BUT since, O Timocrates, we have now had a great deal of conversation on the subject of banquets in all that has been hitherto said; and since we have passed over those things in them which are most useful and which do not weigh down the soul, but which cheer it, and nourish it by variety of food, as the divine Homer incidentally teaches us, I will also mention what has been said concerning these things by that most excellent writer Masyrius. For we, as the beautiful Agathon says—
Do what is more than needful as if needful,The poet accordingly says, when he is speaking of Menelaus—
And treat our real work as if it were superfluous.
At the fair dome the rapid labour ends,1as it was a custom to celebrate banquets at marriages, both for the sake of the gods who preside over marriage, and as it were for a testimony to the marriage; and also, the king of Lycia instructs us what sort of banquet ought to be given to foreigners, receiving Bellerophon with great magnificence—
Where sat Atrides 'midst his bridal friends,
With double vows invoking Hymen's power
To bless his son's and daughter's nuptial hour:—
There Lycia's monarch paid him honours due,2
Nine days he feasted, and nine bulls he slew.