Ath. Nothing can be clearer than the observation
which I am about to make.
Meg. What is it?
Ath. That if any one gives too great a power to anything, too large a sail to
a vessel, too much food to the body, too much authority to the mind, and does
not observe the mean, everything is overthrown, and, in the wantonness of
excess runs in the one case to disorders, and in the other to injustice, which
is the child of excess. I mean to say, my dear friends, that there is no soul
of man, young and irresponsible, who will be able to sustain the temptation of
arbitrary power - no one who will not, under such circumstances, become filled
with folly, that worst of diseases, and be hated by his nearest and dearest
friends: when this happens, his kingdom is undermined, and all his power
vanishes from him. And great legislators who know the mean should take heed of
the danger. As far as we can guess at this distance of time, what happened was
as follows: -