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up, either in the fear of something worse, or in the hope of some good, which is thought worthy of pursuit. Hence the thoughts of the agent are at variance: and there is something that urgeth him on one hand, to execute his purpose: and on the other hand, what draws him back, and deters him from the suspected peril; therefore, I say, he is distracted in his thoughts: and where this is the case, all glory is lost: for virtue ever performs her resolutions with a steady and constant mind: she is never afraid to enter upon action : Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito (b).
But thou secure of soul, unbent with woes,
The more thy fortune frowns, the more oppose. Dryden. But you cannot go on so boldly, if you think them real evils.
This notion therefore must first be rooted out, otherwise suspicion will traverse and stay thy course: or the mind will be forced upon that, which it ought to have undertaken willingly.
The Stoics indeed seem to think the question, as first put by Zeno, true; but the other in opposition to it, false and vain.
For my part I am not for treating these things logically; or having recourse to the knotty quirks of idle sophistry. I think all this kind of business ought to be discarded: wherein he, to whom the question is put, is suspicious of a fallacy, and being brought to confeffion, anfwereth one thing, and thinks another. Truth is to be dealt with in a more plain and simple manner; and in order to root out all fear, we must deal more openly and manly. The things which by these sophisters are involv'd in such intricacies, I had rather folve and explain; that I might persuade, and not impose upon, the hearer. When a general is leading an army into the field, there perhaps to die for their wives and children, in what terms will he exhort them! Look upon the Fabii(i) transferring the whole war of the republic upon one family. Look upon the Lacedæmonians in the streights of Thermopylæ (k); without any hopes of victory or a return; when that place seem'd their destin'd grave:
grave : what will
you alledge in order to intice them to sacrifice themselves for the republic; and sather part from their lives, than their stand? you will say;
What is evil is not glorious,
But Death is glorious Therefore Death is no evil.
O most powerful harangue! who after this, would scruple to give himself up
to the drawn sword, and die upon the spot? But what a noble speech was that of Leonidas, when he said, fo dine my fellow-foldiers, as if ye were to sup in another world(1) They snapped up their meat; scarcely staid to chew it; nor did any fall from their hands. They went cheerfully to dinner, and to supper both. And how did that brave Roman General address his soldiers, whom he ordered to take a certain place, which they could not come at, but by forcing their way through the vast army of their enemies ? There is a necessity, my fellow-warriors, for your going thither, but none for your coming back. You see how plain and imperious, virtue, or true valour is. What mortal can your circumlocutions make more valiant, more firm, and steady? Şuch amusements are apt to break the mind, which ought by no means to be contracted and driven into difficulties, at a time, when it ought to be the more enlarged for some great enterprise.
But the fear of death ought to be rooted out not only from the minds of a few hundred, or of an army, but of all men in general. And how will you
teach them, that it is not an evil? How will you overcome the prejudices of men, in every age, imbibed from their very infancy? What help will you find? What remedy will you propose for the weakness of human nature? What will you say to animate men so, as to make them rush into the midst of danger ? With what harangue will you avert this universal fear? With what strength of reasoning will you dissuade mankind from a persuasion, so universal, and determined against all you can say? Will you study captious words, and form petty questions? Know that mighty monsters are not to be quelled but by mighty weapons. In vain did the Roman soldiers discharge their sings and quivers against that large and cruel serpent in Africa, which was more terrible to the Legions than war itself. Like the Python he was invulnerable, when from the vast and solid bulk of his body, the steely weapon, or whatever else was thrown by mortal hand, rebounded; but at length he was crushed by mill-stones (m ]And do you now throw such petty weapons against death? Will you encounter a lion with a bodkin? They are sharp things which you advance. And what is Marper than the bearded ear of barley? But their own fineness makes fome things useless, and ineffectual.
(a) Theognis, ν. 1193. Ασπάλαθοι δε ταπησιν ομβιον στρωμα θανόντι.
to tbe dead, To lie on thorns or tapestry, is the same. (6) As they treated criminals, both before and after execution.
(c) So Antifthenes ap. Laert. Ταχη κατασκευαστέον έν τοϊς ημών αναλωτοις λογισμούς. For as it was said with great applause on the stage
Si regnum a me Fortuna atque opes
rob me of my wealth and throne;
She can no more : fill Virtue is my ozun. (d) This must be understood of Decius Brutus, who, as Vellius writes, flying for shelter to the house of one Capenus, a nobleman, was there flain by those whom M. Anthony sent in pursuit of him. For this contemptuous relation will by no means suit with the story of the famons Marcus Brutus, the friend and affaflin of Cafar. See Valer. Max. l. 9. c. c. 13.
(e) For this anecdote we must give credit to Seneca, as not related elsewhere. Lipsius gives you the like story of one Cneius Carbo, from Valer. Max. l. 19. 13. who mentions the death of Brutus, but without this circumstance. (8)
Aye, but to die, and go we know not where ;
To what we fear in death.---Shakesp. Measure for Measure, (8) Plaro also highly inveighs against the poets for making Death, terrible enough in itself, much more terrible by such their fictions and idle stories. Vid. de Republ. 1. 3. (5) To which some copies add that unnecessary hemistic---
Quàm tua te Fortuna finet-not in Virgil. (1) Fabius (so called from faba, a bean, being the first planter of beans in Italy) with his family and children, 300 in number, waged war with the Veiates, and were all flain to one man : from whom was descended this noble family down to the celebrated Fabius Maximus, Consul with Julius Cæfar, Ann. M. C. 709.
(k) Thermopylæ] The straits between the mountains of Thessaly and Phocis; where Leonidas, King of Sparta, opposed a vak army of the Perfians, YOL. II. H
(1) As I think it is somewhere faid by Cæfar, Fight on, my brave fellow-foldiers, you will either conquer or sup with Jupiter.
(m) Ne Python quidem vulnerabilis----al. invulnerabilis---ne pilo quidem vel ne publis---Erasm. ne Pythio (i. e. Apollina) Suret. But I am more apt to think, with Pincian, that the whole sentence is not genuine. Or, if I may not be allowed the sense given it in the translation, I should sooner prefer Erasmus' pilo, (i. e. he was invulnerable to the pyke or spear) than either Python or Pysbio.
È PISTLE LXXXIII,
I T seems you are inquisitive, Lucilius, to know how I spend my time, even my whole time; and are pleased to entertain so good an opinion of me as to think, that I desire not to conceal any part of it from you. Indeed we ought so to live, as in the light of man; and so to employ our thoughts, as if the inmost recesses of our hearts were open to some inspector. They certainly are so: for what avails it to keep any thing secret from man; when we can hide nothing from God! He is intimate to our souls (a); and interposeth himself in our common thoughts; fo indeed as never absolutely to leave us. I will oblige you therefore in your request, and will transmit to you in writing how I pass my time, and after what method I generally act. I will, forthwith, make some observations on myself; and what is truly useful and of consequence, review the day past.
Nothing contributes more to the making men worse, as to their morals, than their not regarding their paft conduct. We think indeed upon what we are about to do; though this but seldom; and what we have done, is entirely forgotten. Good counsel however for the future depends, in a great measure, upon the experience of what is past. This, my Lucilius, hath been a complete day with me (6): not a person hath broke in upon a moment of it. The whole was divided between my
couch and reading-desk: very little allowed for exercise of the body: I am oblig'd to old age for this; it puts me to very little trouble in this respect; when I stir, I am soon tired, But this is the common end of exercise, even to the strongest. Would you know, who are my companions (c) herein ? One is enough for me, Eurinus, an amiable boy not unknown to you. But I must change him. He grows too robust He says indeed, that we are both at the same crisis of
age, forasmuch as we are shedding our teeth; but the young rogue runs too fast for me; I can scarce overtake him; and in a few days I shall not be able; so much he gains upon me by daily exercise. In a very short time there is a great distance between two that are travelling different ways. As he is going up, I am going down: and you know how much swifter the one travels than the other. Did I say, I was going down? I was mistaken; for my age is such I am not going, but falling down. But would you know how ended this day's contention between us? why, as feldom it does between two racers, neither of us beat (d).
From this, rather a fatigue, than exercise, I go into the cold bath; I do not mean such as is extremely cold: for I (who took so much delight in bathing and swimming that even on the Kalends of January, I would leap into the coldest pond; and as I was wont to begin the new year (*) with reading, writing, or dictating fomething, as a foretoken of success; so began I to bath, by plunging into spring water) first moved my tent to the river Tyber (), and afterwards had recourse to the bathing tub: which, as I am yet pretty strong, and would have all things done as hould be, the fun alone sufficiently warmeth for me. I spend not however much time in bathing; and after that, I eat a piece of dry bread, or biscuit, and dine without a table; nor have I any occasion to wash my Neep
hands after dinner. I seep a little while: you know my custom: my sleep was always very short; I rest, as it were a while (g); and think it enough not to be broad awake. Sometimes indeed I know that I have slept; but fometimes I only think so. Lo! the noise of the Circus is continually buzzing in my ears, and sometimes strikes them with a sudden and universal thout: however it does not chale away my thoughts: nor even interrupt them. I bear the clamour moft patiently: and the many voices, that are joined together in one con