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  • Il Novellino

    XIII
    Here it is told how Antigonus reproved Alexander for having a cythera played for his delight

    Antigonus, the teacher of Alexander, when day the latter was having a cythera played for his delight, took hold of the instrument and cast it into the mud1 and said these words : at your age it behoves you to reign and not to play the cythera. For it may be said that luxury debases the body and the country, as the sound of the cythera enfeebles the soul.2 Let him then be ashamed who should reign in virtue, and instead delights in luxury.

    King Porrus3 who fought with Alexander ordered during a banquet that the strings of a player's cythera should be cut, saying: it is better to cut than to play, for virtue departs with sweet sounds.

    1 Other readings have "fire".
    2 The passage is obscure, but the above would seem to be the meaning.
    3 An Indian king conquered by Alexander and afterwards turned into a friend and ally.

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    Il Novellino : The Hundred Old Tales
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    Storer, Edward, trans. Il Novellino: The Hundred Old Tales. London: G. Routledge & Sons Ltd.; New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., [1925]. 65-66

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