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NATURE REMAINS EVER THE SAME. 1 A STRAIGHTFORWARD, PLAIN-SPEAKING MAN. For their inborn character neither tawny fox In every form of government a straightforward, nor roaring lions are likely to change.
plain-speaking man is most respected, whether it
be a despotism, or tumultuous democracy, or where FUTURITY UNKNOWN TO MAN.
the educated few hold the sway. No man on earth has ever yet found any sure
WE MUST NOT FIGHT AGAINST GOD. presage from Heaven about his future success. For the indications of coming events are impervi
We should not fight against God. ous to mortals. Many things befall men contrary
FOOLS. to expectations, often against their wishes; while others, meeting the stormy waves of woe, have in
But that set of men is the most foolish of all the twinkling of an eye exchanged their deep sor
who despise things at home, and feel pleasure at
what is far off, pursuing vain objects with silly row for some substantial good.
hopes. MAN PROPOSES, GOD DISPOSES.
SELF-INTEREST GETS THE BETTER OF WISDOM. At present I live in hope, but the issue is in the
For even wisdom is got the better by self-interhand of the gods.
est. ERUPTION OF ÆTNA.
ASK OF THE GODS WHAT IS REASONABLE. From it are belched out of its abysses the purest
It is right to ask of the gods what is suitable to jets of unapproachable fire. By day the streams
reason, recollecting what is before our feet, and of lava pour forth a lurid torrent of smoke; but in
of what nature we are. Do not, my soul, be anxthe dark the ruddy flame, rolling in volumes, car
ious for an immortal life, but draw only on what is ries rocks into the deep, level sea, with a fearful
GOOD AND EVIL.
The immortals award to mortals a couple of And to seafaring men, what first cheers them on
woes with every good. These woes the silly cantheir departure is a favorable breeze for the voy
not submit to with patience, but only the wellage; for it is expected, too, in the end, that they
born, who turn the fair side outwards (as we do will obtain a better passage home.
old clothes). EVERYTHING PROCEEDS FROM THE GODS.
WISDOM AND FORTUNE NECESSARY TO BE JOINED. For all the means of mortal valor come from
But if any one has found the way of truth by his the gods; they make men to be wise, mighty in deeds, and eloquent in language.
understanding, his prosperity he must obtain from
the gods. Yet there are different currents of vioENVY.
lent winds at different times. Man's happiness For the mind is offended by hearing the con- does no
does not continue long if it be excessive. stant praise of an individual; and the gossip of
| “THERE IS A TIDE IN THE AFFAIRS OF MEN." the citizens gives secret pain to the mind chiefly
For the right time of action has a brief limit for when the merit of others is the theme.
WEALTH GIVES INFLUENCE.
'Tis their wealth that gives men their influence, Than to be pitied.
when they have received it from fortune combined TRUTH.
with disinterested virtue, and take it to their Point thy tongue on the anvil of truth.
house as an attendant that finds him many friends. THE POSTHUMOUS VERDICT OF PUBLIC OPINION.
EXCUSE. The posthumous verdict of public opinion alone In that he did not take with him Excuse, the shows the life of the dead to historians and poets. child of late-minded Afterthought.
WHAT IS TO BE DESIRED IN LIFE.
WE ARE CREATURES OF A DAY. The enjoyment of prosperity is what is first to We are creatures of a day; what man is no one be desired; to be well-spoken, is the next best can say. Man is but a shadowy dream; and yet, thing in life; but he who has enjoyed both, and when glory comes to them from Heaven, a bright really felt them, has received the highest crown of light shines around them, and a pleasant life all.
A BENEFACTOR SHOULD BE REPAID.
VARIOUS PARTS TO VARIOUS MEN. It is by the express direction of the gods, as the various parts are asrigned to various men, but story goes, that Ixion warns mortals, as he writhes every one should proceed in a straightforward and sprawls on the revolving wheel, “ to pay back path, and contend with his understanding. For to one's benefactor, requiting him by kindly re- strength succeeds in action, buj mina in counsel turns."
Tin those who naturally foresee the future.
| clear. Yet withal we enter upon proud schemes, I care not to keep buried in my hall great and eagerly attempt many enterprises, for we are wealth, but I would rather enjoy what I have, and led on by insatiate hopes, while the currents of be regarded as liberal to my friends, for the hopes
events lie far beyond our knowledge. of much-toiling men proceed on common inter
Custom is the sovereign of mortals and of gods; OUR OWN SORROWS.
with its powerful hand it regulates things the
most violent. For a family trouble seizes on every one alike, though for another's woes the heart soon ceases to “SUFFICIENT UNTO THE DAY IS THE EVI grieve.
That which is present it is best at all times to
look to; for an age of calamities hangs over men, 'Tis by inborn merit that a man acquires pre-making the path of life to be winding; and yet eminence; whereas he who acts by precepts is a even these evils are able to be amended, if men man of naught, swaying from this side to that, enjoy but freedom. A man ought to indulge in never setting down a firm, well-directed foot;l good hopes. much he attempts, but to little purpose. MIRTH THE BEST PHYSICIAN FOR MAN'S Toils.
Mirth is the best physician for man's toils, when brought to a close. Songs, the wise daughters of the Muses, soothe him by their gentle approach.
PLATO. Nor does the warm water of the bath so soften the
BORN B.C. 428--DIED B.C. 347. limbs as pleasing words set to the music of the harp relieve toil. A poem lives longer than deeds, PLATO, the celebrated philosopher of Athens, is when by the aid of the Graces the tongue draws said to have been the son of Ariston and Perico. it forth from the depth of the heart.
tione, or Potone. His paternal family boasted of
being descended from Codrus, and his maternal TRUTH NOT ALWAYS TO BE TOLD.
ancestors traced their descent from Solon. He Truth is not always the best thing to show its received instruction from the most distinguished face; silence is often the wisest thing for man to masters of his time in grammar, music, and gymobserve.
nastics; but he attached himself, in his twentieth
year, to Socrates, and from that time was devoted DESTINY DECIDES MAN'S ACTIONS.
to philosophy. Towards the close of his life he It is the destiny that is born with man which thanked God that he had been made a contemdetermines all his actions.
porary of Socrates. On the death of Socrates, he
betook himself to Eucleides, at Megara; and THE RACE OF GODS AND MEN.
through his eagerness for knowledge, he was inThere is one and the same race of gods and men; duced to visit Egypt, Sicily, and the Greek colit is from the same mother that we draw the breath onies of Lower Italy. of life; but powers wholly distinct separate us, for During his residence in Sicily he became acthe one race is naught, while the brazen vault of quainted with the elder Dionysius; but soon heaven remains for all time a secure abode to the quarrelled with that tyrant. On his return to others. Yet we are in some respects like to the Athens, he began to teach in the gymnasium of immortals both in mighty intellect and in form; the Academy, and its shady avenues near the city. though we are ignorant of the goal that fate has His occupation as a teacher was twice interruptmarked out for us to run to, both by night and by ed by journeys to Sicily. He is said to have day.
died while writing, in his eighty-first, or, ac
cording to others, in the eighty-fourth year of his PUSILLANIMITY.
age. But among mortals the one is deprived of saccess by empty boasting, so another, too much
THE WISDOM OF THE WORLD OF NO VALUE. distrustful of his strength, fails to secure the The God, O men, seems to me to be really wise; honors that rightfully belong to him, being and by His oracle to mean this, that the wisdom dragged backward by a spirit deficient in daring. of this world is foolishness, and of none effect. SEEDS OF LINEAL WORTH APPEAR AT INTERVALS.
OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MAN. The brave deeds of their ancestors are repro- If you were to offer, as I said, to dismiss me on duced in men, alternating in generations. Lands such conditions, I would exclaim, O Athenians! I of black loam do not continuously give forth their regard you with the utmost respect and affection, produce, nor will trees bear a rich perfume on but I shall obey God rather than you; and, as every returning season, but only in turns. And long as I have life, and am able, I shall not cease thus, likewise, is the human race led on by fate, devoting myself to the pursuit of wisdom, and and the signs that men get from Zeus are not warning every one of you whom I happen to meet.
TAKE CARE OF THE SOUL RATHER THAN OF THE
WISDOM IS THE RIGHT Corn.
| That alone-I mean wisdom-is the true and For I go about doing nothing else than preach- unalloyed coin, for which we ought to exchange ing to young and old among you that it is not the all these things; for this, and with this, every. duty of man to take care of the body, and of thing is in reality bought and sold-fortitude, riches, so much as to look after the soul, how it temperance, and justice; and, in a word, true may be made into the most perfect state; telling virtue subsists with wisdom. you that virtue is not acquired from riches, but
THE SOUL men derive riches, and every other blessing, private and public, from virtue.
Is it possible, then, that the soul, which is in
visible, and proceeding to another place, spotless, FEAR NOT THEM THAT KILL THE BODY. pure, and invisible (and, therefore, truly called For neither Meletus nor Anytus can injure me. Hades?
Hades-i.e. invisible), to dwell with the good and It is not in their power; for I do not think that it
wise God (where, if God so wills it, my soul must is possible for a better man to be injured by a
immediately go), --can this soul of ours, I say, worse.
being such and of such an essence, when it is
separated from the body, be at once dissipated A JUDGE IS BOUND TO DECIDE WITH JUSTICE. and utterly destroyed, as many men say? It is
For a judge sits on the judgment-seat, not to impossible to think so, beloved Cebes and Simadminister laws by favor, but to decide with fair- mias; but it is much rather thus-if it is severed ness; and he has taken an oath that he will not in a state of purity, carrying with it none of the gratify his friends, but determine with a strict pollutions of the body, inasmuch as it did not regard to law.
willingly unite with the body in this present life,
but fled from it, and gathered itself within itself, I WHAT IS DEATH ?
as always meditating this-would this be anything Besides, we may conclude that there is great else than studying philosophy in a proper spirit, hope that death is a blessing. For death is one and pondering how one might die easily? would of two things, either the dead may be nothing not this be a meditation on death? and have no feeling, or, as some say, there is a So 1 John (iii. 2)_“Beloved, it doth not yet appear what the certain change and transference of the soul from shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall one place to another. Well, then, if there be no be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." feeling, but it be like sleep, when the sleeper has
TRANSMIGRATION OF SOULS. no dream, death would surely be a wonderful gain. For I should think, if any one having picked out
out! For example, those who have given themselves a night on which he had slept so soundly that he up to gluttony, sensuality, and drunkenness, and had no dream, and having compared all the nights have put no restraint on their passions, will assume and days of his life with this night, should be
the form of asses, and such like beasts. And asked to consider and say how many days and
those who have preferred to lead a life of injusnights he had lived better and more pleasantly
tice, tyranny, and rapine, will put on the appear. than this night during his whole life. I should | ance of wolves, hawks, and kites. think that not only a private person, but even the
CAUSE OF MISANTHROPY. great king himself, would find them easy to num
For misanthropy arises from a man trusting ber in comparison with other days and nights. If, then, death be a thing of this kind, I call it gain,
| another without having a sufficient knowledge of
his character, and, thinking him to be truthful, for thus all futurity appears to be nothing more than one night. If, on the other hand, death be
sincere, and honorable, finds a little afterwards
that he is wicked, faithless; and then he meets a removal hence to another place, and what is said be true, that all the dead are there, what greater
with another of the same character. When a man blessing can there be than this, ye judges ?
experiences this often, and, more particularly,
from those whom he considered his most dear RETURN NOT EVIL FOR EVIL.
and best friends,-at last, having frequently Neither ought a man to return evil for evil, as
made a slip, he hates the whole world, and · many think; since at no time vught we to do an
thinks that there is nothing sound at all in any of injury to our neighbors.
PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED. “ FROM WHENCE COME WARS AND FIGHTINGS AMONG YOU ?”
But when, being borne along, they arrive at the For nothing else but the body and its desires
Acherusian lake, there they call upon and entreat,
some those whom they slew, others those whom cause wars, seditions, and fightings.
they injured, entreating them, they implore and THE SPIRIT AT WAR WITH THE FLESH. humbly pray that they would allow them to go As long as we are encumbered with the body into the lake and receive them. and our soul is polluted with such an evil, we shaill So Luke (xvi. 23)—“And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being never be able sufficiently to obtain what we de
i in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his
bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy sire.
on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger So Matthew (xxvi. 41)—"The spirit indeed is willing, but in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this the flesh is weak."
THE BODY THE GRAVE OF THE SOUL. | "IF THY RIGHT HAND OFFEND THEE CUT IT OFF." For some say that the body is the tomb of the Since men are willing to have their feet and
hands cut off, if their own limbs seem to them to soul, as being buried at the present time.
be an evil; nor do they cherish and embrace that
which may belong to themselves merely because WISDOM.
it is their own: unless, indeed, any one should It would be well, Agatho (said Socrates), if choose to say that what is good is attached to his wisdom were of that nature that it would flow own nature, and is his own, while that which is from the person who was filled with it to the one evil is foreign and accidental; since there is nothwho was empty, when we touched each other, ing else of which men are in love but good alone. like the water in two cups, which will flow through a flock of wool from the fuller into the emptier,
VIRTUE IS FROM GOD. antil both are equal.
The virtue that is in us comes not from nature,
nor is it taught, but is put in us by the Divinity. DRUNKENNESS.
So 2 Corinthians (iii. 5)—"Not that we are sufficient of our
selves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency For from my knowledge of medicine, it has be- is of God.” come very clear to me that drunkenness is a bad
THE ATHEIST. thing to men, and I would neither myself be willing to drink far on nor advise any one else to do
Those are profane who think that nothing else
exists except what they can grasp with their 50, especially if they were suffering from a surfeit
hands. of the night before.
So Psalms (xiv. 1)_"The fool hath said in his heart, There
is no God. They are corrupt; they have done abominable TO DIE FOR ANOTHER.
works; there is none that doeth good." As to what Homer said, that a god breathed
THE PHILOSOPHER. strength into some heroes, Love furnishes this,
Whether a man dwelling in the city is nobly or produced from himself to all lovers.
| ignobly born, whether some unfortunate event has Moreover, to die for another lovers alone are
taken place to one of his ancestors, man or woman ready, not only men, but also women.
is equally unknown to him as the number of
measures of water in the sea, as the proverb goes. VEX OF SENSE CONTRASTED WITH THE MULTI
And he is not aware of his own ignorance; nor TUDE.
does he keep aloof from such things from mere For to a man of any mind a few persons of sense vanity, but, in reality, his body only dwells in the are more awful than a multitude of fools.
city and sojourns there, while his mind regarding
all such things as trivial, and of no real moment, LOVE MAKES A MAN TO BE A POET.
despising them, is carried about everywhere, as
Pindar says, measuring things under the earth and Each becomes a poet when Love touches him,
upon its surface, raising his eyes to the stars in though he was not musical before.
heaven, and examining into the nature of everyShakespeare (* As You Like It," act ii., sc. 7) speaks of a thing in the whole universe, never stooping to lorer
anything near at hand. * With his woful ballad, made to his mistress' eyebrow."
FOLLY OF PRIDE OF BIRTH.
And when they praise nobleness of birth,-how For it is Love that causes peace among men, as
some great man is able to show seven rich ancescalm on the sea, a lulling of the winds, sweet sleep
tors,-he thinks that such praise can only proceed on joyless beds. It is he who takes from us the feel
from the stupid, and from men who look merely ing of enmity, and fills us with those of friendship;/ at trines; in fact
at trifles; in fact, from those who, through ignowho establishes friendly meetings, being the ra
rance, are not able to take a comprehensive view leader in festivals, dances, and sacrifices, giving
of the question, nor to perceive that every man mildness and driving away harshness; the benefi
has countless myriads of ancestors and progenitors, cent bestower of Goodwill the non giver of onmiamongst whom there must have been myriads of ty; gracious to the good, looked up to by the wise,
ise rich and poor, kings and slaves, barbarians and admired by the gods; envied by those who have
Greeks. no lot in life, possessed by those who have; the
EVIL. parent of luxury, of tenderness, of elegance, of It is not possible, Theodorus, to get rid of evil grace, of desire, and regret; careful of the good, altogether; for there must always be something regardless of the bad; in labor, in fear, in wishes, opposite to good; nor can it be placed among the and in speech, the pilot, the defender, the by-gods, but must of necessity circulate round this stander and best savior; of gods and men, taken mortal nature and world of ours. Wherefore we altogether, the ornament; a leader the most beau- ought to fly hence as soon as possible to that blul and best, in whose train it becomes every upper region; but this flight is our resembling the man to follow, hymning well his praise, and bear- Divinity as much as we are able, and this reseming a part in that sweet song which he sings him-blance is that we should be just, and holy, and seil, when soothing the mind of every god and man. 'wise.
So John (iii. 6)- "That which is born of the flesh is flesh." | So Matthew (xxiii. 28)—“Within ye are full of hypocrisy
and iniquity." GOD AND MAN. God is in nowise in the least unjust, but is as just
GOOD SENSE CANNOT BE TAUGHT. as possible; and there is no one more like to Him
| But when the affairs of the city are the subject than the man among us who has become as just
of discussion, any one rises up and gives his opinas possible. It is on this that the real excellence
ion on such matters, whether he be a builder, a of a man depends, and his nothingness and worth
brazier, a shoemaker, a merchant, a ship's captain, lessness.
rich or poor, noble or ignoble, and no one makes
objection to them as to the former, that without So Psalms (xi. 7)—"For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness."
having received instruction, or having been the
pupil of any one, they yet attempt to give advice “WHO SHALL DELIVER ME FROM THE BODY OF for it is evident that they think this cannot be TUIS DEATH ?”
taught. Being initiated, and beholding perfect, simple,
FOOLS. and happy visions in the pure light-being our
The race of fools is not to be counted. selves pure, and, as yet, unclothed with this, which, carrying about us, we call the body, to WE OUGHT TO LISTEN TO OUR ELDERS. which we are bound as an oyster to its shell.
As for me, Cephalus, it gives me great pleasure EVERY GOOD GIFT IS FROM ABOVE.
to converse with those who are far advanced in
years; for I feel that I ought to learn from them, Tell me, therefore, what benefits the gods de- as from men who have proceeded before me on rive from the gifts they receive from us; for the that road along which we must perhaps travel, advantage derived from what they bestow is evi- what is the nature of the road, whether it is rough dent to every one; for there is no perfect gift and difficult, or easy and level. which they do not bestow; but how are they benefited by what they get from us? Have we so
MEN ARE FOND OF THE RICHES ACCUMULATED BY much advantage in this traffic, that we receive
THEMSELVES. everything good from them, and they nothing. For as poets are fond of their own poems, and from us?
parents of their children, so also those who have
made their own fortune are delighted with their EXPERIENCE.
wealth, as the workmanship of their own hands, Chærephon, there are many arts among men, not looking merely at its utility, as others are apt the knowledge of which is acquired bit by bit by to regard it. experience. For it is experience that causes our life to move forward by the skill we acquire, while
APPROACH OF DEATH CAUSES MAN TO REFLECT. want of experience subjects us to the effects of For be assured of this, Socrates, that when a chance.
man imagines that he is approaching the close of
his life, fearful thoughts enter his mind, and anxBEST THINGS ARE HEALTH, BEAUTY, AND RICHES. Liety about things which never occurred to him
I think you must have heard at banquets men before. For the stories told us respecting the resinging that distich, in which the singers run over gions below,-how the man who has acted unthe various blessings of life,-how the best is justly here must there dree his punishment, health the second is beauty, and the third, as the though he may have laughed at them hitherto, author of the song says, is to be rich with inno- now torment his spirit, lest they should, after all, cence.
be true. And the man, either from the weakness
incident to old age, or because they are seen closer PUNISHMENT.
to him, looks at them with more attention. Then Punishment brings wisdom, makes men more he becomes full of suspicions and dread, ponders just, and is the healing art of wickedness.
and considers in what he has done any one wrong. So Hebrews (xii. 5)—“My son, despise not thou the chast
Finding in his life many wicked and base deeds, ening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him." and waking up from his sleep, like a child, he is
overwhelmed with terror, and lives on with sad THE ADVANTAGE OF CHASTISEMENT.
thoughts of the future. But to the man who is Those who derive advantage, suffering punish- conscious of no wicked deed, there is sweet and ment both from gods and men, are such as have pleasant hope, the solace of old age, as Pindar been guilty of offences that can be cured; yet it is says. through pain and torments that advantage is derived both here and in Hades; for injustice cannot
HATE NOT YOUR ENEMY. be got rid of in any other way.
If, then, any man says that it is right to give So Psalms (ciii. 3)—"Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who every one his due, and therefore thinks within his healeth all thy diseases."
own mind that injury is due from a just man to
his enemies, but kindness to his friends, he was TO BE, AND NOT TO SEEM GOOD.
not wise who said so, for he spoke not the truth; Not merely to appear good ought man to care, for in no case has it appeared to be just to injure but to be so both privately and publicly.
| any one.