The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 177 pages of information about The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates.

CHAPTER II.  SOCRATES’ DISCOURSE WITH HIS ELDEST SON LAMPROCLES CONCERNING THE RESPECT DUE TO PARENTS.

Socrates observing his eldest son Lamprocles in a rage with his mother, spoke to him in this manner:—­“Come hither, my son.  Have you ever heard of a certain sort of men, who are called ungrateful?” “Very often,” answered the young man.  “And do you know,” said Socrates, “why they are called so?” “We call a man ungrateful,” answered Lamprocles, “who, having received a kindness, does not return the like if occasion offers.”  “I think, therefore,” said Socrates, “ingratitude is a kind of injustice?” “I think so too,” answered Lamprocles.  Socrates went on:—­“Have you never considered of what nature this injustice is?  For since it is an injustice to treat our friends ill, and on the contrary, a piece of justice to make our enemies smart for their conduct, may it be said, with like reason, that it is an injustice to be ungrateful towards our friends, and that it is just to be ungrateful towards our enemies.”  “On mature consideration,” answered Lamprocles, “I think it is criminal to do injustice to either of them.”  “If, then,” pursued Socrates, “ingratitude be an injustice, it follows that the greater the favours are which we have received, the greater is the injustice in not acknowledging them.”  Lamprocles granted this consequence, and Socrates continued—­“Can there be any stricter obligations than those that children are laid under to their parents?  For it is they who gave them a being, and who have put them in a condition to behold all the wonders of Nature, and to partake of the many good things exhibited before them by the bounty of Providence, and which are so delightful, that there is not anything that all men more dread than to leave them; insomuch that all governments have ordained death to be the punishment of the most enormous crimes, because there is nothing can more effectually put a stop to the rage of the wicked than the apprehension of death.  In the affair of marriage, it is not merely the gratification of the appetite which Nature has so strongly implanted in both sexes for their preservation that we regard; no, that passion can be satisfied in a less expensive manner, even in our streets, and other places; but when we design to enter into that state, we make choice of a woman of such a form and shape, by whom we may expect to have fine children, and of such a temper and disposition as to assure us of future happiness.  When that is finished, it is then the chief care of the husband to maintain his wife, and to provide for his children things useful for life in the greatest abundance he can.  On the part of the wife, many are her anxieties and troubles for the preservation of her offspring during the time of her pregnancy; she gives it then part of her nourishment and life; and after having suffered the sharpest pangs at the moment of its birth, she then gives it suck, and continues her care and

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The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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