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phaedrus   



his relations; he has no troubles to add up or excuse to invent; and

being well rid of all these evils, why should he not freely do what

will gratify the beloved?

If you say that the lover is more to be esteemed, because his love

is thought to be greater; for he is willing to say and do what is

hateful to other men, in order to please his beloved;-that, if true,

is only a proof that he will prefer any future love to his present,

and will injure his old love at the pleasure of the new. And how, in a

matter of such infinite importance, can a man be right in trusting

himself to one who is afflicted with a malady which no experienced

person would attempt to cure, for the patient himself admits that he

is not in his right mind, and acknowledges that he is wrong in his

mind, but says that he is unable to control himself? And if he came to

his right mind, would he ever imagine that the desires were good which

he conceived when in his wrong mind? Once more, there are many more

non-lovers than lovers; and if you choose the best of the lovers,

you will not have many to choose from; but if from the non-lovers, the

choice will be larger, and you will be far more likely to find among

them a person who is worthy of your friendship. If public opinion be

your dread, and you would avoid reproach, in all probability the

lover, who is always thinking that other men are as emulous of him

as he is of them, will boast to some one of his successes, and make

a show of them openly in the pride of his heart;-he wants others to

know that his labour has not been lost; but the non-lover is more

his own master, and is desirous of solid good, and not of the

opinion of mankind. Again, the lover may be generally noted or seen

following the beloved (this is his regular occupation), and whenever

they are observed to exchange two words they are supposed to meet

about some affair of love either past or in contemplation; but when

non-lovers meet, no one asks the reason why, because people know

that talking to another is natural, whether friendship or mere

pleasure be the motive.

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