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It is right that [490] the good should be happy, that the wicked and the impious, on the other hand, should be miserable; that is a truth, I believe, which no one will gainsay. To realize this condition of things is a proposal as great as it is noble and useful in every respect, and we have found a means of attaining the object of our wishes. If Plutus recovers his sight and ceases from wandering about unseeing and at random, [495] he will go to seek the just men and never leave them again; he will shun the perverse and ungodly; so, thanks to him, all men will become honest, rich and pious. Can anything better be conceived for the public weal?

Of a certainty, no! I bear witness to that. It is not even necessary she should reply.

[500] Does it not seem that everything is extravagance in the world, or rather madness, when you watch the way things go? A crowd of rogues enjoy blessings they have won by sheer injustice, while more honest folks are miserable, die of hunger, and spend their whole lives with you. [505] Now, if Plutus became clear-sighted again and drove out Poverty, it would be the greatest blessing possible for the human race.

Here are two old men, whose brains are easy to confuse, who assist each other to talk rubbish and drivel to their hearts' content. But if your wishes were realized, your profit would be great! [510] Let Plutus recover his sight and divide his favours out equally to all, and none will ply either trade or art any longer; all toil would be done away with. Who would wish to hammer iron, build ships, sew, turn, cut up leather, bake bricks, bleach linen, tan hides, [515] or break up the soil of the earth with the plough and garner the gifts of Demeter, if he could live in idleness and free from all this work?

What nonsense all this is! All these trades which you just mention will be plied by our slaves.

Your slaves! And by what means will these slaves be got?

We will buy them.

But first say, who will sell them, [520] if everyone is rich?

Some greedy dealer from Thessaly —the land which supplies so many.

But if your system is applied, there won't be a single slave-dealer left. What rich man would risk his life to devote himself to this traffic? [525] You will have to toil, to dig and submit yourself to all kinds of hard labour; so that your life would be more wretched even than it is now.

May this prediction fall upon yourself!

You will not be able to sleep in a bed, for no more will ever be manufactured; nor no carpets, for who would weave them, if he had gold? When you bring a young bride to your dwelling, you will have no essences wherewith to perfume her, [530] nor rich embroidered cloaks dyed with dazzling colors in which to clothe her. And yet what is the use of being rich, if you are to be deprived of all these enjoyments? On the other hand, you have all that you need in abundance, thanks to me; to the artisan I am like a severe mistress, who forces him by need and poverty to seek the means of earning his livelihood.

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