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Think not that I speak this for any ill-will or enmity that I have borne against usurers;
For never did they drive away
My horses or my kine.

But my only aim is to show those who are so ready to take up money upon use, how much shame and slavery there is in it, and how it proceeds only from extreme folly, sloth, and effeminacy of heart. For if thou hast of thy own, borrow not, since thou hast no need of it; and if thou hast nothing, borrow not, because thou wilt not have any means to pay. But let us consider the one and the other apart. The elder Cato said to a certain old man, who behaved himself ill: My friend, seeing old age has of itself so many evils, why dost thou go about to add to them the reproach and shame of wickedness? In like manner may we say to a man oppressed with poverty: Since poverty has of itself so many and so great miseries, do not heap upon them the anguishes of borrowing and being in debt. Take not from poverty the only good thing in which it is superior to riches, to wit, freedom from pensive care. Otherwise thou wilt subject thyself to the derision of the common proverb, which says, A goat I cannot bear away, Therefore an ox upon me lay. Thou canst not bear poverty, and yet thou art going to load on thyself a usurer, which is a burden even to a rich man insupportable. But you will say perhaps, how then would you have me to live Is this a question fit for thee to ask, who hast [p. 419] hands, feet, and a voice, who in brief art a man, whose property it is to love and be beloved, to do and receive a courtesy? Canst thou not teach, bring up young children, be a porter or doorkeeper, travel by sea, serve in a ship? There is in all these nothing more shameful or odious, than to be dunned with the importunate clamors of such as are always saying, Pay me, give me my money.

1 Il. I. 154.

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