Damocles, one of the courtiers of Dionysius, was perpetually extolling with rapture that tyrant's treasures, grandeur, the number of his troops, the extent of his dominions, the magnificence of his palaces, and the universal abundance of all good things and enjoyments in his possession; always repeating, that never man was happier than Dionysius. "Since you are of that opinion," said the tyrant to him one day, "will you taste and make proof of my felicity in person?" The offer was accepted with joy; Damocles was placed upon a golden couch, covered with carpets richly embroidered. The side-boards were loaded with vessels of gold and silver. The most beautiful slaves in the most splendid habits stood around, ready to serve him at the slightest signal. The most exquisite essences and perfumes had not been spared. The table was spread with proportionate magnificence. Damocles was all joy, and looked upon himself as the happiest man in the world; when unfortunately casting up his eyes, he beheld over his head the point of a sword, which hung from the roof only by a single horse-hair.