If ever, O Menemachus, that saying of Nestor's in Homer,
There is no Greek can contradict or mend
What you have said, yet to no perfect end
Is your speech brought,

might pertinently be made use of and applied, it is against those exhorting, but nothing teaching nor any way instructing, philosophers. For they do (in this respect) resemble those who are indeed careful in snuffing the lamps, but negligent in supplying them with oil. Seeing therefore that you, being by reason moved to engage yourself in the affairs of the state, desire, as becomes the nobility of your family,

Both to speak and act heroicly

in the service of your country, and that, not having attained to such maturity of age as to have observed the life of a wise and philosophical man openly spent in the transactions of the state and public debates, and to have been a spectator of worthy examples represented not in word but in deed, you request me to lay you down some political precepts and instructions; I think it no ways becoming me to give you a denial, but heartily wish that the work may be worthy both of your zeal and my forwardness. Now I have, according to your request, made use in this my discourse of sundry and various examples.

[p. 98]

1 Il. IX. 55.

2 Il. IX. 443.

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