemperance is not directly and presently inflicted, there ignorance of the danger and heedlessness make men easily wrought on and secure. Therefore those that are vicious, either in eating, drinking, or venery, which diseases, wasting of estates, and evil reports usually attend, we call intemperate. For instance, Theodectes, who having sore eyes, when his mistress came to see him, said,
All hail, delightful light;or Anaxarchus the Abderite,
A wretch who knew what mischiefs wait on sin,Now those that take all care possible to secure themselves from all those pleasures that assault them either at the smelling, touch, or taste, are often surprised by those that make their treacherous approaches either at the eye or ear. But such, though as much led away as the others, we do not in like manner call loose and intemperate, since they are debauched through ignorance and want of experience. For they imagine they are far from being slaves to pleasures, if they can stay all day in the theatre without meat or drink; as if a pot forsooth should be mighty proud that a man cannot take it up by the bottom or the belly and carry it away, though he can easily do it by the ears. Therefore Agesilaus said, it was all one whether a man were a cinaedus before or behind. We ought principally to dread those softening delights that please and tickle through the eyes and ears, and not think that city [p. 379] not taken which hath all its other gates secured by bars, portcullises, and chains, if the enemies are already entered through one and have taken possession; or fancy ourselves invincible against the assaults of pleasure, because stews will not provoke us, when the music-meeting or theatre prevails. For in one case as much as the other we resign up our souls to the impetuousness of pleasures, which pouring in those potions of songs, cadences, and tunes, more powerful and bewitching than the best mixtures of the skilful cook or perfumer, conquer and corrupt us; and in the mean time, by our own confession, as it were, the fault is chiefly ours. Now, as Pindar saith, nothing that the earth and sea hath provided for our tables can be justly blamed, nor doth it change; but neither our meat nor broth, nor this excellent wine which we drink, hath raised such a noisy tumultuous pleasure as those songs and tunes did, which not only filled the house with clapping and shouting, but perhaps the whole town. Therefore we ought principally to secure ourselves against such delights, because they are more powerful than others; as not being terminated in the body, like those which allure the touch, taste, or smelling, but affecting the very intellectual and judging faculties. Besides, from most other delights, though reason doth not free us, yet other passions very commonly divert us. Sparing niggardliness will keep a glutton from dainty fish, and covetousness will confine a lecher from a costly whore. As in one of Menander's plays, where every one of the company was to be enticed by the bawd who brought out a surprising whore, each of them, though all boon companions,
Yet love of pleasure forced him back again;
Once almost free, he sank again to vice,
That terror and disturber of the wise.
Sat sullenly, and fed upon his cates.For to pay interest for money is a severe punishment that follows intemperance, and to open our purses is no easy matter. But these pleasures that are called genteel, and [p. 380] solicit the ears or eyes of those that are frantic after shows and music, may be had without any charge at all, in every place almost, and upon every occasion; they may be enjoyed at the prizes, in the theatre, or at entertainments, at others' cost. And therefore those that have not their reason to assist and guide them may be easily spoiled.