Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary
The Philosophical Dictionary
Selected and Translated by H.I. Woolf
New York: Knopf, 1924
Scanned by the Hanover College Department of History in 1995.
Proofread and pages added by Jonathan Perry, March 2001.
FRIENDSHIP is the marriage of the soul; and this marriage is subject
to divorce. It is a tacit contract between two sensitive and virtuous persons.
I say "sensitive," because a monk, a recluse can be not wicked and live
without knowing what friendship is. I say "virtuous," because the wicked
have only accomplices; voluptuaries have companions in debauch, self-seekers
have partners, politicians get partisans; the generality of idle men have
attachments; princes have courtiers; virtuous men alone have friends. Cethegus
was the accomplice of Catilina, and Maecenas the courtier of Octavius;
but Cicero was the friend of Atticus.
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