XIII. And the desire of the multitude, like an incontinent woman, loves the man who is experienced in state affairs, and says to him: Go forth, my good man, unto the multitude among which you are dwelling, and forget all your own individual disposition, and the pursuits, and discourses, and actions in which you have been brought up. And be guided by me, and attend to me, and do every thing which is agreeable to me; for I cannot endure any thing that is austere and obstinate, and foolishly fond of truth, and pertinaciously adhering to justice, which puts on an air of importance and dignity on all occasions, which yields in no point, and never proposes to itself any object but plain expediency, without any thought of gratifying the hearers. And you do not know the innumerable calumnies which some persons load you with, uttering them to my husband and your master, the multitude; for up to this time you appear to me to have been behaving like a free man, and you seem not at all to know that you are the slave of a very tyrannical master. But if you had understood that independence of action belongs to a free man, but obedience to the orders of others to a slave, you would then, laying aside your self-willed obstinacy, have learnt to look upon me who am his wife, being desire, and to do every thing with a reference to my gratification, by which means you yourself also will receive the greatest pleasure.
XIV. But the statesman is not in reality ignorant that the people has the authority of a master, but still he will not admit that he himself is its slave, but looks upon himself as free, and as entitled to consider mainly the gratification of the soul. And he will say in plain words: I have not learnt to be a slave to the will of the populace, nor will I ever study such a practice, but being desirous to attain to the government and administration of the city like a good steward or well-intentioned father, I will save it in a guileless and honourable manner, without any hostile character. And while I cherish these sentiments I shall be open to examination, concealing nothing, and not hiding any thing like a thief, but keeping my conscience clear as in the light of the sun and of day; for the truth is the light. And I shall fear none of the evils with which they menace me, not even if they threaten me with death; for hypocrisy is in my eyes a more grievous evil than death. And why should I encounter what I look upon in such a light? For even if the populace be a despot, am I therefore a slave, I who am bom of as noble ancestors as any one in the world, entitled to be enrolled as a free citizen in the greatest and most admirable state in this whole world? For as I am not influenced by gifts, nor by exhortations, nor by a love of honours, nor by a desire of power, nor by insolence, nor by a desire of seeming different from what I am, nor by intemperance, nor by cowardice, nor by injustice, nor by any other motive partaking of either passion or wickedness; what can, then, be the dominion of which I have need to fear? Surely it can only be the dominion of men. But they claim authority, indeed, over my body, but none at all over me; for I estimate myself by the more excellent part of myself, namely, by the mind in accordance with which I have determined to live, thinking but little of my mortal body, which sticks to me like a limpet, and even if it is injured by something or other, I shall not be grieved at having got rid of cruel masters and mistresses who are settled within, inasmuch as I shall have escaped the most formidable necessity. If, therefore, it shall be necessary for me to act as a judge, I will decide, neither adhering to any rich man for the sake of his riches, nor gratifying a poor man by reason of my compassion for his misfortunes, but putting out of sight the rank and outward circumstances of those respecting whom I am to judge, I will honestly pronounce in favour of what shall appear to me to be just. And if I am called to counsel I will bring forward such opinions as shall appear to me to be for the common advantage, even though they may not be palatable. And if I am a member of the assembly, leaving flattering speeches to others, I will adopt only such as are advantageous and salutary, reproving, admonishing, correcting, and studying not a frantic and insane license of speech, but a sober freedom. And if any one dislikes improvement, let such a one find fault with parents, and guardians, and teachers, and with all who have the care of youth, because they reprove their own children, or their orphan wards, or their pupils, and sometimes even beat them; and yet they are not to be accused of evil speaking, nor of insolent violence, but on the contrary, they must be looked upon as friends and real well-wishers; for it would be utterly unworthy for me who am experienced in affairs of state, and who have all the interests of the people entrusted to me in discussions respecting what is for the advantage of the commonwealth to behave worse than a man would who has studied the art of a physician; for he would not in the least regard the brilliant position or the accredited good fortune of his patient, nor whether he is of noble birth or of large fortune, nor whether he is the most renowned monarch or tyrant of all his contemporaries, but would attend to one object alone, that, namely, of preserving his health to the best of his power. And if it should be necessary to use excision or cautery, he, though a subject, or as some might say a slave, would cut or burn his governor or his master. But I, who have got for my patient not one man but a whole city sick with those more grievous diseases which the kindred desires have brought upon it, what ought I to do? Shall I, abandoning all idea of what will be of general advantage to the whole state seek to please the ears of this or that man with an ungentleman-like and thoroughly slavish flattery? I would rather choose to die than to speak merely with the object of gratifying the ear, and to conceal the truth, disregarding all thought of what is really advantageous. “Now then,” as the tragedian says: “Now then let fire, let biting steel come on; Burn, scorch my flesh, and glut your appetite, Drinking my dark, warm blood; for here I swear, Sooner shall those bright stars which deck the heaven Descend beneath the earth, the earth itself Soar upwards to the sky, than servile words Of flattery creep from out my mouth to thee.” But the people, when it is the master, cannot endure a statesman of so masculine a spirit, and one who keeps so completely aloof from the passions, from pleasure, from fear, from grief, from desire; but it arrests its well-wisher and friend and punishes him as an enemy, in doing which it first of all inflicts upon itself the most grievous of all punishments, namely, ignorance; in consequence of which state it does not itself learn that lesson which is the most beautiful and profitable of all, namely, obedience to its governor, from which the knowledge how to govern subsequently springs.