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Xenophanes said, “I confess myself the greatest coward in the world, for I dare not do an ill thing."
Of Bashfulness. One made the observation of the people of Asia that they were all slaves to one man, merely because they could not pronounce that syllable No.
Ibid. Euripides was wont to say, “Silence is an answer to a wise man.”
Ibid. Zeno first started that doctrine that knavery is the best defence against a knave.
Ibid. Alexander wept when he heard from Anaxarchus that there was an infinite number of worlds; and his friends asking him if any accident had befallen him, he returns this answer: "Do you not think it a matter worthy of lamentation that when there is such a vast multitude of them, we have not yet conquered one?”
On the Tranquillity of the Mind. Like the man who threw a stone at a bitch, but hit his step-mother, on which he exclaimed, “Not so bad!” Ibid.
Pittacus said, “Every one of you hath his particular plague, and my wife is mine; and he is very happy who hath this only.”
Ibid. He was a man, which, as Plato saith, is a very
The pilot cannot mitigate the billows or calm the winds. 8
1, for my own part, had much rather people should say of me that there neither is nor ever was such a man as Plutarch, than that they should say, “Plutarch is an unsteady, fickle, froward, vindictive, and touchy fellow."
Of Superstition. 1 Set a thief to catch a thief. — Bohn: A Mand-book of Prorerbs.
2 Man in sooth is a marvellous, vain, fickle, and unstable subject. — MoxTAIGNE : Works, book i. chap. i. That Men by various Ways arrive at the same End.
: See Publius Syrus, page 712.
befall me !"
Scilurus on his death-bed, being about to leave fourscore sons surviving, offered a bundle of darts to each of them, and bade them break them. When all refused, drawing out one by one, he easily broke them, — thus teaching them that if they held together, they would continue strong; but if they fell out and were divided, they would become weak.
Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders.1 Scilurus. Dionysius the Elder, being asked whether he was at leisure, he replied, “God forbid that it should ever
Dionysius. A prating barber asked Archelaus how he would be trimmed. He answered, “ In silence.”
Archelaus. When Philip had news brought him of divers and eminent successes in one day, “O Fortune !” said he, "for all these so great kindnesses do me some small mischief.”
Philip. There were two brothers called Both and Either; perceiving Either was a good, understanding, busy fellow, and Both a silly fellow and good for little, Philip said, "Either is both, and Both is neither."
Ibid. Philip being arbitrator betwixt two wicked persons, he commanded one to fly out of Macedonia and the other to pursue him.
Being about to pitch his camp in a likely place, and hearing there was no hay to be had for the cattle, “What a life,” said he, “is ours, since we must live according to the convenience of asses!”
“ These Macedonians,” said he, “are a rude and clownish people, that call a spade a spade.” 2
1 Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch. — Emerson.
2 Τα σύκα σύκα, την σκάφην δε σκάφην ονομάζων. – ARISTOPHANES, as quoted in Lucian, Quom. Hist. sit conscrib. 41.
Brought up like a rude Macedon, and taught to call a spade a spade. Gosson: Ephemerides of Phialo (1579).
He made one of Antipater's recommendation a judge; and perceiving afterwards that his hair and beard were coloured, he removed him, saying, “I could not think one that was faithless in his hair could be trusty in his deeds."
Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. Philip. Being nimble and light-footed, his father encouraged him to run in the Olympic race. “Yes," said he, “if there were any kings there to run with me." dlernler,
When Darius offered him ten thousand talents, and to divide Asia equally with him, “I would accept it," said Parmenio, “ were I Alexander.” “ And so truly would I,” said Alexander, “if I were Parinenio." But he answered Darius that the earth could not bear two suns, nor Asia two kings.
Ibid. When he was wounded with an arrow in the ankle, and many ran to him that were wont to call him a god, he said smiling, “That is blood, as you see, and not, as Homer saith, such humour as distils from blessed gods.''
Ibid. Aristodemus, a friend of Antigonus, supposed to be a cook's son, advised him to moderate his gifts and expenses. “Thy words," said he, “Aristodemus, smell of the apron."
Antigonus I. Thrasyllus the Cynic begged a drachm of Antigonus. “That,” said he, “is too little for a king to give." “Why, then," said the other, "give me a talent." "And that,” said he, “is too much for a Cynic (or, for a dog) to receive."
Ibid. Antagoras the poet was boiling a conger, and Antigonus, coming behind him as he was stirring his skillet, said, “Do you think, Antagoras, that Homer boiled congers when he wrote the deeds of Agamemnon ?” Antagoras replied, “Do you think, 0 king, that Agamemnon, when he did such exploits, was a peeping in his army to see who boiled congers ?”
Pyrrhus said, “If I should overcome the Romans in another fight, I were undone."
Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. Pyrrhus. Themistocles being asked whether he would rather be Achilles or Homer, said, “Which would you rather be, a conqueror in the Olympic games, or the crier that proclaims who are conquerors ?
Themistocles. He preferred an honest man that wooed his daughter, before a rich man.
“I would rather," said Themistocles, "have a man that wants money than money that wants a man."
Alcibiades had a very handsome dog, that cost him seven thousand drachmas; and he cut off his tail, “that," said he, “ the Athenians may have this story to tell of me, and may concern themselves no further with me."
Being summoned by the Athenians out of Sicily to plead for his life, Alcibiades absconded, saying that that criminal was a fool who studied a defence when he might fly for it.
Ibid. Lamachus chid a captain for a fault; and when he had said he would do so no more, “Sir,” said he, “in war there is no room for a second miscarriage." Said one to Iphicrates, “What are ye afraid of ?” “Of all speeches,” said he, “none is so dishonourable for a general as 'I should not have thought of it.''
Iphicrates. To Harmodius, descended from the ancient Harmodius, when he reviled Iphicrates (a shoemaker's son) for his mean birth, “My nobility,” said he, “begins in me, but yours ends in you." I
Ibid. Once when Phocion had delivered an opinion which pleased the people, ... he turned to his friend and said, “ Have I not unawares spoken some mischievous thing or other?"
1 I am my own ancestor. – Junot, Duc d'ÅBRANTES (when asked as to
Phocion compared the speeches of Leosthenes to cypress-trees. “They are tall,” said he, “and comely, but bear no fruit."
Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. Phocion. Lycurgus the Lacedæmonian brought long hair into fashion among his countrymen, saying that it rendered those that were handsome more beautiful, and those that were deformed inore terrible. To one that advised him to set up a democracy in Sparta, “Pray," said Lycurgus, “ do you first set up a democracy in your own house."
Lycurgus. King Agis said, “The Lacedæmonians are not wont to ask how many, but where the enemy are.”
Agis. Lysander said, “Where the lion's skin will not reach, it must be pieced with the fox's.” 1
Lysander. To one that promised to give him hardy cocks that would die fighting, “Prithee,” said Cleomenes, "give me cocks that will kill fighting."
Cleomesti When Eudæmonidas heard a philosopher arguing that only a wise man can be a good general, “This is a wonderful speech,” said he; “but he that saith it never heard the sound of trumpets."
Eudamonidus. A soldier told Pelopidas, “We are fallen among the enemies." Said he, “How are we fallen among
them more than they among us ? "
Pel pidas. Cato the elder wondered how that city was preserved wherein a fish was sold for more than an ox.
Roman Apophthegms. Cato the Elder. Cato instigated the magistrates to punish all offenders
, saying that they that did not prevent crimes when they might, encouraged them. Of young men, he liked them that blushed better than those who looked pale.
1 Lysander said, “When the lion's skin cannot prevail, a little of the fox's must be used." - Laconic Apophthegms. (Lysander.)
2 Pardon one offence, and you encourage the commission of many. PUBLIUS SYRUS: Maxim 750.