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On which account Megaclides finds fault with those poets who came after Homer and Hesiod, and have written about Hercules, relating how he led armies and took cities,— who passed the greater part of his life among men in the most excessive pleasure, and married a greater number of women than any other man; and who had unacknowledged children, by a greater number of virgins, than any other man. For any one might say to those who do not admit all this—“Whence, my good friends, is it that you attribute to him all this excessive love of eating; or whence is it that the custom has originated among men of leaving nothing in the cup when we pour a libation to Hercules, if he had no regard for pleasure? or why are the hot springs which rise out of the ground universally said to be sacred to Hercules; or why are people in the habit of calling soft couches the beds of Hercules, if he despised all those who live luxuriously? Accordingly, says he, the later poets represent him as going about in the guise of a robber by himself, having a club, and a lion's hide, and his bow. And they say that Stesichorus of Himera was the original inventor of this fable. But Xanthus the lyric poet, who was more ancient than Stesichorus, as Stesichorus himself tells us, does not, according to the statement of Megaclides, clothe him in this dress, but in that which Homer gives him. But Stesichorus perverted a great many of the accounts given by Xanthus, as he does also in the case of what is called the Orestea. But Antisthenes, when he said that pleasure was a good, added—“such as brought no repentance in its train.”
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