The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 214 pages of information about The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates.
more tears over the grave of the former than of the latter.  They take care of everything but their friends; they will examine into and take great notice of the smallest trifle in their affairs, which perhaps stand in no need of their care, but neglect their friends that do.  In short, though they have many estates, they know them all; but though they have but few friends, yet they know not the number of them; insomuch that if they are desired to name them, they are puzzled immediately, so little are their friends in their thoughts.  Nevertheless, there is nothing comparable to a good friend; no slave is so affectionate to our person or interest; no horse can render us so great service; in a word, nothing is so useful to us in all occasions.  For a true friend supplies all the wants and answers all the demands of another, either in the conduct of his private affairs or in the management of the public.  If, for instance, his friend be obliged to do a kindness to any man, he puts him in the way of it; if he be assaulted with any danger he immediately flies to his relief.  At one time he gives him part of his estate, at another he assists him with the labour of his hands; sometimes he helps him to persuade, sometimes he aids him to compel; in prosperity he heightens his delight by rejoicing with him; in adversity he diminisheth his sorrows by bearing a share of them.  The use a man may make of his hands, his eyes, his ears, his feet, is nothing at all when compared with the service one friend may render another.  For often what we cannot do for our own advantage, what we have not seen, nor thought, nor heard of, when our own interests were concerned, what we have not pursued for ourselves, a friend has done for his friend.  How foolish were it to be at so much trouble in cultivating a small orchard of trees, because we expect some fruit from it, and yet be at no pains to cultivate that which is instead of a whole estate—­I mean Friendship—­a soil the most glorious and fertile where we are sure to gather the fairest and best of fruit!”


To what I have advanced above I shall here relate another discourse of his, as far as I can remember, in which he exhorted his hearers to examine themselves, that they might know what value their friends might set upon them; for seeing a man who had abandoned his friend in extreme poverty, he asked Antisthenes this question in presence of that very man and several others:  “Can we set a price upon friends as we do upon slaves?  One slave may be worth twenty crowns, another not worth five; such a one will cost fifty crowns, another will yield a hundred.  Nay, I am told that Nicias, the son of Niceratus, gave even six hundred crowns for one slave to be inspector of his silver mines.  Do you think we might likewise set prices upon friends?” “I believe we may,” answered Antisthenes; “for there are some men by whom I would rather choose to be loved

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