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The Roman ladies heretofore willingly parted with their jewels and ornaments of gold, for the making a cup to be sent as an offering to the temple of Apollo Pythius in the city of Delphi. And the Carthaginian matrons did with their own hands cut the hair from their heads, to make cords for the managing of their warlike engines and instruments, in defence of their besieged city. But we, as if we were ashamed of being able to stand on our own legs without being supported by the assistance of others, go and enslave ourselves by engagements and obligations; whereas it were much better that, restraining our ambition and confining it to what is profitable for us, we should of our useless and superfluous plate, which we should either melt or sell, build a temple of Liberty for ourselves, our wives, and our children. The Goddess Diana in the city of Ephesus gives to such debtors as can fly into her temple freedom and protection against their creditors; but the sanctuary of parsimony and moderation in expenses, into which no usurer can enter to pluck thence and carry away any debtor prisoner, is always open for the prudent, and affords them a long and large space of joyful and honorable repose. For as the prophetess which gave oracles in the temple of the Pythian Apollo, about the time of the Persian wars, answered the Athenians, that God had for their safety given them a wall of wood, upon [p. 415] which, forsaking their lands, their city, their houses, and all their goods, they had recourse to their ships for the preservation of their liberty; so God gives us a table of wood, vessels of earth, and garments of coarse cloth, if we desire to live and continue in freedom.
Aim not at gilded coaches, steeds of price,
And harness, richly wrought with quaint device;

for how swiftly soever they may run, yet will usuries overtake them and outrun them. Take rather the first ass thou shalt meet or the first packhorse that shall come in thy way, and fly from that cruel and tyrannical enemy the usurer, who asks thee not earth and water, as heretofore did the barbarous king of Persia, but —which is worse—touches thy liberty, and wounds thy honor by proscriptions. If thou payest him not, he troubles thee; if thou hast wherewithal to satisfy him, he will not receive it, unless it be his pleasure. If thou sellest, he will have thy goods for nothing, or at a very under rate; and if thou wilt not sell, he will force thee to it; if thou suest him, he speaks to thee of an accommodation; if thou swearest to give him content, he will domineer over thee; if thou goest to his house to discourse with him, he shuts his door against thee; if thou stayest at home, he is always knocking at thy door and will never stir from thee.

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load focus English (Harold North Fowler, 1936)
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