For I now turn my speech to those who are more wealthy, and withal more nice and effeminate, and whose discourse is commonly in this manner: How shall I remain then without servants, without fire, and without a house or place to which I may repair? Now this is the same thing as if one who is sick of a dropsy and puffed up as a barrel should say to a physician: How? Would you have me become slender, lean, and [p. 422] empty? And why not, provided you thereby get your health? Thus it is better you should be without servants, than that you should yourself become a slave; and that you should remain without possessions, than that you should be made the possession of another. Give ear a little to the discourse of the two vultures, as it is reported in the fable. One of them was taken with so strong a fit of vomiting, that he said: I believe I shall cast up my very bowels. Now to this his companion answered: What hurt will there be in it? For thou wilt not indeed throw up thine own entrails, but those of the dead man which we devoured the other day. So he who is indebted sells not his own inheritance nor his own house, but that of the usurer who lent him the money, to whom by the law he has given the right and possession of them. Nay, by Jupiter (will he say to me); but my father left me this estate. I believe it well, but he left thee also liberty and a good repute, of which thou oughtest to make more account and be more careful. He who begat thee made thy foot and thy hand, and nevertheless, if they happen to be mortified, thou wilt give money to the chirurgeon to cut them off. Calypso presented Ulysses with a robe breathing forth the sweet-scented odor of an immortal body, which she put on him, as a token and memorial of the love she had borne him. But when his ship was cast away and himself ready to sink to the bottom, not being able to keep above the water by reason of his wet robe, which weighed him downwards, he put it off and threw it away, and having girt his naked breast with a broad swaddling band,
Swam, gazing on the distant shore.

And afterwards, when the danger was over and he seen to be landed, he wanted neither food nor raiment. And is it not a true tempest, when the usurer after some time [p. 423] comes to assault the miserable debtors with this word Pay?

This having said, the clouds grow thick, the sea
Is troubled, and its raging waves beat high,
Whilst east, south, west winds through the welkin fly.

These winds are use, and use upon use, which roll one after another; and he that is overwhelmed by them and kept down by their weight cannot serve himself nor make his escape by swimming, but at last sinks down to the bottom, where he perishes, carrying with him his friends who were pledges and sureties for him.

Crates, the Theban philosopher, acted far otherwise; for owing nothing, and consequently not being pressed for payment by any creditor, but only tired with the cares and troubles of housekeeping and the solicitude requisite to the management of his estate, he left a patrimony of eight talents' value, and taking only his cloak and wallet, retired to philosophy and poverty. Anaxagoras also forsook his plentiful and well-stocked pastures. But what need is there of alleging these examples, seeing that the lyric poet Philoxenus, being one of those who were sent to people a new city and new land in Sicily, where there fell to his share a good house and great wealth with which he might have lived well at his ease, yet seeing that delights, pleasure, and idleness, without any exercise of good letters, reigned in those quarters, said: These goods, by all the Gods, shall not destroy me, but I will rather lose them. And immediately leaving to others the portion that was allotted to himself, he again took shipping, and returned to Athens. Whereas those who are in debt bear and suffer themselves to be sued, taxed, made slaves of, and cheated with false money, feeding like King Phineus certain winged harpies. For these usurers fly to them, and ravish out of their hands their very food. Neither yet have they patience to stay and expect the season; for they buy their [p. 424] debtors' corn before it is ready for harvest, bargain for the oil before the olives are ripe, and in like manner for their wines. I will have it, says the usurer, at such a price; and immediately he gets the writing signed; and yet the grapes are still hanging on the vine, expecting the rising of Arcturus.

1 Odyss. V. 439.

2 Odyss. V. 291, 295.

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