For the belly is a great evil to man; concerning which Alexis speaks, in his Men Dying together— [p. 665]
And hence you well may see how great an evilAnd Diphilus, in his Parasite, says—
The belly is to man; what lessons strange
It teaches, and what deeds it forces on us.
If there were any power which could take
This part alone from out our bodies, then
No one would any more do injury
Or insult to his neighbour. But from this
Flow all the ills that harass human life.
Well did that wise Euripides oft speak,And Crates the Cynic, as Sosicrates tells us in his Successions, reproached Demetrius Phalereus for sending him a wallet of bread with a flagon of wine. “I wish,” said he, “that the fountains bore bread.” And Stilpo did not think himself guilty of intemperance when, having eaten garlic, he went to sleep in the temple of the Mother of the Gods; but all who eat of that food were forbidden even to enter into it. But when the goddess appeared to him in his sleep, and said, “O Stilpo, do you, though you are a philosopher, transgress the Law?” he thought that he made answer to her (still being asleep), “Do you give me something better to eat, and I will not eat garlic.”
And this does seem his wisest word of all—
“But want compels me and my wretched belly;”
For there is nought more wretched than the belly:
And into that you pour whate'er you have,
Which you do not in any other vessel.
Loaves you perhaps may in a wallet carry,—
Not soup, or else you'll spoil it. So again,
You put cakes in a basket, but not pulse;
And wine into a bladder, but not crabs:
But into this accursed belly, men
Put every sort of inconsistent thing.
I add no more; since it is plain enough
That all men's errors are produced by it.'