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Miscellaneous.

As bad performers cannot sing alone, but in a chorus, so some persons cannot walk alone. If you are anything, walk alone; talk by yourself; and do not skulk in the chorus. Think a little at last; look about you; sift yourself, that you may know what you are.

If a person drinks water, or does anything else for the sake of training, upon every occasion he tells all he meets, " I drink water." Why, do you drink water merely for the sake of drinking it? If it does you any good to drink it. do so; if not, you act [p. 2047] ridiculously. But if it is for your advantage that you drink it, say nothing about it before those who would criticise. Yet can it be possible that these are the very people you wish to please?

Of actions, some are performed on their own account; others from circumstances, others from complaisance, others upon system.

Two things must be rooted out of men, conceit and diffidence. Conceit lies in thinking that you want nothing; and diffidence in supposing it impossible that under such adverse circumstances you should ever succeed. Now, conceit is removed by confutation; and of this Socrates set the example. And consider and ascertain that the undertaking is not impracticable. The inquiry itself will do you no harm; and it is almost being a philosopher to inquire how it is possible to employ our desire and aversion without hindrance.

" I am better than you, for my father has been consul." "I have been a tribune," says another, "and you not." If we were horses, would you say, "My father was swifter than yours; I have abundance of oats and hay and fine trappings "? What now, if, while you were saying this, I should answer: " Be it so. Let us run a race then "? Is there nothing in man analogous to a race in horses, by which it may be decided which is better or worse? Is there not honor, fidelity, justice? Show yourself the better in these, that you may be the better as a man. [p. 2048] But if you only tell me that you can kick violently, I will tell you again that you value yourself on what is the property of an ass.


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