After this manner conceive that a flatterer differs from a friend: for it often happens to both that they engage in the same employments and the same associations; but the one differs from the other in use, in the end, and in the disposition of the soul: for the friend considers that which appears to him to be good to belong also in common to his friend; and, whether this proves to be painful or pleasant, he partakes equally of it with him; but the flatterer, following his own desires, conducts the association to his own advantage. The friend desires an equality of good, the flatterer his own private good. The one aspires after equal honour in virtue, the other after superiority in pleasure. The one in conversation desires an equal freedom of speech, the other servile submission. The one loves truth in association, the other deception; and the one looks to future emolument, but the other to present delight. The one requires to be reminded of his good actions, the other wishes them to be involved in oblivion. The one takes care of the possessions of his friend, as of things common, the other destroys them, as being the property of another. The company of a friend in prosperity is most opportune, and in calamity is most equal; but a flatterer can never be satiated with prosperity, and in adversity he is never to be seen. Friendship is laudable, flattery detestable; for friendship attends to equality of retribution, but this flattery mutilates: for he who pays servile attention to another through indigence, that his wants may be supplied, so far as he does not receive an equal submission in return, will reprobate the inequality. A friend, when his friendship is concealed, is unhappy; on the contrary, a flatterer is miserable when is flattery is not concealed. Friendship when tried is strengthened, flattery is confuted, by time. Friendship requires not to be corroborated by advantage, but flattery cannot subsist without profit; and if men have any communion with the divinities, the pious man is a friend to divinity, but the superstitious is a flatterer of divinity; and the pious man is blessed, but the superstitious is miserable.

~ Maximus Tyrius

What infinite heart's-easeMust kings neglect, that private men enjoy!And what have kings, that privates have not too,Save ceremony, save general ceremony?And what art thou, thou idle ceremony?What kind of god art thou, that suffer'st moreOf mortal griefs than do thy worshippers?What are thy rents? what are thy comings in?O ceremony, show me but thy worth!What is thy soul of adoration?Art thou aught else but place, degree and form,Creating awe and fear in other men?Wherein thou art less happy being fear'dThan they in fearing.What drink'st thou oft, instead of homage sweet,But poison'd flattery? O, be sick, great greatness,And bid thy ceremony give thee cure!Think'st thou the fiery fever will go outWith titles blown from adulation?Will it give place to flexure and low bending?Canst thou, when thou command'st the beggar's knee,Command the health of it? No, thou proud dream,That play'st so subtly with a king's repose;I am a king that find thee, and I know'Tis not the balm, the sceptre and the ball,The sword, the mace, the crown imperial,The intertissued robe of gold and pearl,The farced title running 'fore the king,The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pompThat beats upon the high shore of this world,No, not all these, thrice-gorgeous ceremony,Not all these, laid in bed majestical,Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave,Who with a body fill'd and vacant mindGets him to rest, cramm'd with distressful bread;Never sees horrid night, the child of hell,But, like a lackey, from the rise to setSweats in the eye of Phoebus and all nightSleeps in Elysium; next day after dawn,Doth rise and help Hyperion to his horse,And follows so the ever-running year,With profitable labour, to his grave:And, but for ceremony, such a wretch,Winding up days with toil and nights with sleep,Had the fore-hand and vantage of a king.The slave, a member of the country's peace,Enjoys it; but in gross brain little wotsWhat watch the king keeps to maintain the peace,Whose hours the peasant best advantages.

~ William Shakespeare