THESE discourses made all the other company merry; but Sospis the rhetorician, seeing Hylas the grammarian sit silent and discomposed (for he had not been very happy in his exercises), cried out,
But Ajax's soul stood far apart;and raising his voice repeated the rest to him,
But sit, draw near, and patiently attend,To this Hylas, unable to contain, returned a scurvy answer, saying that Ajax's soul, taking her lot in the twentieth place in hell, changed her nature, according to Plato, for a lion's; but, for his part, he could not but often think upon the saying of the old comedian,
Hear what I say, and tame your violent rage.
'Tis better far to be an ass, than seeAt this Sospis, laughing heartily, said: But in the mean time, before we have the pack-saddles on, if you have any [p. 443] regard for Plato, tell us why he makes Ajax's soul, after the lots drawn, to have the twentieth choice. Hylas, with great indignation, refused, thinking that this was a jeering reflection on his former miscarriage. Therefore my brother began thus: What, was not Ajax counted the second for beauty, strength, and courage, and the next to Achilles in the Grecian army? And twenty is the second ten, and ten is the chiefest of numbers, as Achilles of the Greeks. We laughing at this, Ammonius said: Well, Lamprias, let this suffice for a joke upon Hylas; but since you have voluntarily taken upon you to give an account of this matter, leave off jesting, and seriously proceed.
Unworthier men in greater honor shine.