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diogenes_of_sinope:plutarch_a_discourse_touching_the_training_of_children

Diogenes of Sinope | Plutarch, A Discourse Touching the Training of Children

The advice which I am, in the next place, about to give, is, indeed, no other than what hath been given by those who have undertaken this argument before me. You will ask me what is that? It is this: that no man keep company with his wife for issue’s sake but when he is sober, having drunk either no wine, or at least not such a quantity as to distemper him; for they usually prove winebibbers and drunkards, whose parents begot them when they were drunk. Wherefore Diogenes said to a stripling somewhat crack-brained and half-witted: Surely, young man, thy father begot thee when he was drunk. Let this suffice to be spoken concerning the procreation of children: and let us pass thence to their education.

Source: Plutarch’s Morals. Translated from the Greek by Several Hands. Corrected and Revised by William W. Goodwin, with an Introduction by Ralph Waldo Emerson. 5 Volumes. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1878).

And now I will tell you what ordinarily is like to befall such prodigious parents, when they have had their sons ill nursed and worse taught. For when such sons are arrived at man’s estate, and, through contempt of a sound and orderly way of living, precipitate themselves into all manner of disorderly and servile pleasures, then will those parents dearly repent of their own neglect of their children’s education, when it is too late to amend it; and vex themselves, even to distraction, at their vicious courses. For then do some of those children acquaint themselves with flatterers and parasites, a sort of infamous and execrable persons, the very pests that corrupt and ruin young men; others maintain mistresses and harlots, insolent and extravagant; others waste their substance; others, again, come to shipwreck on gaming and revelling. And some venture on still more audacious crimes, committing adultery and joining in the orgies of Bacchus, being ready to purchase one bout of debauched pleasure at the price of their lives. If now they had but conversed with some philosopher, they would never have enslaved themselves to such courses as these; though possibly they might have learned at least to put in practice the precept of Diogenes, delivered by him indeed in rude language, but yet containing, as to the scope of it, a great truth, when he advised a young man to go to the public stews, that he might then inform himself, by experience, how things of greatest value and things of no value at all were there of equal worth.

Source: Plutarch’s Morals. Translated from the Greek by Several Hands. Corrected and Revised by William W. Goodwin, with an Introduction by Ralph Waldo Emerson. 5 Volumes. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1878).

diogenes_of_sinope/plutarch_a_discourse_touching_the_training_of_children.txt · Last modified: 2014/01/14 23:19 (external edit)