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SOLON.

BY PLUTARCH.

[PLUTARCH: A Greek writer of biographies and miscellaneous works; born about A.D. 50. He came of a wealthy and distinguished family and received a careful philosophical training at Athens under the Peripatetic philosopher Ammonius. After this he made several journeys, and stayed a considerable time in Rome, where he enjoyed friendly intercourse with persons of distinction, and conducted the education of the future Emperor Hadrian. He died about A.D. 120 in his native town, in which he held the office of archon and priest of the Pythian Apollo. His fame as an author is founded upon the celebrated "Parallel Lives," consisting of the biographies of forty-six Greeks and Romans, divided into pairs. Each pair contains the life of a Greek and a Roman, and generally ends with a comparison of the two. Plutarch's other writings, more than sixty short treatises on a great variety of subjects, are grouped under the title of "Morals."]

It is perfectly possible for a good man and a statesman, without being solicitous for superfluities, to show some concern for competent necessaries. In his time, as Hesiod says, "Work was a shame to none," nor was distinction made with respect to trade, but merchandise was a noble calling, which brought home the good things which the barbarous nations enjoyed, was the occasion of friendship with their kings, and a great source of experience. Some merchants have built great cities, as Protis, the founder of Massilia, to whom the Gauls, near the Rhone, were much attached. Some report also, that Thales and Hippocrates the mathematician traded; and that Plato defrayed the charges of his travels by selling oil in Egypt. Solon's softness and profuseness, his popular rather than philosophical tone about pleasure in his poems, have been ascribed to his trading life; for, having suffered a thousand dangers, it was natural they should be recompensed with some gratifications and enjoyments; but that he accounted himself rather poor than rich is evident from the lines,

Some wicked men are rich, some good are poor-
We will not change our virtue for their store:
Virtue's a thing that none can take away;
But money changes owners all the day.

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At first he used his poetry only in trifles, not for any serious purpose, but simply to pass away his idle hours; but afterwards he introduced moral sentences and state matters, which he did,

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