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But, quite apart from this, control over the tongue, which is no small part of virtue, is something which it is impossible to keep always in subjection and obedience to the reasoning faculties, unless a man by training, practice, and industry has mastered the worst of his emotions, such as anger, for example. For the ‘voice that slips out unintended,’ 1 and the
Word that has 'scaped the lips' prison,2
and
Some of the sayings that flit forth of themselves,3
are all incident to temperaments that are quite untrained, and are unsteady and fluctuating, so to speak, owing to weakness of will, headstrong opinions, and a reckless way of living. Just for a word, the lightest thing in the world, is ordained, according to the divine Plato,4 heaviest punishment, coming from both gods and men. But silence cannot under any circumstances be called to an accounting (it is more than a preventive of thirst, as Hippocrates 5 says of it), and in the midst of reviling it is 6 [p. 29] dignified and Socratic, or rather Heraclean, if it be true that Heracles
Not so much as to a fly gave heed to words of hatred.7
Indeed, there is nothing more dignified and noble than to maintain a calm demeanour when an enemy reviles one,
Passing by a man's scoffs Just as swimmers swim past a precipitous rock,8
but far more important is the practice. If you once acquire the habit of bearing an enemy's abuse in silence, you will very easily bear up under a wife's attack when she rails at you, and without discomposure will patiently hear the most bitter utterances of a friend or a brother; and when you meet with blows or missiles at the hands of a father or mother, you will show no sign of passion or wrath. For instance, Socrates bore with Xanthippe,9 who was irascible and acrimonious, for he thought that he should have no difficulty in getting along with other people if he accustomed himself to bear patiently with her; but it is much better to secure this training from the scurrilous, angry, scoffing, and abusive attacks of enemies and outsiders, and thus accustom the temper to be unruffled and not even impatient in the midst of reviling.

1 A picturesque experssion several times used by Homer, e.g. Il. iv. 350; xiv. 83; Od. i. 64; xxiii. 70. The source of the other two quotations is unknown.

2 A picturesque experssion several times used by Homer, e.g. Il. iv. 350; xiv. 83; Od. i. 64; xxiii. 70. The source of the other two quotations is unknown.

3 A picturesque experssion several times used by Homer, e.g. Il. iv. 350; xiv. 83; Od. i. 64; xxiii. 70. The source of the other two quotations is unknown.

4 Plato, Laws, pp. 717 C and 935 A. Plutarch quotes it again in Moralia, 456 D and 505 C.

5 Cf. Moralia, 515 A.

6 e.g. II. iv. 350 ; xiv. 83 ; Od. i. 64 ; xxiii. 70. The source of the other two quotations is unknown. b Plato, Laws, pp. 717 c and 935 a. Plutarch quotes it again in Moralia, 456 d and 505 c. c Cf. Moralia, 515 a.

7 Source unknown; the story in Pausanias, v. 14, is not to the point.

8 The source of the quotation is not known.

9 Xenophon, Symposium, 2. 10.

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