Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE ENCHIRIDION, OR MANUAL. - The Works of Epictetus. Consisting of His Discourses, in Four Books, The Enchiridion, and Fragments
Return to Title Page for The Works of Epictetus. Consisting of His Discourses, in Four Books, The Enchiridion, and Fragments
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
THE ENCHIRIDION, OR MANUAL. - 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).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
THE ENCHIRIDION, OR MANUAL.
THERE are things which are within our power, and there are things which are beyond our power. Within our power are opinion, aim, desire, aversion, and, in one word, whatever affairs are our own. Beyond our power are body, property, reputation, office, and, in one word, whatever are not properly our own affairs.
Now the things within our power are by nature free, unrestricted, unhindered; but those beyond our power are weak, dependent, restricted, alien. Remember then, that, if you attribute freedom to things by nature dependent, and take what belongs to others for your own; you will be hindered, you will lament, you will be disturbed, you will find fault both with Gods and men. But if you take for your own only that which is your own, and view what belongs to others just as it really is, then no one will ever compel you, no one will restrict you, you will find fault with no one, you will accuse no one, you will do nothing against your will; no one will hurt you, you will not have an enemy, nor will you suffer any harm.
Aiming therefore at such great things, remember that you must not allow yourself any inclination, however slight, towards the attainment of the others; but that you must entirely quit some of them, and for the present postpone the rest. But if you would have these, and possess power and wealth likewise, you may miss the latter in seeking the former; and you will certainly fail of that, by which alone happiness and freedom are procured.
Seek at once, therefore, to be able to say to every unpleasing semblance, “You are but a semblance and by no means the real thing.” And then examine it by those rules which you have; and first and chiefly, by this: whether it concerns the things which are within our own power, or those which are not; and if it concerns anything beyond our power, be prepared to say that it is nothing to you.
Remember that desire demands the attainment of that of which you are desirous; and aversion demands the avoidance of that to which you are averse; that he who fails of the object of his desires, is disappointed; and he who incurs the object of his aversion, is wretched. If, then, you shun only those undesirable things which you can control, you will never incur anything which you shun. But if you shun sickness, or death, or poverty, you will run the risk of wretchedness. Remove aversion, then, from all things that are not within our power, and transfer it to things undesirable, which are within our power. But for the present altogether restrain desire; for if you desire any of the things not within our own power, you must necessarily be disappointed; and you are not yet secure of those which are within our power, and so are legitimate objects of desire. Where it is practically necessary for you to pursue or avoid anything, do even this with discretion, and gentleness, and moderation.
With regard to whatever objects either delight the mind, or contribute to use, or are tenderly beloved, remind yourself of what nature they are, beginning with the merest trifles: if you have a favorite cup, that it is a cup of which you are fond; for thus, if it is broken, you can bear it: if you embrace your child, or your wife, that you embrace a mortal; and thus, if either of them dies, you can bear it.
When you set about any action, remind yourself of what nature the action is. If you are going to bathe, represent to yourself the incidents usual in the bath; some persons pouring out, others pushing in, others scolding, others pilfering. And thus you will more safely go about this action, if you say to yourself, “I will now go to bathe, and keep my own will in harmony with nature.” And so with regard to every other action. For thus, if any impediment arises in bathing, you will be able to say, “It was not only to bathe that I desired, but to keep my will in harmony with nature; and I shall not keep it thus, if I am out of humor at things that happen.”
Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of things. Thus death is nothing terrible, else it would have appeared so to Socrates. But the terror consists in our notion of death, that it is terrible. When, therefore, we are hindered, or disturbed, or grieved, let us never impute it to others, but to ourselves; that is, to our own views. It is the action of an uninstructed person to reproach others for his own misfortunes; of one entering upon instruction, to reproach himself; and of one perfectly instructed, to reproach neither others nor himself.
Be not elated at any excellence not your own. If a horse should be elated, and say, “I am handsome,” it might be endurable. But when you are elated, and say, “I have a handsome horse,” know that you are elated only on the merit of the horse. What, then, is your own? The use of the phenomena of existence. So that when you are in harmony with nature in this respect, you will be elated with some reason; for you will be elated at some good of your own.
As in a voyage, when the ship is at anchor, if you go on shore to get water, you may amuse yourself with picking up a shell-fish or a truffle in your way; but your thoughts ought to be bent towards the ship, and perpetually attentive, lest the captain should call; and then you must leave all these things, that you may not have to be carried on board the vessel, bound like a sheep. Thus likewise in life, if, instead of a truffle or shell-fish, such a thing as a wife or a child be granted you, there is no objection; but if the captain calls, run to the ship, leave all these things, and never look behind. But if you are old, never go far from the ship, lest you should be missing when called for.
Demand not that events should happen as you wish; but wish them to happen as they do happen, and you will go on well.
Sickness is an impediment to the body, but not to the will, unless itself pleases. Lameness is an impediment to the leg, but not to the will; and say this to yourself with regard to everything that happens. For you will find it to be an impediment to something else, but not truly to yourself.
Upon every accident, remember to turn towards yourself and inquire what faculty you have for its use. If you encounter a handsome person, you will find continence the faculty needed; if pain, then fortitude; if reviling, then patience. And when thus habituated, the phenomena of existence will not overwhelm you.
Never say of anything, “I have lost it”; but, “I have restored it.” Has your child died? It is restored. Has your wife died? She is restored. Has your estate been taken away? That likewise is restored. “But it was a bad man who took it.” What is it to you, by whose hands He who gave it hath demanded it again? While He permits you to possess it, hold it as something not your own; as do travellers at an inn.
If you would improve, lay aside such reasonings as these: “If I neglect my affairs, I shall not have a maintenance; if I do not punish my servant, he will be good for nothing.” For it were better to die of hunger, exempt from grief and fear, than to live in affluence with perturbation; and it is better that your servant should be bad than you unhappy.
Begin therefore with little things. Is a little oil spilt or a little wine stolen? Say to yourself, “This is the price paid for peace and tranquillity; and nothing is to be had for nothing.” And when you call your servant, consider that it is possible he may not come at your call; or, if he does, that he may not do what you wish. But it is not at all desirable for him, and very undesirable for you, that it should be in his power to cause you any disturbance.
If you would improve, be content to be thought foolish and dull with regard to externals. Do not desire to be thought to know anything; and though you should appear to others to be somebody, distrust yourself. For be assured, it is not easy at once to keep your will in harmony with nature, and to secure externals; but while you are absorbed in the one, you must of necessity neglect the other.
If you wish your children, and your wife, and your friends, to live forever, you are foolish; for you wish things to be in your power which are not so; and what belongs to others, to be your own. So likewise, if you wish your servant to be without fault, you are foolish; for you wish vice not to be vice, but something else. But if you wish not to be disappointed in your desires, that is in your own power. Exercise, therefore, what is in your power. A man’s master is he who is able to confer or remove whatever that man seeks or shuns. Whoever then would be free, let him wish nothing, let him decline nothing, which depends on others; else he must necessarily be a slave.
Remember that you must behave as at a banquet. Is anything brought round to you? Put out your hand, and take a moderate share. Does it pass by you? Do not stop it. Is it not yet come? Do not yearn in desire towards it, but wait till it reaches you. So with regard to children, wife, office, riches; and you will some time or other be worthy to feast with the Gods. And if you do not so much as take the things which are set before you, but are able even to forego them, then you will not only be worthy to feast with the Gods, but to rule with them also. For, by thus doing, Diogenes and Heraclitus, and others like them, deservedly became divine, and were so recognized.
When you see any one weeping for grief, either that his son has gone abroad, or that he has suffered in his affairs; take care not to be overcome by the apparent evil. But discriminate, and be ready to say, “What hurts this man is not this occurrence itself, for another man might not be hurt by it; — but the view he chooses to take of it.” As far as conversation goes, however, do not disdain to accommodate yourself to him, and if need be, to groan with him. Take heed, however, not to groan inwardly too.
Remember that you are an actor in a drama of such sort as the author chooses. If short, then in a short one; if long, then in a long one. If it be his pleasure that you should act a poor man, see that you act it well; or a cripple, or a ruler, or a private citizen. For this is your business, to act well the given part; but to choose it, belongs to another.
When a raven happens to croak unluckily, be not overcome by appearances, but discriminate, and say, “Nothing is portended to me; but either to my paltry body, or property, or reputation, or children, or wife. But to me all portents are lucky, if I will. For whatsoever happens, it belongs to me to derive advantage therefrom.”
You can be unconquerable, if you enter into no combat, in which it is not in your own power to conquer. When, therefore, you see any one eminent in honors or power, or in high esteem on any other account, take heed not to be bewildered by appearances and to pronounce him happy; for if the essence of good consists in things within our own power, there will be no room for envy or emulation. But, for your part, do not desire to be a general, or a senator, or a consul, but to be free; and the only way to this is, a disregard of things which lie not within our own power.
Remember that it is not he who gives abuse or blows who affronts; but the view we take of these things as insulting. When, therefore, any one provokes you, be assured that it is your own opinion which provokes you. Try, therefore, in the first place, not to be bewildered by appearances. For if you once gain time and respite, you will more easily command yourself.
Let death and exile, and all other things which appear terrible, be daily before your eyes, but death chiefly; and you will never entertain any abject thought, nor too eagerly covet anything.
If you have an earnest desire towards philosophy, prepare yourself from the very first to have the multitude laugh and sneer, and say, “He is returned to us a philosopher all at once”; and “Whence this supercilious look?” Now for your part, do not have a supercilious look indeed; but keep steadily to those things which appear best to you, as one appointed by God to this particular station. For remember that, if you are persistent, those very persons who at first ridiculed, will afterwards admire you. But if you are conquered by them, you will incur a double ridicule.
If you ever happen to turn your attention to externals, for the pleasure of any one, be assured that you have ruined your scheme of life. Be contented, then, in everything, with being a philosopher; and, if you wish to seem so likewise to any one, appear so to yourself, and it will suffice you.
Let not such considerations as these distress you: “I shall live in discredit, and be nobody anywhere.” For if discredit be an evil, you can no more be involved in evil through another, than in baseness. Is it any business of yours, then, to get power, or to be admitted to an entertainment? By no means. How then, after all, is this discredit? And how is it true that you will be nobody anywhere; when you ought to be somebody in those things only which are within your own power, in which you may be of the greatest consequence? “But my friends will be unassisted.” What do you mean by unassisted? They will not have money from you; nor will you make them Roman citizens. Who told you, then, that these are among the things within our own power; and not rather the affairs of others? And who can give to another the things which he himself has not? “Well, but get them, then, that we too may have a share.” If I can get them with the preservation of my own honor, and fidelity, and self-respect, show me the way, and I will get them; but if you require me to lose my own proper good, that you may gain what is no good, consider how unreasonable and foolish you are. Besides, which would you rather have, a sum of money, or a faithful and honorable friend? Rather assist me, then, to gain this character, than require me to do those things by which I may lose it. Well, but my country, say you, as far as depends upon me, will be unassisted. Here again, what assistance is this you mean? It will not have porticos nor baths of your providing? And what signifies that? Why, neither does a smith provide it with shoes, nor a shoemaker with arms. It is enough if every one fully performs his own proper business. And were you to supply it with another faithful and honorable citizen, would not he be of use to it? Yes. Therefore neither are you yourself useless to it. “What place then,” say you, “shall I hold in the state?” Whatever you can hold with the preservation of your fidelity and honor. But if, by desiring to be useful to that, you lose these, how can you serve your country, when you have become faithless and shameless?
Is any one preferred before you at an entertainment, or in courtesies, or in confidential intercourse? If these things are good, you ought to rejoice that he has them; and if they are evil, do not be grieved that you have them not. And remember that you cannot be permitted to rival others in externals, without using the same means to obtain them. For how can he, who will not haunt the door of any man, will not attend him, will not praise him, have an equal share with him who does these things? You are unjust, then, and unreasonable, if you are unwilling to pay the price for which these things are sold, and would have them for nothing. For how much are lettuces sold? An obolus, for instance. If another, then, paying an obolus takes the lettuces, and you, not paying it, go without them, do not imagine that he has gained any advantage over you. For as he has the lettuces, so you have the obolus which you did not give. So, in the present case, you have not been invited to such a person’s entertainment; because you have not paid him the price for which a supper is sold. It is sold for praise; it is sold for attendance. Give him, then, the value, if it be for your advantage. But if you would at the same time not pay the one, and yet receive the other, you are unreasonable and foolish. Have you nothing, then, in place of the supper? Yes, indeed you have; not to praise him whom you do not like to praise; not to bear the insolence of his lackeys.
The will of Nature may be learned from things upon which we are all agreed. As, when our neighbor’s boy has broken a cup, or the like, we are ready at once to say, “These are casualties that will happen.” Be assured, then, that when your own cup is likewise broken, you ought to be affected just as when another’s cup was broken. Now apply this to greater things. Is the child or wife of another dead? There is no one who would not say, “This is an accident of mortality.” But if any one’s own child happens to die, it is immediately, “Alas! how wretched am I!” It should be always remembered how we are affected on hearing the same thing concerning others.
As a mark* is not set up for the sake of missing the aim, so neither does the nature of evil exist in the world.
If a person had delivered up your body to some passer-by, you would certainly be angry. And do you feel no shame in delivering up your own mind to any reviler, to be disconcerted and confounded?
Duties are universally measured by relations. Is a certain man your father? In this are implied, taking care of him; submitting to him in all things; patiently receiving his reproaches, his correction. But he is a bad father. Is your natural tie, then, to a good father? No, but to a father. Is a brother unjust? Well, preserve your own just relation towards him. Consider not what he does; but what you are to do, to keep your own will in a state conformable to nature. For another cannot hurt you, unless you please. You will then be hurt when you consent to be hurt. In this manner, therefore, if you accustom yourself to contemplate the relations of neighbor, citizen, commander, you can deduce from each the corresponding duties.
Be assured that the essence of piety towards the Gods lies in this, to form right opinions concerning them, as existing, and as governing the universe justly and well. And fix yourself in this resolution, to obey them, and yield to them, and willingly follow them amidst all events, as being ruled by the most perfect wisdom. For thus you will never find fault with the Gods, nor accuse them of neglecting you. And it is not possible for this to be effected in any other way, than by withdrawing yourself from things which are not within our own power, and by making good or evil to consist only in those which are. For if you suppose any other things to be either good or evil, it is inevitable that, when you are disappointed of what you wish, or incur what you would avoid, you should reproach and blame their authors. For every creature is naturally formed to flee and abhor things that appear hurtful, and that which causes them; and to pursue and admire those which appear beneficial, and that which causes them. It is impracticable, then, that one who supposes himself to be hurt, should rejoice in the person who, as he thinks, hurts him; just as it is impossible to rejoice in the hurt itself. Hence, also, a father is reviled by his son, when he does not impart the things which seem to be good; and this made Polynices and Eteocles mutually enemies, that empire seemed good to both. On this account the husbandman reviles the Gods; — the sailor, the merchant, or those who have lost wife or child. For where our interest is, there too is piety directed. So that whoever is careful to regulate his desires and aversions as he ought, is thus made careful of piety likewise. But it also becomes incumbent on every one to offer libations, and sacrifices, and first-fruits, according to the customs of his country, purely, and not heedlessly nor negligently; not avariciously, nor yet extravagantly.
When you have recourse to divination, remember that you know not what the event will be, and you come to learn it of the diviner; but of what nature it is you knew before coming; at least, if you are of philosophic mind. For if it is among the things not within our own power, it can by no means be either good or evil. Do not, therefore, bring with you to the diviner either desire or aversion, — else you will approach him trembling, — but first clearly understand, that every event is indifferent, and nothing to you, of whatever sort it may be; for it will be in your power to make a right use of it, and this no one can hinder. Then come with confidence to the Gods as your counsellors; and afterwards, when any counsel is given you, remember what counsellors you have assumed, and whose advice you will neglect, if you disobey. Come to divination, as Socrates prescribed, in cases of which the whole consideration relates to the event, and in which no opportunities are afforded by reason, or any other art, to discover the matter in view. When, therefore, it is our duty to share the danger of a friend or of our country, we ought not to consult the oracle as to whether we shall share it with them or not. For though the diviner should forewarn you that the auspices are unfavorable, this means no more than that either death or mutilation or exile is portended. But we have reason within us; and it directs us, even with these hazards, to stand by our friend and our country. Attend, therefore, to the greater diviner, the Pythian God, who once cast out of the temple him who neglected to save his friend.*
Begin by prescribing to yourself some character and demeanor, such as you may preserve both alone and in company.
Be mostly silent; or speak merely what is needful, and in few words. We may, however, enter sparingly into discourse sometimes, when occasion calls for it; but let it not run on any of the common subjects, as gladiators, or horse-races, or athletic champions, or food, or drink, — the vulgar topics of conversation; and especially not on men, so as either to blame, or praise, or make comparisons. If you are able, then, by your own conversation, bring over that of your company to proper subjects; but if you happen to find yourself among strangers, be silent.
Let not your laughter be loud, frequent, or abundant.
Avoid taking oaths, if possible, altogether; at any rate, so far as you are able.
Avoid public and vulgar entertainments; but if ever an occasion calls you to them, keep your attention upon the stretch, that you may not imperceptibly slide into vulgarity. For be assured that if a person be ever so pure himself, yet, if his companion be corrupted, he who converses with him will be corrupted likewise.
Provide things relating to the body no farther than absolute need requires; as meat, drink, clothing, house, retinue. But cut off everything that looks towards show and luxury.
Before marriage, guard yourself with all your ability from unlawful intercourse with women; yet be not uncharitable or severe to those who are led into this, nor frequently boast that you yourself do otherwise.
If any one tells you that such a person speaks ill of you, do not make excuses about what is said of you, but answer: “He was ignorant of my other faults, else he would not have mentioned these alone.”
It is not necessary for you to appear often at public spectacles; but if ever there is a proper occasion for you to be there, do not appear more solicitous for any other, than for yourself; that is, wish things to be only just as they are, and only the best man to win; for thus nothing will go against you. But abstain entirely from acclamations, and derision, and violent emotions. And when you come away, do not discourse a great deal on what has passed, and what contributes nothing to your own amendment. For it would appear by such discourse that you were dazzled by the show.
Be not prompt or ready to attend private recitations; but if you do attend, preserve your gravity and dignity, and yet avoid making yourself disagreeable.
When you are going to confer with any one, and especially with one who seems your superior, represent to yourself how Socrates or Zeno would behave in such a case, and you will not be at a loss to meet properly whatever may occur.
When you are going before any one in power, fancy to yourself that you may not find him at home, that you may be shut out, that the doors may not be opened to you, that he may not notice you. If, with all this, it be your duty to go, bear what happens, and never say to yourself, “It was not worth so much.” For this is vulgar, and like a man bewildered by externals.
In society, avoid a frequent and excessive mention of your own actions and dangers. For however agreeable it may be to yourself to allude to the risks you have run, it is not equally agreeable to others to hear your adventures. Avoid likewise an endeavor to excite laughter. For this may readily slide you into vulgarity, and, besides, may be apt to lower you in the esteem of your acquaintance. Approaches to indecent discourse are likewise dangerous. Therefore when anything of this sort happens, use the first fit opportunity to rebuke him who makes advances that way; or, at least, by silence, and blushing, and a serious look, show yourself to be displeased by such talk.
If you are dazzled by the semblance of any promised pleasure, guard yourself against being bewildered by it; but let the affair wait your leisure, and procure yourself some delay. Then bring to your mind both points of time; that in which you shall enjoy the pleasure, and that in which you will repent and reproach yourself, after you have enjoyed it; and set before you, in opposition to these, how you will rejoice and applaud yourself, if you abstain. And even though it should appear to you a seasonable gratification, take heed that its enticements and allurements and seductions may not subdue you; but set in opposition to this, how much better it is to be conscious of having gained so great a victory.
When you do anything from a clear judgment that it ought to be done, never shrink from being seen to do it, even though the world should misunderstand it; for if you are not acting rightly, shun the action itself; if you are, why fear those who wrongly censure you?
As the proposition, either it is day, or it is night, has much force in a disjunctive argument, but none at all in a conjunctive one; so, at a feast, to choose the largest share, is very suitable to the bodily appetite, but utterly inconsistent with the social spirit of the entertainment. Remember, then, when you eat with another, not only the value to the body of those things which are set before you, but also the value of proper courtesy towards your host.
If you have assumed any character beyond your strength, you have both demeaned yourself ill in that, and quitted one which you might have supported.
As in walking you take care not to tread upon a nail, or turn your foot, so likewise take care not to hurt the ruling faculty of your mind. And if we were to guard against this in every action, we should enter upon action more safely.
The body is to every one the proper measure of its possessions, as the foot is of the shoe. If, therefore, you stop at this, you will keep the measure; but if you move beyond it, you must necessarily be carried forward, as down a precipice; as in the case of a shoe, if you go beyond its fitness to the foot, it comes first to be gilded, then purple, and then studded with jewels. For to that which once exceeds the fit measure there is no bound.
Women from fourteen years old are flattered by men with the title of mistresses. Therefore, perceiving that they are regarded only as qualified to give men pleasure, they begin to adorn themselves, and in that to place all their hopes. It is worth while, therefore, to try that they may perceive themselves honored only so far as they appear beautiful in their demeanor, and modestly virtuous.
It is a mark of want of intellect, to spend much time in things relating to the body; as to be immoderate in exercises, in eating and drinking, and in the discharge of other animal functions. These things should be done incidentally and our main strength be applied to our reason.
When any person does ill by you, or speaks ill of you, remember that he acts or speaks from an impression that it is right for him to do so. Now, it is not possible that he should follow what appears right to you, but only what appears so to himself. Therefore, if he judges from false appearances, he is the person hurt; since he too is the person deceived. For if any one takes a true proposition to be false, the proposition is not hurt, but only the man is deceived. Setting out, then, from these principles, you will meekly bear with a person who reviles you; for you will say upon every occasion, “It seemed so to him.”
Everything has two handles: one by which it may be borne; another by which it cannot. If your brother acts unjustly, do not lay hold on the affair by the handle of his injustice; for by that it cannot be borne: but rather by the opposite, that he is your brother, that he was brought up with you; and thus you will lay hold on it as it is to be borne.
These reasonings have no logical connection: “I am richer than you; therefore I am your superior”: “I am more eloquent than you; therefore I am your superior.” The true logical connection is rather this: “I am richer than you; therefore my possessions must exceed yours”: “I am more eloquent than you; therefore my style must surpass yours.” But you, after all, consist neither in property nor in style.
Does any one bathe hastily? Do not say, that he does it ill, but hastily. Does any one drink much wine? Do not say that he does ill, but that he drinks a great deal. For unless you perfectly understand his motives, how should you know if he acts ill? Thus you will not risk yielding to any appearances but such as you fully comprehend.
Never proclaim yourself a philosopher; nor make much talk among the ignorant about your principles, but show them by actions. Thus, at an entertainment, do not discourse how people ought to eat; but eat as you ought. For remember that thus Socrates also universally avoided all ostentation. And when persons came to him, and desired to be introduced by him to philosophers, he took them and introduced them; so well did he bear being overlooked. So if ever there should be among the ignorant any discussion of principles, be for the most part silent. For there is great danger in hastily throwing out what is undigested. And if any one tells you that you know nothing, and you are not nettled at it, then you may be sure that you have really entered on your work. For sheep do not hastily throw up the grass, to show the shepherds how much they have eaten; but, inwardly digesting their food, they produce it outwardly in wool and milk. Thus, therefore, do you not make an exhibition before the ignorant of your principles; but of the actions to which their digestion gives rise.
When you have learned to nourish your body frugally, do not pique yourself upon it; nor, if you drink water, be saying upon every occasion, “I drink water.” But first consider how much more frugal are the poor than we, and how much more patient of hardship. But if at any time you would inure yourself by exercise to labor and privation, for your own sake and not for the public, do not attempt great feats; but when you are violently thirsty, just rinse your mouth with water, and tell nobody.
The condition and characteristic of a vulgar person is, that he never looks for either help or harm from himself, but only from externals. The condition and characteristic of a philosopher is, that he looks to himself for all help or harm. The marks of a proficient are, that he censures no one, praises no one, blames no one, accuses no one; says nothing concerning himself as being anybody, or knowing anything: when he is in any instance hindered or restrained, he accuses himself; and if he is praised, he smiles to himself at the person who praises him; and if he is censured, he makes no defence. But he goes about with the caution of a convalescent, careful of interference with anything that is doing well, but not yet quite secure. He restrains desire; he transfers his aversion to those things only which thwart the proper use of our own will; he employs his energies moderately in all directions; if he appears stupid or ignorant, he does not care; and, in a word, he keeps watch over himself as over an enemy and one in ambush.
When any one shows himself vain, on being able to understand and interpret the works of Chrysippus, say to yourself: “Unless Chrysippus had written obscurely, this person would have had nothing to be vain of. But what do I desire? To understand Nature, and follow her. I ask, then, who interprets her; and hearing that Chrysippus does, I have recourse to him. I do not understand his writings. I seek, therefore, one to interpret them.” So far there is nothing to value myself upon. And when I find an interpreter, what remains is, to make use of his instructions. This alone is the valuable thing. But if I admire merely the interpretation, what do I become more than a grammarian, instead of a philosopher? Except, indeed, that instead of Homer I interpret Chrysippus. When any one, therefore, desires me to read Chrysippus to him, I rather blush, when I cannot exhibit actions that are harmonious and consonant with his discourse.
Whatever rules you have adopted, abide by them as laws, and as if you would be impious to transgress them; and do not regard what any one says of you, for this, after all, is no concern of yours. How long, then, will you delay to demand of yourself the noblest improvements, and in no instance to transgress the judgments of reason? You have received the philosophic principles with which you ought to be conversant; and you have been conversant with them. For what other master, then, do you wait as an excuse for this delay in self-reformation? You are no longer a boy, but a grown man. If, therefore, you will be negligent and slothful, and always add procrastination to procrastination, purpose to purpose, and fix day after day in which you will attend to yourself, you will insensibly continue to accomplish nothing, and, living and dying, remain of vulgar mind. This instant, then, think yourself worthy of living as a man grown up and a proficient. Let whatever appears to be the best, be to you an inviolable law. And if any instance of pain or pleasure, glory or disgrace, be set before you, remember that now is the combat, now the Olympiad comes on, nor can it be put off; and that by one failure and defeat honor may be lost — or won. Thus Socrates became perfect, improving himself by everything; following reason alone. And though you are not yet a Socrates, you ought, however, to live as one seeking to be a Socrates.
The first and most necessary topic in philosophy is the practical application of principles; as, We ought not to lie: the second is that of demonstrations; as, Why it is that we ought not to lie: the third, that which gives strength and logical connection to the other two; as, Why this is a demonstration. For what is demonstration? What is a consequence? What a contradiction? What truth? What falsehood? The third point is then necessary on account of the second; and the second on account of the first. But the most necessary, and that whereon we ought to rest, is the first. But we do just the contrary. For we spend all our time on the third point, and employ all our diligence about that, and entirely neglect the first. Therefore, at the same time that we lie, we are very ready to show how it is demonstrated that lying is wrong.
Upon all occasions we ought to have these maxims ready at hand: —
FROM STOBÆUS, ANTONIUS, AND MAXIMUS.*
A LIFE at odds with Fortune resembles a wintry torrent; for it is turbulent and muddy and difficult to pass, and violent and noisy and brief.
A soul conversant with virtue resembles a perpetual fountain; for it is clear and gentle and agreeable and sweet and serviceable and rich and harmless and innocent.
If you would be good, first believe that you are bad.
It is better sometimes frankly to offend, and act often wisely, than to say we seldom err and offend frequently.
Chastise your passions, that they may not chastise you.
Be not so much ashamed of what is inglorious, as studious to shun what is untruthful.
If you would be well spoken of, learn to speak well of others. And when you have learned to speak well, endeavor likewise to do well; and thus you will reap the fruit of being well spoken of.
Freedom and slavery are merely names of virtue and of vice; and both these are matters of will. But neither of them belongs to things in which will has no share. But Fortune is accustomed to dispose at her pleasure of the body, and those things relating to the body in which will has no share. For no one is a slave whose will is free.
Fortune is an evil chain to the body, and vice to the soul. For he whose body is unbound, and whose soul is chained, is a slave. On the contrary, he whose body is chained, and his soul unbound, is free. The chain of the body, Nature unbinds by death, or baseness for money; the chain of the soul, virtue unbinds by wisdom and experience and philosophic training.
If you would live tranquil and contented, endeavor that all who live with you may be good. And you can have them good by instructing the willing and dismissing the unwilling. For sin and bondage will fly with those who leave you, and with those who remain with you will virtue and liberty be left.
It is scandalous, that he who sweetens his drink by the gift of the bees, should by vice embitter reason, the gift of the Gods.
No one who is a lover of money, a lover of pleasure, or a lover of glory, is likewise a lover of mankind; but only he who is a lover of virtue.
As you would not wish to sail in a large and elegant and gilded ship, and sink; so neither is it desirable to inhabit a grand and sumptuous house, and be in a tumult.
When we are invited to an entertainment we take what we find; and if any one should bid the master of the house set fish or tarts before him, he would be thought absurd. Yet in the world we ask the Gods for what they do not give us; and that, though there are so many things which they have given us.
They are pretty fellows indeed, said he, who value themselves on things not in our own power. I am a better man than you, says one; for I have many estates, and you are pining with hunger. I have been consul, says another; I am a ruler, says a third; and I have a fine head of hair, says a fourth. Yet one horse does not say to another, “I am better than you; for I have a great deal of hay and a great deal of oats; and I have a gold bridle and embroidered trappings”; but only, “I am swifter than you.” And every creature is better or worse from its own good or bad qualities. Is man, then, the only creature which has no natural good quality? And must we take account of hair, and clothes, and ancestors?
Patients are displeased with a physician who does not prescribe to them; and think he gives them over. And why are none so affected towards a philosopher as to conclude that he despairs of their recovery to a right way of thinking, if he tells them nothing for their good?
They who have a good constitution of body can bear heat and cold; and so they who have a right constitution of soul can meet anger and grief and immoderate joy and the other passions.
Examine yourself, whether you had rather be rich or happy; and if rich, be assured that this is neither a good, nor altogether in your own power; but if happy, that this is both a good, and in your own power; since the one is a temporary loan of Fortune, and the other depends on will.
As when you see a viper, or an asp, or a scorpion, in a box of ivory or gold, you do not love it or think it happy because of the magnificence of the material in which it is enclosed; but you shun and detest it, because it is of a pernicious nature: so, likewise, when you see vice lodged in the midst of wealth, and the swelling pride of fortune, be not struck by the splendor of the material with which it is surrounded; but despise the base alloy of its manners.
Riches are not among the number of things which are good; prodigality is of the number of those which are evil; modesty of those which are good. Now modesty invites to frugality and the acquisition of things that are good; but riches invite to prodigality and seduce from modesty. It is difficult, therefore, for a rich person to be modest, or a modest person rich.
If you had been born and bred in a ship, you would not be impatient to become the pilot. For you are not necessarily identified with the ship there, nor with riches here; but with reason everywhere. That therefore which is natural and congenial to you, reason, think likewise to be peculiarly your own, and take care of it.
If you were born in Persia, you would not endeavor to live in Greece; but to be happy in the place where you were. Why, then, if you are born in poverty, do you yearn to be rich, and not rather to be happy in the condition where you are?
As it is better to lie straitened for room upon a little couch, in health, than to toss upon a wide bed in sickness, so it is better to contract yourself within the compass of a small fortune, and be happy, than to have a great one and be wretched.
It is not poverty that causes sorrow, but covetous desires; nor do riches deliver from fear, but only reasoning. If therefore you acquire a habit of reasoning, you will neither desire riches, nor complain of poverty.
A horse is not elated, and does not value himself on his fine stable or trappings or saddle-cloths, nor a bird on the warm materials of its nest; but the former on the swiftness of his feet, and the latter of its wings. Do not you, therefore, glory in your food or dress; or in short any external advantage; but in integrity and beneficence.
There is a difference between living well and living profusely. The one arises from contentment and order and propriety and frugality; the other from dissoluteness and luxury and disorder and indecency. In short, to the one belongs true praise; to the other, censure. If therefore you would live well, do not seek to be praised for profuseness.
Let the first satisfaction of appetite be always the measure to you of eating and drinking; and appetite itself the sauce and the pleasure. Thus you will never take more than is necessary, nor will you want cooks; and you will be contented with whatever drink falls in your way.
Consider that you do not thrive merely by the food in your stomach; but by the elevation of your soul. For the former, as you see, is evacuated and carried off altogether; but the latter, though the soul be parted, remains uncorrupted through all things.
In every feast remember that there are two guests to be entertained, the body and the soul; and that what you give the body you presently lose, but what you give the soul remains forever.
Do not mingle anger with profusion, and set them before your guests. Profusion, when it has made its way through the body, is quickly gone; but anger, when it has penetrated the soul, abides for a long time. Take care not to pay a great price merely to be transported with anger, and affront your guests; but rather delight them at a cheap rate by gentle behavior.
Take care at your meals that the attendants be not more in number than those whom they are to attend. For it is absurd that many persons should wait on a few chairs.
It would be best if, both while you are personally making your preparations and while you are feasting at table, you could give among the servants part of what is before you. But if such a thing be difficult at that time, remember that you, who are not weary, are attended by those who are; you who are eating and drinking, by those who are not; you who are talking, by those who are silent; you who are at ease, by those who are under constraint: and thus you will never be heated into any unreasonable passion yourself, nor do any mischief by provoking another.
Strife and contention are always absurd, but particularly unbecoming at table conversations. For a person warmed with wine will never either teach, or be convinced by, one who is sober. And wherever sobriety is wanting, the end will show that you have exerted yourself to no purpose.
Grasshoppers are musical; but snails are dumb. The latter rejoice in being wet; and the former in being warm. Then the dew calls out the one race, and for this they come forth; but, on the contrary, the noonday sun awakens the others, and in this they sing. If therefore you would be a musical and harmonious person, whenever the soul is bedewed with wine at drinking-parties, suffer her not to go forth and defile herself. But when in rational society she glows by the beams of reason, then command her to speak from inspiration, and utter the oracles of justice.
Consider him with whom you converse in one of these three ways; either as your superior, or inferior, or equal. If superior, you ought to hear him and be convinced; if inferior, to convince him; if equal, to agree with him; and thus you will never be led into the love of strife.
It is better, by yielding to truth, to conquer prejudice, than by yielding to principle to be defeated by truth.
If you seek truth, you will not seek merely victory at all hazards; and when you have found truth, you will have a security against being conquered.
Truth conquers by itself; prejudice, by appealing to externals.
It is better, through living with one free person, to be fearless and free, than to be a slave in company with many.
What you avoid suffering yourself, seek not to impose on others. You avoid slavery, for instance; take care not to enslave. For if you can bear to exact slavery from others, you appear to have been yourself a slave. For vice has nothing in common with virtue, nor freedom with slavery. As a person in health would not wish to be attended by the sick, nor to have those who live with him in a state of sickness; so neither would a person who is free bear to be served by slaves, nor to have those who live with him in a state of slavery.
Whoever you are that would live apart from slaves, deliver yourself from slavery. And you will be free if you deliver yourself from appetite. For neither was Aristides called just, nor Epaminondas divine, nor Lycurgus a preserver, because they were rich and slave-holders; but because, being poor, they delivered Greece from slavery.
If you would have your house securely inhabited, imitate the Spartan Lycurgus. And as he did not enclose his city with walls, but fortified the inhabitants with virtue, and preserved the city always free; so do you, likewise, not surround yourself with a great court-yard, nor raise high towers, but strengthen those who live with you by benevolence, and fidelity, and friendship. And thus nothing hurtful will enter, even if the whole band of wickedness be set in array against it.
Do not hang your house round with tablets and pictures; but adorn it with virtue. For those are merely foreign and a fading deception of the eyes; but this, a congenial and indelible and perpetual ornament to the house.
Instead of herds of oxen, endeavor to assemble flocks of friends about your house.
As a wolf resembles a dog, so much does a flatterer, an adulterer, a parasite, resemble a friend. Take heed therefore, that instead of guardian dogs, you do not inadvertently admit ravening wolves.
To seek admiration by adorning one’s house with stucco belongs to a tasteless man; but to adorn our characters by the charm of an amiable nature shows at once a lover of beauty and a lover of man.
If you chiefly admire little things, you will never be held worthy of great ones; but if you are above little things, you will be held greatly worthy.
Nothing is meaner than the love of pleasure, the love of gain, and insolence. Nothing is nobler than magnanimity, meekness, and philanthropy.
[We represent] those intractable philosophers who do not think pleasure to be in itself the natural state of man; but merely an incident of those things in which his natural state consists, — justice, moderation, and freedom. Why, then, should the soul rejoice and be glad in the minor blessings of the body, as Epicurus says, and not be pleased with its own good, which is the very greatest? And yet Nature has given me likewise a sense of shame; and I am covered with blushes when I think I have uttered any indecent expression. This emotion will not suffer me to recognize pleasure as a good and the end of life.
The ladies at Rome have Plato’s Republic in their hands, because he allows a community of wives; for they attend merely to the words of the author, and not to his sense. For he does not first order one man and one woman to marry and live together, and then allow a community of wives; but he abolishes that system of marriage, and introduces one of another kind. And, in general, men are pleased in finding out excuses for their own faults. Yet philosophy says, it is not fit even to move a finger without some reason.
It is the rarest pleasures which especially delight us.
Once exceed moderation, and the most delightful things may become the most undelightful.
Agrippinus was justly entitled to praise on this account, that, though he was a man of the highest worth, he never praised himself; but blushed, even if another praised him. And he was a man of such a character, as to commend every untoward event that befell him: if he was feverish, the fever; if disgraced, the disgrace; if banished, the banishment. And, when once, as he was going to dine, a messenger brought him word that Nero ordered him to banishment; Well then, said Agrippinus, let us dine at Aricia.*
Diogenes affirmed no labor to be good, unless the end were a due state and tone of the soul, and not of the body.
As a true balance is neither set right by a true one, nor judged by a false one; so likewise a just person has neither to be set right by just persons, nor to be judged by unjust ones.
As what is straight needs no straightness, so what is just needs [to borrow] no justice.
Give no judgment from another tribunal before you have yourself been judged at the tribunal of absolute justice.
If you would give a just decision, heed neither parties nor pleaders, but the cause itself.
You will commit the fewest faults in judging, if you are faultless in your own life.
It is better, by giving a just judgment, to be blamed by him who is deservedly condemned, than by giving an unjust judgment, to be justly censured by Nature.
As the touchstone which tries gold, but is not itself tried by the gold; such is he, who has the standard of judgment.
It is scandalous for a judge to have to be judged by others.
As nothing is straighter than absolute straightness, so nothing is juster than absolute justice.
Who among you does not admire the action of Lycurgus the Lacedemonian? For when he had been deprived of one of his eyes by one of the citizens, and the people had delivered the young man to him, to be punished in whatever manner he should think proper, Lycurgus forbore to give him any punishment. But having instructed him, and rendered him a good man, he brought him into the theatre; and while the Lacedemonians were struck with admiration: “I received,” said he, “this person from you, dangerous and violent, and I restore him to you gentle and a good citizen.”
When Pittacus had been unjustly treated by some person, and had the power of chastising him, he let him go, saying, “Forgiveness is better than punishment; for the one is the proof of a gentle, the other of a savage nature.”
This, above all, is the business of nature, to connect and apply the active powers to what appears fit and beneficial.
It is the character of the most mean-spirited and foolish men, to suppose that they shall be despised by others, unless they somehow strike the first blow at their enemies.
When you are going to attack any one with vehemence and threatening, remember to say first to yourself, that you are constituted gentle, and that by doing nothing violent, you will live without the need of repentance, and irreproachable.
We ought to know that it is not easy for a man to form his principles of action, unless he daily reiterates and hears the same things, and at the same time applies them in action.
Nicias was so intent on business, that he often asked his domestics whether he had bathed, and whether he had dined.
While Archimedes was intent on his diagrams, his servants drew him away by violence, and anointed* him, and after his body was anointed, he traced his figures upon that.
When Lampis, the naval commander, was asked how he acquired wealth; he answered, that great wealth cost but little trouble, but that a little wealth [at the beginning] cost a great deal.
When Solon was silent at an entertainment, and was asked by Periander, whether he was silent for want of words, or from folly: “No fool,” answered he, “can be silent at a feast.”
Consult nothing so much, upon every occasion, as discretion. Now it is more discreet to be silent than to speak; and to omit speaking whatever is not accompanied with sense and reason.
As light-houses in harbors, by kindling a great flame from a few faggots, afford a considerable assistance to ships wandering on the sea; so an illustrious person, in a state harassed by storms, confers great benefits on his fellow-citizens, when himself contented with little.
You would certainly, if you undertook to steer a ship, learn the steersman’s art. And as in that case, you can steer the whole ship; so in another case, the whole state.
If you have a mind to adorn your city by consecrated monuments, first consecrate in yourself the most beautiful monument, — of gentleness, and justice, and benevolence.
You will confer the greatest benefits on your city, not by raising its roofs, but by exalting its souls. For it is better that great souls should live in small habitations, than that abject slaves should burrow in great houses.
Do not variegate the structure of your walls with Eubœan and Spartan stone; but adorn both the minds of the citizens and of those who govern them by the Greek culture. For cities are made good habitations by the sentiments of those who live in them, not by wood or stone.
As, if you were to breed lions, you would not be solicitous about the magnificence of their dens, but about the qualities of the animals; so, if you undertake to preside over your fellow-citizens, be not so solicitous about the magnificence of the buildings, as careful of the nobleness of those who inhabit them.
As a skilful manager of horses does not feed the good colts, and suffer the unruly ones to starve; but feeds them both alike, chastising the one more, to make him draw equally with his fellow; so a man of foresight and administrative skill endeavors to do good to the well-disposed citizens, but not at once to destroy those that are otherwise. He by no means denies subsistence to either of them; only he disciplines and urges on, with the greater vehemence, him who resists reason and the laws.
As a goose is not alarmed by hissing, nor a sheep by bleating; so neither be you terrified by the voice of a senseless multitude.
As you do not comply with a multitude, when it unreasonably asks of you any part of your own property; so neither be disconcerted before a mob, demanding of you any unjust compliance.
Pay in advance your dues to the public, and you will never be asked for what is not due.
As the sun waits not for prayers and incantations to be prevailed on to rise, but immediately shines forth, and is received with universal salutation; so neither do you wait for applauses and shouts and praises in order to do good; but be a voluntary benefactor, and you will be beloved like the sun.
A ship ought not to be held by one anchor, nor life by a single hope.
We ought not to stretch either our legs or our hopes for a point they cannot reach
Thales, being asked what was the most universal possession, answered, “Hope; for they have it who have nothing else.”
It is more necessary for the soul to be healed than the body; for it is better to die than to live ill.
Pyrrho used to say, “There is no difference between living and dying.” A person asked him, Why then do you not die? “Because,” answered Pyrrho, “there is no difference.”
Nature is admirable, and, as Xenophon says, avaricious of life. Hence we love and tend the body, which is of all things the most unpleasant and squalid. For if we were obliged, for only five days, to take care of our neighbor’s body, we would not endure it. For only consider what it would be, when we rise in the morning, to clean the teeth of others, and do all requisite offices besides. In reality, it is wonderful that we should love a thing which every day demands so much attendance. I stuff this sack, and then I empty it again. What is more troublesome? But I must obey God. Therefore I remain, and endure to wash and feed and clothe this poor body. When I was younger, he demanded of me still more, and I bore it. And when Nature, which gave the body, takes it away, will you not bear that? “I love it,” say you. This is what I have just been observing; and this very love has Nature given you, but she also says, “Now let it go, and have no further trouble.”
When a young man dies, some one blames the Gods that, at the time when he himself ought to be at rest, he is still encumbered with the troubles of life. Yet when death approaches, he wishes to live, and sends for the physician, and entreats him to omit no care or pains. It is marvellous that men should not be willing either to live or die.
To a longer and worse life, a shorter and better is by all means to be preferred by every one.
When we are children, our parents deliver us to the care of a tutor; who is continually to watch over us that we get no hurt. When we are become men, God delivers us to the guardianship of an implanted conscience. We ought by no means, then, to despise this guardian; for it will both displease God, and we shall be enemies to our own conscience.
Riches ought to be used as the means to some end, and not lavished on every occasion.
All men should wish rather for virtue than for wealth, which is dangerous to the foolish, since vice is increased by riches. And in proportion as any one is foolish, he becomes the more profuse, through having the means of gratifying his passion for pleasure.
What ought not to be done, do not even think of doing.
Deliberate much before you speak or act; for what is once said or done you cannot recall.
Every place is safe to him who dwells with justice.
Crows pick out the eyes of the dead, when they are no longer of any use. But flatterers destroy the souls of the living by blinding their eyes.
The anger of a monkey and the threats of a flatterer deserve equal regard.
Kindly receive those who are willing to give good advice; but not those who upon every occasion are eager to flatter. For the former truly see what is advantageous; but the latter consider only the opinions of their superiors; and imitate the shadows of bodies, nodding assent to what they say.
An adviser ought, in the first place, to have a regard to the delicacy and sense of shame of the person admonished. For they who are beyond blushing are incorrigible.
It is better to advise than reproach; for the one is mild and friendly, the other stern and severe; the one corrects the erring, the other only convicts them.
Impart to strangers and persons in need according to your ability. For he who gives nothing to the needy shall receive nothing in his own need.
A person once brought clothes to a pirate, who had been cast ashore, and almost killed by the severity of the weather; then carried him to his house, and furnished him with all necessaries. Being reproached by some one for doing good to the evil; “I have paid this regard,” answered he, “not to the man, but to humanity.”
We ought not to choose every pleasure; but that whose end is good.
It belongs to a wise man to resist pleasure; and to a fool to be enslaved by it.
In all vice, pleasure, being presented like a bait, draws sensual minds to the hook of perdition.
Choose rather to punish your appetites than to be punished by them.
No one is free who commands not himself.
The vine bears three clusters; the first of pleasure, the second of intoxication, the third of outrage.
Do not talk much over wine to show your learning; for your discourse will be unpleasing.
He is a drunkard who takes more than three glasses; and though he be not drunk, he has exceeded moderation.
Let discourse of God be renewed every day more surely than our food.
Think of God oftener than you breathe.
If you always remember that God stands by as a witness of whatever you do, either in soul or body, you will never err, either in your prayers or actions, and you will have God abiding with you.
As it is pleasant to view the sea from the shore, so it is pleasant to one who has escaped, to remember his past labors.
Law aims to benefit human life; but it cannot, when men themselves choose to suffer, for it manifests its proper virtue on condition of obedience.
As physicians are the preservers of the sick, so are the laws, of the injured.
The justest laws are the truest.
It is decent to yield to a law, to a ruler, and to a wiser man.
Things done contrary to law are to be regarded as undone.
In prosperity it is very easy to find a friend; in adversity, nothing is so difficult.
Time delivers fools from grief; and reason, wise men.
He is a man of sense who does not grieve for what he has not, but rejoices in what he has.
Epictetus being asked how a person might grieve his enemy, answered, “By doing as well as possible himself.”
Let no wise man estrange himself from the government of the state; for it is both wicked to withdraw from being useful to the needy, and cowardly to give way to the worthless. For it is foolish to choose rather to be governed ill than to govern well.
Nothing is more becoming a ruler, than to despise no one, nor be insolent, but to preside over all impartially.
Any person may live happy in poverty, but few in wealth and power. So great is the advantage of poverty, that no wise man would exchange it for disreputable wealth; unless indeed Themistocles, the son of Neocles, the most wealthy of the Athenians, but poor in virtue, was better than Aristides and Socrates. But both himself and his wealth are perished, and without a name. For a bad man loses all in death; but virtue is eternal.
[Remember] that such is, and was, and will be, the nature of the world, nor is it possible that things should be otherwise than they now are; and that not only men and other creatures upon earth partake of this change and transformation, but diviner things also. For indeed even the four elements are transformed and metamorphosed; and earth becomes water, and water air, and this again is transformed into other things. And the same manner of transformation happens from things above to those below. Whoever endeavors to turn his mind towards these points, and persuade himself to receive with willingness what cannot be avoided, will pass his life in moderation and harmony.
He who is discontented with things present and allotted, is unskilled in life. But he who bears them, and the consequences arising from them, nobly and rationally, is worthy to be esteemed a good man.
All things serve and obey the [laws of the] universe; the earth, the sea, the sun, the stars, and the plants and animals of the earth. Our body likewise obeys the same, in being sick and well, young and old, and passing through the other changes decreed. It is therefore reasonable that what depends on ourselves, that is, our own understanding, should not be the only rebel. For the universe is powerful and superior, and consults the best for us by governing us in conjunction with the whole. And further; opposition, besides that it is unreasonable, and produces nothing except a vain struggle, throws us into pain and sorrows.
[* ]Happiness, the effect of virtue, is the mark which God hath set up for us to aim at. Our missing it is no work of His; nor so properly anything real, as a mere negative and failure of our own. — C.
[† ]This chapter, except some very trifling differences, is the same with the fifteenth of the third book of the Discourses, and therefore unnecessary to be repeated here. — C.
[* ]This refers to an anecdote given in full by Simplicius, in his commentary on this passage, of a man assaulted and killed, on his way to consult the oracle, while his companion, deserting him, took refuge in the temple, till cast out by the Deity. — H.
[* ]Cleanthes, in Diogenes Laertius, quoted also by Seneca, Epistle 107. — H.
[† ]Euripides, Fragments. — H.
[* ]Stobæus lived early in the fifth century, Maximus in the seventh, and Antonius, surnamed Melissa, or the Bee, in the eighth. Their collections are printed together. Many of these sayings are merely traditional. — H.
[* ]The first stage on his journey into banishment. See note, ante, p. 7. — H.
[* ]The ancients anointed the body every day. — C.