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BOOK IV. - Epictetus, The Works of Epictetus. Consisting of His Discourses, in Four Books, The Enchiridion, and Fragments [100 AD]
The Works of Epictetus. Consisting of His Discourses, in Four Books, The Enchiridion, and Fragments. A Translation from the Greek based on that of Elizabeth Carter, by Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1865).
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HE is free who lives as he likes; who is not subject to compulsion, to restraint, or to violence; whose pursuits are unhindered, his desires successful, his aversions unincurred. Who, then, would wish to lead a wrong course of life? “No one.” Who would live deceived, erring, unjust, dissolute, discontented, dejected? “No one.” No wicked man, then, lives as he likes; therefore no such man is free. And who would live in sorrow, fear, envy, pity, with disappointed desires and unavailing aversions? “No one.” Do we then find any of the wicked exempt from these evils? “Not one.” Consequently, then, they are not free.
If some person who has been twice consul should hear this, he will forgive you, provided you add, “but you are wise, and this has no reference to you.” But if you tell him the truth, that, in point of slavery, he does not necessarily differ from those who have been thrice sold, what but chastisement can you expect? “For how,” he says, “am I a slave? My father was free, my mother free. Besides, I am a senator, too, and the friend of Cæsar, and have been twice consul, and have myself many slaves.” In the first place, most worthy sir, perhaps your father too was a slave of the same kind; and your mother, and your grandfather, and all your series of ancestors. But even were they ever so free, what is that to you? For what if they were of a generous, you of a mean spirit; they brave, and you a coward; they sober, and you dissolute?
“But what,” he says, “has this to do with my being a slave.” Is it no part of slavery to act against your will, under compulsion, and lamenting? “Be it so. But who can compel me but the master of all, Cæsar?” By your own confession, then, you have one master; and let not his being, as you say, master of all, give you any comfort; for then you are merely a slave in a large family. Thus the Nicopolitans, too, frequently cry out, “By the genius of Cæsar we are free!”
For the present, however, if you please, we will let Cæsar alone. But tell me this. Have you never been in love with any one, either of a servile or liberal condition? “Why, what has that to do with being slave or free?” Were you never commanded anything by your mistress that you did not choose? Have you never flattered your fair slave? Have you never kissed her feet? And yet if you were commanded to kiss Cæsar’s feet, you would think it an outrage and an excess of tyranny. What else is this than slavery? Have you never gone out by night where you did not desire? Have you never spent more than you chose? Have you not sometimes uttered your words with sighs and groans? Have you never borne to be reviled and shut out of doors? But if you are ashamed to confess your own follies, see what Thrasonides* says, and does; who, after having fought more battles perhaps than you, went out by night, when [his slave] Geta would not dare to go; nay, had he been compelled to do it by him, would have gone bewailing and lamenting the bitterness of servitude. And what says he afterwards? “A contemptible girl has enslaved me, whom no enemy ever enslaved.” Wretch! to be the slave of a girl and a contemptible girl too! Why, then, do you still call yourself free? Why do you boast your military expeditions? Then he calls for a sword, and is angry with the person who, out of kindness, denies it; and sends presents to her who hates him; and begs, and weeps, and then again is elated on every little success. But what elation? Is he raised above desire or fear?
Consider in animals what is our idea of freedom. Some keep tame lions, and feed them and even lead them about; and who will say that any such lion is free? Nay, does he not live the more slavishly the more he lives at ease? And who that had sense and reason would wish to be one of those lions? Again, how much will caged birds suffer in trying to escape? Nay, some of them starve themselves rather than undergo such a life; others are saved only with difficulty and in a pining condition; and the moment they find any opening, out they go. Such a desire have they for their natural freedom, and to be at their own disposal, and unrestrained. “And what harm can this confinement do you?” — “What say you? I was born to fly where I please, to live in the open air, to sing when I please. You deprive me of all this, and then ask, what harm I suffer?”
Hence we will allow those only to be free who will not endure captivity; but so soon as they are taken, die and so escape. Thus Diogenes somewhere says that the only way to freedom is to die with ease. And he writes to the Persian king, “You can no more enslave the Athenians than you can fish.” — “How? Can I not get possession of them?” — “If you do,” said he, “they will leave you, and be gone like fish. For catch a fish, and it dies. And if the Athenians, too, die as soon as you have caught them, of what use are your warlike preparations?” This is the voice of a free man who had examined the matter in earnest; and, as it might be expected, found it all out. But if you seek it where it is not, what wonder if you never find it?
A slave wishes to be immediately set free. Think you it is because he is desirous to pay his fee [of manumission] to the officer? No, but because he fancies that, for want of acquiring his freedom, he has hitherto lived under restraint and unprosperously. “If I am once set free,” he says, “it is all prosperity; I care for no one; I can speak to all as being their equal and on a level with them. I go where I will, I come when and how I will.” He is at last made free, and presently having nowhere to eat he seeks whom he may flatter, with whom he may sup. He then either submits to the basest and most infamous degradation; and if he can obtain admission to some great man’s table, falls into a slavery much worse than the former; or perhaps, if the ignorant fellow should grow rich, he doats upon some girl, laments, and is unhappy, and wishes for slavery again. “For what harm did it do me? Another clothed me, another shod me, another fed me, another took care of me when I was sick. It was but in a few things, by way of return, I used to serve him. But now, miserable wretch! what do I suffer, in being a slave to many, instead of one! Yet, if I can be promoted to equestrian rank, I shall live in the utmost prosperity and happiness.” In order to obtain this, he first deservedly suffers; and as soon as he has obtained it, it is all the same again. “But, then,” he says, “if I do but get a military command, I shall be delivered from all my troubles.” He gets a military command. He suffers as much as the vilest rogue of a slave; and, nevertheless, he asks for a second command, and a third; and when he has put the finishing touch, and is made a senator, then he is a slave indeed. When he comes into the public assembly, it is then that he undergoes his finest and most splendid slavery.
[It is needful] not to be foolish, but to learn what Socrates taught, the nature of things; and not rashly to apply general principles to particulars. For the cause of all human evils is the not being able to apply general principles to special cases. But different people have different grounds of complaint; one, for instance, that he is sick. That is not the trouble, it is in his principles. Another, that he is poor; another, that he has a harsh father and mother; another, that he is not in the good graces of Cæsar. This is nothing else but not understanding how to apply our principles. For who has not an idea of evil, that it is hurtful? That it is to be avoided? That it is by all means to be prudently guarded against? One principle does not contradict another, except when it comes to be applied. What, then, is this evil, — thus hurtful and to be avoided? “Not to be the friend of Cæsar,” says some one. He is gone; he has failed in applying his principles; he is embarrassed; he seeks what is nothing to the purpose. For if he comes to be Cæsar’s friend, he is still no nearer to what he sought. For what is it that every man seeks? To be secure, to be happy, to do what he pleases without restraint and without compulsion. When he becomes the friend of Cæsar, then does he cease to be restrained? To be compelled? Is he secure? Is he happy? Whom shall we ask? Whom can we better credit than this very man who has been his friend? Come forth and tell us whether you sleep more quietly now than before you were the friend of Cæsar? You presently hear him cry, “Leave off, for Heaven’s sake, and do not insult me. You know not the miseries I suffer; there is no sleep for me; but one comes and says that Cæsar is already awake; another, that he is just going out. Then follow perturbations, then cares.” Well; and when did you use to sup the more pleasantly, — formerly, or now? Hear what he says about this, too. When he is not invited, he is distracted; and if he is, he sups like a slave with his master, solicitous all the while not to say or do anything foolish. And what think you? Is he afraid of being whipped like a slave? No such easy penalty. No; but rather, as becomes so great a man, Cæsar’s friend, of losing his head. And when did you bathe the more quietly; when did you perform your exercises the more at your leisure; in short, which life would you rather wish to live, your present, or the former? I could swear there is no one so stupid and insensible as not to deplore his miseries, in proportion as he is the more the friend of Cæsar.
Since, then, neither they who are called kings nor the friends of kings live as they like, who, then, after all, is free? Seek, and you will find; for you are furnished by nature with means for discovering the truth. But if you are not able by these alone to find the consequence, hear them who have sought it. What do they say? Do you think freedom a good? “The greatest.” Can any one, then, who attains the greatest good, be unhappy or unsuccessful in his affairs? “No.” As many, therefore, as you see unhappy, lamenting, unprosperous, — confidently pronounce them not free. “I do.” Henceforth, then, we have done with buying and selling, and such like stated conditions of becoming slaves. For if these concessions hold, then, whether the unhappy man be a great or a little king, — of consular or bi-consular dignity, — he is not free. “Agreed.”
Further, then, answer me this; do you think freedom to be something great and noble and valuable? “How should I not?” Is it possible, then, that he who acquires anything so great and valuable and noble should be of an abject spirit? “It is not.” Whenever, then, you see any one subject to another, and flattering him contrary to his own opinion, confidently say that he too is not free; and not only when he does this for a supper, but even if it be for a government, nay, a consulship. Call those indeed little slaves who act thus for the sake of little things; and call the others as they deserve, great slaves. “Be this, too, agreed.” Well; do you think freedom to be something independent and self-determined? “How can it be otherwise?” Him, then, whom it is in the power of another to restrain or to compel, affirm confidently to be by no means free. And do not heed his grandfathers or great-grandfathers; or inquire whether he has been bought or sold; but if you hear him say from his heart and with emotion, “my master,” though twelve Lictors should march before him, call him a slave. And if you should hear him say, “Wretch, that I am! what do I suffer!” call him a slave. In short, if you see him wailing, complaining, unprosperous, call him a slave, even in purple.
“Suppose, then, that he does nothing of all this.” Do not yet say that he is free; but learn whether his principles are in any event liable to compulsion, to restraint, or disappointment; and if you find this to be the case, call him a slave, keeping holiday during the Saturnalia. Say that his master is abroad; that he will come presently; and you will know what he suffers. “Who will come?” Whoever has the power either of bestowing or of taking away any of the things he desires.
“Have we so many masters, then?” We have. For, prior to all such, we have the things themselves for our masters. Now they are many; and it is through these that the men who control the things inevitably become our masters too. For no one fears Cæsar himself; but death, banishment, confiscation, prison, disgrace. Nor does any one love Cæsar unless he be a person of great worth; but we love riches, the tribunate, the prætorship, the consulship. When we love or hate or fear such things, they who have the disposal of them must necessarily be our masters. Hence we even worship them as gods. For we consider that whoever has the disposal of the greatest advantages is a deity; and then further reason falsely, “but such a one has the control of the greatest advantages; therefore he is a deity.” For if we reason falsely, the final inference must be also false.
What is it, then, that makes a man free and independent? For neither riches, nor consulship, nor the command of provinces, nor of kingdoms, can make him so; but something else must be found.” What is it that keeps any one from being hindered and restrained in penmanship, for instance? “The science of penmanship.” In music? “The science of music.” Therefore in life too, it must be the science of living. As you have heard it in general, then, consider it likewise in particulars. Is it possible for him to be unrestrained who desires any of those things that are within the power of others? “No.” Can he avoid being hindered? “No.” Therefore neither can he be free. Consider, then, whether we have nothing or everything in our own sole power, — or whether some things are in our own power and some in that of others. “What do you mean?” When you would have your body perfect, is it in your own power, or is it not? “It is not.” When you would be healthy? “It is not.” When you would be handsome? “It is not.” When you would live or die? “It is not.” Body then is not our own; but is subject to everything that proves stronger than itself. “Agreed.” Well; is it in your own power to have an estate when you please, and such a one as you please? “No.” Slaves? “No.” Clothes? “No.” A house? “No.” Horses? “Indeed none of these.” Well; if you desire ever so earnestly to have your children live, or your wife, or your brother, or your friends, is it in your own power? “No, it is not.”
Will you then say that there is nothing independent, which is in your own power alone, and unalienable? See if you have anything of this sort. “I do not know.” But, consider it thus: can any one make you assent to a falsehood? “No one.” In the matter of assent, then, you are unrestrained and unhindered. “Agreed.” Well, and can any one compel you to exert your aims towards what you do not like? “He can. For when he threatens me with death, or fetters, he thus compels me.” If, then, you were to despise dying or being fettered, would you any longer regard him? “No.” Is despising death, then, an action in our power, or is it not? “It is.” Is it therefore in your power also to exert your aims towards anything, or is it not? “Agreed that it is. But in whose power is my avoiding anything?” This, too, is in your own. “What then if, when I am exerting myself to walk, any one should restrain me?” What part of you can he restrain? Can he restrain your assent? “No, but my body.” Ay, as he may a stone. “Be it so. But still I cease to walk.” And who claimed that walking was one of the actions that cannot be restrained? For I only said that your exerting yourself towards it could not be restrained. But where there is need of body and its assistance, you have already heard that nothing is in your power. “Be this, too, agreed.” And can any one compel you to desire against your will? “No one.” Or to propose, or intend, or, in short, not to be beguiled by the appearances of things? “Nor this. But when I desire anything, he can restrain me from obtaining what I desire.” If you desire anything that is truly within your reach, and that cannot be restrained, how can he restrain you? “By no means.” And pray who claims that he who longs for what depends on another will be free from restraint?
“May I not long for health, them?” By no means; nor anything else that depends on another; for what is not in your own power, either to procure or to preserve when you will, that belongs to another. Keep off not only your hands from it, but even more than these, your desires. Otherwise you have given yourself up as a slave; you have put your neck under the yoke, if you admire any of the things which are not your own, but which are subject and mortal, to which of them soever you are attached. “Is not my hand my own?” It is a part of you, but it is by nature clay, liable to restraint, to compulsion; a slave to everything stronger than itself. And why do I say, your hand? You ought to hold your whole body but as a useful ass, with a pack-saddle on, so long as may be, so long as it is allowed you. But if there should come a military conscription, and a soldier should lay hold on it, let it go. Do not resist, or murmur; otherwise you will be first beaten and lose the ass after all. And since you are thus to regard even the body itself, think what remains to do concerning things to be provided for the sake of the body. If that be an ass, the rest are but bridles, pack-saddles, shoes, cats, hay, for him. Let these go, too. Quit them yet more easily and expeditiously. And when you are thus prepared and trained to distinguish what belongs to others from your own, what is liable to restraint from what is not; to esteem the one your own property, but not the other; to keep your desire, to keep your aversion carefully regulated by this point; whom have you any longer to fear? “No one.” For about what should you be afraid? About what is your own, in which consists the essence of good and evil? And who has any power over this? Who can take it away? Who can hinder you, any more than God can be hindered. But are you afraid for body, for possessions, for what belongs to others, for what is nothing to you? And what have you been studying all this while, but to distinguish between your own and that which is not your own; what is in your power and what is not in your power; what is liable to restraint and what is not? And for what purpose have you applied to the philosophers? That you might nevertheless be disappointed and unfortunate? No doubt you will be exempt from fear and perturbation! And what is grief to you? For whatsoever we anticipate with fear, we endure with grief. And for what will you any longer passionately wish? For you have a temperate and steady desire of things dependent on will, since they are accessible and desirable; and you have no desire of things uncontrollable by will, so as to leave room for that irrational, and impetuous, and precipitate passion.
Since then you are thus affected with regard to things, what man can any longer be formidable to you? What has man that he can be formidable to man, either in appearance, or speech, or mutual intercourse? No more than horse to horse, or dog to dog, or bee to bee. But things are formidable to every one, and whenever any person can either give these to another, or take them away, he becomes formidable too. “How, then, is this citadel to be destroyed?” Not by sword or fire, but by principle. For if we should demolish the visible citadel, shall we have demolished also that of some fever, of some fair woman, in short, the citadel [of temptation] within ourselves; and have turned out the tyrants to whom we are subject upon all occasions and every day, sometimes the same, sometimes others? From hence we must begin; hence demolish the citadel, and turn out the tyrants; — give up body, members, riches, power, fame, magistracies, honors, children, brothers, friends; esteem all these as belonging to others. And if the tyrants be turned out from hence, why should I besides demolish the external citadel, at least on my own account? For what harm to me from its standing? Why should I turn out the guards? For in what point do they affect me? It is against others that they direct their fasces, their staves, and their swords. Have I ever been restrained from what I willed, or compelled against my will? Indeed, how is this possible? I have placed my pursuits under the direction of God. Is it His will that I should have a fever? It is my will too. Is it His will that I should pursue anything? It is my will, too. Is it His will that I should desire? It is my will too. Is it His will that I should obtain anything? It is mine too. Is it not His will? It is not mine. Is it His will that I should be tortured? Then it is my will to be tortured. Is it His will that I should die? Then it is my will to die. Who can any longer restrain or compel me, contrary to my own opinion? No more than Zeus.
It is thus that cautious travellers act. Does some one hear that the road is beset by robbers? He does not set out alone, but waits for the retinue of an ambassador, or quæstor, or proconsul; and when he has joined himself to their company, goes along in safety. Thus does the prudent man act in the world. There are many robberies, tyrants, storms, distresses, losses of things most dear. Where is there any refuge? How can he go alone unattacked? What retinue can he wait for, to go safely through his journey? To what company shall he join himself? To some rich man? To some consular senator? And what good will that do me? He may be robbed himself, groaning and lamenting. And what if my fellow-traveller himself should turn against me and rob me? What shall I do? I say, I will be the friend of Cæsar. While I am his companion, no one will injure me. Yet before I can become illustrious enough for this, what must I bear and suffer! How often, and by how many, must I be robbed! And, then, if I do become the friend of Cæsar, he too is mortal; and if, by any accident, he should become my enemy, where can I best retreat? To a desert? Well; and may not a fever come there? What can be done then? Is it not possible to find a fellow-traveller, safe, faithful, brave, incapable of being surprised? A person who reasons thus, understands and considers that, if he joins himself to God, he shall go safely through his journey.
“How do you mean, join himself?” That what ever is the will of God may be his will too: that whatever is not the will of God may not be his. “How, then, can this be done?” Why, how otherwise than by considering the workings of God’s power and his administration? What has he given me to be my own, and independent? What has he reserved to himself? He has given me whatever depends on will. The things within my power he has made incapable of hindrance or restraint. But how could he make a body of clay incapable of hindrance? Therefore he has subjected possessions, furniture, house, children, wife, to the revolutions of the universe. Why, then, do I fight against God? Why do I will to retain that which depends not on will? That which is not granted absolutely; but how? In such a manner, and for such a time as was thought proper. But he who gave takes away. Why, then, do I resist? Besides being a fool, in contending with a stronger than myself, I shall be unjust, which is a more important consideration. For whence had I these things, when I came into the world? My father gave them to me. And who gave them to him? And who made the sun? Who the fruits? Who the seasons? Who their connection and relations with each other? And after you have received all, and even your very self from another, are you angry with the giver; and do you complain if He takes anything away from you? Who are you; and for what purpose did you come? Was it not He who brought you here? Was it not He who showed you the light? Hath not He given you companions? Hath not He given you senses? Hath not He given you reason? And as whom did He bring you here? Was it not as a mortal? Was it not as one to live with a little portion of flesh upon earth, and to see his administration; to behold the spectacle with Him, and partake of the festival for a short time? After having beheld the spectacle and the solemnity, then, as long as it is permitted you, will you not depart when He leads you out, adoring and thankful for what you have heard and seen? “No; but I would enjoy the feast still longer.” So would the initiated [in the mysteries], too, be longer in their initiation; so, perhaps, would the spectators at Olympia see more combatants. But the solemnity is over. Go away. Depart like a grateful and modest person; make room for others. Others, too, must be born as you were; and when they are born must have a place, and habitations, and necessaries. But if the first do not give way, what room is there left? Why are you insatiable, unconscionable? Why do you crowd the world?
“Ay, but I would have my wife and children with me too.” Why, are they yours? Are they not the Giver’s? Are they not His who made you also? Will you not then quit what belongs to another? Will you not yield to your Superior? “Why, then, did he bring me into the world upon these conditions?” Well; if it is not worth your while, depart. He hath no need of a discontented spectator. He wants such as will share the festival; make part of the chorus; who will extol, applaud, celebrate the solemnity. He will not be displeased to see the wretched and fearful dismissed from it. For when they were present they did not behave as at a festival nor fill a proper place, but lamented, found fault with the Deity, with their fortune, with their companions. They were insensible both of their advantages and of the powers which they received for far different purposes; the powers of magnanimity, nobleness of spirit, fortitude, and that which now concerns us, freedom. “For what purpose, then, have I received these things?” To use them. “How long?” As long as He who lent them pleases. If, then, they are not necessary, do not make an idol of them, and they will not be so; do not tell yourself that they are necessary, when they are not.
This should be our study from morning till night, beginning with the least and frailest things, as with earthen-ware, with glass-ware. Afterwards, proceed to a suit of clothes, a dog, a horse, an estate; thence to yourself, body, members, children, wife, brothers. Look everywhere around you, and be able to detach yourself from these things. Correct your principles. Permit nothing to cleave to you that is not your own; nothing to grow to you that may give you agony when it is torn away. And say, when you are daily training yourself as you do here, not that you act the philosopher, which may be a presumptuous claim, but that you are asserting your freedom. For this is true freedom. This is the freedom that Diogenes gained from Antisthenes; and declared it was impossible that he should ever after be a slave to any one. Hence, when he was taken prisoner, how did he treat the pirates? Did he call any of them master? I do not mean the name, for I am not afraid of a word, but of the disposition from whence the word proceeds. How did he reprove them for feeding their prisoners ill? How was he sold? Did he seek a master? No; but a slave. And when he was sold, how did he converse with his lord? He immediately disputed with him whether he ought to be dressed or shaved in the manner he was; and how he ought to bring up his children. And where is the wonder? For if the same master had bought some one to instruct his children in gymnastic exercises, would he in those exercises have treated him as a servant or as a master? And so if he had bought a physician or an architect? In every department the skilful must necessarily be superior to the unskilful. What else, then, can he be but master, who possesses the universal knowledge of life? For who is master in a ship? The pilot. Why? Because whoever disobeys him is a loser. “But a master can put me in chains.” Can he do it then, without being a loser? “I think not, indeed.” But because he must be a loser, he evidently must not do it; for no one acts unjustly without being a loser. — “And how does he suffer, who puts his own slave in chains?” What think you? From the very fact of chaining him. This you yourself must grant, if you would hold to the doctrine that man is not naturally a wild, but a gentle animal. For when is it that a vine is in a bad condition? “When it is in a condition contrary to its nature.” How is it with a cock? “The same.” It is therefore the same with a man also. What is his nature? To bite, and kick, and throw into prison, and cut off heads? No, but to do good, to assist, to indulge the wishes of others. Whether you will or not, then, he is in a bad condition whenever he acts unreasonably. “And so was not Socrates in a bad condition?” No, but his judges and accusers. “Nor Helvidius, at Rome?” No, but his murderer. “How do you talk?” Why, just as you do. You do not call that cock in a bad condition which is victorious, and yet wounded; but that which is conquered and comes off unhurt. Nor do you call a dog happy which neither hunts nor toils; but when you see him perspiring, and distressed, and panting with the chase. In what do we talk paradoxes? If we say that the evil of everything consists in what is contrary to its nature, is this a paradox? Do you not say it with regard to other things? Why, therefore, in the case of man alone, do you take a different view? But further; it is no paradox to say that by nature man is gentle and social, and faithful. “This is none.” How then [is it a paradox to say] that, when he is whipped, or imprisoned, or beheaded, he is not hurt? If he suffers nobly does he not come off even the better and a gainer? But he is the person hurt who suffers the most miserable and shameful evils; who, instead of a man, becomes a wolf, a viper, or a hornet.
Come, then; let us recapitulate what has been granted. The man who is unrestrained, who has all things in his power as he wills, is free; but he who may be restrained, or compelled, or hindered, or thrown into any condition against his will, is a slave. “And who is unrestrained?” He who desires none of those things that belong to others. “And what are those things, which belong to others?” Those which are not in our own power, either to have or not to have; or to have them thus or so. Body, therefore, belongs to another; its parts to another; property to another. If, then, you attach yourself to any of these as your own, you will be punished, as he deserves who desires what belongs to others. This is the way that leads to freedom; this the only deliverance from slavery; to be able at length to say, from the bottom of one’s soul:
But what say you, philosopher? A tyrant calls upon you to speak something unbecoming you. Will you say it, or will you not? “Stay, let me consider.” Would you consider now? And what did you use to consider when you were in the schools? Did you not study what things were good and evil, and what indifferent? “I did.” Well; and what were the opinions which pleased us? — “That just and fair actions were good; unjust and base ones, evil.” Is living a good? “No.” Dying, an evil? “No.” A prison? “No.” And what did a mean and dishonest speech, the betraying a friend, or the flattering a tyrant, appear to us? “Evils.” Why, then, are you still considering, and have not already considered and come to a resolution? For what sort of a consideration is this: — “Whether I ought, when it is in my power, to procure myself the greatest good, instead of procuring myself the greatest evil.” A fine and necessary consideration, truly, and deserving mighty deliberation! Why do you trifle with us, man? No one ever needed to consider any such point; nor, if you really imagined things fair and honest to be good, things base and dishonest to be evil, and all other things indifferent, would you ever be in such a perplexity as this, or near it; but you would presently be able to distinguish by your understanding as you do by your sight. For do you ever have to consider whether black is white; or whether light is heavy? Do you not follow the plain evidence of your senses? Why, then, do you say that you are now considering whether things indifferent are to be avoided, rather than evils? The truth is, you have no principles; for things indifferent do not impress you as such, but as the greatest evils; and these, on the other hand, as things of no importance.
For thus has been your practice from the first. “Where am I? If I am in the school and there is an audience, I talk as the philosophers do. But if I am out of the school, then away with this stuff that belongs only to scholars and fools.” This man is accused by the testimony of a philosopher, his friend; this philosopher turns parasite; another hires himself out for money; a third does that in the very senate. When one is not governed by appearances, then his principles speak for themselves. You are a poor cold lump of prejudice, consisting of mere phrases, on which you hang as by a hair. You should preserve yourself firm and practical, remembering that you are to deal with real things. In what manner do you hear, — I will not say that your child is dead, for how could you possibly bear that? — but that your oil is spilled, your wine consumed? Would that some one, while you are bawling, would only say this: “Philosopher, you talk quite otherwise when in the schools. Why do you deceive us? Why, when you are a worm, do you call yourself a man?” I should be glad to be near one of these philosophers, while he is revelling in debauchery, that I might see how he demeans himself, and what sayings he utters; whether he remembers the title he bears and the discourses which he hears, or speaks, or reads.
“And what is all this to freedom?” It lies in nothing else but this; whether you rich people approve or not. “And who is your evidence of this?” Who, but yourselves? You who have a powerful master, and live by his motion and nod, and faint away if he does but look sternly upon you, who pay your court to old men and old women, and say, “I cannot do this or that, it is not in my power.” Why is it not in your power? Did not you just now contradict me, and say you were free? “But Aprylla has forbidden me.” Speak the truth, then, slave, and do not run away from your masters nor deny them, nor dare to assert your freedom, when you have so many proofs of your slavery. One might indeed find some excuse for a person compelled by love to do something contrary to his opinion, even when at the same time he sees what is best without having resolution enough to follow it, since he is withheld by something overpowering, and in some measure divine. But who can bear you, who are in love with old men and old women; and perform menial offices for them, and bribe them with presents, and wait upon them like a slave when they are sick; at the same time wishing they may die, and inquiring of the physician whether their distemper be yet mortal? And again, when for these great and venerable magistracies and honors you kiss the hands of the slaves of others; so that you are the slave of those who are not free themselves! And then you walk about in state, a prætor or a consul. Do I not know how you came to be prætor; whence you received the consulship; who gave it to you? For my own part, I would not even live, if I must live by Felicio’s means, and bear his pride and slavish insolence. For I know what a slave is, blinded by what he thinks good fortune.
“Are you free yourself, then?” you may ask. By Heaven, I wish and pray for it. But I own I cannot yet face my masters. I still pay a regard to my body, and set a great value on keeping it whole; though, for that matter, it is not whole. But I can show you one who was free, that you may no longer seek an example. Diogenes was free. “How so?” Not because he was of free parents, for he was not; but because he was so in himself; because he had cast away all which gives a handle to slavery; nor was there any way of getting at him, nor anywhere to lay hold on him, to enslave him. Everything sat loose upon him, everything only just hung on. If you took hold on his possessions, he would rather let them go than follow you for them; if on his leg, he let go his leg; if his body, he let go his body; acquaintance, friends, country, just the same. For he knew whence he had them, and from whom, and upon what conditions he received them. But he would never have forsaken his true parents, the gods, and his real country [the universe]; nor have suffered any one to be more dutiful and obedient to them than he; nor would any one have died more readily for his country than he. For he never had to inquire whether he should act for the good of the whole universe; for he remembered that everything that exists belongs to that administration, and is commanded by its ruler. Accordingly, see what he himself says and writes. “Upon this account,” said he, “O Diogenes, it is in your power to converse as you will with the Persian monarch and with Archidamus, king of the Lacedemonians.” Was it because he was born of free parents? Or was it because they were descended from slaves, that all the Athenians, and all the Lacedemonians, and Corinthians, could not converse with them as they pleased; but feared and paid court to them? Why then is it in your power, Diogenes? “Because I do not esteem this poor body as my own. Because I want nothing. Because this, and nothing else is a law to me.” These were the things that enabled him to be free.
And that you may not urge that I show you the example of a man clear of incumbrances, without a wife or children, or country, or friends, or relations, to bend and draw him aside; — take Socrates, and consider him, who had a wife and children, but held them not as his own; had a country, friends, relations, but held them only so long as it was proper, and in the manner that was proper; submitting all these to the law and to the obedience due to it. Hence, when it was proper to fight, he was the first to go out, and exposed himself to danger without the least reserve. But when he was sent by the thirty tyrants to apprehend Leon,* because he esteemed it a base action, he did not even deliberate about it; though he knew that, perhaps, he might die for it. But what did that signify to him? For it was something else that he wanted to preserve, not his mere flesh; but his fidelity, his honor free from attack or subjection. And afterwards, when he was to make a defence for his life, does he behave like one having children? Or a wife? No; but like a single man. And how does he behave, when required to drink the poison? When he might escape and Crito would have him escape from prison for the sake of his children, what says he? Does he esteem it a fortunate opportunity? How should he? But he considers what is becoming, and neither sees nor regards anything else. “For I am not desirous,” he says, “to preserve this pitiful body; but that part which is improved and preserved by justice, and impaired and destroyed by injustice.” Socrates is not to be basely preserved. He who refused to vote for what the Athenians commanded; he, who contemned the thirty tyrants; he, who held such discourses on virtue and moral beauty; such a man is not to be preserved by a base action, but is preserved by dying, instead of running away. For even a good actor is preserved as such by leaving off when he ought, not by going on to act beyond his time. “What then will become of your children?” — “If I had gone away into Thessaly, you would have taken care of them; and will there be no one to take care of them when I am departed to Hades?”* You see how he ridicules and plays with death. But if it had been you or I, we should presently have proved by philosophical arguments, that those who act unjustly are to be repaid in their own way; and should have added, “If I escape I shall be of use to many; if I die, to none.” Nay, if it had been necessary, we should have crept through a mouse-hole to get away. But how should we have been of use to any? For where must they have dwelt? If we were useful alive, should we not be of still more use to mankind by dying when we ought and as we ought? And now the remembrance of the death of Socrates is not less, but even more useful to the world than that of the things which he did and said when alive.
Study these points, these principles, these discourses; contemplate these examples if you would be free, if you desire the thing in proportion to its value. And where is the wonder that you should purchase so good a thing at the price of others, so many, and so great? Some hang themselves, others break their necks, and sometimes even whole cities have been destroyed for that which is reputed freedom; and will not you for the sake of the true and secure and inviolable freedom, repay God what he hath given when he demands it? Will you not study not only, as Plato says, how to die, but how to be tortured and banished and scourged; and, in short, how to give up all that belongs to others. If not, you will be a slave among slaves, though you were ten thousand times a consul; and even though you should rise to the palace you will never be the less so. And you will feel that, though philosophers (as Cleanthes says) do, perhaps, talk contrary to common opinion, yet it is not contrary to reason. For you will find it true, in fact, that the things that are eagerly followed and admired are of no use to those who have gained them; while they who have not yet gained them imagine that, if they are acquired, every good will come along with them; and, then, when they are acquired, there is the same feverishness, the same agitation, the same nausea, and the same desire for what is absent. For freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling the desire. And in order to know that this is true, take the same pains about these which you have taken about other things. Hold vigils to acquire a set of principles that will make you free. Instead of a rich old man pay your court to a philosopher. Be seen about his doors. You will not get any disgrace by being seen there. You will not return empty or unprofited if you go as you ought. However, try at least. The trial is not dishonorable.
TO this point you must attend before all others; not to be so attached to any one of your former acquaintances or friends as to condescend to behavior like his; otherwise you will undo yourself. But if it comes into your head, “I shall appear odd to him, and he will not treat me as before,” remember, that there is nothing to be had for nothing; nor is it possible that he who acts in the same manner as before, should not be the same person. Choose, then, whether you will be loved by those who formerly loved you, and be like your former self; or be better, and not meet with the same treatment. For if this is preferable, immediately incline altogether this way, and let no other kinds of reasoning draw you aside; for no one can improve while he is wavering. If, then, you prefer this to everything, if you would be fixed only on this, and employ all your pains about it, give up everything else. Otherwise this wavering will affect you in both ways; you will neither make a due improvement, nor preserve the advantages you had before. For before, by setting your heart entirely on things of no value, you were agreeable to your companions. But you cannot excel in both styles; you must necessarily lose as much of the one as you partake of the other. If you do not drink with those with whom you used to drink, you cannot appear equally agreeable to them. Choose, then, whether you would be a drunkard, and agreeable to them, — or sober, and disagreeable to them. If you do not sing with those with whom you used to sing, you cannot be equally dear to them. Here too, then, choose which you will. For if it is better to be modest and decent than to have it said of you “what an agreeable fellow,” give up the rest; renounce it; withdraw yourself; have nothing to do with it. But if this does not please you, incline with your whole force the contrary way. Be one of the debauchees; one of the adulterers. Act all that is consistent with such a character, and you will obtain what you would have. Jump up in the theatre, too, and roar out in praise of the dancer. But characters so different are not to be confounded. You cannot act both Thersites and Agamemnon. If you would be Thersites, you must be hump-backed and bald; if Agamemnon, great and noble, and faithful to those who are under your care.
WHAT THINGS ARE TO BE EXCHANGED FOR OTHERS.
WHEN you have lost anything external, have always at hand the consideration of what you have got instead of it; and if that be of more value, do not by any means call yourself a loser; whether it be a horse for an ass; an ox for a sheep; a good action for a piece of money; a due composure of mind for a dull jest; or modesty for indecent talk. By continually remembering this, you will preserve your character such as it ought to be. Otherwise, consider that you are spending your time in vain; and all that to which you are now applying your mind, you are about to spill and overturn. And there needs but little, merely a small deviation from reason, to destroy and overset all. A pilot does not need so much apparatus to overturn a ship as to save it; but if he exposes it a little too much to the wind, it is lost; even if he should not do it by design, but only for a moment be thinking of something else, it is lost. Such is the case here, too. If you do but nod a little, all that you have hitherto accomplished is gone. Take heed, then, to the appearances of things. Keep yourself watchful over them. It is no inconsiderable matter that you have to guard; but modesty, fidelity, constancy, docility, innocence, fearlessness, serenity; in short, freedom. For what will you sell these? Consider what the purchase is worth. “But shall I not get such a thing instead of it?” Consider, if you do not get it, what it is that you have instead. Suppose I have decency, and another the office of tribune; I have modesty, and he the prætorship? But I do not applaud where it is unbecoming; I will pay no undeserved honor; for I am free, and the friend of God, so as to obey him willingly; but I must not value anything else, neither body, nor possessions, nor fame; in short, nothing. For it is not His will that I should value them. For if this had been His pleasure, He would have placed in them my good, which now He hath not done; therefore I cannot transgress his commands. Seek in all things your own highest good, — and for other aims, recognize them as far as the case requires, and in accordance with reason, contented with this alone. Otherwise you will be unfortunate, disappointed, restrained, hindered.” These are the established laws, these the statutes. Of these one ought to be an expositor, and to these obedient, rather than to those of Masurius and Cassius.*
CONCERNING THOSE WHO EARNESTLY DESIRE A LIFE OF REPOSE.
REMEMBER that it is not only the desire of riches and power that debases us and subjects us to others, but even that of quiet, leisure, learning, or travelling. For, in general, reverence for any external thing whatever makes us subject to others. Where is the difference, then, whether you desire to be a senator or not to be a senator? Where is the difference, whether you desire power or to be out of power? Where is the difference, whether you say “I am in a wretched way, I have nothing to do; but am tied down to books, as inactive as if I were dead”; — or, “I am in a wretched way, I have no leisure to read?” For as levees and power are among things external and uncontrollable by will, so, likewise is a book. For what purpose would you read? Tell me. For if you rest merely in being amused and learning something, you are insignificant and miserable. But if you refer it to the proper end, what is that but a life truly prosperous? And if reading does not procure you a prosperous life, of what use is it. “But it does procure a prosperous life (say you); and therefore I am uneasy at being deprived of it.” And what sort of prosperity is that which everything can hinder; — I do not say Cæsar alone, or Cæsar’s friend, but a crow, a man practising the flute, a fever, or ten thousand other things? But nothing is so essential to prosperity as that it should be permanent and unhindered. Suppose I am now called to do something. I now go, therefore, and will be attentive to the bounds and measures which ought to be observed; that I may act modestly, steadily, and without desire or aversion as to externals. In the next place, I am attentive to other men; what they say, and how they are moved; and that not from ill-nature, nor that I may have an opportunity for censure or ridicule; but I turn to myself. “Am I also guilty of the same faults; and how then shall I leave them off?” or, “I once thus erred, but, God be thanked, not now.” Well; when you have done thus, and been employed on such things, have you not done as good a work as if you had read a thousand lines or written as many? For are you uneasy at not reading while you are eating? When you eat, or bathe, or exercise, are you not satisfied with doing it in a manner corresponding to what you have read? Why, then, do you not reason in like manner about everything? When you approach Cæsar or any other person, if you preserve yourself dispassionate, fearless, sedate; if you are rather an observer of what is done than the subject of observation; if you do not envy those who are preferred to you; if you are not overcome by the occasion, what need you more? Books? How, or to what end? For these are not the real preparation for living, but living is made up of things very different. Just as if a champion, when he enters the lists, should begin crying because he is not still exercising without. It was for this that you were exercised. For this were the dumb-bells, the dust, and your young antagonists. And do you now seek for these when it is the time for actual business? This is just as if, in forming our opinions, when perplexed between true and false semblances, we should, instead of practically distinguishing between them, merely peruse dissertations on evidence.
What, then, is the trouble? That we have neither learned by reading, nor by writing, how to deal practically with the semblances of things, according to the laws of nature. But we stop at learning what is said, and, being able to explain it to others, at solving syllogisms and arranging hypothetical arguments. Hence where the study is, there, too, is the hindrance. Do you desire absolutely what is out of your power? Be restrained then, be hindered, be disappointed. But if we were to read dissertations about the exertion of our efforts, not merely to see what might be said about our efforts, but to exert them well; on desire and aversion, that we might not be disappointed of our desires, nor incur our aversions; on the duties of life, that, mindful of our relations, we might do nothing irrational nor inconsistent with them; then we should not be provoked at being hindered in our reading; but should be contented with the performance of actions suitable to us, and should learn a new standard of computation. Not, “To-day I have perused so many lines; I have written so many”; but, “To-day I have used my efforts as the philosophers direct. I have restrained my desires absolutely; I have applied my aversion only to things controllable by will. I have not been terrified by such a one, nor put out of countenance by such another. I have exercised my patience, my abstinence, my beneficence.” And thus we should thank God for what we ought to thank him.
But now we resemble the crowd in another way also, and do not know it. One is afraid that he shall not be in power; you, that you shall. By no means be afraid of it, man; but as you laugh at him, laugh at yourself. For there is no difference, whether you thirst like one in a fever, or dread water like him who is bit by a mad dog. Else how can you say, like Socrates, “If it so pleases God, so let it be?” Do you think that Socrates, if he had fixed his desires on the leisure of the lyceum or the academy, or the conversation of the youth there, day after day, would have made so many campaigns as he did, so readily? Would not he have lamented and groaned: “How wretched am I! now must I be miserable here, when I might be sunning myself in the lyceum?” Was that your business in life, then, to sun yourself? Was it not to be truly successful? To be unrestrained and free? And how could he have been Socrates, if he had lamented thus? How could he after that have written Pæans in a prison?
In short, then, remember this, that so far as you prize anything external to your own will, you impair that will. And not only power is external to it, but the being out of power too; not only business, but leisure too. “Then must I live in this tumult now?” What do you call a tumult? “A multitude of people.” And where is the hardship? Suppose it to be the Olympic Games. Think it a public assembly. There, too, some bawl out one thing, some another; some push the rest. The baths are crowded. Yet who of us is not pleased with these assemblies, and does not grieve to leave them? Do not be hard to please, and squeamish at what happens. “Vinegar is disagreeable, for it is sour. Honey is disagreeable, for it disorders my constitution. I do not like vegetables.” “So I do not like retirement, it is a desert; I do not like a crowd, it is a tumult.” Why, if things are so disposed, that you are to live alone or with few, call this condition repose, and make use of it as you ought. Talk with yourself, judge of the appearances presented to your mind; train your mental habits to accuracy. But if you happen on a crowd, call it one of the public games, a grand assembly, a festival. Endeavor to share in the festival with the rest of the world. For what sight is more pleasant to a lover of mankind than a great number of men? We see companies of oxen or horses with pleasure. We are highly delighted to see a great many ships. Who is sorry to see a great many men? “But they stun me with their noise.” Then your hearing is hindered; and what is that to you? Is your faculty of making a right use of the appearances of things hindered too? Or who can restrain you from using your desire and aversion, your powers of pursuit and avoidance, conformably to nature? What tumult is sufficient for this?
Do but remember the general rules. What is mine? What not mine? What is allotted me? What is it the will of God that I should do now? What is not his will? A little while ago it was His will that you should be at leisure, should talk with yourself, write about these things, read, hear, prepare yourself. You have had sufficient time for this. At present, He says to you, “Come now to the combat. Show us what you have learned; how you have wrestled.” How long would you exercise by yourself? It is now the time to show whether you are of the number of those champions who merit victory, or of those who go about the world conquered in all the circle of games. Why, then, are you out of humor? There is no combat without a tumult. There must be many preparatory exercises, many acclamations, many masters, many spectators. “But I would live in quiet.” Why, then, lament and groan as you deserve. For what greater punishment is there to those who are uninstructed and disobedient to the orders of God, than to grieve, to mourn, to envy; in short, to be disappointed and unhappy? Are you not willing to deliver yourself from all this? “And how shall I deliver myself?” Have you not heard that you must absolutely control desire, and apply aversion to such things only as are controllable by will? That you must consent to resign all, body, possessions, fame, books, tumults, power, exemption from power? For to whichsoever your disposition is, you are a slave; you are under subjection; you are made liable to restraint, to compulsion; you are altogether the property of others. But have that maxim of Cleanthes always ready,
“Conduct me, Zeus; and thou, O destiny.”
Is it your will that I should go to Rome? Conduct me to Rome. To Gyaros? — To Gyaros. To Athens? — To Athens. To prison? — To prison. If you once say, “When may I go to Athens?” you are undone. This desire, if it be unaccomplished, must necessarily render you disappointed; and, if fulfilled, vain respecting what ought not to elate you; — if, on the contrary, you are hindered, then you are wretched through incurring what you do not like. Therefore give up all these things.
“Athens is a fine place.” But it is a much finer thing to be happy, serene, tranquil, not to have your affairs dependent on others. “Rome is full of tumults and visits.” But prosperity is worth all difficulties. If, then, it be a proper time for these, why do not you withdraw your aversion from them? What necessity is there for you to be made to carry your burden, by being cudgelled like an ass? Otherwise, consider that you must always be a slave to him who has the power to procure your discharge, — to every one who has the power of hindering you; — and must worship him like your evil genius.
The only way to real prosperity (let this rule be at hand morning, noon, and night) is a resignation of things uncontrollable by will; to esteem nothing as property; to deliver up all things to our tutelar genius and to fortune; to leave the control of them to those whom Zeus hath made such; to be ourselves devoted to that only which is really ours; to that which is incapable of restraint; and whatever we read, or write, or hear, to refer all to this.
Therefore I cannot call any one industrious, if I hear only that he reads or writes; nor do I call him so even if he adds the whole night to the day, unless I know to what he applies it. For not even you would call him industrious who sits up for the sake of a girl; nor, therefore, in the other case do I. But if he does it for fame, I call him ambitious; if for money, avaricious; if from the desire of learning, bookish; but not industrious. But if he applies his labor to his ruling faculty, in order to treat and regulate it conformably to nature, then only I call him industrious. Never praise or blame any person on account of outward actions that are common to all; but only on account of principles. These are the peculiar property of each individual, and the things which make actions good or bad.
Mindful of this, enjoy the present and accept all things in their season. If you meet in action any of those things which you have made a subject of study, rejoice in them. If you have laid aside ill-nature and reviling; if you have lessened your harshness, indecent language, inconsiderateness, effeminacy; if you are not moved by the same things as formerly, or if not in the same manner as formerly; — you may keep a perpetual festival, to-day for success in one affair, to-morrow for another. How much better a reason for sacrifice is this than obtaining a consulship or a government? These things you have from yourself and from the gods. Remember this, who it is that gave them, and to whom and for what purpose. Habituated once to these reasonings, can you still think that it makes any difference what place God allots you? Are not the gods everywhere at the same distance? Do not they everywhere see equally what is doing?
CONCERNING THE QUARRELSOME AND FEROCIOUS.
A WISE and good person neither quarrels with any one himself, nor, as far as possible, suffers another to do so. The life of Socrates affords us an example of this too, as well as of other things; since he not only everywhere avoided quarrelling himself, but did not even suffer others to quarrel. See in Xenophon’s Banquet how many quarrels he ended; how, again, he bore with Thrasymachus, with Polus, with Callicles; how with his wife, how with his son, who attempted to confute him, and cavilled at him. For he well remembered that no one is master of the ruling faculty of another; and therefore he desired nothing but what was his own. “And what is that?” Not that any particular person should be dealt with conformably to nature; for that belongs to others; but that while they act in their own way, as they please, he should nevertheless live conformably to nature, only doing what belongs to himself, in order to make them live conformably to nature also. For this is the point that a wise and good person has in view. To have the command of an army? No; but if it be allotted him, to properly apply his own powers in that sphere. To marry? No; but if marriage be allotted him, to act in this sphere also, according to the laws of nature. But if he expects perfection in his wife or his child, then he asks to have that for his own which really belongs to others. And wisdom consists in this very point, to learn what things are our own and what belong to others.
What room is there then for quarrelling, to a person thus disposed? For does he wonder at anything that happens? Does it appear strange to him? Does he not prepare for worse and more grievous injuries from bad people than actually happen to him? Does he not reckon it so much gained if they come short of the last extremities? Such a one has reviled you. You are much obliged to him that he has not struck you. But he has struck you too. You are much obliged to him that he has not wounded you too. But he has wounded you too. You are much obliged to him that he has not killed you. For when did he ever learn, or from whom, that he is a gentle, that he is a social animal; that the very injury itself is a great mischief to him who inflicts it? As, then, he has not learned these things, nor believes them, why should he not follow what appears to be for his interest? Your neighbor has thrown stones. What then? Is it any fault of yours? But your goods are broken. What then? Are you a piece of furniture? No; but your essence consists in the faculty of will. What behavior then is assigned you in return? If you consider yourself as a wolf, — then, to bite again, to throw more stones. But if you ask the question as a man, then examine your treasure; see what faculties you have brought into the world with you. Are they fitted for ferocity? For revenge? When is a horse miserable? When he is deprived of his natural faculties. Not when he cannot crow, but when he cannot run. And a dog? Not when he cannot fly, but when he cannot hunt. Is not a man, then, also unhappy in the same manner? Not he who cannot strangle lions or perform athletic feats, (for he has received no faculties for this purpose from nature); but who has lost his rectitude of mind, his fidelity. This is he who ought to receive public condolence for the misfortunes into which he is fallen; not, by Heaven, either he who has the misfortune to be born or to die; but he whom it has befallen while he lives to lose what is properly his own. Not his paternal possessions, his paltry estate or his house, his lodging or his slaves, for none of these are a man’s own; but all these belong to others, are servile, dependent, and very variously assigned by the disposers of them. But his personal qualifications as a man, the impressions which he brought into the world stamped upon his mind; such as we look for in money, accepting or rejecting it accordingly. “What impression has this piece of money?” — “Trajan’s.” — “Give it me.” — “Nero’s.”* Throw it away. It is false; it is good for nothing. So in the other case. “What stamp have his principles?” — “Gentleness, social affection, patience, good-nature.” Bring them hither. I receive them. I make such a man a citizen; I receive him for a neighbor, a fellow-traveller. Only see that he have not the Neronian stamp. Is he passionate? Is he resentful? Is he querulous? Would he, if he took the fancy, break the heads of those who fell in his way? Why then do you call him a man? For is everything determined by a mere outward form? Then say, just as well, that a piece of wax is an apple, or that it has the smell and taste, too. But the external figure is not enough; nor, consequently, is it sufficient to constitute a man, that he has a nose and eyes, if he have not the proper principles of a man. Such a one does not understand reason, or apprehend when he is confuted. He is like an ass. Another is dead to the sense of shame. He is a worthless creature; anything rather than a man. Another seeks whom he may kick or bite: so that he is neither sheep nor ass. But what then? He is a wild beast.
“Well; but would you have me despised, then?” By whom? By those who know you? And how can they despise you who know you to be gentle and modest? But, perhaps, by those who do not know you? And what is that to you? For no other artist troubles himself about those ignorant of art. “But people will be much readier to attack me.” Why do you say me? Can any one hurt your will, or restrain you from treating, conformably to nature, the phenomena of existence? Why, then, are you disturbed and desirous to make yourself appear formidable? Why do you not make public proclamation that you are at peace with all mankind, however they may act; and that you chiefly laugh at those who suppose they can hurt you? “These wretches neither know who I am, nor in what consist my good and evil; nor how little they can touch what is really mine.” Thus the inhabitants of a fortified city laugh at the besiegers. “What trouble, now, are these people giving themselves for nothing? Our wall is secure; we have provisions for a very long time, and every other preparation.” These are what render a city fortified and impregnable; but nothing but its principles render the human soul so. For what wall is so strong, what body so impenetrable, what possession so unalienable, what dignity so secured against stratagems? All things else, everywhere else, are mortal, easily reduced; and whoever in any degree fixes his mind upon them, must necessarily be subject to perturbation, despair, terrors, lamentations, disappointed desires, and unavailing aversions.
And will we not fortify, then, the only citadel that is granted us; and, withdrawing ourselves from what is mortal and servile, diligently improve what is immortal and by nature free? Do we not remember that no one either hurts or benefits another; but only the principles which we hold concerning everything? It is this that hurts us; this that overturns us. Here is the fight, the sedition, the war. It was nothing else that made Eteocles and Polynices enemies, but their principles concerning empire, and their principles concerning exile; that the one seemed the extremest evil, the other, the greatest good. Now the very nature of every one is to pursue good, to avoid evil; to esteem him as an enemy and betrayer who deprives us of the one, and involves us in the other, though he be a brother, or a son, or father. For nothing is more nearly related to us than good. So that if good and evil consist in externals, there is no affection between father and son, brother and brother; but all is everywhere full of enemies, betrayers, sycophants. But if a right choice be the only good, and a wrong one the only evil, what further room is there for quarrelling, for reviling? About what can it be? About what is nothing to us. Against whom? Against the ignorant, against the unhappy, against those who are deceived in the most important respects.
Mindful of this, Socrates lived in his own house, patiently bearing a furious wife, a senseless son. For what were the effects of her fury? The throwing as much water as she pleased on his head, the trampling* a cake under her feet. “And what is this to me, if I think such things nothing to me? This very point is my business; and neither a tyrant, nor a master, shall restrain my will; nor multitudes, though I am a single person; nor one ever so strong, though I am ever so weak. For this is given by God to every one, free from restraint.”
These principles make friendship in families, concord in cities, peace in nations. They make a person grateful to God, everywhere courageous, as dealing with things merely foreign and of minor importance. But we, alas! are able indeed to write and read these things, and to praise them when they are read; but very far from being convinced by them. In that case, what is said of the Lacedemonians,
“Lions at home, foxes at Ephesus,”
may be applied to us, too; lions in the school, but foxes out of it.
CONCERNING THOSE WHO ARE ANNOYED AT BEING PITIED.
IT vexes me, say you, to be pitied. Is this your affair, then, or theirs who pity you? And further, how is it in your power to prevent it? “It is, if I show them that I do not need pity.” But are you now in such a condition as not to need pity, or are you not? “I think I am. But these people do not pity me for what, if anything, would deserve pity, my faults; but for poverty, and want of power, and sicknesses, and deaths, and other things of that kind.” Are you, then, prepared to convince the world that none of these things is in reality an evil; but that it is possible for a person to be happy, even when he is poor, and without honors and power? Or are you prepared to put on the appearance of being rich and powerful? The last of these is the part of an arrogant, silly, worthless fellow. Observe, too, by what means this fiction must be carried on. You must hire some poor slaves, and get possessed of a few little pieces of plate, and often show them in public; and though they are the same, endeavor to conceal that they are the same; you must have gay clothes and other finery, and make a show of being honored by your great people; and endeavor to sup with them, or be thought to sup with them; and use some vile arts with your person, to make it appear handsomer and genteeler than it really is. All this you must contrive, if you would take the second way not to be pitied. And the first is impracticable as well as tedious, to undertake the very thing that Zeus himself could not do; to convince all mankind what things are really good and evil. Is this granted you? The only thing granted you is to convince yourself; and you have not yet done that; and yet do you undertake to convince others? Why, who has lived so long with you as you have with yourself? Who is so likely to have faith in you, in order to be convinced by you, as yourself? Who is more truly a well-wisher or a friend to you than yourself? How is it, then, that you have not yet convinced yourself? Should you not now revolve these things? What you were studying was this; to learn to be exempt from grief, perturbation, and meanness, and to be free. Have you not heard, then, that the only way that leads to this is, to give up what is beyond the control of will; to withdraw from it, and confess that it belongs to others? To what order of things belongs another’s opinion about you? “Things uncontrollable by will.” Is it nothing then to you? “Nothing.” While you are still piqued and disturbed about it, then, do you consider that you are convinced concerning good and evil?
Letting others alone, then, why will you not be your own scholar and teacher? Let others look to it, whether it be for their advantage to think and act contrary to nature; but no one is nearer to me than myself. What means this? I have heard the reasonings of philosophers, and assented to them; yet, in fact, I am not the more relieved. Am I so stupid? And yet, in other things to which I had an inclination, I was not found very stupid; but I quickly learned grammar and the exercises of the palæstra, and geometry, and the solution of syllogisms. Has not reason, then, convinced me? And yet there is no one of the other things that I so much approved or liked from the very first. And now I read concerning these subjects, I hear discourses upon them, I write about them, and I have not yet found any principle more sure than this. What, then, do I need? Is not this the difficulty, that the contrary principles are not removed out of my mind? Is it not that I have not strengthened these opinions by exercise, nor practised them in action? but, like arms thrown aside, they are grown rusty, and do not suit me? Yet neither in the palæstra, nor writing, nor reading, nor solving syllogisms, am I contented with merely learning; but I apply in every way the forms of arguments which are presented to me, and I invent others; and the same of convertible propositions. But the necessary principles by which I might become exempted from fear, grief, and passion, and be unrestrained and free, I do not exercise, nor bestow on them the proper care. And, then, I trouble myself what others will say of me; whether I shall appear to them worthy of regard; whether I shall appear happy. Will you not see, foolish man, what you can say of yourself? What sort of person you appear to yourself in your opinions, in your desires, in your aversions, in your pursuits, in your preparation, in your intention, in the other proper works of a man? But instead of that, do you trouble yourself whether others pity you? “Very true. But I am pitied without reason.” Then are you not pained by this? And is not he who is in pain to be pitied? “Yes.” How, then, are you pitied without reason? For you render yourself worthy of pity by what you suffer upon being pitied.
What says Antisthenes, then? Have you never heard? “It is kingly, O Cyrus, to do well and to be ill spoken of.” My head is well, and all around me think it aches. What is that to me? I am free from a fever; and they compassionate me as if I had one. “Poor soul, what a long while have you had this fever!” I say, too, with a dismal countenance, Ay, indeed, it is now a long time that I have been ill. “What can be the consequence, then?” What pleases God. And at the same time I secretly laugh at those who pity me. What forbids, then, but that the same may be done in the other case? I am poor, but I have right principles concerning poverty. What is it to me, then, if people pity me for my poverty? I am not in power and others are; but I have such opinions as I ought to have concerning power and the want of power. Let them see to it who pity me. I am neither hungry, nor thirsty, nor cold. But because they are hungry and thirsty, they suppose me to be so too. What can I do for them? Am I to go about making proclamation, and saying, Do not deceive yourselves, good people, I am very well; I care for neither poverty, nor want of power, nor anything else but right principles? These I possess unrestrained, and care for nothing further.
But what trifling is this? How have I right principles when I am not contented to be what I am; but am in agony, how I shall appear? “But others will get more, and be preferred to me.” Well, what is more reasonable, than that they who take pains for anything should get most in that particular direction, in which they take pains? They have taken pains for power; you, for right principles: they, for riches; you, for a proper use of the phenomena of existence. See whether they have the advantage of you in that for which you have taken pains, and which they neglect; if they judge better concerning the natural bounds and limits of things; if their desires are less often disappointed than yours, their aversions less often incurred; if they aim better in their intentions, in their purposes, in their pursuits; if they preserve a becoming behavior as men, as sons, as parents, and so on with the other relations of life. But if they are in power, and you not, why will you not speak the truth to yourself; that you do nothing for the sake of power, but that they do everything? It were very reasonable that he who carefully seeks anything, should be less successful than he who neglects it! “No; but since I take care to have right principles, it is more reasonable that I should excel.” Yes, in respect to what you take pains about, your principles. But give up to others the things in which they have taken more pains than you. Else it is just as if, because you have right principles, you should expect to aim an arrow better than an archer, or to forge better than a smith. Therefore cease to take pains about principles, and apply yourself to those things which you wish to possess, and then begin crying, if you do not succeed; for you deserve to cry. But now you claim that you are engaged and absorbed in other things; and they say well that no man can be of two trades. One man, as soon as he rises and goes out, seeks to whom he may pay his compliments, whom he may flatter, to whom he may send a present, how he may please the favorite; how, by doing mischief to one, he may oblige another. Whenever he prays, he prays for things like these; whenever he sacrifices, he sacrifices for things like these. To these he transfers the Pythagorean precept:
“Let not the stealing god of Sleep surprise.”
*Where have I failed in point of flattery? What have I done? Anything like a free, brave-spirited man? If he should find anything of this sort, he rebukes and accuses himself. “What business had you to say that? For could you not have lied? Even the philosophers say there is no objection against telling a lie.”
But, on the other hand, if you have in reality been careful about nothing else but to make a right use of the phenomena of existence; then, as soon as you are up in the morning, consider what you need in order to be free from passion? What, to enjoy tranquillity? “In what do I consist? Merely in body, in estate, in reputation? None of these. What, then? I am a reasonable creature. What, then, is required of me?” Meditate upon your actions. Where have I failed in any requisite for prosperity? What have I done, either unfriendly or unsocial? What have I omitted that was necessary in these points?
Since there is so much difference, then, in your desires, your actions, your wishes, would you yet have an equal share with others in those things about which you have not taken pains, and they have? And do you wonder, after all, and are you out of humor if they pity you? But they are not out of humor, if you pity them. Why? Because they are convinced that they are in possession of their proper good; but you are not convinced that you are. Hence you are not contented with your own condition, but desire theirs; whereas they are contented with theirs, and do not desire yours. For if you were really convinced that it is you who are in possession of what is good, and that they are mistaken, you would not so much as think what they say about you.
WHAT makes a tyrant formidable? His guards, say you, and their swords; they who protect his bedchamber; and they who keep out intruders. Why, then, if you bring a child to him amidst these guards, is it not afraid? Is it because the child does not know what they mean? Suppose, then, that any one knows what is meant by guards, and that they are armed with swords; and for that very reason comes in the tyrant’s way, being desirous, on account of some misfortune, to die, and seeking to die easily by the hand of another. Does such a man fear the guards? No; for he desires the very thing that renders them formidable. Well, then; if any one being without an absolute desire to live or die, but indifferent to it, comes in the way of a tyrant, what prevents his approaching him without fear? Nothing. If, then, another should think concerning his estate, or wife, or children, as this man thinks concerning his body; and, in short, from some madness or folly should be of such a disposition as not to care whether he has them or not; but just as children, playing with shells, are busied with the play, but not with the shells, so he should pay no regard to these affairs, except to carry on the play with them, what tyrant, what guards or swords are any longer formidable to such a man?
And is it possible that any one should be thus disposed towards these things from madness; and the Galileans from mere habit; yet that no one should be able to learn, from reason and demonstration, that God made all things in the world, and made the whole world itself unrestrained and perfect; and all its parts for the use of the whole? All other creatures are indeed excluded from a power of comprehending the administration of the world; but a reasonable being has abilities for the consideration of all these things: both that itself is a part, and what part; and that it is fit the parts should submit to the whole. Besides, being by nature constituted noble, magnanimous, and free, it sees that of the things which relate to it some are unrestrained and in its own power, some restrained and in the power of others: the unrestrained, such as depend on will; the restrained, such as do not depend on it. And for this reason, if it esteems its good and its interest to consist in things unrestrained and in its own power, it will be free, prosperous, happy, safe, magnanimous, pious, thankful to God for everything, never finding fault with anything, never censuring anything that is brought about by him. But if it esteems its good and its interest to consist in externals, and things uncontrollable by will, it must necessarily be restrained, be hindered, be enslaved to those who have the power over those things which it admires and fears; it must necessarily be impious, as supposing itself injured by God, and unjust, as claiming more than its share; it must necessarily, too, be abject and base.
Why may not he who discerns these things live with an easy and light heart, quietly awaiting whatever may happen, and bearing contentedly what has happened? Shall it be poverty? Bring it; and you shall see what poverty is when it is met well. Would you have power? Bring toils too along with it. Banishment? Wherever I go, it will be well with me there; for it was well with me here, not on account of the place, but of the principles which I shall carry away with me; for no one can deprive me of these; on the contrary, they alone are my property, and cannot be taken away; and their possession suffices me wherever I am, or whatever I do.
“But it is now time to die.” What is that you call dying? Do not talk of the thing in a tragedy strain; but state the thing as it is, that it is time for your material part to revert whence it came. And where is the terror of this? What part of the world is going to be lost? What is going to happen that is new or prodigious? Is it for this that a tyrant is formidable? Is it on this account that the swords of his guards seem so large and sharp? Try these things upon others. For my part, I have examined the whole. No one has authority over me. God hath made me free; I know his commands; after this no one can enslave me. I have a proper vindicator of my freedom; proper judges. Are you the master of my body? But what is that to me? Of my little estate? But what is that to me? Of banishment and chains? Why all these again, and my whole body, I give up to you; make a trial of your power whenever you please, and you will find how far it extends.
Whom, then, can I any longer fear? Those who guard the chamber? Lest they should do — what? Shut me out? If they find me desirous to come in, let them. “Why do you come to the door, then?” Because it is fitting for me, that while the play lasts I should play too. “How then are you incapable of being shut out?” Because, if I am not admitted, I would not wish to go in; but would much rather that things should be as they are, for I esteem what God wills to be better than what I will. To Him I yield myself as a servant and a follower. My pursuits, my desires, my very will, must coincide with His. Being shut out does not affect me; but those who push to get in. Why, then, do not I push too? Because I know that there is no really good thing distributed to those who get in. But when I hear any one congratulated on the favor of Cæsar, I ask what he has got. “A province.” Has he the needed wisdom also? “A public office.” Has he with it the knowledge how to use it? If not, why should I push my way in?
Some one scatters nuts and figs. Children scramble and quarrel for them; but not men, for they think them trifles. But if any one should scatter shells, not even children would scramble for these. Provinces are being distributed. Let children look to it. Money. Let children look to it. Military command, a consulship. Let children scramble for them. Let these be shut out, be beaten, kiss the hands of the giver, or of his slaves. But to me they are mere figs and nuts. “What, then, is to be done?” If you miss them while he is throwing them, do not trouble yourself about it; but if a fig should fall into your lap, take it, and eat it; for one may pay so much regard even to a fig. But if I am to stoop and throw down one [rival] or be thrown down by another, and flatter those who succeed, a fig is not worth this, nor is any other of those things which are not really good, and which the philosophers have persuaded me not to esteem as good.
Show me the swords of the guards. “See how large and how sharp they are.” What, then, can these great and sharp swords do? “They kill.” And what can a fever do? “Nothing else.” And a [falling] tile? “Nothing else.” Do you then wish me to be bewildered by all these things, and to worship them, and to go about as a slave to them all? Heaven forbid! But having once learned that everything that is born must likewise die, (that the world may not be at a stand, nor the course of it hindered,) I no longer see any difference, whether this be effected by a fever, or a tile, or a soldier; but if any comparison is to be made, I know that the soldier will effect it with less pain and more speedily. Since then I neither fear any of those things which he can inflict upon me, nor covet anything which he can bestow, why do I stand any longer in awe of a tyrant? Why am I amazed at him? Why do I fear his guards? Why do I rejoice, if he speaks kindly to me, and receives me graciously; and why boast to others of my reception? For is he Socrates or Diogenes, that his praise should show what I am? Or have I set my heart on imitating his manners? But to keep up the play I go to him and serve him, so long as he commands nothing unreasonable or improper. But if he should say to me, “Go to Salamis, and bring Leon,”* I bid him seek another, for I play no longer. “Lead him away.” I follow as a part of the play. “But your head will be taken off.” And will his own remain on forever; or yours, who obey him? “But you will be thrown out unburied.” If I am identical with my corpse, I shall be thrown out; but if I am something else than the corpse, speak more handsomely, as the thing is, and do not think to frighten me. These things are frightful to children and fools. But if any one, who has once entered into the school of a philosopher, knows not what he himself is, then he deserves to be frightened, and to flatter the last object of flattery; if he has not yet learnt that he is neither flesh, nor bones, nor nerves, but is that which makes use of these, and regulates and comprehends the phenomena of existence.
“Well; but these reasonings make men despise the laws.” And what reasonings, then, render those who use them more obedient to the laws? But the law of fools is no law. And yet, see how these reasonings render us properly disposed, even towards such persons, since they teach us not to assert against them any claim wherein they can surpass us. They teach us to give up body, to give up estate, children, parents, brothers, to yield everything, to let go everything, excepting only principles; which even Zeus hath excepted and decreed to be every one’s own property. What unreasonableness, what breach of the laws, is there in this? Where you are superior and stronger, there I give way to you. Where, on the contrary, I am superior, do you submit to me; for this has been my study, and not yours. Your study has been to walk upon a mosaic floor, to be attended by your servants and clients, to wear fine clothes, to have a great number of hunters, fiddlers, and players. Do I lay any claim to these? On the other hand, have you made a study of principles, or even of your own reason? Do you know of what parts it consists? How they are combined and joined, and with what powers? Why, then, do you take it amiss, if another, who has studied them, has the advantage of you in these things? “But they are of all things the greatest.” Well; and who restrains you from being conversant with them, and attending to them ever so carefully? Or who is better provided with books, with leisure, with assistants? Only turn your thoughts now and then to these matters; bestow but a little time upon your own ruling faculty. Consider what is the power you have, and whence it came, that uses all other things, that examines them all, that chooses, that rejects. But while you employ yourself merely about externals, you will possess those indeed beyond all rivals; but all else will be, just as you elect to have it, sordid and neglected.
CONCERNING SUCH AS HASTILY ASSUME THE PHILOSOPHIC DRESS.
NEVER commend or censure any one for common actions, nor attribute to them either skilfulness or unskilfulness; and thus you will at once be free both from rashness and ill-nature. Such a one bathes hastily. Does he therefore do it ill? Not at all. But what? Hastily. “Is everything well done, then?” By no means. But what is done from good principles is well done; what from bad ones, ill. Till you know from what principle any one acts, neither commend nor censure the action. But the principle is not easily discerned from the external appearance. Such a one is a carpenter. Why? He uses an axe. What proof is that? Such a one is a musician, for he sings. What proof is that? Such a one is a philosopher. Why? Because he wears a cloak and long hair. What then do mountebanks wear? And so, when people see any of these acting indecently, they presently say, “See what the philosopher does.” But they ought rather, from his acting indecently, to say that he is no philosopher. For, if indeed the essence of philosophic pursuits is to wear a cloak and long hair, they say right; but if it be rather to keep himself free from faults, since he does not fulfil his profession, why do not they deprive him of his title? For this is the way with regard to other arts. When we see any one handle an axe awkwardly, we do not say, “Where is the use of this art? See how poorly carpenters acquit themselves.” But we say the very contrary, “This man is no carpenter; for he handles an axe awkwardly.” So, if we hear any one sing badly, we do not say, “Observe how musicians sing,” but rather, “This fellow is no musician.” It is with regard to philosophy alone, that people are thus affected. When they see any one acting inconsistently with the profession of a philosopher, they do not take away his title; but assuming that he is a philosopher, and then reasoning from his improper behavior, they infer that philosophy is of no use.
“What, then, is the reason of this?” Because we pay some regard to the idea which we have of a carpenter and a musician, and so of other artists, but not of a philosopher; which idea being thus vague and confused, we judge of it only from external appearances. And of what other art do we form our opinion from the dress or the hair? Has it not principles too, and materials, and an aim? What, then, are the materials of a philosopher? A cloak? No, but reason. What his aim? To wear a cloak? No, but to have his reason in good order. What are his principles? Are they how to get a great beard, or long hair? No, but rather, as Zeno expresses it, — to know the elements of reason, what is each separately and how linked together, and what their consequences.
Why, then, will you not first see, whether when acting improperly he fulfils his profession, ere you proceed to blame the study? Whereas now, when acting soberly yourself, you say, in regard to whatever he appears to do amiss, “Observe the philosopher!” As if it were proper to call a person, who does such things, a philosopher. And again, “This is philosophical!” But you do not say, “Observe the carpenter, or observe the musician,” when you know one of them to be an adulterer, or see him to be a glutton. So, in some small degree, even you perceive what the profession of a philosopher is; but are misled and confounded by your own carelessness. And, indeed, even those called philosophers enter upon their profession by commonplace beginnings. As soon as they have put on the cloak and let their beards grow, they cry, “I am a philosopher.” Yet no one says, “I am a musician,” merely because he has bought a fiddle and fiddlestick: nor, “I am a smith,” because he is dressed in the cap and apron. But they take their name from their art, not from their garb.
For this reason, Euphrates was in the right to say, “I long endeavored to conceal my embracing the philosophic life; and it was of use to me. For, in the first place, I knew that whatever I did right I did not for spectators, but for myself. I eat in a seemly manner, for my own approbation. I preserved composure of look and manner, all for God and myself. Then, as I contended alone, I alone was in danger. Philosophy was in no danger, on my doing anything shameful or unbecoming; nor did I hurt the rest of the world, which, by offending as a philosopher, I might have done. For this reason, they who were ignorant of my intention, used to wonder that while I conversed and lived entirely with philosophers, I never took up the character. And where was the harm, that I should be discovered to be a philosopher by my actions, rather than by the usual badges? See how I eat, how I drink, how I sleep, how I bear, how I forbear; how I assist others; how I make use of my desires, how of my aversions; how I preserve the natural and acquired relations, without confusion and without obstruction. Judge of me hence, if you can. But if you are so deaf and blind that you would not suppose Vulcan himself to be a good smith, unless you saw the cap upon his head, where is the harm in not being found out by so foolish a judge?”
It was thus, too, that Socrates concealed himself from the multitude; and some even came and desired him to introduce them to philosophers. Was he accustomed to be displeased, then, like us; and to say, What! do not you take me for a philosopher? No, he took them and introduced them; contented with merely being a philosopher, and rejoicing in feeling no annoyance, that he was not thought one. For he remembered his business; and what is the business of a wise and good man? To have many scholars? By no means. Let those see to it who have made this their study. Well, then, is it to be a perfect master of difficult theorems? Let others see to that, too. What, then, was his position, and what did he desire to be? What constituted his hurt or advantage? “If,” said he, “any one can still hurt me, I am accomplishing nothing. If I depend for my advantage upon another, I am nothing. Have I any wish unaccomplished? Then I am unhappy.” To such a combat he invited every one, and, in my opinion, yielded to no one. But do you think it was by making proclamation, and saying, “I am such a one?” Far from it: but by being such a one. For it is folly and insolence to say, “I am passive and undisturbed. Be it known to you, mortals, that while you are disturbed and vexed about things of no value, I alone am free from all perturbation.” Are you then so little satisfied with your exemption from pain that you must needs make proclamation: “Come hither all you who have the gout, or the headache, or a fever, or are lame, or blind; and see me, free from every distemper.” This is vain and shocking, unless you can show, like Æsculapius, by what method of cure they may presently become as free from distempers as yourself, and can bring your own health as a proof of it.
Such is the Cynic honored with the sceptre and diadem from Zeus; who says, “That you may see, O mankind, that you do not seek happiness and tranquillity where it is, but where it is not, behold, I am sent an example to you from God; — who have neither estate, nor house, nor wife, nor children, — nor even a bed, coat, or furniture. And yet see how in what good condition I am. Try me; and if you see me free from perturbation, hear the remedies, and by what means I was cured.” This now is benevolent and noble. But consider whose business it is. That of Zeus, or his whom he judges worthy of this office; that he may never show to the world anything to impeach his own testimony for virtue and against externals.
“Neither pallid of hue, nor wiping tears from his cheek.”*
And not only this, but he does not desire or seek for company, or place, or amusement, as boys do the vintage time, or holidays; — being always fortified by virtuous shame, as others are by walls, and gates, and sentinels.
But now they who have only such an inclination to philosophy as weak stomachs have to some kinds of food, of which they will presently grow sick, expect to hasten to the sceptre, to the kingdom. They let their hair grow, assume the cloak, bare the shoulder, wrangle with all they meet; and if they see any one in a thick, warm coat, must needs wrangle with him. First harden yourself against all weather, man. Consider your inclination; whether it be not that of a weak stomach, or of a longing woman. First study to conceal what you are; philosophize a little while by yourself. Fruit is produced thus. The seed must first be buried in the ground, lie hid there some time, and grow up by degrees, that it may come to perfection. But if it produces the ear before the stalk has its proper joints, it is imperfect, and of the garden of Adonis.* Now you are a poor plant of this kind. You have blossomed too soon: the winter will kill you. See what countrymen say about seeds of any sort, when the warm weather comes too early. They are in great anxiety for fear the seeds should shoot out too luxuriantly; and then one frost taking them may show how prejudicial their forwardness was. Beware you too, O man. You have shot out luxuriantly; you have sprung forth towards a trifling fame, before the proper season. You seem to be somebody, as a fool may among fools. You will be taken by the frost; or rather, you are already frozen downward at the root; you still blossom indeed a little at the top, and therefore you think you are still alive and flourishing.
Let us, at least, ripen naturally. Why do you lay us open? Why do you force us? We cannot yet bear the air. Suffer the root to grow; then the first, then the second, then the third joint of the stalk to spring from it; and thus nature will force out the fruit, whether I will or not. For who that is charged with such principles, but must perceive, too, his own powers, and strive to put them in practice. Not even a bull is ignorant of his own powers, when any wild beast approaches the herd, nor waits he for any one to encourage him; nor does a dog when he spies any game. And if I have the powers of a good man, shall I wait for you to qualify me for my own proper actions? But believe me, I have them not quite yet. Why, then, would you wish me to be withered before my time, as you are?
CONCERNING A PERSON WHO HAD GROWN IMMODEST.
WHEN you see another in power, set this against it, that you have the advantage of not needing power. When you see another rich, see what you have instead of riches; for if you have nothing in their stead, you are miserable. But if you have the advantage of not needing riches, know that you have something more than he has, and of far greater value. Another possesses a handsome woman; you the happiness of not desiring a handsome woman. Do you think these are little matters? And what would not those very persons give, who are rich and powerful, and possess handsome women, if they were only able to despise riches and power, and those very women whom they love and whom they possess! Do not you know of what nature the thirst of one in a fever is? It has no resemblance to that of a person in health. The latter drinks and is satisfied. But the other, after being delighted a very little while, is nauseated, the water becomes bile, he is sick at his stomach, and becomes more thirsty than ever. It is the same with avarice, ambition, lust. Presently comes jealousy, fear of loss, unbecoming words, designs, and actions.
“And what,” say you, “do I lose?” You were modest, man, and are so no longer. Have you lost nothing? Instead of Chrysippus and Zeno, you read Aristides* and Euenus.† Have you lost nothing, then? Instead of Socrates and Diogenes, you admire him who can corrupt and seduce most women. You would be handsome, by decking your person, when you are not really so. You love to appear in fine clothes, to attract female eyes; and, if you anywhere meet with a good perfumer, you esteem yourself a happy man. But formerly you did not so much as think of any of these things; but only where you might find a decent discourse, a worthy person, a noble design. For this reason, you used to appear like a man both at home and abroad; to wear a manly dress; to hold discourses worthy of a man. And after this, do you tell me you have lost nothing? What then, do men lose nothing but money? Is not modesty to be lost? Is not decency to be lost? Or can he who loses these suffer no injury? You indeed perhaps no longer think anything of this sort to be an injury. But there was once a time when you accounted this to be the only injury and hurt; when you were anxiously afraid lest any one should shake your regard from such discourses and actions. See, it is not shaken by another, but by yourself. Fight against yourself, recover yourself to decency, to modesty, to freedom. If you had formerly been told any of these things of me, that one prevailed on me to commit adultery, to wear such a dress as yours, or to be perfumed, would you not have gone and laid violent hands on the man who thus abused me? And will you not now help yourself? For how much easier is that sort of assistance? You need not kill, or fetter, or affront, or go to law with any one; but merely talk with yourself, the person who will most readily be persuaded by you, and with whom no one has greater weight than you. And, in the first place, condemn your actions; but when you have condemned them, do not despair of yourself, nor be like those poor-spirited people who, when they have once given way, abandon themselves entirely, and are carried along as by a torrent. Take example from the wrestling-masters. Has the boy fallen down? Get up again, they say; wrestle again, till you have acquired strength. Be you affected in the same manner. For be assured that there is nothing more tractable than the human mind. You need but will, and it is done, it is set right; as, on the contrary, you need but nod over the work, and it is ruined. For both ruin and recovery are from within.
“And, after all, what good will this do me?” What greater good do you seek? From being impudent, you will become modest; from indecent, decent; from dissolute, sober. But if you seek any greater things than these, do as you are doing. It is no longer in the power of any God to save you.
WHAT THINGS WE ARE TO DESPISE, AND WHAT CHIEFLY TO VALUE.
THE doubts and perplexities of all men are concerning externals; — what they shall do, — how it will be, — what will be the event, — whether this thing will happen, or that? All this is the talk of persons engaged in things uncontrollable by will. For who says, How shall I do, not to assent to what is false? How, not to dissent from what is true? If any one is of such a good disposition as to be anxious about these things, I will remind him: “Why are you anxious? It is in your own power. Be assured. Do not hastily give your assent before you have applied those tests prescribed by nature.” Again, if he be anxious, for fear lest he should fail of what he seeks or incur what he shuns, I will first embrace him, because, slighting what others are fluttered and terrified about, he takes care of what is his own, where his very being is; then I will say to him: “If you would not fail of what you seek, or incur what you shun, desire nothing that belongs to others; shun nothing beyond your own power; otherwise you must necessarily be disappointed in what you seek, and incur what you shun.” Where is the doubt here? Where the room for, How will it be? What will be the event? And Will this happen, or that? Is not the event uncontrollable by will? “Yes.” And does not the essence of good and evil consist in what is within the control of will? It is in your power, then, to treat every event conformably to nature? Can any one restrain you? “No one.” Then do not say to me any more, How will it be? For, however it be, you will set it right, and the event to you will be auspicious.
Pray what would Hercules have been, if he had said, “What can be done to prevent a great lion, or a large boar, or savage men, from coming in my way?” Why, what is that to you? If a large boar should come in your way, you will fight the greater combat; if wicked men, you will deliver the world from wicked men. “But then if I should die by this means?” You will die as a good man, in the performance of a gallant action. For since, at all events, one must die, one must necessarily be found doing something, either tilling, or digging, or trading, or serving a consulship, or sick with indigestion or dysentery. At what employment, then, would you have death find you? For my part, I would have it to be some humane, beneficent, public-spirited, noble action. But if I cannot be found doing any such great things, yet, at least, I would be doing what I am incapable of being restrained from, what is given me to do, — correcting myself, improving that faculty which makes use of the phenomena of existence to procure tranquillity, and render to the several relations of life their due; and if I am so fortunate, advancing still further to the security of judging right. If death overtakes me in such a situation, it is enough for me if I can stretch out my hands to God, and say, “The opportunities which I have received from Thee of comprehending and obeying thy administration, I have not neglected. As far as in me lay, I have not dishonored Thee. See how I have used my perceptions; how my convictions. Have I at any time found fault with Thee? Have I been discontented at Thy dispensations; or wished them otherwise? Have I transgressed the relations of life? I thank Thee that Thou hast brought me into being. I am satisfied with the time that I have enjoyed the things which thou hast given me. Receive them back again, and distribute them as thou wilt; for they were all Thine, and Thou gavest them to me.”
Is it not enough to depart in this mood of mind? And what life is better and more becoming than that of such a one? Or what conclusion happier? But in order to attain these advantages, there are no inconsiderable risks to be encountered. You cannot seek a consulship and these things too, nor toil for an estate and these things too, nor take charge of your slaves and yourself too. But if you insist on anything of what belongs to others, then what is your own is lost. This is the nature of the affair. Nothing is to be had for nothing. And where is the wonder? If you would be consul, you must watch, run about, kiss hands, be wearied down with waiting at the doors of others, must say and do many slavish things, send gifts to many, daily presents to some. And for what result? Twelve bundles of rods;* to sit three or four times on the tribunal; to give the games of the circus, and suppers in baskets to all the world; or let any one show me what there is in it more than this. Will you, then, employ no expense and no pains to acquire peace and tranquillity, to sleep sound while you do sleep, to be thoroughly awake while you are awake, to fear nothing, to be anxious for nothing? But if anything belonging to you be lost or idly wasted, while you are thus engaged, or another gets what you ought to have had, will you immediately begin fretting at what has happened? Will you not compare the exchange you have made? How much for how much? But you would have such great things for nothing, I suppose. And how can you? Two trades cannot be combined; you cannot bestow your care both upon externals and your own ruling faculty. But if you would have the former, let the latter alone; or you will succeed in neither, while you are drawn in different ways by the two. On the other hand, if you would have the latter, let the former alone. “The oil will be spilled, the furniture will be spoiled”; — but still I shall be free from passion. “There will be a fire when I am out of the way, and the books will be destroyed”; — but still I shall make a right use of the phenomena of existence. “But I shall have nothing to eat.” If I am so unlucky, dying is a safe harbor. That is the harbor for all, death; that is the refuge; and for that reason there is nothing difficult in life. You may go out of doors when you please, and be troubled with smoke no longer.
Why, then, are you anxious? Why break your rest? Why do you not calculate where your good and evil lie; and say, “They are both in my own power; nor can any deprive me of the one, nor involve me against my will in the other.” Why, then, do not I lay myself down and sleep? What is my own is safe. Let what belongs to others look to itself, who carries it off, how it is distributed by him who hath the disposal of it. Who am I, to will that it should be so and so? For is the option given to me? Has any one made me the dispenser of it? What I have in my own disposal is enough for me. I must make the best I can of this. Other things must be as their master pleases.
Does any one who has these things before his eyes lie sleepless, and shift from side to side? What would he have, or what needs he? Patroclus,* or Antilochus, or Menelaus? Why, did he ever think any one of his friends immortal? When was it not obvious that on the morrow, or the next day, he himself or that friend might die? “Ay, very true,” he says; “but I reckoned that he would survive me, and bring up my son.” Because you were a fool, and reckoned upon uncertainties. Why, then, do you not blame yourself, instead of sitting in tears, like a girl? “But he used to set my dinner before me.” Because he was alive, foolish man; but now he cannot. But Automedon will set it before you; and if he should die, you will find somebody else. What if the vessel in which your meat used to be cooked should happen to be broken; must you die with hunger because you have not your old vessel? Do you not send and buy a new one?
“What greater evil could afflict my breast?”
Is this your evil, then? And, instead of removing it, do you accuse your mother, that she did not foretell it to you, that you might have spent your whole life in grieving from that time forward?
Do you not think now that Homer composed all this on purpose to show us that the noblest, the strongest, the richest, the handsomest of men may nevertheless be the most unfortunate and wretched, if they have not the principles they need?
SOME doubt whether the love of society be comprehended in the nature of man; and yet these very persons do not seem to me to doubt but that purity is by all means comprehended in it; and that by this, if by anything, it is distinguished from brute animals. When, therefore, we see any animal cleaning itself, we are apt to cry with wonder, that it is like a human creature. On the contrary, if an animal is censured, we are presently apt to say, by way of excuse, that it is not a human creature. Such excellence do we suppose to be in man, which we first received from the Gods. For as they are by nature pure and uncorrupt, in proportion as men approach to them by reason, they are tenacious of purity and incorruption. But since it is impracticable that their essence, composed of such materials, should be absolutely pure, it is the office of reason to endeavor to render it as pure as possible.
The first and highest purity or impurity, then, is that which is formed in the soul. But you will not find the impurity of the soul and body to be alike. For what stain can you find in the soul, unless it be something which renders it impure in its operations? Now the operations of the soul are its pursuits and avoidances, its desires, aversions, preparations, intentions, assents. What, then, is that which renders it defiled and impure in these operations? Nothing else than its perverse judgments. So that the impurity of the soul consists in wicked principles, and its purification in forming right principles; and that is pure which has right principles, for that alone is unmixed and undefiled in its operations.
Now we should, as far as possible, endeavor after something like this in the body, too. It is impossible but that in such a composition as man, there must be a discharge of superfluous phlegm. For this reason, Nature has made hands, and the nostrils themselves as channels to let out the moisture; nor can this be neglected with propriety. It was impossible but that the feet should be bemired and soiled from what they pass through. Therefore Nature has prepared water and hands. It was impossible but that some uncleanness must cleave to the teeth from eating. Therefore, she says, rinse your teeth. Why? That you may be a man, and not a wild beast, or a swine. It was impossible but that, from perspiration and the pressure of the clothes, something dirty and necessary to be cleaned should remain upon the body. For this there is water, oil, hands, towels, brushes, soap, and other necessary apparatus for its purification. But no; a smith indeed will get the rust off his iron, and have proper instruments for that purpose; and you yourself will have your plates washed before you eat, unless you are quite dirty and slovenly; but you will not wash nor purify your body. “Why should I?” say you. I tell you again, in the first place, that you may be like a man; and, in the next, that you may not offend those with whom you converse. Do you think it fitting to smell offensively? Be it so. But is it fitting as regards those who sit near you? Who are placed at the table with you? Who salute you? Either go into a desert, as you deserve, or live solitary at home, and be the only sufferer. But to what sort of character does it belong to live in a city, and behave so carelessly and inconsiderately? If Nature had trusted even a horse to your care, would you have overlooked and neglected him? Yet now, without being sensible of it, you do something like this. Consider your body as committed to you, instead of a horse. Wash it, rub it, take care that it may not be any one’s aversion, nor disgust any one. Who is not more disgusted at a foul, unwholesome-looking sloven, than at a person who has been accidentally rolled in filth? The stench of the one is adventitious, from without; but that which arises from want of care is a kind of inward putrefaction. “But Socrates bathed but seldom.” Yet his person looked clean, and was so agreeable and pleasing, that the most beautiful and noble youths were fond of him, and desired rather to sit by him than by those who had the finest persons. He might have omitted both bathing and washing, if he had pleased; and yet his amount of bathing had its effect. Cold water may supply the place of the warm bath. “But Aristophanes calls him one of the pallid, barefooted philosophers.”* Why, so he says, too, that he walked in the air, and stole clothes from the Palæstra. Besides, all who have written of Socrates, affirm quite the contrary; that he was not only agreeable in his conversation, but in his person too. And, again, they write the same of Diogenes. For we ought not to frighten the world from philosophy by the appearance of our persons; but to show our serenity of mind, as in all other ways, so in the care of our persons. “See, all of you, that I have nothing; that I want nothing. Without house, without city, and an exile (if that happens to be the case), and without a home, I live more easily and prosperously than the noble and rich. Look upon my person, too, that it is not injured by coarse fare.” But if any one should tell me this, bearing the habit and the visage of a condemned criminal, what God should persuade me to come near philosophy, while it renders men such figures? Heaven forbid! I would not do it, even if I was sure to become a wise man for my pains. I declare, for my own part, I would rather that a young man, on his first inclination to philosophy, should come to me finically dressed, than with his hair spoiled and dirty. For there appears in him some idea of beauty and desire of decency; and where he imagines it to be, there he applies his endeavors. One has nothing more to do but to point it out to him, and say, “You seek beauty, young man, and you do well. Be assured, then, that it springs from the rational part of you. Seek it there, where the pursuits and avoidances, the desires and aversions, are concerned. Herein consists your excellence; but the paltry body is by nature clay. Why do you trouble yourself, to no purpose, about it? You will be convinced by time, if not otherwise, that it is nothing.” But if he should come to me soiled and dirty, with moustaches drooping to his knees, what can I say to him? By what similitude allure him? For what has he studied which has any resemblance to beauty, that I may transfer his attention, and say that beauty is not there, but here? Would you have me tell him that beauty consists not in filth, but in reason? For has he any desire of beauty? Has he any appearance of it? Go, and argue with a hog not to roll in the mire.
It was in the quality of a young man who loved beauty, that Polemo was touched by the discourses of Xenocrates. For he entered with some incentives to the study of beauty, though he sought in the wrong place. And, indeed, Nature hath not made the very brutes dirty which live with man. Does a horse wallow in the mire? Or a good dog? But swine, and dirty geese, and worms, and spiders, which are banished to the greatest distance from human society. Will you, then, who are a man, choose not to be even one of the animals that are conversant with man; but rather a worm or a spider? Will you not bathe sometimes, be it in whatever manner you please? Will you never use water to wash yourself? Will you not come clean, that they who converse with you may have some pleasure in you? But will you accompany us, in your uncleanness, even to the temples, where all unclean ways are forbidden?
What, then, would anybody have you adorn yourself to the utmost? By no means, except in those things where our nature requires it, in reason, principles, actions; but in our persons, only so far as neatness requires, so far as not to give offence. But if you hear that it is not right to wear purple, you must go, I suppose, and roll your cloak in the mud, or tear it. “But how can I have a fine cloak?” You have water, man; wash it. What an amiable youth is here! How worthy this old man, to love and be loved! A fit person to be trusted with the instruction of our sons and daughters, and attended by young people as occasion may require, — to read them lectures from a dunghill! Every deterioration takes its origin from something human; but this almost dehumanizes a man.
OF TAKING PAINS.
WHEN you cease to take pains for a little while, do not fancy you may recommence whenever you please, but remember this, that by means of the fault of to-day, your affairs must necessarily be in a worse condition for the future. The first and worst evil is that there arises a habit of neglect; and then a habit of postponing effort, and constantly procrastinating as to one’s successes and good behavior and orderly thought and action. Now if procrastination as to anything is advantageous, it must be still more advantageous to omit it altogether; but if it be not advantageous, why do you not take pains all the time? “I would play to-day.” What then? Ought you not to take proper pains about it? “I would sing.” But why not take proper pains about it? For there is no part of life exempted, about which pains are not needed. For will you do anything the worse by taking pains, and the better by neglect? What else in life is best performed by heedless people? Does a smith forge the better by heedlessness? Does a pilot steer more safely by heedlessness? Or is any other, even of the minutest operations, best performed heedlessly? Do you not perceive that, when you have let your mind loose, it is no longer in your power to call it back, either to propriety, or modesty, or moderation? But you do everything at haphazard; you merely follow your inclinations.
“To what, then, am I to direct my pains.”
Why, in the first place, to those universal maxims which you must always have at hand; and not sleep, or arise, or drink, or eat, or converse without them: — that no one is the master of another’s will; and that it is in the will alone that good and evil lie. No one, therefore, is my master, either to procure me any good, or to involve me in any evil; but I alone have the disposal of myself with regard to these things. Since these, then, are secured to me, what need have I to be troubled about externals? What tyrant is formidable? What disease? What poverty? What offence? “I have not pleased such a one.” Is he my concern then? Is he my conscience? “No.” Why, then, do I trouble myself any further about him? “But he is thought to be of some consequence.” Let him look to that; and they who think him so. But I have One whom I must please, to whom I must submit, whom I must obey; God, and those who surround Him. He has intrusted me with myself, and made my will subject to myself alone, having given me rules for the right use of it. If I follow the proper rules in syllogisms, in convertible propositions, I do not heed or regard any one who says anything contrary to them. Why, then, am I vexed at being censured in matters of greater consequence? What is the reason of this perturbation? Nothing else, but that in this instance I want practice. For every science despises ignorance and the ignorant; and not only the sciences, but even the arts. Take any shoemaker, take any smith you will, and he may laugh at the rest of the world, so far as his own business is concerned.
In the first place, then, these are the maxims we must have ready, and do nothing without them, but direct the soul to this mark. To pursue nothing external, nothing that belongs to others, but as He who hath the power hath appointed. Things controllable by will are to be pursued always; and the rest as may be permitted. Besides this, we must remember who we are, and what name we bear, endeavoring to use all the circumstances of life in their proper relations; what is the proper time for singing, what for play, and in what company; what will be the consequence of our performance; whether our companions will despise us, or we ourselves; when to employ raillery, and whom to ridicule; upon what occasions to comply, and with whom; and then, in complying, how to preserve our own character.
Wherever you deviate from any of these rules, the damage is immediate; not from anything external, but from the very action itself. “What, then, is it possible by these means to be faultless?” Impracticable; but this is possible, to use a constant endeavor to be faultless. For we shall have cause to be satisfied, if, by never remitting our pains, we shall be exempt at least from a few faults. But now, when you say you will begin to take pains to-morrow, be assured that it is the same thing as if you said, “To-day I will be shameless, impertinent, base, it shall be in the power of others to grieve me; I will be passionate, I will be envious to-day.” See to how many evils you give yourself up. “But all will be well to-morrow.” How much better to-day? If it be for your interest to-morrow, how much more to-day, that it may be in your power to-morrow too, and that you may not again defer it until the third day.
CONCERNING SUCH AS ARE TOO COMMUNICATIVE.
WHEN any one appears to us to discourse frankly of his own affairs, we too are somehow tempted to disclose our secrets to him; and we consider this to be acting with frankness. First, because it seems unfair that when we have heard the affairs of our neighbor, we should not in return communicate ours to him; and besides we think that we shall not appear of a frank character, in concealing what belongs to ourselves. Indeed it is often said, “I have told you all my affairs; and will you tell me none of yours? How happens this?” Lastly, it is supposed that we may safely trust him who has already trusted us; for we imagine that he will never discover our affairs, for fear we should in turn discover his. It is thus that the inconsiderate are caught by the soldiers at Rome. A soldier sits by you in a civilian’s dress, and begins to speak ill of Cæsar. Then you, as if you had received a pledge of his fidelity, by his first beginning the abuse, say likewise what you think; and so you are led away in chains to execution.
Something like this is the case with us in general. But when one has safely intrusted his secrets to me, shall I, in imitation of him, trust mine to any one who comes in my way? The case is different. I indeed hold my tongue (supposing me to be of such a disposition); but he goes and discovers them to everybody; and then, when I come to find it out, if I happen to be like him, from a desire of revenge, I discover his; and asperse and am aspersed. But if I remember that one man does not hurt another, but that every one is hurt or profited by his own actions, I may indeed keep to this, not to do anything like him; yet, by my own talkative folly, I suffer what I do suffer.
“Ay; but it is unfair, when you have heard the secrets of your neighbor, not to communicate anything to him in return.” Why, did I ask you to do it, sir? Did you tell me your affairs upon condition that I should tell you mine in return? If you are a gossip, and take all you meet for friends, would you have me too become like you? But what if the case be this; that you did right in trusting your affairs to me, but it is not right that I should trust you? Would you have me run headlong, and fall? This is just as if I had a sound barrel, and you a leaky one; and you should come and deposit your wine with me, to be put into my barrel; and then should take it ill, that, in my turn, I did not trust you with my wine. No. You have a leaky barrel. How, then, are we any longer upon equal terms? You have intrusted your affairs to an honest man, and a man of honor; one who finds his help or harm in his own actions alone, and in nothing external. Would you have me intrust mine to you, who have dishonored your own will, and who would get a paltry sum, or a post of power or preferment at court, even if it required you to kill your own children, like Medea? Where is the fairness in this? But show me that you are faithful, honorable, steady; show me that you have principles conducive to friendship; show me that your vessel is not leaky, and you shall see that I will not wait for you to intrust your affairs to me, but I will come and entreat you to hear mine. For who would not make use of a good vessel? Who despises a benevolent and friendly adviser? Who will not gladly receive one to share the burden, as it were, of his difficulties; and by sharing, to make it lighter? “Well; but I trust you, and you do not trust me.” In the first place, you do not really trust me; but you are a gossip, and therefore can keep nothing in. For if the former be the case, trust only me. But now, whenever you see a man at leisure, you sit down by him, and say: “My dear friend, there is not a man in the world who wishes me better, or has more kindness for me, than you; I entreat you to hear my affairs.” And this you do to those with whom you have not the least acquaintance. But if you do trust me, it is plainly as a man of fidelity and honor, and not because I have told you my affairs. Let me alone, then, till I reciprocate this opinion. Convince me that, if a person has told his affairs to any one, it is a proof of his being a man of fidelity and honor. For if this were the case, I would go about and tell my affairs to the whole world, if I could thus become a man of fidelity and honor. But that is no such matter; for it demands of a man to have no ordinary principles.
If, then, you see any one taking pains for things that belong to others, and subjecting his will to them, be assured that this man has a thousand things to compel and restrain him. He has no need of burning pitch, or the torturing wheel, to make him tell what he knows; but the nod of a girl, for instance, will shake his purpose; the good-will of a courtier, the desire of an office, of an inheritance; ten thousand other things of that sort. It must therefore be remembered in general, that confidential discourses require fidelity and a certain sort of principles. And where, at this time, are these easily to be found? Pray let any one show me a person of such a disposition as to say, I concern myself only for those things which are my own, incapable of restraint, and by nature free. This I esteem the essence of good. Let the rest be as it may happen; it makes no difference to me.
THE ENCHIRIDION, OR MANUAL.
[* ]A character in one of the Comedies of Menander, called The Hated Lover. — C.
[* ]A Fragment of Cleanthes, before quoted; and given in full in Enchiridion, c. 52. — H.
[* ]Socrates, with four other persons, was commanded by the thirty tyrants of Athens to fetch Leon from the isle of Salamis, in order to be put to death. His companions executed their commission; but Socrates remained at home, and chose rather to expose his life to the fury of the tyrants, than be accessary to the death of an innocent person. He would most probably have fallen a sacrifice to their vengeance, if the Oligarchy had not shortly after been dissolved. See Plato’sApology. — C.
[* ]Plato, Crito. I. 15. — H.
[* ]Two famous lawyers. — C.
[* ]Nero being declared an enemy by the Senate, his coin was, in consequence of this, prohibited and destroyed. — C.
[* ]Alcibiades sent a fine great cake as a present to Socrates; which so provoked the jealousy of the meek Xantippe, that she threw it down, and stamped upon it. Socrates only laughed, and said, “Now you will have no share in it yourself.” — C.
[* ]See the Pythagorean verses (quoted in B. III. c. 10) of which these questions are a parody. — C.
[* ]As with Socrates; see note, ante, p. 314.
[* ]Homer, Odyssey, XI. 528, 529. — H.
[* ]At the feast of Adonis there were carried about little earthen pots filled with mould, in which grew several sorts of herbs. These were called gardens; and from thence the gardens of Adonis came to be proverbially applied to things unfruitful or fading; because those herbs were only sowed so long before the festival as to sprout forth and be green at that time, and then were presently cast into the water. — C.
[* ]An indecent poet of Miletus. — C.
[† ]A writer of amorous verses. — C.
[* ]The ensigns of the consular office. — C.
[* ]This whole paragraph refers to the lament of Achilles over Patroclus. Iliad, XIX. 315, etc. — H.
[* ]Clouds, I. 103. — H.