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[20] And before those who are fond of gossiping generally; for not to gossip about the fault of another amounts to not regarding it as a fault at all. Now those who are inclined to gossip are those who have suffered wrong, because they always have their eyes upon us; and slanderers, because, if they traduce the innocent, still more will they traduce the guilty. And before those who spend their time in looking for their neighbors' faults, for instance, mockers and comic poets; for they are also in a manner slanderers and gossips. And before those from whom they have never asked anything in vain,1 for they feel as if they were greatly esteemed. For this reason they feel ashamed before those who ask them for something for the first time, as never yet having lost their good opinion. Such are those who have recently sought their friendship (for they have only seen what is best in them, which is the point of the answer of Euripides to the Syracusans),2 or old acquaintances who know nothing against us.

1 Jebb translates, “who have never seen us break down.”

2 The Greek scholiast says: “Euripides, having been sent as ambassador to the Syracusans, to ask for peace and friendship, when they refused said: O Syracusans, if for no other reason than that we are just feeling the need of your friendship, you ought to respect our admiration.” Nothing is known of this embassy. Hyperides has been suggested instead of Euripides.

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