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  • Il Novellino

    LXVIII
    Of a question which a young man proposed to Aristotle

    Aristotle was a great philosopher.

    There came to him one day a young man with a singular question. Master, he said, I have seen a thing which much displeases my mind. I have seen an old man ripe in years doing wanton follies. Now if the cause of such things be age, I have decided to die young. Therefore for the love of God give me counsel, if you can.

    Aristotle replied: I cannot do other than tell you that when the nature of man grows old, the good natural heat changes into weakness, the reasonable virtue fails and alters1. For your instruction I will teach you what I can. Do so that in your youth you practice all beautiful, pleasant and honest things, and guard yourself from indulging in what is contrary to these; so when you are old, you will live without evil, not from nature or from reason, but owing to the long pleasant and noble habit you have formed.

    1 This passage is obscure and defective.

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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]. 160-161

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