And there is nothing unnatural in such men as those being very voracious; for all the men who practise athletic exercises, learn with these gymnastic exercises also to eat a great deal. On which account Euripides says, in the first edition of his Autolycus—
For when there are ten thousand ills in Greece,
There's none that's worse than the whole race of athletes.
For, first of all, they learn not to live well,
Nor could they do so; for could any man
Being a slave to his own jaws and appetite
Acquire wealth beyond his father's riches
How could a man like that increase his substance?
Nor yet can they put up with poverty,
Or e'er accommodate themselves to fortune;
And so being unaccustom'd to good habits,
They quickly fall into severe distress.—
In youth they walk about in fine attire,
And think themselves a credit to the city;
But when old age in all its bitterness
O'ertakes their steps, they roam about the streets,
Like ragged cloaks whose nap is all worn off.
And much I blame the present fashions, too,
Which now in Greece prevail; where many a feast
Is made to pay great honour to such men,
And to show false respect to vain amusements.
For though a man may wrestle well, or run,
Or throw a quoit, or strike a heavy blow,
Still where's the good his country can expect
From all his victories and crowns and prizes?
Will they fight with their country's enemies
[p. 652] With quoit in hand? Or will their speed assist
To make the hostile bands retreat before them?
When men stand face to face with th' hostile sword
They think no more of all these fooleries.
'Twere better to adorn good men and wise
With these victorious wreaths; they are the due
Of those who govern states with wisdom sound,
And practise justice, faith, and temperance;
Who by their prudent language ward off evils,
Banishing wars and factions. These are the men,
Who're not alone a grace and ornament
To their own land, but to the whole of Greece.