Men deliberate and dispute variously concerning virtue, whether prudence and justice and the right ordering of one's life can be taught. Moreover, we marvel that the works of orators, shipmasters, musicians, carpenters, and husbandmen are infinite in number, while good men are only a name, and are talked of like centaurs, giants, and the Cyclops, and that as for any virtuous action that is sincere and unblamable, and manners that are without any touch and mixture of bad passions and affections, they are not to be found; but if Nature of its own accord should produce any thing good and excellent, so many things of a foreign nature mix with it (just as wild and impure productions with generous fruit) that the good is scarce discernible. Men learn to sing, dance, and read, and to be skilful in husbandry and good horsemanship; they learn how to put on their shoes and their garments; they have those that teach them how to fill wine, and to dress and cook their meat; and none of these things can be done as they ought, unless they be instructed how to do them. And will ye say, O foolish men! that the skill of ordering one's life well (for the sake of which are all the rest) is not to be taught, but to come of its own accord, without reason and without art?

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load focus English (W. C. Helmbold, 1939)
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