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Ep. XLVI.  To Basil.

(The new Archbishop seems not to have been satisfied with the reasons given in Gregory’s last letter; so the latter writes again.)

How can any affairs of yours be mere grape-gleanings to me, O dear and sacred friend?

“What a word has escaped the fence of your teeth,” or how could you dare to say such a thing, if I too may be somewhat daring?  How could your mind set it going, or your ink write it, or your paper receive it, O lectures and Athens and virtues and literary labours!  You almost make me write a tragedy by what you have written.  Do you not know me or yourself, you eye of the world, and great voice and trumpet and palace of learning?  Your affairs trifles to Gregory?  What then on earth could any one admire, if Gregory admire not you?  There is one spring among the seasons, one sun among the stars, and one heaven that embraces all things; and so your voice is unique among all things, if I am capable of judging such things, and not deceived by my affection—and this I do not think to be the case.  But if it is because I do not value you according to your worth that you blame me, you must also blame all mankind; for no one else has or will sufficiently admire you, unless it be yourself, and your own eloquence, at least if it were possible to praise oneself, and if such were the custom of our speech.  But if you are accusing me of despising you, why not rather of being mad?  Or are you vexed because I am acting like a philosopher?  Give me leave to say that this and this alone is higher than even your conversation.

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