De Amicitia, Scipio's Dream
Translated, with an Introduction and Notes
By Andrew P. Peabody
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2. Reputation of Laelius for wisdom. The curiosity to know how he bore the death of Scipio.
3. His grounds of consolation in his bereavement
4. He expresses his faith in immortality. Desires perpetual memory in this world of the friendship between himself and Scipio.
5. True friendship can exist only among good men.
6. Friendship defined.
7. Benefits derived from friendship.
8. Friendship founded not on need, but on nature.
9. The relation of utility to friendship.
10. Causes for the separation of friends.
11. How far love for friends may go.
12. Wrong never to be done at a friend's request.
13. Theories that degrade friendship
14. How friendships are formed.
15. Friendlessness wretched.
16. The limits of friendship.
17. In what sense and to what degree friends are united. How friends are to be chosen and tested.
18. The qualities to be sought in a friend.
19. Old friends not to be forsaken for new.
20. The duties of friendship between persons differing in ability, rank, or position.
21. How friendships should be dissolved, and how to guard against the necessity of dissolving them.
22. Unreasonable expectations of friends. Mutual respect necessary in true friendship.
23. Friendship necessary for all men.
24. Truth-telling, though it often gives offence, an essential duty from friend to friend.
25. The power of truth. The arts of flattery.
26. Flattery availing only with the feeble-minded.
27. Virtue the soul of friendship. Laelius describes the intimacy of the friendship between himself and Scipio.
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1. Scipio's visit to Masinissa. Circumstances under which the dream occurred.
2. Appearance of the elder Africanus, and of his own father, to Scipio. Prophecy of Scipio's successes and honors, with an intimation of his death by the hands of his kindred.
3. Conditions on which heaven may be won.
4. The nine spheres that constitute the universe.
5. The music of the spheres.
6. The five zones of the earth.
7. Brevity and worthlessness of earthly fame.
8. All souls eternal.
9. The soul to be trained for immortality. The fate of those who merge their souls in sense.
The De Amicitia, inscribed, like the De Senectute, to Atticus, was probably written early in the year 44 B.C., during Cicero's retirement, after the death of Julius Caesar and before the conflict with Antony. The subject had been a favorite one with Greek philosophers, from whom Cicero always borrowed largely, or rather, whose materials he made fairly his own by the skill, richness, and beauty of his elaboration, Some passages of this treatise were evidently suggested by Plato; and Aulus Gellius says that Cicero made no little use of a now lost essay of Theophrastus on Friendship.
In this work I am especially impressed by Cicero's dramatic power. But for the mediocrity of his poetic genius, he might have won pre-eminent honor from the Muse of Tragedy. He here so thoroughly enters into the feelings of Laelius with reference to Scipio's death, that as we read we forget that it is not Laelius himself who is speaking. We find ourselves in close sympathy with him, as if he were telling us the story of his bereavement, giving utterance to his manly fortitude and resignation and portraying his friend's virtues from the unfading image phototyped on his own loving memory. In other matters too Cicero goes back to the time of Laelius and assumes his point of view assigning to him just the degree of foresight which he probably possessed and making not the slightest reference to the very different aspect in which he himself had learned to regard and was wont to represent the personages and events of that earlier period. Thus while Cicero traced the downfall of the republic to changes in the body politic that had taken place or were imminent and inevitable when Scipio died he makes Laelius perceive only a slight though threatening deflection from what had been in the earlier time [Footnote 1]. So too though Cicero was annoyed more than by almost any other characteristic of his age by the prevalence of the Epicurean philosophy and ascribed to it in a very large degree the demoralization of men in public life with Laelius the doctrines of this school are represented as they must have been in fact as new and unfamiliar. In time Laelius is here made to say not a word which he being the man that he was and at the date assumed for this dialogue might not have said himself; and it may be doubted whether a report of one of his actual conversations would have seemed more truly genuine.
This is a rare gift often sought indeed yet sought in vain not only by dramatists who have very [Footnote 1 Deflexit jam aliquantul im] seldom attained it but by authors of a very great diversity of type and culture. One who undertakes to personate a character belonging to an age not his own hardly ever fails of manifest anachronisms. The author finds it utterly impossible to fit the antique mask so closely as not now and then to show through its chinks his own more modern features, while this form of internal evidence never fails to betray an intended forgery however skilfully wrought. On the other hand there is no surer proof of the genuineness ot a work purporting to be of an earlier but alleged to be of a later origin than the absence of all tokens of a time subsequent to the earliest date claimed for it. [Footnote: Thus among the many proofs of the genuineness of our canonical Gospels perhaps none is more conclusive than the fact that though evidently written by unskilled men they contain not a trace or token of certain opinions known to have been rife even before the close of the first Christian century; while the (so called) apocryphal Gospels bear, throughout, such vestiges of their later origin as would neutralize the strongest testimony imaginable in behalf of their primitive antiquity.]
In connection with this work it should be borne in mind that the special duties of friendship constituted an essential department of ethics in the ancient world and that the relation of friend to friend was regarded as on the same plane with that of brother to brother. No treatise on morals would have been thought complete had this subject been omitted. Not a few modern writers have attempted the formal treatment of friendship but while the relation of kindred minds and souls has lost none of its sacredness and value, the establishment of a code of rules for it ignores on the one hand the spontaneity of this relation, and on the other hand, its entire amenableness to the laws and principles that should restrict and govern all human intercourse and conduct.
Shaftesbury, in his 'Characteristics,' in his exquisite vein of irony sneers at Christianity for taking no cognizance of friendship either in its precepts or in its promises. Jeremy Taylor, however, speaks of this feature of Christianity as among the manifest tokens of its divine origin, and Soame Jenyns takes the same ground in a treatise expressly designed to meet the objections and cavils of Shaftesbury and other deistical writers of his time. These authors are all in the right and all in the wrong, as to the matter of fact. There is no reason why Christianity should prescribe friendship which is a privilege, not a duty, or should essay to regulate it, for its only ethical rule of strict obligation is the negative rule which would lay out for it a track that shall never interfere with any positive duty selfward, manward or Godward. But in the life of the Founder of Christianity, who teaches, most of all, by example, friendship has its apogee,—its supreme pre-eminence and honor. He treats his apostles and speaks of and to them, not as mere disciples but as intimate and dearly beloved friends, among these there are three with whom he stands in peculiarly near relations, and one of the three was singled out by him in dying for the most sacred charge that he left on the earth, while at the same time that disciple shows in his Gospel that he had obtained an inside view so to speak, of his Master's spiritual life and of the profounder sense of his teachings which is distinguished by contrast rather than by comparison from the more superficial narratives of the other evangelists.
But Christianity has done even more than this for friendship. It has superseded its name by fulfilling its offices to a degree of perfectness which had never entered into the ante-Christian mind. Man shrinks from solitude. He feels inadequate to bear the burdens, meet the trials, and wage the conflicts of this mortal life, alone. Orestes always needed and craved a Pylades, but often failed to find one. This inevitable yearning, when it met no human response found still less to satisfy it in the objects of worship. Its gods, though in great part deified men, could not be relied on for sympathy, support or help. The stronger spirits did not believe in them, the feebler looked upon them only with awe and dread. But Christianity, in its anthropomorphism, which is its strongest hold on faith and trust, insures for the individual man in a Divine Humanity precisely what friends might essay to do yet could do but imperfectly for him. It proffers the tender sympathy and helpfulness of Him who bears the griefs and carries the sorrows of each and all; while the near view that it presents of the life beyond death inspires the sense of unbroken union with friends in heaven, and of the fellow- feeling of "a cloud of witnesses" beside. Thus while friendship in ordinary life is never to be spurned when it may be had without sacrifice of principle, it is less a necessity than when man's relations with the unseen world gave no promise of strength, aid, or comfort.
Experience has deepened my conviction that what is called a free translation is the only fit rendering of Latin into English; that is, the only way of giving to the English reader the actual sense of the Latin writer. This last has been my endeavor. The comparison is, indeed, exaggerated; but it often seems to me, in unrolling a compact Latin sentence, as if I were writing out in words the meaning of an algebraic formula. A single word often requires three or four as its English equivalent. Yet the language is not made obscure by compression. On the contrary, there is no other language in which it is so hard to bury thought or to conceal its absence by superfluous verbiage.
I have used Beier's edition of the De Amicitia, adhering to it in the very few cases in which other good editions have a different reading. There are no instances in which the various readings involve any considerable diversity of meaning.
Caius Laelius Sapiens, the son of Caius Laelius, who was the life-long friend of Scipio Africanus the Elder, was born B.C. 186, a little earlier in the same year with his friend Africanus the Younger. He was not undistinguished as a military commander, as was proved by his successful campaign against Viriathus, the Lusitanian chieftain, who had long held the Roman armies at bay, and had repeatedly gained signal advantages over them. He was known in the State, at first as leaning, though moderately and guardedly, to the popular side, but after the disturbances created by the Gracchi, as a strong conservative. He was a learned and accomplished man, was an elegant writer,—though while the Latin tongue retained no little of its archaic rudeness,—and was possessed of some reputation as an orator. Though bearing his part in public affairs, holding at intervals the offices of Tribune, Praetor, and Consul, and in his latter years attending with exemplary fidelity to such duties as belonged to him as a member of the college of Augurs, he yet loved retirement, and cultivated, so far as he was able, studious and contemplative habits. He was noted for his wise economy of time. To an idle man who said to him, "I have sixty years" [Sexaginta annos habeo.] (that is, I am sixty years old), he replied, "Do you mean the sixty years which you have not?" His private life was worthy of all praise for the virtues that enriched and adorned it; and its memory was so fresh after the lapse of more than two centuries, that Seneca, who well knew the better way which he had not always strength to tread, advises his young friend Lucilius to "live with Laelius;" [Vire cum Laelio.] that is, to take his life as a model.
The friendship of Laelius and the younger Scipio Africanus well deserves the commemoration which it has in this dialogue of Cicero. It began in their boyhood, and continued without interruption till Scipio's death. Laelius served in Africa, mainly that he might not be separated from his friend. To each other's home was as his own. They were of one mind as to public men and measures, and in all probability the more pliant nature of Laelius yielded in great measure to the stern and uncompromising adherence of Scipio to the cause of the aristocracy. While they were united in grave pursuits and weighty interests, we have the most charming pictures of their rural and seaside life together, even of their gathering shells on the shore, and of fireside frolics in which they forgot the cares of the republic, ceased to be stately old Romans, and played like children in vacation-time.
Caius Fannius Strabo in early life served with high reputation in Africa, under the younger Africanus, and afterward in Spain, in the war with Viriathus. Like his father-in-law, he was versed in the philosophy of the Stoic school, under the tuition of Panaetius. He was an orator, as were almost all the Romans who aimed at distinction; but we have no reason to suppose that he in this respect rose above mediocrity. He wrote a history, of which Cicero speaks well, and which Sallust commends for its accuracy; but it is entirely lost, and we have no direct information even as to the ground which it covered. It seems probable, however, that it was a history either of the third of the Punic wars, or of all of them; for Plutarch quotes from him—probably from his History —the statement that he, Fannius, and Tiberius Gracchus were the first to mount the walls of Carthage whent he city was taken.
Quintus Mucius Scaevola filled successively most of the important offices of the State, and was for many years, and until death, a member of the college of Augurs. He was eminent for his legal learning, and to a late and infirm old age was still consulted in questions of law, never refusing to receive clients at any moment after daylight. But while he was regarded as foremost among the jurists of his time, he professed himself less thoroughly versed in the laws relating to mortgages than two of his coevals, to whom he was wont to send those who brought cases of this class for his opinion or advice. He was remarkable for early rising, constant industry, and undeviating punctuality,—at the meetings of the Senate being always the first on the ground.
No man held a higher reputation than Scaevola for rigid and scrupulous integrity. It is related of him that when as a witness in court he had given testimony full, clear, strong, and of the most damnatory character against the person on trial, he protested against the conviction of the defendant on his testimony, if not corroborated, on the principle, held sacred in the Jewish law, that it would be a dangerous precedent to suffer the issue of any case to depend on the intelligence and veracity of a single witness. When, after Marius had been driven from the city, Sulla asked the Senate to declare him by their vote a public enemy, Scaevola stood in a minority of one; and when Sulla urged him to give his vote in the affirmative, his reply was: "Although you show me the military guard with which you have surrounded the Senate-house, although you threaten me with death, yon will never induce me, for the little blood still in an old man's veins, to pronounce Marius—who has been the preserver of the city and of Italy—an enemy."
His daughter married Lucius Licinius Crassus, who had such reverence tor his father-in-law, that, when a candidate for the consulship, he could not persuade himself in the presence of Scaevola to cringe to the people, or to adopt any of the usual self-humiliating methods of canvassing for the popular vote.
PALIMPSESTS[Footnote: Rubbed again,—the parchment, or papyrus, having been first polished for use, and then rubbed as clean as possible, to be used a second time.]—the name and the thing—are at least as old as Cicero. In one of his letters he banters his friend Trebatius for writing to him on a palimpsest,[Footnote: In palimpsesto.] and marvels what there could have been on the parchment which he wanted to erase. This was a device probably resorted to in that age only in the way in which rigid economists of our day sometimes utilize envelopes and handbills. But in the dark ages, when classical literature was under a cloud and a ban, and when the scanty demand for writing materials made the supply both scanty and precarious, such manuscripts of profane authors as fell into the hands of ecclesiastical copyists were not unusually employed for transcribing the works of the Christian Fathers or the lives of saints. In such cases the erasion was so clumsily performed as often to leave distinct traces of the previous letters. The possibility of recovering lost writings from these palimpsests was first suggested by Montfaucon in the seventeenth century; but the earliest successful experiment of the kind was made by Bruns, a German scholar, in the latter part of the eighteenth, century. The most distinguished laborer in this field has been Angelo Mai, who commenced his work in 1814 on manuscripts in the Ambrosian Library at Milan, of which he was then custodian. Transferred to the Vatican Library at Rome, he discovered there, in 1821, a considerable portion of Cicero's De Republica, which had been obliterated, and replaced by Saint Augustine's Commentary on the Psalms. This latter being removed by appropriate chemical applications, large portions of the original writing remained legible, and were promptly given to the public.
This treatise Cicero evidently considered, and not without reason, as his master-work. It was written in the prime of his mental vigor, in the fifty-fourth year of his age, after ample experience in the affairs of State, and while he still hoped, more than he feared for the future of Rome. His object was to discuss in detail the principles and forms of civil government, to define the grounds of preference for a republic like that of Rome in its best days, and to describe the duties and responsibilities of a good citizen, whether in public office or in private life. He regarded this treatise, in its ethics, as his own directory in the government of his province of Cilicia, and as binding him, by the law of self-consistency, to unswerving uprightness and faithfulness, He refers to these six books on the Republic as so many hostages [Footnote: Praedibus.] for his uncorrupt integrity and untarnished honor, and makes them his apology to Atticus for declining to urge an extortionate demand on the city of Salamis.
The work is in the form of Dialogues, in which, with several interlocutors beside, the younger Africanus and Laelius are the chief speakers; and it is characterized by the same traits of dramatic genius to which I have referred in connection with the De Amicitia.
The De Republica was probably under interdict during the reigns of the Augustan dynasty; men did not dare to copy it, or to have it known that they possessed it; and when it might have safely reappeared, the republic had faded even from regretful memory, and there was no desire to perpetuate a work devoted to its service and honor. Thus the world had lost the very one of all Cicero's writings for which he most craved immortality. The portions of it which Mai has brought to light fully confirm Cicero's own estimate of its value, and feed the earnest—it is to be feared the vain—desire for the recovery of the entire work.
Scipio's Dream, which, is nearly all that remains of the Sixth Book of the De Republica, had survived during the interval for which the rest of the treatise was lost to the world. Macrobius, a grammarian of the fifth century, made it the text of a commentary of little present interest or value, but much prized and read in the Middle Ages. The Dream, independently of the commentary, has in more recent times passed through unnumbered editions, sometimes by itself, sometimes with Cicero's ethical writings, sometimes with the other fragments of the De Republica.
In the closing Dialogue of the De Republica the younger Africanus says: "Although to the wise the consciousness of noble deeds is a most ample reward of virtue, yet this divine virtue craves, not indeed statues that need lead to hold them to their pedestals, nor yet triumphs graced by withering laurels, but rewards of firmer structure and more enduring green." "What are these?" says Laelius. Scipio replies by telling his dream. The time of the vision was near the beginning of the Third Punic War, when Scipio, no longer in his early youth, was just entering upon the career in which he gained pre-eminent fame, thenceforward to know neither shadow nor decline.
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I have used for Scipio's Dream, Creuzer and Moser's edition of the De Republica.
CICERO DE AMICITIA
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1 Quintus Mucius, the Augur, used to repeat from memory, and in the most pleasant way, many of the sayings of his father-in-law Caius Laelius, never hesitating to apply to him in all that he said his surname of The Wise. When I first put on the robe of manhood [Footnote: In the earliest time a boy put on the toga virilis when he had completed his sixteenth year, in Cicero's time pupilage ceased a year earlier and by Justinin's code the period at which it legally ceased was the commencement of the fifteenth year. The Scaevola to whom Cicero was thus taken was Quintus Mucius (Scaevola) the Augur, already named.] my father took me to Scaevola and so commended me to his kind offices, that thenceforward, so far as was possible and fitting I kept my place at the old man's side. [Footnote: It was customary for youth in training for honorable positions in the State to attach themselves especially to men of established character and reputation, to attend them to public places, and to remain near them whenever anything w"as to be learned from their conversation, their legal opinions, their public harangues, or their pleas before the courts. Distinguished citizens deemed themselves honored by a retinue of such attendants. Cicero, in the De Officiis, says that a young man may best commend himself to the early esteem and confidence of the community by such an intimacy.] I thus laid up in my memory many of his elaborate discussions of important subjects, as well as many of his utterances that had both brevity and point, and my endeavor was to grow more learned by his wisdom. After his death I stood in a similar relation to the high-priest Scaevola, [Footnote: As Cicero says, the most eloquent of jurists, and the most learned jurist among the eloquent. He was at the same time pre-eminent for moral purity and integrity. It was he, who, as Cicero (De Officiis, iii. 15) relates, insisted on paying for an estate that he bought a much larger sum than was asked for it, because its price had been fixed far below its actual value.] whom I venture to call the foremost man of our city both in ability and in uprightness. But of him I will speak elsewhere. I return to the Augur. While I recall many similar occasions, I remember in particular that at a certain time when I and a few of his more intimate associates were sitting with him in the semicircular apartment [Footnote: Latin, hemicyclio, perhaps, a semicircular seat.] in his house where he was wont to receive his friends, the conversation turned on a subject about which almost every one was then talking, and which you, Atticus, certainly recollect, as you were much in the society of Publius Sulpicius; namely, the intense hatred with which Sulpicius, when Tribune of the people, opposed Quintus Pompeius, then Consul, [Footnote: The quarrel arose from the zelous espousal of the Marian faction by Sulpicius, who resorted to arms, in order to effect the incorporation of the new citizens from without the city among the previously existing tribes. Hence a series of tumults and conflicts, in one of which a son of Pompeius lost his life.] with whom he had lived in the closest and most loving union,—a subject of general surprise and regret. Having incidentally mentioned this affair, Scaevola proceeded to give us the substance of a conversation on friendship, which Laelius had with him and his other son-in-law, Caius Fannius, the son of Marcus, a few days after the death of Africanus. I committed to memory the sentiments expressed in that discussion, and I bring them out in the book which I now send you. I have put them into the form of a dialogue, to avoid the too frequent repetition of "said I" and "says he," and that the discussion may seem as if it were held in the hearing of those who read it. While you, indeed, have often urged me to write something about friendship, the subject seems to me one of universal interest, and at the same time specially appropriate to our intimacy. I have therefore been very ready to seek the profit of many by complying with your request. But as in the Cato Major, the work on Old Age inscribed to you, I introduced the old man Cato as leading the discussion, because there seemed to be no other person better fitted to talk about old age than one who had been an aged man so long, and in his age had been so exceptionally vigorous, so, as we had heard from our fathers of the peculiarly memorable intimacy of Caius Laelius and Publius Scipio, it appeared appropriate to put into the mouth of Laelius what Scaevola remembered as having been said by him when friendship was the subject in on the authority of men of an earlier generation, and illustrious in their time, seems somehow to be of specially commanding influence on the reader's mind. Thus, as I read my own book on Old Age, I am sometimes so affected that I feel as if not I, but Cato, were talking. But as I then wrote as an old man to an old man about old age, so in this book I write as the most loving of friends to a friend about friendship. [Footnote: In the Latin we have here two remarkable series of assonances, rhythmical to the ear, and though translatable in sense not so in euphony. "Ut tum senex ad senem de senectute, sic hoc libro ad amicum amicissimus, de amicitia scripsi."] Then Cato was the chief speaker, than whom there was in his time scarcely any one older, and no one his superior in intellect, now Laelius shall hold the first place, both as a wise man (for so he was regarded), and as excelling in all that can do honor to friendship. I want you for the while to turn your mind away from me, and to imagine that it is Laelius who is speaking. Caius Fannius and Quintus Mucius come to their father-in-law after the death of Africanus. They commence the conversation, Laelius answers them. In reading all that he says about friendship, you will recognize the picture of your own friendship for me.
2 FANNIUS It is as you say, [Footnote: The reference is to what Laelius is supposed to have said already. The dialogue, as given here, is made to commence in the midst of a conversation.] Laelius, for there never was a better man, or one more justly renowned, than Africanus, But you ought to bear it in mind that the eyes of all are turned upon you at this time, for they both call you and think you wise. This distinction has been latterly given to Cato, and you know that in the days of our fathers Lucius Atilius [Footnote: The first Roman known to have borne the surname of Sapiens He was one of the earliest of the juriconsults who took pupils.] was in like manner surnamed The Wise, but both of them were so called for other reasons than those which have given you this name,—Atilius, for his reputation as an adept in municipal law, Cato, for the versatility of his endowments for there were reported to his honor many measures wisely planned and vigorously carried through in the Senate, and many cases skilfully defended in the courts, so that in his old age The Wise was generally applied to him as a surname. But you are regarded as wise on somewhat different grounds, not only for your disposition and your moral worth, but also for your knowledge and learning, and not in the estimation of the common people, but in that of men of advanced culture, you are deemed wise in a sense in which there is reason to suppose that in Greece—where those who look into these things most discriminatingly do not reckon the seven who bear the name as on the list of wise men—no one was so regarded except the man in Athens whom the oracle of Apollo designated as the wisest of men.[Footnote: Socrates.] In fine, you are thought to be wise in this sense, that you regard all that appertains to your happiness as within your own soul, and consider the calamities to which man is liable as of no consequence in comparison with virtue. I am therefore asked, and so, I believe, is Scaevola, who is now with us, how you bear the death of Africanus; and the question is put to us the more eagerly, because on the fifth day of the mouth next following, [Footnote: Latin, proxumis nonis. The nones, the ninth day before the ides, fell on the fifth of the month, except in March. May, July, and October, when the ides were two days later. We have elsewhere intimation that the Augurs held a meeting for business on the nones of each month.] when we met, as usual, in the garden of Decimus Brutus the Augur, to discuss our official business, you were absent, though it was your habit always on that day to give your most careful attendance to the duties of your office.
SCAEVOLA. As Fannius says, Caius Laelius, many have asked me this question. But I answered in accordance with what I have seen, that you were bearing with due moderation your sorrow for the death of this your most intimate friend, though you, with your kindly nature, could not fail to be moved by it; but that your absence from the monthly meeting of the Augurs was due to illness, not to grief.
LAELIUS. You were in the right, Scaevola, and spoke the truth; for it was not fitting, had I been in good health, for me to be detained by my own sad feeling from this duty, which I have never failed to discharge; nor do I think that a man of firm mind can be so affected by any calamity as to neglect his duty. It is, indeed, friendly in you, Fannius, to tell me that better things are said of me than I feel worthy of or desire to have said; but it seems to me that you underrate Cato. For either there never was a wise man (and so I am inclined to think), or if there has been such a man, Cato deserves the name. To omit other things, how nobly did he bear his son's death! I remembered Paulus, [Footnote: Paulus Aemilius, who lost two sons, one a few days before, the other shortly after, the triumph decreed to him for the conquest of the Macedonian King Perseus.] I had seen Gallus,[Footnote: Gaius Sulpicius Gallus, mentioned as an astronomer by Cicero, De Officiis, i. 6, and De Senectute, 14.] in their bereavements. But they lost boys; Cato, a man in his prime and respected by all.[Footnote: The younger Cato had won fame as a soldier and distinguished eminence as a jurist. At the time of his death he was praetor elect.] Beware how you place in higher esteem than Cato even the man whom Apollo, as you say, pronounced superlatively wise; for it is the deeds of Cato, the sayings of Socrates, that are held in honor. Thus far in reply to Fannius. As regards myself, I will now answer both of you.
3. Were I to deny that I feel the loss of Scipio, while I leave it to those who profess themselves wise in such matters to say whether I ought to feel it, I certainly should be uttering a falsehood. I do indeed feel my bereavement of such a friend as I do not expect ever to have again, and as I am sure I never had beside. But I need no comfort from without, I console myself, and, chief of all, I find comfort in my freedom from the apprehension that oppresses most men when their friends die, for I do not think that any evil has befallen Scipio. If evil has befallen, it is to me. But to be severely afflicted by one's own misfortunes is the token of self-love, not of friendship. As for him, indeed who can deny that the issue has been to his pre-eminent glory? Unless he had wished— what never entered into his mind—an endless life on earth what was there within human desire that did not accrue to the man who in his very earliest youth by his incredible ability and prowess surpassed the highest expectations that all had formed of his boyhood, who never sought the consulship, yet was made consul twice, the first time before the legal age,[Footnote: He left the army in Africa B.C. 147 for home to offer himself as a candidate for the aedileship, for which he had just reached the legal age of thirty seven; but such accounts of his ability efficiency, and courage had preceded him and followed him from the army, that he was chosen Consul, virtually by popular acclamation.] the second time in due season as to himself, but almost too late for his country,[Footnote: The war in Spain had been continued for several years, with frequent disaster and disgrace to the Roman army, when Scipio, B.C. 134, was chosen Consul with a special view to this war, which he closed by the capture and destruction of Numantia, inconnection with which, it must he confessed, his record is rather that of a relentless and sanguinary enemy than of a generous and placable antagonist.] who by the overthrow of two cities implacably hostile to the Roman empire put a period, not only to the wars that were but to wars that else must have been? What shall I say of the singular affability of his manners, of his filial piety to his mother, [Footnote: He was the son of Paulus Aemilius, and the adopted son of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus. His mother, divorced for no assignable reason, was left very poor, and her son, on the death of the widow of his adopting father, gave her the entire patrimony that came into his possession.] of his generosity to his sisters, [Footnote: After his mother's death, law and custom authorized him to resume what he had given her, but he bestowed it on his sisters, thus affording them the means of living comfortably and respectably.] of his integrity in his relations with all men? How dear he was to the community was shown by the grief at his funeral. What benefit, then, could he have derived from a few more years? For, although old age be not burdensome,—as I remember that Cato, the year before he died, maintained in a conversation with me and Scipio, [Footnote: The De Senectute]—it yet impairs the fresh vigor which Scipio had not begun to lose. Thus his life was such that nothing either in fortune or in fame could be added to it, while the suddenness of his death must have taken away the pain of dying. Of the mode of his death it is hard to speak with certainty, you are aware what suspicions are abroad. [Footnote: He retired to his sleeping apartment apparently in perfect health, and was found dead on his couch in the morning,—as was rumored, with marks of violence on his neck. His wife was Sempronia, the sister of the Gracchi whose agrarian schemes he had vehemently opposed. She was suspected of having at least given admission to the assassin, and even her mother, the Cornelia who has been regarded as unparelleled among Roman women for the virutes appertaining to a wife and mother, did not escape the charge of complicity. Her son Caius was also among those suspected, but the more probable opinion is that Papirius Carbo was alone answerable for the crime. Carbo had been Scipio's most bitter enemy and had endeavoured to inflame the people against him as their enemy.] But this may be said with truth that of the many days of surpassing fame and happiness which Publius Scipio saw in his lifetime, the most glorious was the day before his death when on the adjournment of the Senate he was escorted home by the Conscript Fathers, the Roman people, the men of Latium and the allies, [Footnote): Scipio had at that session of the senate proposed a measure in the utmost degree offensive to Caius Gracchus and his party. The law of Tiberius Gracchus would have disposed, at the hands of the commissioners appointed under it, of large tracts of land belonging to the Italian allies. Scipio's plan provided that such lands should be taken out of the jurisdiction of the commissioners, and that matters relating to them should be adjudged by a different board to be specially appointed—a measure which would have been a virtual abrogation of the agrarian law. On this account he had his honorable escort home, and on this account, in all probability, he was mudered.]—so that from so high a grade of honor he seems to have passed on into the assembly of the gods rather than to have gone down into the underworld.
4 For I am far from agreeing with those who have of late promulgated the opinion that the soul perishes with the body and that death blots out the whole being. [Footnote: The reference here is of course to the Epicurians. This school of philosophy had grown very rapidly, and numbered many disciples when this essay was written; but in the time of Laelius it had but recently invaded Rome, and Amafanius, who must have been his contemporary, was the earliest Roman writer who expounded its doctrine] I on the other hand attach superior value to the authority of the ancients whether that of our ancestors who established religious rites for the dead which they certainly would not have done if they had thought the dead wholly unconcerned in such observances [Footnote: This is sound reasoning as these rites were annually renewed and consisted in great part of the invocation of ancestors—a custom which could not have originated if those ancestors were supposed to be utterly dead. This passage may remind the reader of the answer of Jesus Christ to the Sadducees, who denied that the Pentateuch contained any intimation of immortality. He quotes the passage in which God is represented as saying, "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob," and adds, "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living," implying that ancestors whom the writer of that record supposed to be dead could not have been thus mentioned.] or thatof the former Greek colonists in this country who by their schools and teaching made Southern Italy [Footnote: Latin Magna Graecia-the name given to the cluster of Greek colonies that were scattered thick along the shore of Southern Italy. At Croton in Magna Graecia Pythagoras established his school and the colonies were the chief seat and seminary of his philosophy which taught the immortality of the soul.]—now in its decline, then flourishing—a seat of learning, or that of him whom the oracle of Apollo pronounced the wisest of men who said not one thing to-day, another to-morrow, as many do, but the same thing always, maintaining that the souls of men are divine, and that when they go out from the body, the return to heaven is open to them, and direct and easy in proportion to their integrity and excellence. This was also the opinion of Scipio, who seemed prescient of the event so near, when, a very short time before his death, he discoursed for three successive days about the republic in the presence of Philus, Manilius, and several others,—you, Scaevola, having gone with me to the conferences,—and near the close of the discussion he told us what he said that he had heard from Africanus in a vision during sleep. [Footnote: The De Republica consists of dialogues on three successive days in Scipio's garden, and Scipio is the chief speaker. The work was supposed to be irrecoverably lost, with the exception of this Dream of Scipio and a few fragments, but considerable portions of it were discovered in a palimpsest in 1822. The Dream of Scipio will be found in the latter part of this volume.] If it is true that the soul of every man of surpassing excellence takes flight, as it were, from the custody and bondage of the body, to whom can we imagine the way to the gods more easy than to Scipio? I therefore fear to mourn for this his departure, lest in such grief there be more of envy than of friendship. But if truth incline to the opinion that soul and body have the same end, and that there is no remaining consciousness, then, as there is nothing good in death, there certainly is nothing of evil For if consciousness be lost, the case is the same with Scipio as if he had never been born, though that he was born I have so ample reason to rejoice, and this city will be glad so long as it shall stand Thus in either event, with him, as I have said, all has issued well, though with great discomfort for me, who more fittingly, as I entered into life before him ought to have left it before him. But I so enjoy the memory of our friendship, that I seem to have owed the happiness of my life to my having lived with Scipio, with whom I was united in the care of public interests and of private affairs, who was my companion at home and served by my side in the army [Footnote: Laelus went with Scipio on the campaign which resulted in the destruction of Carthage.] and with whom—and therein lies the special virtue of friendship—I was in perfect harmony of purpose, taste, and sentiment. Thus I am now not so much delighted by the reputation for wisdom of which Fannius has just spoken, especially as I do not deserve it, as by the hope that our friendship will live in eternal remembrance, and this I have the more at heart because from all ages scarce three or four pairs of friends are on record, [Footnote: Those referred to probably Theseus and Peirithous, Achilles and Patroclus, Orestes and Pylades, Damon and Phintius,—all but the last, perhaps the last also, mythical] on which list I cannot but hope that the friendship of Scipio and Laelius will be known to posterity.
FANNIUS. It cannot fail, Laelius, to be as you desire. But since you have made mention of friendship, and we are at leisure, you will confer on me a very great favor, and, I trust, on Scaevola too, if, as you are wont to do on other subjects when your opinion is asked, you will discourse to us on friendship, and tell us what you think about it, in what estimation you hold it, and what rules you would give for it.
SCAEVOLA. This will indeed be very gratifying to me, and had not Fannius anticipated me, I was about to make the same request. You thus will bestow a great kindness on both of us.
5. LAELIUS. I certainly would not hesitate, if I had confidence in my own powers; for the subject is one of the highest importance, and, as Fannius says, we are at leisure. It is the custom of philosophers, especially among the Greeks, to have subjects assigned to them, which they discuss even without premeditation. [Footnote: This was the boast and pride of the Greek sophists.] This is a great accomplishment, and requires no small amount of exercise. I therefore think that you ought to seek the treatment of friendship by those who profess this art. I can only advise you to prefer friendship to all things else within human attainment, insomuch as nothing beside is so well fitted to nature,—so well adapted to our needs whether in prosperous or in adverse circumstances. But I consider this as a first principle—that friendship can exist only between good men. In thus saying, I would not be so rigid in definition [Footnote: Latin. Neque ut ad ilium reseco, literally, nor in this matter do I cut to the quick.] as those who establish specially subtle distinctions, [Footnote: The Stoics of the more rigid type, who maintained that the wise man alone is good, but denied that the truly wise man had yet made his appearance on the earth.] with literal truth it may be, but with little benefit to the common mind; for they will not admit that any man who is not wise is a good man. This may indeed be true. But they understand by wisdom a state which no mortal has yet attained; while we ought to look at those qualities which are to be found in actual exercise and in common life, not at those which exist only in fancy or in aspiration. Caius Fabricius, Manius Curius, Tiberius Coruncanius, wise as they were in the judgment of our fathers, I will consent not to call wise by the standard of these philosophers. Let them keep for themselves the name of wisdom, which is invidious and of doubtful meaning, if they will only admit that these may have been good men. But they will not grant even this; they insist on denying the name of good to any but the wise. I therefore adopt the standard of common sense. [Footnote: Latin agamus igitur piagui (ut aiunt) Minerva, that is with a less refined, a grosser wisdom more nearly conformed to the sound, if somewhat crass, common-sensFe of the majority.] Those who integrity, equity, and kindness win approval, who are entirely free from avarice, lust and the infirmities of a hasty temper, and in whom there is perfect consistency of character, in fine men like those whom I have named while they are regarded as good, ought to be so called, because to the utmost of human capacity they follow Nature who is the best guide in living well. Indeed, it seems to me thoroughly evident that there should be a certain measure of fellowship among all, but more intimate the nearer we approach one another. Thus this feeling has more power between fellow-citizens than toward foreigners, between kindred than between those of different families. Toward our kindred, Nature herself produces a certain kind of friendship. But this lacks strength, and indeed friendship in its full sense, has precedence of kinship in this particular, that good-will may be taken away from kinship, not from friendship, for when good will is removed, friendship loses its name, while that of kinship remains. How great is the force of friendship we may best understand from this,—that out of the boundless society of the human race which Nature has constituted, the sense of fellowship is so contracted and narrowed that the whole power of loving is bestowed on the union of two or a very few friends.
6 Friendship is nothing else than entire fellow feeling as to all things human and divine with mutual good-will and affection;  and I doubt whether anything better than this, wisdom alone excepted, has been given to, man by the immortal gods Some prefer riches to it, some, sound health, some, power, some, posts of honor, many, even sensual gratification. This last properly belongs to beasts, the others are precarious and uncertain, dependent not on our own choice so much as on the caprice of Fortune. Those, indeed, who regard virtue as the supreme good are entirely in the right, but it is virtue itself that produces and sustains friendship, not without virtue can friendship by any possibility exist. In saying this, however I would interpret virtue in accordance with our habits of speech and of life, not defining it, as some philosophers do, by high-sounding words, but numbering on the list of good men those who are commonly so regarded,—the Pauli, the Catos, the Galli, the Scipios, the Phili Mankind in general [1 It may be doubted whether this close conformity of opinion and feeling is essential, or even favorable to friendship. The amicable comparison and collision of thought and sentiment are certainly consistent with, and often conducive to the most friendly intimacy Friends are not infrequently the complements, rather than the likeness, of each other Cicero and Atticus were as close friends as Scipio and Laelius; but they were at many points exceedingly unlike. Atticus had the tact and skill in worldly matters, which Cicero lacked. Atticus kept aloof from public affairs while Cicero was unhappy whenever he could not imagine himself as taking a leading part in them. Atticus was an Epicurran, and Cicero never lost an opportunity of attacking the Epicurean philosophy.] are content with these. Let us then leave out of the account such good men as are nowhere to be found. Among such good men as there really are, friendship has more advantages than I can easily name. In the first, place, as Ennius says;—
"How can life be worth living, if devoid Of the calm trust reposed by friend in friend? What sweeter joy than in the kindred soul, Whose converse differs not from self-communion?"
How could you have full enjoyment of prosperity, unless with one whose pleasure in it was equal to your own? Nor would it be easy to bear adversity, unless with the sympathy of one on whom it rested more heavily than on your own soul. Then, too, other objects of desire are, in general, adapted, each to some specific purpose,—wealth, that you may use it; power, that you may receive the homage of those around you; posts of honor, that you may obtain reputation; sensual gratification, that you may live in pleasure; health, that you may be free from pain, and may have full exercise of your bodily powers and faculties. But friendship combines the largest number of utilities. Wherever you turn, it is at hand. No place shuts it out. It is never unseasonable, never annoying. Thus, as the proverb says, "You cannot put water or fire to more uses than friendship serves." I am not now speaking of the common and moderate type of friendship, which yet yields both pleasure and profit, but, of true and perfect friendship, like that which existed in the few instances that are held in special remembrance. Such friendship at once enhances the lustre of prosperity, and by dividing and sharing adversity lessens its burden.
7. Moreover, while friendship comprises the greatest number and variety of beneficent offices, it certainly has this special prerogative, that it lights up a good hope for the time to come, and thus preserves the minds that it sustains from imbecility or prostration in misfortune. For he, indeed, who looks into the face of a friend beholds, as it were, a copy of himself. Thus the absent are present, and the poor are rich, and the weak are strong, and—what seems stranger still [Footnote: Literally, what is harder to say.]—the dead are alive, such is the honor, the enduring remembrance, the longing love, with which the dying are followed by the living; so that the death of the dying seems happy, the life of the living full of praise. [Footnote: The sense of this sentence is somewhat overlaid by the rhetoric; yet it undoubtedly means that an absent friend is esteemed and honored in the person of the friend who not only loves him, but is regarded as representing him; that a poor friend enjoys the prosperity of his rich friend as if it were his own; that a weak friend feels his feebleness energized by the friend who in need will fight his battles for him; and that no man is suffered to lapse from the kind and reverent remembrances of those who see his likeness in the friend who keeps his memory green.] But if from the condition of human life you were to exclude all kindly union, no house, no city, could stand, nor, indeed, could the tillage of the field survive. If it is not perfectly understood what virtue there is in friendship and concord, it may be learned from dissension and discord. For what house is so stable, what state so firm, that it cannot be utterly overturned by hatred and strife? Hence it may be ascertained how much good there is in friendship. It is said that a certain philosopher of Agrigentum [Footnote: Empedocles. Only a few fragments of his great poem are extant. His theory seems like a poetical version of Newton's law of universal gravitation. The analogy between physical attraction and the mutual attraction of congenial minds and souls has its record in the French word aimant, denoting loadstone or magnet.] sang in Greek verse that it is friendship that draws together and discord that parts all things which subsist in harmony, and which have their various movements in nature and in the whole universe. The worth and power of friendship, too, all mortals understand, and attest by their approval in actual instances. Thus, if there comes into conspicuous notice an occasion on which a friend incurs or shares the perils of his friend, who can fail to extol the deed with the highest praise? What shouts filled the whole theatre at the performance of the new play of my guest [Footnote: Or host; for the word hospes may have either meaning. It denotes not the fact of giving or receiving hospitality, but the permanent and sacred relation established between host and guest. This relation has lost much of its character in modern civilization, and I doubt whether it has a name in any modern European language.] and friend Marcus Pacuvius, when—the king not knowing which of the two was Orestes—Pylades said that he was Orestes, while Orestes persisted in asserting that he was, as in fact he was, Orestes! [Footnote: Among the many and conflicting legends about Orestes is that which seems to have been the theme of the lost tragedy of Pacuvius. Orestes, after avenging on his mother and her paramour the murder of his father, in order to expiate the guilt of matricide, was directed by the Delphian oracle to go to Tauris, and to steal and transport to Athens an image of Artemis that had fallen from heaven. His friend Pylades accompanied him on this expedition. They were seized by Thoas the king, and Orestes, as the principal offender, was to be sacrificed to Artemis. His sister, Iphigeneia, priestess of Artemis, contrived their escape, and the three arrived safe at Athens with the sacred image.] The whole assembly rose in applause at this mere fictitious representation. What may we suppose that they would have done, had the same thing occurred in real life? In that case Nature herself displayed her power, when men recognized that as rightly done by another, which they would not have had the courage to do themselves. Thus far, to the utmost of my ability as it seems to me, I have given you my sentiments concerning friendship. If there is more to be said, as I think that there is, endeavor to obtain it, if you see fit, of those who are wont to discuss such subjects.
FANNIUS. But we would rather have it from you. Although I have often consulted those philosophers also, and have listened to them not unwillingly, yet the thread of your discourse differs somewhat from that of theirs.
SCAEVOLA. You would say so all the more, Fannius, had you been present in Scipio's garden at that discussion about the republic, and heard what an advocate of justice he showed himself in answer to the elaborate speech of Philus. [Footnote: Carneades, when on an embassy to Rome, for the entertainment of his Roman hosts, on one day delivered a discourse in behalf of justice as the true policy for the State, and on the next day delivered an equally subtile and eloquent discourse maintaining the opposite thesis. In the third Book of the De Republica Philus is made the "devil's advocate," and has assigned to him the championship of what we are wont to call a Machiavelian policy, and, in general, of the morally wrong as the politically right. He is represented astaking the part reluctantly, saying that one consents to soil his hands in order to find gold, and he professes to give the substance of the famous discourse of Carneades. Laelius answers him, and, so far as we can judge from the fragments of his reply that are extant, with the preponderance of reason, which Cicero intended should incline on the better side. There was perhaps a sublatent irony in making Philus play this part; for he was an eminently upright man. Valerius Maximus eulogizes him for his rigid integrity and impartiality, and relates that when at the expiration of his consulship he was sent to take command of the army against Numantia, he chose for his lieutenants Metellus and Pompeius, both his intensely bitter enemies, but the men best fitted for the service.]
FANNIUS. It was indeed easy for the man pre-eminently just to defend justice.
SCAEVOLA. As to friendship, then, is not its defence easy for him who has won the highest celebrity on the ground of friendship maintained with pre-eminent faithfulness, consistency, and probity?
8. LAELIUS. This is, indeed, the employing of force; for what matters the way in which you compel me? You at any rate do compel me; for it is both hard and unfair not to comply with the wishes of one's sons-in-law, especially in a case that merits favorable consideration.
In reflecting, then, very frequently on friendship, the foremost question that is wont to present itself is, whether friendship is craved on account of conscious infirmity and need, so that in bestowing and receiving the kind offices that belong to it each may have that done for him by the other which he is least able to do for himself, reciprocating services in like manner; or whether, though this relation of mutual benefit is the property, of friendship it has yet another cause; more sacred and more noble, and derived more genuinely from the very nature of man. Love, which in our language gives name to friendship, [Footnote: Amor,—amicitia.] bears a chief part in unions of mutual benefit; for a revenue of service is levied even on those who are cherished in pretended friendship, and are treated with regard from interested motives. But in friendship there is nothing feigned, nothing pretended, and whatever there is in it is both genuine and spontaneous. Friendship, therefore, springs from nature rather than from need,—from an inclination of the mind with a certain consciousness of love rather than from calculation of the benefit to be derived from it. Its real quality may be discerned even in some classes of animals, which up to a certain time so love their offspring, and are so loved by them, that the mutual feeling is plainly seen,—a feeling which is much more clearly manifest in man, first, in the affection which exists between children and parents, and which can he dissolved only by atrocious guilt; and in the next place, in the springing up of a like feeling of love, when we find some one of manners and character congenial with our own, who becomes dear to us because we seem to see in him an illustrious example of probity and virtue For there is nothing more lovable than virtue,— nothing which more surely wins affectionate regard, insomuch that on the score of virtue and probity we love even those whom we have never seen. Who is there that does not recall the memory of Caius Fabricius, of Manius Curius, of Tiberius Coruncanras, whom he never saw, with some good measure of kindly feeling? On the other hand, who is there that can fail to hate Tarquinius Superbus, Spurius Cassius, Spurius Maelius? Our dominion in Italy was at stake in wars under two commanders, Pyrrhus and Hannibal. On account of the good faith of the one, we hold him in no unfriendly remembrance; [Footnote: Pyrrhus, after the only victory that he obtained over the Romans, treated his prisoners with signal humanity, and restored them without ransom. See De Officiis, i. 12] the other because of his cruelty our people must always hate. [Footnote: It may be doubted wheter Hannibal deserved the reproach here implied. The Roman historians ascribe to him acts of cruelty no worse than their own generals were chargeable with: while nothing of the kind is related by either Polybius, or Plutarch. It is certain that after the battle of Cannae he checked the needless slaughter of the Roman fugitives, and Livy relates several instances in which he paid funeral honors, to distinguished Romans slain in battle. The intense hostility of the Romans to Carthage may have led to an unfair estimate of the great general's character, and to the invention or exaggeration of reports to his discredit.]
9. But if good faith has such attractive power that we love it in those whom we have never seen, or—what means still more—in an enemy, what wonder is it if the minds of men are moved to affection when they behold the virtue and goodness of those with whom they can become intimately united?
Love is, indeed, strengthened by favors received, by witnessing assiduity in one's service, and by habitual intercourse; and when these are added to the first impulse of the mind toward love, there flames forth a marvellously rich glow of affectionate feeling. If there are any who think that this proceeds from conscious weakness and the desire to have some person through whom one can obtain what he lacks, they assign, indeed, to friendship a mean and utterly ignoble origin, born, as they would have it, of poverty and neediness. If this were true, then the less of resource one was conscious of having in himself, the better fitted would he be for friendship. The contrary is the case; for the more confidence a man has in himself, and the more thoroughly he is fortified by virtue and wisdom, so that he is in need of no one, and regards all that concerns him as in his own keeping, the more noteworthy is he for the friendships which he seeks and cherishes. What? Did Africanus need me? Not in the least by Hercules. As little did I need him. But I was drawn to him by admiration of his virtue while he, in turn, loved me, perhaps from some favorable estimate of my character, and intimacy incieased our mutual affection. But though utilities many and great resulted from our friendship, the cause of our mutual love did not proceed from the hope of what it might bring. For as we are beneficent and generous, not in order to exact kindnesses in return (for we do not put our kind offices to interest), but are by nature inclined to be generous, so, in my opinion, friendship is not to be sought for its wages, but because its revenue consists entirely in the love which it implies. Those, however, who, after the manner of beasts, refer everything to pleasure, [Footnote: The Epicureans] think very differently. Nor is it wonderful that they do, for men who have degraded all their thoughts to so mean and contemptible an end can rise to the contemplation of nothing lofty, nothing magnificent and divine. We may, therefore, leave them out of this discussion. But let us have it well understood that the feeling of love and the endearments of mutual affection spring from nature, in case there is a well-established assurance of moral worth in the person thus loved. Those who desire to become friends approach each other, and enter into relation with each other, that each may enjoy the society and the character of him whom he has begun to love, and they are equal in love, and on either side are more inclined to bestow obligations than to claim a return, so that in this matter there is an honorable rivalry between them. Thus will the greatest benefits be derived from friendship, and it will have a more solid and genuine foundation as tracing its origin to nature than if it proceeded from human weakness. For if it were utility that cemented friendships, an altered aspect of utility would dissolve them. But because nature cannot be changed, therefore true friendships are eternal. This may suffice for the origin of friendship, unless you have, perchance, some objection to what I have said.
FANNIUS. Go on, Laelius. I answer by the right of seniority for Scaevola who is younger than I am.
SCAEVOLA. I am of the same mind with you. Let us then, hear farther.
10 LAELIUS. Hear then, my excellent friends the substance of the frequent discussions on friendship between Scipio and me. He indeed, said [footnote: The construction of this entire section is in the subjective imperfect depending on the dicebat in the second sentence. It has seemed to me that the direct form of constiution which I have adopted is more consonant with the genius of our language.] that nothing is more difficult than for friendship to last through life; for friends happen to have conflicting interests, or different political opinions. Then, again, as he often said, characters change, sometimes under adverse conditions, sometimes with growing years. He cited also the analogy of what takes place in early youth, the most ardent loves of boyhood being often laid aside with its robe. But if friendships last on into opening manhood, they are not infrequently broken up by rivalry in quest of a wife, or in the pursuit of some advantage which only one can obtain. [Footnote: Had Cicero not been personating Laelius, who died long before the quarrel occurred, he would undoubtedly have cited the case of Servilius Caepio and Livius Diusus. They married each other's sisters, and were united in the closest intimacy, and seemingly in the dearest mutual love; but as rivals in bidding for a ring at an auction- sale they had their first quarrel, which grew into intense mutual hatred, led almost to a civil war between their respective partisans, and bore no small part in starting the series of dissentions which issued in the Social War, and the destruction of not far from three hundred thousand lives. I refer to this in a note, because it must have been fresh in Cicero's memory, and had annotation been the habit of his time, he would most assuredly have given it the place which I now give it.] Then, if friendships are of longer duration, they yet, as Scipio said, are liable to be undermined by competition for office; and indeed there is nothing more fatal to friendship than, in very many cases, the greed of gain, and among some of the best of men the contest for place and fame, which has often engendered the most intense enmity between those who had been the closest friends. Strong and generally just aversion, also, springs up when anything morally wrong is required of a friend; as when he is asked to aid in the gratification of impure desire, or to render his assistance in some unrighteous act,—in which case those who refuse, although their conduct is highly honorable, are yet charged by the persons whom they will not serve with being false to the claims of friendship, while those who dare to make such a demand of a friend profess, by the very demand, that they are ready to do anything and everything for a friend's sake. By such quarrels, not only are old intimacies often dissolved, but undying hatreds generated. So many of these perils hang like so many fates over friendship, that to escape them all seemed to Scipio, as he said, to indicate not wisdom alone, but equally a rare felicity of fortune.
11. Let us then, first, if you please, consider how far the love of friends ought to go. If Coriolanus had friends, ought they to have helped him in fighting against his country, or should the friends of Viscellinus [Footnote: Spurius Cassius Viscellinus, the author of the earliest agrarian law, passed, but never carried into execution. He was condemned to death,—probably a victim to the rancorous opposition of the patrician order, of which he was regarded as a recreant member by virtue of his advocacy of the rights or just claims of the plebs. Cicero in early life was by no means so hostile to the principle underlying the agrarian laws, and to the memory of the Gracchi, as he was after he had reached the highest offices in the gift of the people.] or those of Spurius Maelius [Footnote: Maelius, of the equestrian order, but of a plebeian family, obtained unbounded popularity with the plebs by selling corn at a low price, and giving away large quantities of it, in a time of famine. He was charged with seeking kingly power, and, on account of his alleged movements with that purpose, Cincinnatus was appointed dictator, and Maelius, resisting a summons to his tribunal, was killed by Ahala, his master of the horse. There seems to have been little evidence of his actual guilt.] have aided them in the endeavor to usurp regal power? We saw, indeed, Tiberius Gracchus, when he was disturbing the peace of the State, deserted by Quintus Tubero and others with whom he had been on terms of intimacy. But Caius Blossius, of Cumae, the guest,[Footnote: Hospes, guest, host, or both.] Scaevola, of your family, coming to me, when I was in conference with the Consuls Laenas and Rupilius, to implore pardon, urged the plea that he held Tiberius Gracchus in so dear esteem that he felt bound to do whatever he desired. I then asked him, "Even if he had wanted you to set fire to the Capitol, would you have done it?" He replied, "He never would have made such a request." "But if he had?" said I. "I would have obeyed him," was the answer. And, by Hercules, he did as he said, or even more; for he did not so much yield obedience to the audacious schemes of Tiberius Gracchus, as he was foremost in them; he was not so much the companion of his madness, as its leader. Therefore, in consequence of this folly, alarmed by the appointment of special judges for his trial, he fled to Asia, entered the service of our enemies, and finally met the heavy and just punishment for his disloyalty to his country. [Footnote: He took refuge with Aristonicus, King of Pergamus, then at war with Rome; and when Aristonicus was conquered, Blossius committed suicide for fear of being captured by the Roman army.]
It is, then, no excuse for wrong-doing that you do wrong for the sake of a friend. Indeed, since it may have been a belief in your virtue that has made one your friend, it is hard for friendship to last if you fall away from virtue. But if we should determine either to concede to friends whatever they may ask, or to exact from them whatever we may desire, we and they must be endowed with perfect wisdom, in order for our friendship to be blameless. We are speaking, however, of such friends as we have before our eyes, or as we have seen or have known by report,—of such as are found in common life. It is from these that we must take our examples, especially from such of them as make the nearest approach to perfect wisdom. We have learned from our fathers that Papus Aemilius was very intimate with Caius Luscinus, they having twice been consuls together, as well as colleagues in the censorship; and it is said also that Manius Curius and Tiberius Coruncanius lived in the closest friendship both with them and with each other. Now we cannot suspect that either of these men would have asked of one of his friends anything inconsistent with good faith, or with an engagement sanctioned by oath, or with his duty to the State. Indeed, to what purpose is it to say that among such men if one had asked anything wrong, he would not have obtained it? For they were men of the most sacred integrity; while to ask anything wrong of a friend and to do it when asked are alike tokens of deep depravity. But Caius Carbo and Caius Cato were the followers of Tiberius Gracchus, as was his brother Caius, at first with little ardor, but now [Footnote: Now, that is, at the time at which this dialogue has its assumed date, immediately after Scipio's death. At that time Caius Gracchus was acting as a commissioner under his brother's agrarian law.] most zealously.
12. As to friendship, then, let this law be enacted, that we neither ask of a friend what is wrong, nor do what is wrong at a friend's request. The plea that it was for a friend's sake is a base apology,—one that should never be admitted with regard to other forms of guilt, and certainly not as to crimes against the State. We, indeed, Fannius and Scaevola, are so situated that we ought to look far in advance for the perils that our country may incur. Already has our public policy deviated somewhat from the method and course of our ancestors. Tiberius Gracchus attempted to exercise supreme power; nay, he really reigned for a few months. What like this had the Roman people ever heard or seen before? What, after his death, the friends and kindred who followed him did in their revenge on Publius Scipio [Footnote: Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica, who took the lead of the Senate in the assassination of Tiberius Gracchus, and incurred such popular odium that he could not safely stay in Rome. He was sent on a fictitious mission to Asia to get him out of the way of the people, and not daring to return, wandered with no settled habitation till his death at Pergamum not long before the assumed date of this dialogue.] I cannot say without tears. We put up with Carbo [Footnote: Carbo succeeded Tiberius Gracchus on the commission for carrying the agrarian law into execution, and was shortly afterward chosen Tribune. He then proposed a law, permitting a tribune to be re-elected for an indefinite number of years. This law was vehemently opposed by Scipio Africanus the Younger, and if he was really killed by Carbo, it was probably on account of his hostility to Carbo's ambitious schemes.] as well as we could in consideration of the recent punishment of Tiberius Gracchus; but I am in no mood to predict what is to be expected from the tribuneship of Caius Gracchus. Meanwhile the evil is creeping upon us, from its very beginning fraught with threats of ruin. Before recent events, [Footnote: The reference undoubtedly here is to the Papirian law which had just been passed before the assumed date of this dialogue, having been proposed and carried through by (Caius Papirius) Carbo. By this law the use of the ballot was established in all matters of popular legislation.] you perceive how much degeneracy was indicated in the legalization of the ballot, first by Gabinian, [Footnote: By which magistrates were to be chosen by ballot.] then two years later by the Cassian law. [Footnote: By which the judges were to be chosen by ballot. With reference to the use of the ballot the parties in Rome were prototypes of like parties in England. The voice of the people was for the ballot, on the ground that it made suffrage free, as it could not be when employers or patrons could dictate to their dependents and make them suffer for failure to vote in favor of their own candidates or measures. The aristocratic party opposed the ballot as fatal to their controlling influence, which many sincere patriots, like Cicero, regarded as essential to the public safety, while patrician demagogues, intriguers, and office-seekers made it subservient to their own selfish or partisan interests.] I seem already to see the people utterly alienated from the Senate, and the most important affairs determined by the will of the multitude; for more persons will learn how these things are brought about than how they may be resisted. To what purpose am I saying this? Because no one makes such attempts without associates. It is therefore to be enjoined on good men that they must not think themselves so bound that they cannot renounce their friends when they are guilty of crimes against the State. But punishment must be inflicted on all who are implicated in such guilt,— on those who follow, no less than on those who lead. Who in Greece was more renowned than Themistocles? Who had greater influence than he had? When as commander in the Persian war he had freed Greece from bondage, and for envy of his fame was driven into exile, he did not bear as he ought the ill treatment of his ungrateful country. He did what Coriolanus had done with us twenty years before. Neither of these men found any helper against his country; [Footnote: No one of his own fellow-countrymen.] they therefore both committed suicide. [Footnote: If the story of Coriolanus be not a myth, as Niebuhr supposes it to be, his suicide forms no part of the story as Livy tells it. The suicide of Themistocles is related as a supposition, not as an established fact. If he died of poison, as was said, it may have been administered by a rival in the favor of Artaxerxes.] Association with depraved men for such an end is not, then, to be shielded by the plea of friendship, but rather to be avenged by punishment of the utmost severity, so that no one may ever think himself authorized to follow a friend to the extent of making war upon his country,—an extremity which, indeed, considering the course that our public affairs have begun to take, may, for aught I know, be reached at some future time. I speak thus because I feel no less concern for the fortunes of the State after my death than as to its present condition.
13. Let this, then, be enacted as the first law of friendship, that we demand of friends only what is right, and that we do for the sake of friends only what is right. [Footnote: This is a virtual repetition of the law of friendship announced at the beginning of the previous section, and Cicero probably so intended it. He states the rule, then demonstrates its validity, then repeats it in an almost identical form, implying what the mathematician expresses when he puts at the end of a demonstration Quod erat demonstrandum.] This understood, let us not wait to be asked. Let there be constant assiduity and no loitering in a friend's service. Let us also dare to give advice freely; for in friendship the authority of friends who give good counsel may be of the greatest value. Let admonition be administered, too, not only in plain terms, but even with severity, if need be, and let heed be given to such admonition. On this subject some things that appear to me strange have, as I am told, been maintained by certain Greeks who are accounted as philosophers, and are so skilled in sophistry that there is nothing which they cannot seem to prove. Some of them hold that very intimate friendships are to be avoided; that there is no need that one feel solicitude for others; that it is enough and more than enough to take care of your own concerns, and annoying to be involved to any considerable extent in affairs not belonging to you; that the best way is to have the reins of friendship as loose as possible, so that you can tighten them or let them go at pleasure; for, according to them, ease is the chief essential to happy living, and this the mind cannot enjoy, if it bears, as it were, the pains of travail in behalf of a larger or smaller circle of friends. [Footnote: This passage seems to be a paraphrase of a passage in the Hippolytus of Euripides, in which the Nurse says: "It behooves mortals to form moderate friendships with one another, and not to the very marrow of the soul, and the affections of the mind should be held loosely, so that we may slacken or tighten them. That one soul should be in travail for two is a heavy burden." Euripides was regarded, and rightly, as no less a philosopher than a tragedian, and was not infrequently styled [Greek: sophos]. Cicero here veils his thorough conversance with Greek literature and philosophy, and assumes the part of Laelius, in whose time, though Greek was not omitted in the education of cultivated men, the study was comparatively new, and was not carried to any great extent.]
Others, [Footnote: The Epicureans.] I am told, with even much less of true human feeling, teach what I touched upon briefly a little while ago, that friendships are to be sought for defence and help, not on account of good-will and affection. The less of self-confidence and the less of strength one has, the more is he inclined to make friends. Thus it is that women [Footnote: Latin, mulierculae, a diminutive, meaning, however, not little women, but denoting the feebleness and dependence of women in comparison with men. It must be confessed, too, that the term is sometimes used, and perhaps here, semi-contemptuously; for the Roman man felt an overweening pride in mere manhood.] seek the support of friendship more than men do, the poor more than the rich, the unfortunate more than those who seem happy. Oh, pre-eminent wisdom! It is like taking the sun out of the world, to bereave human life of friendship, than which the immortal gods have given man nothing better, nothing more gladdening. What is the ease of which they speak? It is indeed pleasing in aspect, but on many occasions it is to be renounced; for it is not fitting, in order to avoid solicitude, either to refuse to undertake any right cause or act, or to drop it after it is undertaken. If we flee from care, we must flee from virtue, which of necessity with no little care spurns and abhors its opposites, as goodness spurns and abhors wickedness; temperance, excess; courage, cowardice. Thus you may see that honest men are excessively grieved by the dishonest, the brave by the pusillanimous, those who lead sober lives by the dissolute. It is indeed characteristic of a well-ordered mind to rejoice in what is good and to be grieved by the opposite. If then, pain of mind fall to the lot of a wise man as it must of necessity unless we imagine his mind divested of its humanity, why should we take friendship wholly out of life, lest we experience some little trouble on account of it? Yet more, if emotion be eliminated, what difference is there, I say not between a man and a brute, but between a man and a rock, or the trunk of a tree, or any inanimate object? Nor are those to be listened to, who regard virtue as something hard and iron-like. [Footnote: Here, undoubtedly, Cicero refers to the sterner type of Stoicism, which in his time was already obsolescent, and was yielding place to the milder, while no less rigid, ethics of which the De Officiis may be regarded as the manual.] As in many other matters, so in friendship, it is tender and flexible so that it expands, as it were, with a friend's well being, and shrinks when his peace is disturbed. Therefore the pain which must often be incurred on a friend's account is not of sufficient moment to banish friendship from human life, any more than the occasional care and trouble which the virtues bring should be a reason for renouncing them.
14. Since virtue attracts friendship, as I have said, if there shines forth any manifestation of virtue with which a mind similarly disposed can come into contact and union from such intercourse love must of necessity spring. For what is so absurd as to be charmed with many things that have no substantial worth, as with office, fame, architecture, dress, and genteel appearance, but not to be in any wise charmed by a mind endowed with virtue, and capable of either loving or— if I may use the word—re-loving? [Footnote: Latin, redamare, a word coined by Cicero, and used with the apology, ut ita dicam] Nothing indeed yields a richer revenue than kind affections, nothing gives more delight than the interchange of friendly cares and offices. Then if we add, as we rightly may, that there is nothing which so allures and attracts aught else to itself as the likeness of character does to friendship it will certainly be admitted that good men love good men and adopt them into fellowship as if united with them by kindred and by nature. By nature I say, for nothing is more craving or greedy of its like than nature. This, then as I think, is evident, Fannius and Scaevola that among the good toward the good there cannot but be mutual kind feeling and in this we have a fountain of friendship established by nature.
But the same kind feeling extends to the community at large. For virtue is not unsympathetic, nor unserviceable, [Footnote: Latin, immunis, literally—without office.] nor proud. It is wont even to watch over the well-being of whole nations, and to give them the wisest counsel, which it would not do if it had no love for the people.
Now those who maintain that friendships are formed from motives of utility annul, as it seems to me, the most endearing bond of friendship; for it is not so much benefit obtained through a friend as it is the very love of the friend that gives delight. What comes from a friend confers pleasure, only in case it bears tokens of his interest in us, and so far is it from the truth that friendships are cultivated from a sense of need, that those fully endowed with wealth and resources, especially with virtue, which is the surest safeguard, and thus in no need of friends, are the very persons who are the most generous and munificent. Indeed, I hardly know whether it may not be desirable that our friends should never have need of our services. Yet in the case of Scipio and myself, what room would there have been for the active exercise of my zeal in his behalf, had he never needed my counsel or help at home or in the field? In this instance, however, the service came after the friendship, not the friendship after the service.
15. If these things are so, men who are given up to pleasure are not to be listened to when they express their opinions about friendship, of which they can have no knowledge either by experience or by reflection. For, by the faith of gods and men, who is there that would be willing to have a superabundance of all objects of desire and to live in the utmost fulness of wealth and what wealth can bring, on condition of neither loving any one nor being loved by any one? This, indeed, is the life of tyrants, in which there is no good faith, no affection, no fixed confidence in kindly feeling, perpetual suspicion and anxiety, and no room for friendship; for who can love either him whom he fears, or him by whom he thinks that he is feared? Yet they receive the show of homage, but only while the occasion for it lasts. [Footnote: Latin, dum taxat ad tempus, that is, while the homage rendered is in close contact with the occasion,—with the immunity or profit to be purchased by it.] If they chance to fall, as they commonly have fallen, they then ascertain how destitute of friends they have been, as Tarquin is reported to have said that he learned what faithful and what unfaithful friends he had, when he could no longer render back favors to those of either class,—although I wonder whether pride and insolence like his could have had any friends. Moreover, as his character could not have won real friends, so is the good fortune of many who occupy foremost places of influence so held as to preclude faithful friendships. Not only is Fortune blind, but she generally makes those blind whom she embraces. Thus they are almost always beside themselves under the influence of haughtiness and waywardness; nor can there be created anything more utterly insupportable than a fortune-favored fool. There are to be seen those who previously behaved with propriety who are changed by station, power, or prosperity, and who spurn their old friendships and lavish indulgence on the new. But what is more foolish than when men have resources, means, wealth at their fullest command, and can obtain horses, servants, splendid raiment, costly vases, whatever money can buy, for them not to procure friends, who are, if I may so speak, the best and the most beautiful furniture of human life? Other things which a man may procure know not him who procures them, nor do they labor for his sake,—indeed, they belong to him who can make them his by the right of superior strength. But every one has his own firm and sure possession of his friendships, while even if those things which seem the gifts of fortune remain, still life unadorned and deserted by friends cannot be happy. But enough has been said on this branch of our subject.
16. We must now determine the limits or bounds of friendship. On this subject I find three opinions proposed, neither of which has my approval,—the first, that we should do for our friends just what we would do for ourselves, the second, that our good offices to our friends should correspond in quantity and quality to those which they perform for us, the third, that one's friends should value him according to his own self-estimate. I cannot give unqualified assent to either of these opinions. The first—that one should be ready to do for his friends precisely what he would do for himself—is inadmissible. How many things there are that we do for our friends which we should never do on our own account!—such as making a request even an entreaty, of a man unworthy of respect or inveighing against some person with a degree of bitterness, nay, in terms of vehement reproach. In fine, we are perfectly right in doing in behalf of a friend things that in our own case would be decidedly unbecoming. There are also many ways in which good men detract largely from their own comfort or suffer it to be impaired, that a friend may have the enjoyment which they sacrifice. The second opinion is that which limits kind offices and good will by the rule of equality. This is simply making friendship a matter of calculation with the view of keeping a debtor and creditor account evenly balanced. To me friendship seems more affluent and generous and not disposed to keep strict watch lest it may give more than it receives and to fear that a part of its due may be spilled over or suffered to leak out or that it may heap up its own measure over full in return. [Footnote: We have here, first, a figure drawn from pecuniary accounts, then one from liquid measure, then one from dry measure—all designed to affix the brand of the most petty meanness on the (so called) friendship which makes it a point neither to leave nor to brook a preponderance of obligation on either side.] But worst of all is the third limit which prescribes that friends shall take a man's opinion of himself as a measure for their estimate and treatment of him. There are some persons who are liable to fits of depression, or who have little hope of better fortune than the present. In such a case, it is the part of a friend, not to hold the position toward his friend which he holds toward himself, but to make the efficient endeavor to rouse him from his despondency, and to lead him to better hope and a more cheerful train of thought. It remains for me then, to establish another limit of friendship. But first let me tell you what Scipio was wont to speak of with the severest censure. He maintained that no utterance could have been invented more inimical to friendship [Footnote: Latin, inimciorem (that is, in amiciorem) amicitiae.] than that of him who said that one ought to love as if he were going at some future time to hate, nor could he be brought to believe that this maxim came, as was reported from Bias, who was one of the seven wise men, but he regarded it as having proceeded from some sordid person, who was either inordinately ambitious or desirous of bringing everything under his own control. For how can one be a friend to him to whom he thinks that he may possibly become an enemy? In this case one would of necessity desire and choose that his friend should commit offences very frequently, so as to give him, so to speak, the more numerous handles for fault-finding, and on the other hand one would be vexed, pained, aggrieved by all the right and fitting things that friends do. This precept then from whomsoever it came, amounts to the annulling of friendship. The proper rule should be, that we exercise so much caution in forming friendships, that we should never begin to love a friend whom it is possible that we should ever hate; but even in case we should have been unfortunate in our choice, Scipio thought that it would be wiser to bear the disappointment when it comes than to keep the contingency of future alienation in view.