De Amicitiā

I didn’t actually read this; it just popped into my head as I was taping up the spine of an old dictionary given to me as a gift more than a decade ago by two friends, still two of my dearest friends in the world, though between me and the one half the world, and the cares of the world between the other and me insinuate themselves.


Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel, but do not dull thy palm with entertainment of each new-hatched unfledged comrade. Neither a borrower nor a lender be, for loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulleth th’edge of husbandry. This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.…

These few precepts in thy memory look thou character.

–Polonius to his son Laertes, Hamlet, can’t remember scene number (is it I.iii?)



I think he’s not quite right about borrowing, though, for to permit another to do one a favor is itself a species of charity—the graceful reception of grace is necessary for becoming full of grace.

Thanks, dear reader, should you ever find me, for being my gadfly.


About philokalos

Philologist, historian, and lover of great books, I started this blog to keep myself alert to the beauty of what I see amid the demands of my work.
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