[240a] thinking that they would hinder and censure his most sweet intercourse with him. But he will also think that one who has property in money or other possessions will be less easy to catch and when caught will be less manageable; wherefore the lover must necessarily begrudge his beloved the possession of property and rejoice at its loss. Moreover the lover would wish his beloved to be as long as possible unmarried, childless, and homeless, since he wishes to enjoy as long as possible what is pleasant to himself. Now there are also other evils, but God [240b] has mingled with most of them some temporary pleasure; so, for instance, a flatterer is a horrid creature and does great harm, yet Nature has combined with him a kind of pleasure that is not without charm, and one might find fault with a courtesan as an injurious thing, and there are many other such creatures and practices which are yet for the time being very pleasant; but a lover is not only harmful to his beloved [240c] but extremely disagreeable to live with as well. The old proverb says, “birds of a feather flock together”; that is, I suppose, equality of age leads them to similar pleasures and through similarity begets friendship; and yet even they grow tired of each other's society. Now compulsion of every kind is said to be oppressive to every one, and the lover not only is unlike his beloved, but he exercises the strongest compulsion. For he is old while his love is young, and he does not leave him day or night, [240d] if he can help it, but is driven by the sting of necessity, which urges him on, always giving him pleasure in seeing, hearing, touching, and by all his senses perceiving his beloved, so that he is glad to serve him constantly. But what consolation or what pleasure can he give the beloved? Must not this protracted intercourse bring him to the uttermost disgust, as he looks at the old, unlovely face, and other things to match, which [240e] it is not pleasant even to hear about, to say nothing of being constantly compelled to come into contact with them? And he is suspiciously guarded in all ways against everybody, and has to listen to untimely and exaggerated praises and to reproaches which are unendurable when the man is sober, and when he is in his cups and indulges in wearisome and unrestrained freedom of speech become not only unendurable but disgusting. And while he is in love he is harmful and disagreeable, but when his love has ceased he is thereafter false to him whom he formerly hardly induced
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