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[66] Very true, unless some other sounder opinion convinces you. That great Scipio was a man of this sort, who had no objection to do the same thing that you do; to keep a most learned man, a man of almost divine wisdom, in his house; by whose conversation and precepts, although they were the very same that you are so fond of; he was nevertheless not made more severe, but (as I have heard said by old men) he was rendered most merciful. And who was more mild in his manners than Caius Lucius? who was more agreeable than he? (devoted to the same studies as you;) who was more virtuous or more wise than he? I might say the same of Lucius Philus, and of Caius Gallus; but I will conduct you now into your own house. Do you think that there was any man more courteous, more agreeable; any one whose conduct was more completely regulated by every principle of virtue and politeness, than Cato, your great-grandfather? And when you were speaking with truth and dignity of his virtue, you said that you had a domestic example to imitate. That indeed is an example set up for your imitation in your own family; and the similarity of nature ought rather to influence you who are descended from him than any one of us; but still that example is as much an object for my imitation as for yours. But if you were to add his courtesy and affability to your own wisdom and impartiality, I will not say that those qualities which are now most excellent will be made intrinsically better, but they will certainly be more agreeably seasoned.


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