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phaedrus   



There are some soft of animals, such as flatterers, who are

dangerous and, mischievous enough, and yet nature has mingled a

temporary pleasure and grace in their composition. You may say that

a courtesan is hurtful, and disapprove of such creatures and their

practices, and yet for the time they are very pleasant. But the

lover is not only hurtful to his love; he is also an extremely

disagreeable companion. The old proverb says that "birds of a

feather flock together"; I suppose that equality of years inclines

them to the same pleasures, and similarity begets friendship; yet

you may have more than enough even of this; and verily constraint is

always said to be grievous. Now the lover is not only unlike his

beloved, but he forces himself upon him. For he is old and his love is

young, and neither day nor night will he leave him if he can help;

necessity and the sting of desire drive him on, and allure him with

the pleasure which he receives from seeing, hearing, touching,

perceiving him in every way. And therefore he is delighted to fasten

upon him and to minister to him. But what pleasure or consolation

can the beloved be receiving all this time? Must he not feel the

extremity of disgust when he looks at an old shrivelled face and the

remainder to match, which even in a description is disagreeable, and

quite detestable when he is forced into daily contact with his

lover; moreover he is jealously watched and guarded against everything

and everybody, and has to hear misplaced and exaggerated praises of

himself, and censures equally inappropriate, which are intolerable

when the man is sober, and, besides being intolerable, are published

all over the world in all their indelicacy and wearisomeness when he

is drunk.

And not only while his love continues is he mischievous and

unpleasant, but when his love ceases he becomes a perfidious enemy

of him on whom he showered his oaths and prayers and promises, and yet

could hardly prevail upon him to tolerate the tedium of his company

even from motives of interest. The hour of payment arrives, and now he

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