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Now we observe that many people have neither the assurance nor the courage to school their friends when these are prospering, but on the contrary feel that good fortune is altogether inaccessible and impregnable to admonition, whereas, when one of their friends has fallen and come to grief, they assail him and trample upon him now he is reduced to a subordinate and humble position, letting loose upon him a flood of frank speech, like a stream which has been held in unnatural restraint, and they find a welcome [p. 365] pleasure in the change because of their friend's former disdain and their own weakness ; it would therefore be well to discuss this matter also, and to make a reply to Euripides 1 when he says,
When Heaven grants us luck, what need of friends ?
The reply is, that in good fortune men have most need of friends to speak frankly and reduce their excess of pride. For there are few persons who in good fortune have still a sober mind ; most have need of discretion and reason to be put into them from without, which shall repress them when they are puffed up and unsettled with the favours of fortune. But when the Heavenly power casts them down and strips off their importance, there is in these calamities alone admonition enough to work repentance. Wherefore at such a time there is no use for a friend's frankness or for words charged with grave and stinging reproof; but in such reversals truly
'Tis sweet to gaze into a kind man's eyes,2
when he offers consolation and encouragement. And this was true of Clearchus, the sight of whose face, Xenophon 3 says, so kindly and benevolent in the midst of ‘ battles and perils,’ strengthened the confidence of the men in the face of danger. But he who applies frankness of speech and stinging reproof to a person in misfortune, might as well apply some stimulant of vision to a disordered and inflamed eye ; he effects no cure nor any abatement of the pain, but only adds irritation to the painfulness, and exasperates the sufferer. Thus no man in good health, for instance, is at all harsh or ferocious against a friend who blames him for yielding to women and wine, or for being lazy and neglecting to take exercise, or for indulging perpetually in baths or [p. 367] unseasonable gourmandise. But for a man who is sick it is intolerable, nay, an aggravation of the sickness, to be told, ‘See what comes of your intemperance, your soft living, your gluttony and wenching.’ ‘Heavens, man, what a time to talk of that! I am writing my will, the doctors are preparing for me a dose of castor or scammony, and you admonish and lecture me!’ Under such conditions, then, the very circumstances in which the unfortunate find themselves leave no room for frank speaking and sententious saws, but they do require gentle usage and help. When children fall down, the nurses do not rush up to them to berate them, but they take them up, wash them, and straighten their clothes, and, after all this is done, they then rebuke and punish them. It is said that when Demetrius of Phalerum had been banished from his native land and was living in obscurity and humble station near Thebes, he was not well pleased to see Crates approaching, anticipating some cynical frankness and harsh language. But Crates met him with all gentleness, and conversed with him concerning the subject of banishment, how there was nothing bad in it, nor any good cause to feel distress, since thus he was set free from a hazardous and insecure office ; at the same time he urged him not to be discouraged over himself and his present condition. Whereupon Demetrius, becoming more cheerful and once more taking heart, said to his friends, ‘What a pity that those activities and occupations of mine have kept me from knowing a man like this !’
The kindly words of friends for one in grief And admonitions when one plays the fool. 4
[p. 369] This is the way of noble friends, but the ignoble and degraded flatterers of the fortunate are ‘like the old fractures and sprains,’ which, as Demosthenes 5 says, ‘are stirred afresh whenever the body suffers some ill,’ and so these persons have a clinging fondness for reverses, as though they were pleased with them and derived enjoyment from them. For if a man really needs a reminder where he has come to grief through following his own ill-advised counsel, sufficient are the words :
Never did I approve the act; indeed I often Spoke against it.6

1 Orestes, 667.

2 Euripides, Ion, 732.

3 Anabasis, ii. 6. 11.

4 Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag., Euripides, No. 962. Again cited by Plutarch, Moralia, 102 B.

5 De corona, 198.

6 Homer, Il. ix. 108.

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