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only in what is necessary, and not add to it by thy |
How completely blessed is prudence in a good GOOD FORTUNE IS ONLY FOR A DAY. disposition! No misery is unlooked for by men, for we find
MORTALITY. good fortune lasting only for a day.
Being born mortal, be not always watching the TIME.
approach of death; time is the physician of every
sorrow, My friend, time is the workman of the state; it | rejoices to mould all things to the worse.
LIFE IS EVER CHANGING.
The life of man is ever changing. DEATH RELEASES MAN FROM TROUBLES. There is no life that has not evils, griefs, sorrows, annoyances, torments, diseases; death, appearing as the physician of these, proceeds to re
EUPHRON. lease these who are thus affected, making them to cease by sleep.
EUPHRON, an Athenian comic poet of the middle
comedy, some fragments of whose works have A BORDID LOVE OF MONEY.
come down to us. A sordid love of money is certainly a very sense
THE FOOL. less thing, for the mind much occupied with it is blind to everything else.
For he who manages his own life badly, how is
he likely to take proper care of what is external CONSCIENCE.
to himself ? For whosoever is not ashamed when he is
SHORTNESS OF LIFE. conscious to himself of having committed some base act, how will he be ashamed before him who
Pray, Jupiter, when thou hast granted to us only
a short span of life, why dost thou not allow us to is ignorant of it?
pass it without sorrow ?
BORN B.C. 481-DIED B.C. 406. but it is easy to squander the whole in a day. EURIPIDES, the celebrated tragic writer of
Athens, son of Mnesarchus and Cleito, is said to THE POOR.
have been born on the very day of the battle of There is no one more happy than the poor man: Salamis, to which island his parents had been he expects no change for the worse.
compelled to fly at the time that Athens was
threatened by Xerxes. He was a pupil of ProdiPOVERTY AND BAD CONDUCT.
cus of Chios, and took lessons from the philosoPoverty united to bad conduct utterly destroys
pher Anaxagoras. The persecutions which Anaxand upturns the life of man.
agoras underwent warned Euripides of the dan
gerous path he was pursuing, inducing him to reMAN BORN TO TROUBLE.
nounce the study of philosophy, and direct his
attention to the stage. This took place, it is said, I am a mortal; this very thing is the greatest in his eighteenth year, and in 455 b.c. he succeeded cause of sorrow in life.
in gaining the third prize. Of all the plays which
he wrote, only five, according to Varro, were THE BLESSINGS AND EVILS OF LIFE. reckoned worthy of being crowned; but this fact As fortune, sometimes, when it is bringing up
may be explained by the violent spirit of rivalry one blessing for us, in pouring out discharges
and jealousy which seems to have prevailed at three evils.
Athens at this time. In his domestic affairs he
was by no means fortunate; both his wives disNOTHING FIXED IN LIFE.
graced him by the irregularity of their lives; and There is nothing fixed in the life of man; for no
from this circumstance probably arose his violent one lives steadily in the way that he has chosen.
hatred of the sex, the weakness of which he took
every opportunity of ridiculing and exposing. SHAMELESSNESS.
His private grief became the butt of the comic
writers of the day, and Aristophanes more par. There is no animal more bold than shameless
ticularly held him up to the ridicule of the pubness.
lic. It was no doubt in consequence of these inMAN.
cessant attacks that Euripides determined to If thou knowest what man is, thou wilt be more leave Athens. He removed first to Magnesia, and happy.
thence to the court of Archelaus, King of Macedonia, who reigned from 413 to 399 B.C., and was
THE IGNORANT. then the beneficent patron of literature and sci
sol A person may seem to be ignorant, even though
A ence. By him he was received with all that he
he speak with wisdom, to be foolish. respect to which his distinguished talents entitled him, and some say that he was appointed one of
BE ANGRY AND SIN NOT. his principal ministers. Here he resided till his
For it is the part of a wise man to practise moddeath (406 B.C.), which was as full of tragic cir
eration in passion. cumstances as any story ever exhibited upon the stage. As he was strolling through a wood, a So Ephesians (iv. 20)-“Be ye angry, and sin not: let nol pack of the royal hounds attacked the poet, and
the sun go down upon your wrath." tore him in pieces. His remains were removed to
WINE AND LOVE. Pella by the king, and every honor was shown to his memory. The Athenians were now anxious to For where there is not wine, love fails, and procure his ashes, but Archelaus refused to gratify everything else pleasant to man. those who had neglected the poet in his lifetime.
THE DELIGHTS OF LIBERTY.
Shall “ I trip it on the light fantastic toe” the
livelong night in honor of Bacchus, exposing my When a wise man chooses a fit subject for his
neck to the dewy air, frisking like a fawn in the discourse, there is no difficulty in speaking well;
delights of the green meadow, when it has escaped thou hast indeed a fluent tongue; as if thou wert
a fearful chase away from the well-woven nots wisdom itself; but thy words have not her power.
(and the huntsman cheers and hurries on his A mighty man, when bold and able to speak, is a
dogs), and toilfully, like the swift storm, speeds bad citizen if he lack discretion.
along the plain that skirts the river, rejoicing in
the solitude, away from men, and in the thickets THE TWO BEST THINGS AMONG MEN.
of the dark foliaged wood ? For, young man, there are two things of prime importance among men. Ceres, the goddess, she
CRIME FOLLOWED BY PUNISHMENT. is the Earth, call her by what name thou wilt: The power of the divinity is called forth slowly,, she nourishes mortals with dry food. But he who but then it is unerring, chastising those who is come is a match for her, the son of Semele: he insanely pay honor to folly, and show not respect has discovered the liquid drink of the grape, in- to the gods. The gods cunningly conceal the long troducing it among mortals, causing the wretched step of time, and hunt after the impious. For it to forget their sorrows, when they are filled with is wrong to determine or plan anything contrary the stream of the vine, giving balmy sleep as an to their laws. It is surely a slight matter to oblivion of the anxieties that beset man day by regard what is divine as exercising this power, day, nor is there any other medicine that can cure and that what has been law for a long time is the troubles of life.
eternal, and the dictate of nature.
GLORY NOT IN THY WISDOM.
* THE TRULY HAPPY. But, Pentheus, be persuaded by me, boast not! Happy the man who has escaped the tempestthat thy imperial power has rule over men, nor tossed sea, and reached the port. Happy he who even, if thou thinkest so, glory not in thy wisdom, has got to the end of the labors of life. Men for thy glorying is vain.
surpass each other in riches and power. Myriads So Jeremiah (ix. 28)—“ Thus saith the Lord. Let not the of hopes gay-smiling rise before them. Somo vise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man continue with them to the close of life, some glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches." vanish away. The man who enjoys the smiles of
fortune day by day I pronounce to be happy. TIIE FOOL.
REVERENCE OF THE GODS. For the fool speaks foolish things.
To be modest and pay reverence to the gods, PRIDE BEFORE A FALL.
this, I think, to be the most honorable and wisest Misery is the end of unbridled mouths and law- thing for mortals. less folly, but a quiet life accompanied by wisdom
DIFFERENT FATES OF MEN. remains unmoved, and knits together families; for though the heavenly powers dwell in the far Various are the fates sent by the gods, and distance, inhabiting the air, they behold the deeds much comes to us that is unexpected; on the one of men. But cleverness is not wisdom, nor yet hand, what we look for is not accomplished; and the musing on things that belong not to this on the other, God finds a way to bring about what world. Life is short, and who pursuing great we least expected. Such, too, is the end of this things in it would not enjoy the present? These awful day. are the manners of madmen and of the ill-disposed in my opinion. .
DIGNITY IN THOSE OF NOBLE BIRTH. 80 Matthew (v. 9)_" Blessed are the peacemakers: for they! Nobleness is thine, and thy form, lady, is the shall be called the children of God."
reflection of thy nature, whoever thou art. For
by looking at external appearance one is generally from fear of death. Thou wilt say, no doubt, able to learn whether man is noble by nature. that gold has sovereign power over such things,
and that it is pleasant to be rich. I love not to THINGS AGAINST THE WILL OF THE GODS. hear reproach while watching over my riches, and For such things as we strive after against the to be subject to toils. What I wish for is a comwill of the gods, we possess not as real goods, opetency, unattended by pains. Now hear, my lady; but what they give us willingly, by these we father, the advantages I have enjoyed in this place. are benefited.
First, indeed, leisure, which is most beloved by
men, and no bustling crowd around; nor am I EVILS OF LIFE.
jostled from the path by a knave, for it is intol
erable to be obliged to give way to some insolent Countless are the woes of mortals, and various wretch. I was ever employed in the worship of are their forms; but one single blessing for a the gods or in the service of men, who were surlengthened period one will scarcely find in the life
rounded by the happy and not by the mourning. of men.
Some, indeed, I sent away, while other strangers
came in their place, so that I was always joyful, A WIFE.
being new with new faces. That which men For woman's condition among men is full of ills; should pray for, even if it be against their will, to for the good women being mixed up with the bad, be just before the gods, custom and nature to we are objects of hatred, so wretched are we by gether brought about in me. Taking these things nature.
into consideration, my father, I deem my lot better
here than there. Suffer me, then, to live here, THE BASE PUNISHED BY THE GODS. for there is equal pleasure to be got in humble For whosoever of mortals is of a base nature,
| life as in the palaces of the great. him the gods chastise.
A FRIEND. THE CHILDLESS AND THOSE WITH CHILDREN CON
For it is pleasant to enjoy good fortune with TRASTED.
one's friends; but (avert it, Heaven!) if any ill be
fall, a friend's kind eye beams comfort. For there is a constant spring of surpassing happiness to mortals when handsome youths flourish
THE DESIGNING AND THE SIMPLE. in the paternal hall, with wealth to transmit in succession from sires to children; for they are an
Alas! how I always hate ill-designing men, who, ever-present aid in troubles, a joy in good fortune,
devising evil deeds, gild them over with artificial and in war they bring help to their country with
ornament. I would rather have an honest, simple their spear. May the nurturing care of kind chil
friend, than one whose quicker wit is trained to dren be mine in preference to riches and alliances
evil. with kings. Childless life I abhor, and I blame
THE SLAVE. him who approves of it. But with a competency
For one thing brings shame to slaves—the name. of this world's goods may I have a noble offspring.n
g. In everything else the slave is nothing worse than
the free-born, if he be virtuous. THINGS NEAR APPEAR DIFFERENT FROM THOSE AT A DISTANCE.
A STEP-MOTHER. The appearance of things does not appear them
ne Thou hast rightly judged; for it is a proverb that same when seen far off and close at hand.
step-mothers bear hatred to their step-children. RIVALS IN POLITICAL HONORS.
AID OF HEAVEN. The good and wise lead a quiet life, and aim not Slow. indeed, at times, is the aid of the gods, at the honors of the state; with them I shall incur at
nors of the state; with them I shall incur | but in the end not weak. ridicule, not living tranquilly in the midst of a city full of turmoil. Again, if I aspire to the
THE GOOD. dignity of those who direct the affairs of the nation, I shall be watched more closely, and But him whose house is threatened with calamisubject to hostile votes; for such is usual, my ties it becomes to wor
ties it becomes to worship the gods and be of father; those who possess influence are most good cheer; for in the end the good obtain their inimical to those who are their rivals.
due, but the wicked, as they are naturally so, will
never fare well. KOYAL AND NUMBLE LIFE CONTRASTED.
A STEP-MOTHER. The outward aspect of vainly-praised sovereignty is indeed delightful, but its inward state is misery.
For a step-mother is enemy to the children of For who can be happy, who can be blessed, drag the former marriage, no milder than a viper. ging on a life full of terrors, and every moment in dread of violence? I would rather live happy in
THE DEAD. humble life than be a tyrant, forced to choose Time will soften thy grief; he that is dead is my friends from the wicked, and hating the good I nothing.
WISDOM IN THE GOOD.
MUSIC. In the good there is all kind of wisdom.
Thou wouldst not err in calling men of the olden So John (vii. 17)—"If any man will do his will, he shall time silly and in no way wise who invented songs know of the doctrine, whether it be of God."
for festivals, banquets, and suppers, delights that
charm the ear; but no one has found out how to THE PIOUS.
soothe with music and sweet symphony those bitMy heart is confident that the man who reveres ter pangs by which death and sad misfortunes dethe gods will fare prosperously.
stroy families. And yet to assuage such griefs by So Psalms (cxi. 10)-"The fear of the Lord is the beginning music were wisdom. For when the banquet is of wisdom."
spread, why raise the song ? When the table is OLD MAN,
richly piled, it brings of itself a cheerfulness that It is vain for old men praying for death, com- / wakes the heart to joy. plaining of age and the length of life, since if death come near, not one is willing to die; then
WOMAN. old age is no longer burdensome to them.
Of all beings who have life and sense, we women
are most wretched. First of all, we must buy a TO-MORROW UNCERTAIN.
husband with money, and receive in him a lord; Knowest thou of what nature mortal things are ? for this is a still greater ill than the former. I think not; how shouldst thou ? Death is a debt And then the question is whether we receive a bad that all mortals must pay, and there is not one of or good one. For divorces are not honorable to them who knows whether he shall see the coming women, nor is it right to repudiate our husband. morrow; for what depends on fortune is uncer-For coming to new tempers and new laws, we tain how it will tum out, and is not to be learned, must be endowed with powers of prophecy if we neither is it to be caught by art. Having, there- can know what sort of yoke-fellow we shall have. fore, heard and learned these things from me, be But should a husband dwell with us, diligently enmerry, drink, and regard the life granted to thee gaged in the performance of our duties, who day by day as thine own, but the rest to be For-i treats us with kindness, our lot is deserving of tune's.
envy; if not, death is to be preferred. If a man EFFECT OF WINE.
find aught unpleasing in his house, going abroad,
he seeks relief among his compeers or friends. And well do I know that the trickling of the
We must look for happiness to one only. Men cup down thy throat will change thee from thy say of us that we live a life of ease at home, while present gloomy and pent state of mind. Being
they are fighting with the spear. Misjudging mortals, we should think as mortals; since to all
men! thrice would I engage in fierce conflict than those who are morose and of sad countenance, if
once suffer the pangs of childbirth. they take me as judge at least, life is not truly life, but misery.
A FIERY IS BETTER THAN A SULLEN SPIRIT. HUSBAND AND WIFE.
For a woman that is quick in anger, and a man This is the surest tie of conjugal happiness,
too, can be more easily guarded against than one when the wife is not estranged from the husband.
ỉ that is crafty and keeps silence. But everything here is at variance, and the dear
EXILE. est ties are weakened.
Exile draws many evils in its train.
The worst of all diseases among men is impuEVERY ONE LOVES HIMSELF MORE THAN HIS
THE WICKED. Dost thou only now know this, that every one loves himself more than his neighbor, some, in- O Jove! why hast thou given us certain proofs deed, with justice, but others for the sake of to know adulterate gold, but stamped no mark, gain ?
where it is most needed, on man's base metal ?
ROYAL AXD HUMBLE LIFE.
THE POWER OF THE RHETORICIAN. The acts of tyrants are terrible; being seldom controlled, in most things acting despotically, I tongue is full of glozing rhetoric, merits the heavi
eam For in my opinion, the unjust man, whose they lay aside with difficulty their passion. To be
est punishment. Vaunting that he can with his accustomed to humble life is far better; may it be
tongue gloze over injustice, he dares to act wickmy lot then to grow old, not in gorgeous state, but without danger. There is a protection in the very
edly, yet he is not over-wise. name of moderation, and to enjoy it is far the best for man. Towering greatness remains not long to
GIFTS OF A BAD MAN. mortals, and has often brought the greatest woes
The gifts on families when the Deity is enraged.
Of a bad man can bring no good with them.
the other is joined both pain of mind and toil of Temperance, the noblest gift of Heaven.
body. The whole life of men is full of pain and
trouble, knows no rest. But whatever else there THE POWER OF GOLD.
is more precious than life, darkness hangs round
it, concealing it in clouds; hence we appear to The saying is that gifts gain over even the gods;
dote on this present state, because it gilds the gold has greater power over men than ten thousand
earth, for we know nothing of our future life, and arguments.
cannot discover aught of the realms below; but
all is wrapped in perplexing fables. THE EVILS OF LIFE MUST BE BORNE. A mortal must bear calamities with meekness. A plague on the whimsies of sickly folk: So Philippians (i. 23)—"For I am in a strait betwixt two, What am I to do? what not ? having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far
Why, here's the fair sky, better: nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for
And here you lie,
With your couch in a sunny spot. “THE EVIL THAT I WOULD NOT, THAT I DO.” For this you were puling, whenever you spoke, I know, indeed, the ills I am about to commit,
Craving to lie outside, but my inclination gets the better of me.
And now you'll be sure not to bide;
You won't be here for an hourSo Romans (vii. 14)—"For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin.
You'll want to be back to your bower;
Longing and never enjoying,
Shifting from yea to nay;
For all that you taste is cloying, I maintain that those entirely free from wedlock,
And sweet is the far away. and who claim no title to a father's name, surpass
'Tis bad to be sick but worse in happiness those who have families; those who
To have to sit by and nurse; are childless, not knowing whether children give
For that is single, but this is double, delight or anguish, are relieved of much misery.
The mind in pain, and the hands in trouble. But those who have a sweet blooming offspring of
The life men live is a weary coil; children in their house, I see worn out with care
There is no rest from woe and toil; the whole time; first of all, how they shall bring
And if there's aught, elsewhere, more dear them up honorably, and how they shall leave what
Than drawing breath as we do here, may sustain them; and besides, they know not
That darkness holds whether they are toiling for good or bad children.
In black inextricable folds. But one ill to mortals, the worst of all, I now shall
Love-sick it seems are we mention. For let us suppose that they have got
Of this, whate'er it be, together a sufficient fortune, and that their chil
That gleams upon the earth, dren have reached manhood, behaving honorably,
Because that second birth, yet if this should happen, that death, bearing
That other life, no man hath tried; away their sons, vanishes with them to the shades
What lies below of darkness, I ask, why do the gods heap on mor
No god will show, tals this grief in addition, the most bitter of all,
And we, because the truth's denied, to drop the tears on the lost son's untimely bier ?
Drift upon idle fables to and fro.
-From THACKERAY'S “Anthologia Græc., Fr. 9." NO MORTAL MAN IS HAPPY. But what belongs to mortals I do not now for
SICKNESS OF THE HEART. the first time deem to be a mere shadow, nor The cares of life, they say, if carried too far, would I fear to say that those who boast most of qring more of pain than pleasure, and war against their wisdom and acquired knowledge, stray the health. Thus I praise less what is in extreme widest in the paths of folly. No mortal is happy; than the sentiment of “Nothing in excess," and if the tide of wealth flow in upon him, one may be the wise will agree with me. more fortunate than another, more happy he cannot be.
PURE HANDS BUT IMPURE THOUGHTS.
My hands are clean, but my heart has somewhat THE RESTLESSNESS OF THE LOVE-SICK.
of impurity. Alas! the evils of mortals and their hateful dis- So Romans (xiii. 9)—“ Thou shalt not covet." eases! What shall I do for thee? what not? Here is the bright light of day, here the clear air;
WE KNOW THE GOOD BUT DO IT NOT. and now thy couch on which thou liest sick is out What is good we understand and know, but of the house; for every word thou spokest was to practise not, some from sloth, and others preferbring thee hither; but soon thou wilt be in a ring some other pleasure to what is right. For hurry to return back to thy chamber; thou art there are many pleasures in life-lengthened hours soon changed, and rejoice in nothing; nothing of frivolous conversation, indolence, a pleasing ill, present pleases, thou reckonest what is not pres- and shame; but there are two, the one indeed not ent as more agreeable. It is better to be sick than base, but the other, the weight that pulls down to tend the sick: the one is a simple ill, but with houses; but if the occasion in which each is used