However, certain sayings of his are preserved, from which it would appear that he accommodated himself to his present circumstances not ignobly. Once, namely, when he landed at Leucadia,1
a city which had been colonized by Corinthians, just like Syracuse, he said he had the same feelings as young men who have been guilty of misdemeanours; for just as these pass their time merrily with their brothers, but shun their fathers from a feeling of shame, so he was ashamed to live in their common mother-city, and would gladly dwell there with them.
And again, in Corinth, when a stranger somewhat rudely derided him about his associations with philosophers, in which he used to take delight when he was a tyrant, and finally asked him what good Plato's wisdom did him now,
‘Dost thou think,’ said he,
‘that I have had no help from Plato, when I bear my change of fortune as I do?’ Further, when Aristoxenus the musician and certain others inquired what his complaint against Plato was and what its origin,
he told them that of the many ills with which tyranny abounded there was none so great as this, that not one of those reputed to be friends speaks frankly with the tyrant; for indeed it was by such friends that he himself had been deprived of Plato's good will. Again, when one of those who wish to be witty, in mockery of Dionysius shook out his robe on coming into his presence,2
as if into the presence of a tyrant, Dionysius turned the jest upon him by bidding him do so when he went out from his presence, that he might not take anything in the house away with him.
And when Philip of Macedon, at a banquet, began to talk in banter about the lyric poems and tragedies which Dionysius the Elder had left behind him, and pretended to wonder when that monarch found time for these compositions, Dionysius not inaptly replied by saying:
‘When thou and I and all those whom men call happy are busy at the bowl.’
Now, Plato did not live to see Dionysius when he was in Corinth, but he was already dead;3
Diogenes of Sinope, however, on meeting him for the first time, said:
‘How little thou deservest, Dionysius, thus to live!’ Upon this, Dionysius stopped and said:
‘It is good of thee, O Diogenes, to sympathize with me in my misfortunes.’
‘How is that?’ said Diogenes;
‘Dost thou suppose that I am sympathizing with thee? Nay, I am indignant that such a slave as thou, and one so worthy to have grown old and died in the tyrant's estate, just as thy father did, should be living here with us in mirth and luxury.’
Wherefore, when I compare with these words the mournful utterances of Philistus about the daughters of Leptines, how from the great blessings of the tyranny they fell to a lowly life, they seem the lamentations of a woman who pines for her alabaster caskets and purple gowns and golden trinkets.
These details, then, will not seem foreign to my biography, I think, nor without usefulness, to readers who are not in haste, and are not occupied with other matters.