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When Protogenes had thus concluded; Do you not see, Anthemion, saith my father, how they again make common cause against us, enforcing us still to continue our discourse of nuptial love, who deny not ourselves to be the upholders of it, nor ever avoided the being one of that celebrated chorus? Most certainly I do, replied Anthemion; therefore proceed in the defence of conjugal affection; and let us have also your assistance in maintaining the argument about riches, with which Pisias chiefly seems to scare us. 'Tis the least we can do, said my father; for what in the world will not be made a reproach to womankind, should we reject Ismenodora because she is in love and wealthy to boot? Grant that she is imperious as well as rich. What then if she is beautiful and young? What if she is somewhat stately and haughty, by reason of her illustrious birth? There is nothing of crabbedness, nothing scornful, nothing sour, nothing troublesome, in women truly chaste and modest. And yet their very chastity gains [p. 266] them the name of shrews and furies. But you will say, since it may be a man's misfortune to be so hampered, would it not be better to marry some Thracian Abrotonon or some Milesian Bacchis, whom he can get in the market for money and a handful of nuts? And yet we have known some men that have been miserably henpecked by this sort of underlings. The Samian minstrels and morris-dancers, such as were Aristonica, Oenanthe with her tabor and pipe, and Agathoclia, insulted over the diadems of sovereigns. The Syrian Semiramis was a poor wench, kept by one of Ninus's slaves, partly as his servant, partly as his harlot, till Ninus, meeting her and taking a fancy to her, at length doted upon her to that degree, that she not only governed him as she pleased herself, but contemned him; so that, finding she had got the absolute mastery over him, she became so bold as to desire him to do her the favor to see her sit but one day upon his throne, with the royal diadem upon her head, dispatching the public business. To which the king consenting, and giving order to all his officers to yield her the same obedience as to himself, at first she was very moderate in her commands, only to make trial of the guards about her; but when she saw that they obeyed her without the least hesitation or murmuring, she commanded them first to lay hold of Ninus himself, then to bind him, at length to kill him. Which being done, she took the government upon herself, and reigned victoriously over all Asia with great splendor and renown.

And was not Belestiche a barbarian courtesan bought in the market, in whose honor the Alexandrians erected temples and altars, with inscriptions to Venus Belestiche as marks of the king's affection to her? And as for her who is in this very city enshrined in the same temple and honored with the same solemnities as Cupid, and whose gilded statue stands among kings and queens at Delphi, —I would fain know what dowry of hers it was that [p. 267] brought so many lovers into such subjection to her.1 But as those great men, through their softness and effeminacy, became a prey to those women; so on the other side, men of low and mean condition, having married women both wealthy and of splendid extraction, neither lowered sail nor abated any thing of their courage and greatness of mind, but lived together with their wives, always honoring them, and keeping that superiority over them which was their right and due. But he that contracts and reduces his wife within a narrow compass, and makes her less, like a ring that is too big for the finger, to prevent her from dropping off, is like to those that dock off their mares' tails and clip their manes, and then lead them to a river or pond; for it is reported, that when those mares perceive themselves so ill favoredly shorn and disfigured, they lose their natural courage, and will afterwards suffer themselves to be covered by asses.

Now, as it is a base thing to prefer the riches of a woman above her virtue or nobility, so is it as great folly to reject wealth, when accompanied with virtue and illustrious parentage. Antigonus writing to a captain of his, whom he had ordered to fortify the hill Munychia, bade him not only make the collar strong but keep the dog lean; intimating thereby that he should take care to impoverish the Athenians. But there is no necessity for the husband of a rich and beautiful wife to make her poor or to disfigure her; but by self-control and prudence, and by seeming not to admire any thing extravagantly in her, to carry himself so that she may perceive that, as he designs not to be a tyrant, so she must not expect him to be her subject; giving his own character that weight in the balance, that the scale may be turned without offence and for the good of both. [p. 268] Now, as for Ismenodora, her years are fit for marriage, and she is a woman most likely to bear children; nay, I am informed that she is now in her prime. For, continued he, smiling upon Pisias, she is not elder than any of her rivals; neither has she any gray hairs, as some that keep company with Baccho. Now if those people think their converse with the young gentleman no way misbecoming their gravity, what hinders but that she may affect and cherish him better than any young virgin whatever? For I must needs say, it is a difficult matter many times rightly to mix and blend the tempers of young people; in regard it will require some time to make them sensible of several extravagancies which they may commit, until they have laid aside the pride and wantonness which is incident to youth. For many a blustering tempest will happen between the new-married couple before they can be brought to endure the yoke, and draw quietly together, more especially if the God of Love appear among them; and youthful wantonness—like the wind in the absence of the pilot —will disturb and confuse the happiness of the match, while the one has not skill to govern and the other refuses to be governed. Now then, if it be so that nurses are sought for to look after sucking infants, and schoolmasters to teach children; if masters of exercise direct young striplings, and the lover his youth; if the law and the captain-general govern those that are of age, so that no man can be said to be at his own liberty to do what he list; where is the absurdity for a wife, that has wit and discretion and the advantage of years, to govern and direct the life and conversation of a youthful husband, profitable to him as exceeding him in wisdom, and augmenting the pleasure of her society by the sweetness of her disposition and reality of affection? To conclude, said he, we that are Boeotians ourselves ought to reverence Hercules, and not to be offended with those that marry women elder than [p. 269] themselves; knowing, as we do, that even Hercules himself gave his own wife Megara, being then three and thirty years old, to Iolaus his son, being no more than sixteen years of age.

1 The famous courtesan Phryne was a native of Thespiae, where her marble statue stood in the temple of Love. She also sent her own statue by Praxiteles (who was her lover) to the temple at Delphi. See Pausanias, X. 15, 1. (G.)

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