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ULYSSES. What then, Gryllus? Does your transmutation inform ye also that sheep and asses are rational creatures?

GRYLLUS. From these very creatures, most worthy and best of men, Ulysses, the nature of beasts is chiefly to be discerned to be as it is, neither void of reason nor understanding. For as one tree is neither more or less than another without a soul, but all are together in the same condition of insensibility (for there is no tree that is endued with a soul); so neither would one animal seem to be [p. 233] more slow to understand or more indocible than another, if all did not partake of reason and understanding, though some in a less, some in a greater measure. For you must consider that the stupidity and slothfulness of some is an argument of the quickness and subtlety of others, which easily appears when you compare a fox, a wolf, or a bee with a sheep or ass; as if thou shouldest compare thyself to Polyphemus, or thy grandfather Autolycus with the Corinthian [mentioned in] Homer. For I do not believe there is such difference between beast and beast, in point of reason and understanding and memory, as between man and man.

ULYSSES. Have a care, Gryllus; it is a dangerous thing to allow them reason that have no knowledge of a Deity.

GRYLLUS. Must we then deny that thou, most noble Ulysses, being so wise and full of stratagems as thou art, wast begotten by Sisyphus? . . .

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load focus English (Harold Cherniss and William C. Helmbold, 1957)
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