(29) And he also showed the truth of all this by the treatment to which he exposed a friend of his who spoke of the life of a tyrant as one of complete and absolute happiness; for, having invited him to a banquet which had been prepared in a most brilliant and costly manner, he ordered a sharp sword to be suspended over his head by a very fine thread, and when he, after he had sat down to the banquet, on a sudden perceived it, not daring to rise up and quit his place for fear of the tyrant, and not being able to enjoy any of the things which were prepared out of fear, he disregarded all the abundant and superb luxuries by which he was surrounded, and keeping his neck and his eyes turned upwards, sat in the expectation of instant Death.{2}{horace alludes to the story of Damocles, Od. III. 1.16 (which may be translated)–“Care murders sleep; the man who’s learnt to dread / The sword unsafely trembling o’er his head, / In vain to court his sad distracted taste / The table groans beneath the varied feast. / Sad Philomel’s untutored song is vain, / And vain the swelling flute’s more laboured strain, / To close his eyes in sleep, the envied lot / Of weary peasant in his humbler cot.”} (30) And when Dionysius perceived the state in which he as, he said to him, “Do you then at last begin to understand the true character of that illustrious and enviable life of ours, for this is what it really is if a man chooses to speak of it without flattery or disguise, since it contains indeed a great abundance of resources and supplies, but no enjoyment of any real blessing; and it causes its possessor incessant fears and irremediable and unavoidable dangers, and a disease worse than the most contagious or most fatal sickness, which is continually threatening inevitable death. (31) But the inconsiderate multitude, being deceived by the outward brilliancy and splendour of the position, are like people who are attracted by showy looking courtesans, who, concealing their real deformity under fine clothes and golden ornaments, and pencilling their eyes from want of any real beauty, manufacture a spurious beauty in order to lie in wait for and catch the beholders.

(32) Now men who are placed in situations of great prosperity are full of such unhappiness as this, of the greatness of which they themselves are fully aware, and they do not at all keep it to themselves, but like men who under compulsion divulge secret things, they often utter the truest possible expressions, which are extorted from them by suffering, living in the continual company of punishment both present and expected, just like cattle who are being fattened up for sacrifice, for they too are treated with the greatest possible attention in order to be fit to be sacrificed by reason of their fleshiness and good condition. (33) There are also some men who have suffered punishment, and that not concealed, but visible, and notorious for the impiety of the means by which they have acquired riches, the names and numbers of whom it would be superfluous to enumerate, but it will be sufficient to bring forward one instance as a specimen of the whole.