And have you now come here
angry at your father? Or are you loyal to me,
on my side no matter what I do?
Indeed, my son,
that’s how your heart should always be resolved,
to stand behind your father’s judgment
on every issue.
If I foster any lack of full respect
in my own family, I surely do the same
with those who are not linked to me by blood.
The man who acts well with his household
can make manifest justice in the state.
But anyone who’s proud
and violates our laws or thinks he’ll tell
our leaders what to do, a man like that
wins no praise from me. No. We must obey
whatever man the city puts in charge,
no matter what the issue—great or small,
just or unjust. For there’s no greater evil
than disobedience. That destroys
whole cities, turns households into ruins,
and in war makes soldiers break and run away.
When men succeed, what keeps their lives secure
in almost every case is their obedience.
That’s why they must support those in control…
Your gaze makes citizens afraid—they can’t
say anything you would not like to hear.
A man who thinks that only he is wise,
that he can speak and think like no one else,
when such men are exposed, then all can see
their emptiness inside. For any man,
even if he’s wise, there’s nothing shameful
in learning many things, staying flexible.
For if I, as a younger man, may state
my views, I’d say it would be for the best
if men by nature understood all things—
if not, and that is usually the case,
when men speak well, it is good to learn from them.
You notice how in winter floods the trees
which bend before the storm preserve their twigs.
The ones who stand against it are destroyed,
root and branch. In the same way, those sailors
who keep their sails stretched tight, never easing off,
make their ship capsize—and from that point on
sail with their rowing benches all submerged.