PLATO, being desired by the Cyreneans to prescribe to them good laws and to settle their government, refused to do it, saying that it was a hard matter to give them any law whilst they enjoyed so much prosperity, since nothing is so fierce, arrogant, and untamable, as a man that thinks himself to be in a happy condition. Wherefore it is very difficult to give counsel to princes in matters of government; for they fear to receive advice as a thing seeming to command them, lest the force of reason should seem to lessen their power, by obliging it to submit to truth. And they consider not the saying of Theopompus, king of Sparta, who, being the first in that country that joined the Ephori with the Kings, was reproached by his wife, because by this means he would leave the kingdom to his children less than he found it; to whom he replied, that he should render it so much the greater, the firmer it was. For, by holding the reins of government somewhat loose, he avoided envy and danger; nevertheless, since he permitted the stream of his power to flow so freely into other channels, what he gave to them must needs be a loss to himself. Though philosophy possessing a prince as his assistant and keeper, by taking away the dangerous part of fulness of power (as if it were fulness of body), leaves the sound part.

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