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.

“When you would contract a friendship with any one,” said Socrates, “you must give me leave to tell him that you have a great esteem for him, and that you desire to be his friend.”  “With all my heart,” answered Critobulus; “for sure no man can wish ill to a man who esteems him.”  “And if I add besides,” continued Socrates, “that because you set a great value on his merit you have much affection for his person, will you not take it amiss?” “Not at all,” said Critobulus; “for I am sensible we have a great kindness for those who bear us goodwill.”  “I may, then,” said Socrates, “speak in that manner to those whom you desire to love:  but will you likewise give me leave to advance that your greatest pleasure is to have good friends, that you take great care of them, that you behold their good actions with as much joy as if you yourself had performed them, and that you rejoice at their good fortune as much as at your own:  that you are never weary when you are serving them, and that you believe it the glory of a man of honour to surpass his friends in benefits, and his enemies in valour?  By this means I think I shall be very useful to you in procuring you good friends.”  “Why do you ask me leave,” said Critobulus, “as if you might not say of me whatever you please?” “No, indeed,” answered Socrates, “for I remember what Aspasia once said, that match-makers are successful in their business when they tell truth of the persons in whose behalf they court, but that the marriages made by their lies are unfortunate, because they who are deceived hate one another, and hate yet more the person that put them together.  And therefore, for the same reason, I think I ought not to tell lies in your praise.”  “You are then so far only my friend,” replied Critobulus, “that if I have any good qualities to make myself be esteemed, you will assist me; if not, you will invent nothing in my behalf.”  “And do you think,” said Socrates, “that I should do you more service in giving you false praises, that are not your due, than by exhorting you to merit the praise of all men?  If you doubt of this, consider the consequences of it.  If, for instance, I should tell the owner of a ship that you are an excellent pilot, and he upon that should give you the conduct of the vessel, what hopes could you have that you should not perish?  Or if I should say, publicly, that you are an experienced general, or a great politician, and if you, by that character which I should unjustly have obtained for you, should be promoted to the supreme magistracy, to what dangers would you expose your own life, and the fortune of the State?  Or if I should make any private person believe that you were a good economist, and he should trust you afterwards with the care of his family, would not you be the ruin of his estate, and expose yourself to ridicule and contempt?  Which is as much as to say, Critobulus, that the shortest and surest way to live with honour in the world is to be in reality what we would appear

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