Plato, in his Joint Deceiver, representing a father as indignant with his son's tutor, makes him say—
A. You've taken this my son, and ruin'd him,And in his play entitled the Homicide, the same Plato, laughing at one of those gentle philosophers, says—
You scoundrel; you've persuaded him to choose
A mode of life quite foreign to his nature
And disposition; taught by your example,
He drinks i' the morning, which he ne'er was used to do.
B. Do you blame me, master, that your son
Has learnt to live?
A. But do you call that living?
B. Wise men do call it so. And Epicurus
Tells us that pleasure is the only good.
A. Indeed; I never heard that rule before.
Does pleasure come then from no other source?
Is not a virtuous life a pleasure now?
Will you not grant me that?—Tell me, I pray you,
Did you e'er see a grave philosopher
Drunk, or devoted to these joys you speak of?
B. Yes; all of them.-All those who raise their brows,
Who walk about the streets for wise men seeking,
As if they had escaped their eyes and hid:
Still when a turbot once is set before them,
Know how to help themselves the daintiest bits.
They seek the head and most substantial parts,
As if they were an argument dissecting,
So that men marvel at their nicety.
The man who has a chance to pay his court[p. 439] And Hegesippus, in his Philetairi, says—
To a fair woman, and at eve to drink
Two bottles full of richest Lesbian wine,
Must be a wise man; these are real goods.
These things I speak of are what Epicurus
Tells us are real joys; and if the world
All lived the happy life I live myself,
There would not be one wicked man on earth.
That wisest Epicurus, when a man
Once ask'd him what was the most perfect good
Which men should constantly be seeking for,
Said pleasure is that good. Wisest and best
Of mortal men, full truly didst thou speak:
For there is nothing better than a dinner,
And every good consists in every pleasure.