|Do not fly Iberia
Translated by Wilmer Cave Wright
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|These things he [Note 1] taught me [Note 2] when he thought that I should be a private citizen. For he certainly did not foresee that there would be assigned to me by Zeus this lot in life to which the god has now brought me and has set me therein. But I, because I was ashamed to be less virtuous as a ruler than I had been as a private citizen, have unconsciously given you the benefit of my own boorishness, though there was no necessity. And another of Plato's laws has made me take thought for myself and so become hateful in your eyes: I mean the law which says that those who govern, and also the older men, ought to train themselves in respect for others and in self-control, in order that the masses may look to them and so order their own lives aright. Now since I alone, or rather in company with a few others, am now pursuing this course, it has had a very different result and has naturally become a reproach against me. For we here are only seven persons, strangers and newcomers in your city, -- though indeed one of our number is a fellow-citizen of yours, a man dear to Hermes and to me, an excellent craftsman of discourses. And we have business dealings with no man, nor do we go by any road that does not lead to the temples of the gods; and seldom, and then not all of us, do we go to the theatres, since we have adopted the most inglorious line of conduct and the most unpopular aim and end of life. The wise men of Greece will surely allow me to repeat some of the sayings current among you; for I have no better way of illustrating what I mean. We have stationed ourselves in the middle of the road, so highly do we prize the opportunity to collide with you and to be disliked, when we ought rather to try to please and flatter you. "So-and-so has oppressed So-and-so." "Fool! What business is it of yours? When it was in your power to win his good-will by becoming the partner in his wrong-doing, you first let the profit go, and incur hatred besides; and when you do this you think that you are doing right and are wise about your own affairs. You ought to have taken into account that, when men are wronged, not one of them ever blames the magistrates but only the man who has wronged him; but the man who seeks to do wrong and is prevented from it, far from blaming his proposed victim, turns his grievance against the magistrates.