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Whilst he was speaking, Caphisus, Theon's son, interrupted him, and said: This discourse smells neither of history nor comment, but is taken out of the common topics of the Peripatetics, and endeavors to persuade; besides, you should, like the tragedians, raise your machine, and fright all that contradict you with the God. But the God, as indeed it is requisite he should be, is equally benevolent to all. Now let us, following Sospis (for he fairly leads the way), keep close to our subject, the palm-tree, which affords us sufficient scope for our discourse. The Babylonians celebrate this tree, as being useful to them three hundred and sixty several ways. But to us Greeks it is of very little use, but its want of fruit makes it proper for contenders in the games. For being the fairest, greatest, and best proportioned of all sorts of trees, it bears no fruit amongst us; but by reason of its strong constitution it spends all its nourishment (like an athlete) upon its body, and so has very little, and that very bad, remaining for seed. Beside all this, it hath something peculiar, which cannot be attributed to any other tree. The branch of a palm, if you put a weight upon it, doth not yield and bend downwards, but turns the contrary way, as if it resisted the pressing force. The like is to be observed in these exercises. For those who, through weakness or cowardice, yield to them, their adversaries oppress; but those who stoutly endure the encounter have not only their bodies, but their minds too, strengthened and increased. [p. 415]
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