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phaedrus   



not to give him pleasure, and therefore the beloved is to be pitied

rather than envied. But if you listen to me, in the first place, I, in

my intercourse with you, shall not merely regard present enjoyment,

but also future advantage, being not mastered by love, but my own

master; nor for small causes taking violent dislikes, but even when

the cause is great, slowly laying up little wrath-unintentional

offences I shall forgive, and intentional ones I shall try to prevent;

and these are the marks of a friendship which will last.

Do you think that a lover only can be a firm friend? reflect:-if

this were true, we should set small value on sons, or fathers, or

mothers; nor should we ever have loyal friends, for our love of them

arises not from passion, but from other associations. Further, if we

ought to shower favours on those who are the most eager suitors,-on

that principle, we ought always to do good, not to the most

virtuous, but to the most needy; for they are the persons who will

be most relieved, and will therefore be the most grateful; and when

you make a feast you should invite not your friend, but the beggar and

the empty soul; for they will love you, and attend you, and come about

your doors, and will be the best pleased, and the most grateful, and

will invoke many a blessing on your head. Yet surely you ought not

to be granting favours to those who besiege you with prayer, but to

those who are best able to reward you; nor to the lover only, but to

those who are worthy of love; nor to those who will enjoy the bloom of

your youth, but to those who will share their possessions with you

in age; nor to those who, having succeeded, will glory in their

success to others, but to those who will be modest and tell no

tales; nor to those who care about you for a moment only, but to those

who will continue your friends through life; nor to those who, when

their passion is over, will pick a quarrel with you, but rather to

those who, when the charm of youth has left you, will show their own

virtue. Remember what I have said; and consider yet this further

point: friends admonish the lover under the idea that his way of

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