But one may well wonder at Archestratus, who has given us such admirable suggestions and injunctions, and who was a guide in the matter of pleasure to the philosopher Epicurus, when he counsels us wisely, in a manner equal to that of the bard1 of Ascra, that we ought not to mind some people, but only attend to him; and he bids us eat such [p. 170] and such things, differing in no respect from the cook in Damoxenus the comic writer, who says in his Syntrophi—
A. You see me here a most attentive pupil
Of Epicurus, wisest of the Greeks,
From whom in two years and ten months or less,
I scraped together four good Attic talents.
B. What do you mean by this I pray thee, tell me,
Was he a cook, my master That is news.
A. Ye gods! and what a cook! Believe me, nature
Is the beginning and the only source
Of all true wisdom. And there is no art
At which men labour, which contains more wisdom.
So this our art is easy to the man
Who has drunk deep of nature's principles;
They are his guides: and therefore, when you see
A cook who is no scholar, nor has read
The subtle lessons of Democritus,
(Aye and he must remember them besides,)
Laugh at him as an ass; and if you hire one
Who knows not Epicurus and his rules,
Discharge him straightway. For a cook must know,
(I speak the words of sober truth, my friend,)
How great the difference is in summer time
Between the glaucisk of the winter-season;
He must know all the fish the Pleiades
Bring to us at their setting; what the solstice,
Winter and summer, gives us eatable—
For all the changes and the revolutions
Are fraught with countless evil to mankind,
Such changes do they cause in all their food.
Dost thou not understand me? And remember,
Whatever is in season must be good.
B. How few observe these rules.
A. From this neglect
Come spasms, and the flatulence which ill
Beseems a politic guest;-but all the food
I give my parties, wholesome is, and good,
Digestible and free from flatulence.
Therefore its juice is easily dissolved,
And penetrates the entire body's pores.
B. Juice, say you? This is not known to Democritus.
A. But all meats out of season make the eater
Diseased in his joints.
B. You seem to me,
To have studied too the art of medicine.
A. No doubt, and so does every one who seeks
Acquaintance with his nature's mysteries.
But see now, I do beg you by the gods,
How ignorant the present race of cooks are.
When thus you find them ignorant of the smell
[p. 171] Of all the varied dishes which they dress,
And pounding sesame in all their sauce.
What can be bad enough for such sad blunderers
B. You seem to speak as any oracle.
A. What good can e'er arise, where every quality
Is jumbled with its opposite in kind,
How different so ever both may be?
Now to discern these things is art and skill,
Not to wash dishes nor to smell of smoke.
For I do never enter a strange cook-shop,
But sit within such a distance as enables
My eyes to comprehend what is within.
My friends, too, do the same; I tell them all
The causes and results. This bit is sour,
Away with it; the man is not a cook,
Though he perhaps may be a music master:
Put in some fire; keep an equal heat.
The first dish scarcely suits the rest. Do you
Not see the form of th' art?
B. O, great Apollo!
A. What does this seem to you?
B. Pure skill; high art.
A. Then I no dishes place before my guests
At random; but while all things correspond
I regulate the whole, and will divide
The whole as best may suit, in fours, or fives;
And will consult each separate division-
And satisfy each party. Then again,
I stand afar off and directions give;
Whence bring you that? what shall you mix with this?
See how discordant those two dishes are!
Take care and shun such blunders. That will do.
Thus Epicurus did arrange his pleasures.
Thus wisely did he eat. He, only wise,
Saw what was good and what its nature was.
The Stoics seek in vain for such discoveries,
And know not good nor what the nature may be
Of good; and so they have it not; nor know
How to impart it to their friends and guests.
Enough of this. Do'st not agree with me?
B. Indeed i do, all things are plain to me.