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dations of the most famous cities in Greece are quite destroyed, and that nothing is left whereby to conjecture there ever were such cities? Time not only overthrows the works of mens hands, and the wonders of human art and industry; even the tops of mountains have mouldered away, and whole regions became a desert. Places that were far distant from the sea have been overwhelmed with a sudden inundation; and fire hath quite consumed the hills, from whence it before gave only a splendid Aame; and in times past hath eaten away the loftieft promontories, once a joyful fight to the fatigued mariners ; and reduced the highest landmarks to a bank of fand.
Seeing then that the works of Nature herself are often thus detroyed, we ought to bear with æquanimity the ruin of a city. All things are frail and perishable, and must one day come to decay: whether it be that the winds, pent up beneath the earth, have by a sudden blast, or their own internal strength, thrown off the weight that before pressed them down; or the force of the waters in secret places hath made its way through all oppofition; or the violence of fames have rent the closures of the earth; or age, against which nothing is fafe, hath
gradually wore it away; or whether the unwholesomeness of the air hath driven away the people, and infection even poisoned a desert, it would be endless to recount the many ways whereby Fate haftens on destruction. But this one thing I know, that all the works of mortals are subject to, and condemned by, mortality; and that we live in a state wherein all things around us must one day inevitably perish.
These then and the like reflections I often adyance, in order to comfort our friend Liberalis, whose breast, I say, is inflamed with inexpreslible love of his country, and of this city in particular; which
perhaps is now destroyed, that it may be rebuilt in a nobler taste. Injuries have often made way for better fortune ; and many things have fallen only to rise higher and greater. Timagenes (8) no well-wisher to the prosperity of the city, was wont to say, that he should be forry if Rome was destroyed by fire, for be well knew that it would rise again in greater fplendour than before. And with regard to the city now loft,
it is probable that all men will endeavour, that greater and more lasting buildings may be erected, than what they have loft. May they be lafting indeed, and built under more happy auspices! For, scarce. an. hundred
have passed, since this colony was first founded ; (which is not the extremest age of man himself) under the conduct of Plancus (b), and by reason of its agreeable ftuation, it soon grew very populous; and yet hath suffered the most grievous calainaties within the age of man.
Let the mind therefore be taught to understand, and patiently to bear, whatever may be its lot; and let it know, there is nothing beyond the daring of Fortune. That she hath the same
That The hath the same power over kingdoms themselves, as over the rulers thereof. We are to repine at none of these things; we have entered upon a world, where we live subject to these conditions. Are you not pleased with it? Regret not the being taken out of it (i). You might well be angry, was any thing to happen particularly to you. But if the fame necessity binds both high and low, you have nothing to do but to reconcile yourself to Fate, by whom all things are determined ( to their proper end.) There is no need to measure man by his tomb, or by those monuments that are spread on each side the road of an unequal fize. The grave sets all men upon this level. We are born unequal, but we die equal.
- The same I say of cities, as of the inhabitants thereof. Ardea (k) hath been taken as well as Rome. The supreme Author of mankind Hath not distinguished us in our birth and nobility, but' during life. When we come to the end of all mortal things, Be gone, faith he, Ambition; and let there be the same law to all things that tread the earth. We are alike born to variety of suffering: no one is more frail
. than another; no one more sure of seeing to-morrow's sun.
Alexander, king of Macedonia, wretch as he was, begun to learn geometry, that he might know how little the earth was, of which he possessed so small a part: I call him wretched, because he ought to have known from hence, that he had no title to the surname of Great;
for what can be called Great in so sinall. a space? The things taught hin were subtle, and not to be learned but by close attention, and constant application, not such as a madman could well comprehend, whose thoughts were intent upon plunder, and roving beyond the ocean.. Teach me, saith he, easy things. To which his tutor replied, These things are the fame to all: every one finds in them the like difficulty. Suppose now, Lucilius, Nature to say the same thing to you. , The things whereof you complain are the fame to all men: The admits, no one on easier terms: but every one that pleases may make them easier. Do you ask how? by æquanimity,
You must necessarily feel pain, be hungry, and thirst, and
grow old; and though a longer time be given you among men, you must one day be fick, and die. Yet there is no necessity for believing all that is said by those who are continually buzzing about you with complaints. None of these things are properly evils; none intolerable, or even hard to be borne. They became dreadful by prejudice and common consent. Ye are as afraid of death, as of a false report. But what can be more ridiculous than to be afraid of mere words? Our Demetrius used pleasantly to say, that the reports of the ignorant were to him like breaking wind. What is it to me, he said, whether the sound comes from above or below ? (1) How absurd is it to be afraid of infamy from infamous men! And as you are causelesily afraid of what fame says of you,
fo are ye of those things which ye would never have, feared, had not fame or report commanded ye so to do. What detriment can a good man receive froin being scandalized by malicious tongues ? for even Death is alike scandalized. No one of those who accuse him, speaks from experience. In the mean time we Mhould not condemn.what we do not know. But this you know, that it hath proved a great benefit to many in delivering them from tortures, from want, from complaints, from punishment, from anxiety. We are subject to the
power ane, when it is in the power of death to deliver us (m).
(a) Æbutius Liberalis, to whom Seneca inscribed his book (de beneficiis) of benefits.
(6) Tacit. Ann. 1. 16. To the inhabitants of Lyons, as a relief for their late calamity by fire, the Emperor presented 100,000 crowns, to repair the damages of the city.
• As in David's complaint-rea, my own familiar friend in whom I trufted, which did eat of my bread, bath lift up his heel againft me. Pf. xli. 9. (c) Euripides Phan. 561. "On bacos 6:62105 dina šonpepes
Wealth is the unstable blessing of a day
Έφημερες γαρ τας τυχας κεκομεθα.
Και μίήμερα •
- one day serves
Some to depress, and others to exalt. (d) Incrementa lente.] Tacitus- (in Agricola) Natara' infiftitatis humanæ, tarjiora funt remedia quam mala; et ut corpora lentè augescunt, cito extinguuntur: fic ingenia facilus opprefferis, quàm recreaveris. Such is the frailty of man, and its effects, that much more flow is the progress of the remedies than of the evils, end as human bodies attain their grosuth by degrees, and are subjea to be destroyed in an instant ; so it is much easier to suppress than to revive the efforts of genius and ftudy. Gordon. (e)
War; famine, peft, volcano, storm, and fire, j 11. Inteftine broils, oppression, with her heart
Wrapt up in triple brass, besiege mankind.
Want and incurable disease, (fell pair!)
On Kapless multitudes remorselefs feize, 1.
At once, and make a refuge of the grave. Yourg, -01) Alluding to the seven hills, on which Rome was bụilt.
(8) A Rhetorician and Historian of Alexandria. He was brought captive to Rome by Gabinius, under Pompey the Great, and redeemed by Fauftus; the son of Sylla ; but was expelled the city.on account of his malevolent tongue; though Ammian speaks well of him. He died in his exile.
Rupet Hiarbitam Timagenis æmula lingua. But Pincian supposes that Seneca meant this of the Emperor Caligula, who, as Suetonius reports, was most inveterate against the prosperity of Roine. -- () A Planco deducta]. So Lipfius; which from among the various readings seems to be right. For, according to Eusebius, Munacius Plancus Ciceronis difcipulus, orator habetur infignis; qui cum Galliam comatai regeret, Lugdunum condidit ; Munarius Plancus, a disciple of Cicero, was efteemed an excellent orator, who when be commanded in Gaul (beyond the Alps) founded the city Lyons. An. U. C.811.
(i). Non placet ? quacunque vis exi.] This also is an expression which I thought myself obliged pot to translate literally; it being a doctrine totally repugnant to the Christian ; and indeed to what
Seneca hath advanced elsewhere, and particularly in the foregoing sentence; where he says, the mind ought to be made sensible of the infirmities of human nature, and the unsteady course of things, that so it might patiently endure whatever may be its lot.
(k) Once a city in Italy, where, T'urnus, king of the Rutilians, kept his court.
(1) And our facetious Tom Brown, in the same strain speaks of death itself; which, however false the logic, or impolite the terms, is so much to our purpose, that the reader, I hope, will excuse my transcribing it, as it is not every one that has read, or will read, Tom Brown,
If man must die as oft as breath departs,
and so a
for Death. (m) That is (not I own what Seneca means by, cùm mors in noftrâ poteftate fit, but) as I would understand it; No power on earth can hurt us, but for a short time; seeing that Death must come, which, when Providence thinks proper, will deliver us out of all our trouble.
i E PIST L E
The Difference between exhortatory and dogmatical Philosopby.
part of philosophy, Lucilius, which adapts proper precepts 10 particular persons, and form's not the man in general, but directs the husband how he ought to behave himfelf towards his wife; the father how he ought to educate his children; the mother how to govern his servants, and the like; fome are so very fond of, as to reject all other parts as useless and extravagant, as if any one could teach particulars, who was not master of the whole Duty of Man in the conduct of life.
But Arifto, the Stoic, on the contrary, thinks this but a trivial part of philosophy, as not reaching the heart of man: and affirms that part (the dogmatical) to be the more profitable; and that the axioms or decrees of philosophy are what constitute the chief good; which part of philosophy when a man hath sufficiently learned and understood, he needs nothing more, by way of instruction, throughout the whole business of life. As he that learns to throw a dart, takes a fit ftand for