“Yes, burn and scorch my flesh, and glut your hate,

Drinking my life-warm blood; for heaven’s stars

Shall quit their place, and darken ‘neath the earth,

And earth rise up and take the place of heaven,

Before you wring from me a word of flattery.”

For in real truth flattery, and adulation, and hypocrisy, in which what is uttered is at variance with the sentiments which are really felt, are the most slavish of things. But without any disguise, and in a genuine honest spirit of truth to speak with freedom what is dictated by a clear conscience, is a line of conduct suited to those who are nobly born. (100) Again, do not you see this same virtuous man himself, that even when he is sold he does not appear to be a servant, but he strikes all who behold him with awe, as not being merely free, but as even being about to prove the master of him who has purchased him? (101) At all events, Mercury replies to a man who inquires whether he is worthless–

“By no means worthless, on the contrary,

In every part most venerable: never

Low, nor of no account, as though a slave.

But as to raiment brilliant to behold,

And with the club he bears most energetic.

But no one willingly becomes the buyer

Of one who soon the master will become

Of him and all his house. And every one

Who sees thee, fears thee, for your eye is fire

Like that of any bull prepared for war

Gainst Afric Lions.”{13}{euripides Frag. Incert. 495.}

Then, again, he speaks in conclusion of his disposition–

“I now do blame you for your stubborn silence,

As if you were not subject to a master,

But sought to govern rather than be governed.”

(102) But when, after Syleus had bought him, he was sent into the fields, he showed by his actions the indomitable freedom of his nature; for having sacrificed the choicest of the bulls which were there to Jupiter, he made a pretence of a feast, and having drunk a vast quantity of wine at one meal, he lay down very contentedly to digest it; (103) and when Syleus came, and got angry both at the loss and also at the easy indifference of his servant, and at his preposterous contempt for his master, he never changed colour, nor made any difference in his conduct, but said with the most perfect confidence–