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ever flows in a prosperous and happy course (d), dependent entirely upon itself. And what we further collect from hence is, that this
perfect man, this adept in virtue, never cursed Fortune; was never cast down by any accident, and looking upon himself as a foldier and citizen of the world, underwent all labours as patiently as if they were enjoined him by the command of his superiors. Whatever happened to him he received it, not with discontent, as an accidental evil, but as his destined lot in life. This, faith he, be it what it will, is my portion. It is hard : it is indeed severe ; but we must bear it, and do the best we can.
He necessarily appeared therefore, in all respects, a great man; whom no disasters could ever distort a ligh or groan ; who never complained of his fate: he gave to many a taste of his goodneis, which fhone as a light in a dark place (e); turning the inclinations and affections of every one towards him, being mild and gracious, and alike just in all affairs both human and divine. His mind was perfect, being advanced to that height, above which there is nothing but the mind of God. A part whereof condescended to dwell even in this mortal breast (f); which is never more divine, than when it reflects upon its own mortality; and knows that man was born to this end; that he must one day part with life ; and that this body is not a fixed habitation, but an inn; and indeed an inn, where we must make but a short stay; and must certainly leave it, at the pleasure or displeasure of our host.
It is a very strong argument with me, dear Lucilius, that the foul is derived from some higher source, when it looks upon all earthly things, wherewith at present it is conversant, as mean and vile; and is under no dread to leave them. For he knows whither he is going, who recollects from whence he came. See we not how many things incommode and trouble us; and how irksome this body is to us? Sometimes we complain of the bowels, sometimes of the head, sometimes of the breast and throat; at one time the nerves, at another our feet rack us; to-day a lowness of spirit; to-morrow a violent cold; sometimes too much blood; sometimes too little; thus are we tossed about, and at last obliged to go off. This is what generally happens to those who live in a tenement not their own. And yet though such a weak and putrid body be our portion, we nevertheless lay schemes for eternity; and as far as human life can possibly be extended, so far do we stretch our hopes; never satisfied with riches or power. But what can be more ridiculous? What more shameful? Nothing contenteth us, who' must die soon, nay, who die every day; for we daily draw near our end; and every hour drives us to the precipice from whence we shall surely fall.
Observe then in what a state of blindness our minds are involved! That which I said must come, is now come, and great part of it already gone: for the time we have lived, is there, where it was before we lived (g). We greatly err in fearing our last day ; fince each of the foregoing contributes as inuch unto death, as this. It is not this last Nep that hath tired us when we drop; it only makes us know and confess that we are tired. 'The last day reacheth death, the former advanced towards it. Death cuts us not off at once, but only crops us continually (5). A great soul therefore, conscious of a better state in reverfion, and a more exalted condition, endeavours indeed, in the station wherein it is placed, to demean itself industriously and honestly; but it looks upon none of those things that surround it, as its own property; but as things lent us for a while, and useth them accordingly, as a stranger, and one that is hastening to another abode (i).
Now when we see a man acting with such constancy and integrity, it cannot but present us with the distinguishing marks of an uncommon understanding ; something, I say, above the common standard of human nature; especially, if as I before observed, this greatness is attended with the manifestation of truth. Truth ever keeps the fame steady course. Things false and counterfeit last not, being ever subject to change. Thus some men are at one time Vatinius', at another time Cato's; one while they think Curius not severe; nor Fabricius poor enough: they will scarcely allow Tubero to be frugal, and fufliciently content with his little: and at another time they challenge Licinius in wealth, Apicius in luxury, and Mecanas in the most clegant delights.
Nothing For there is little or no difference, Lucilius, between not wanting a thing, and having it. The effect is the same in both; you will no longer be in pain. Not that I command you to deny Nature any thing The properly asks. She is stubborn, and not easily to be overcome. She demands her own. But I would have you know, that what exceeds the call of nature is precarious, and unnecessary. I am hungry; and must therefore eat; but whether it be the common sort of bread, or made of the finest wheat-flour, is of no concern to Nature; she does not desire any otherwise to please the belly, than by filling it. thirsty, and whether I drink of the next pool (c), or of such water as is mixed with snow, in order to give it a coolness not its own, it is the same to nature. She desires nothing more than to quench her thirst; it matters not whether it be out of a cup made of gold, or of crystal, or of the Chalcedonian pebble, or a plain earthen mug (d), or from the hollow of the hand. Fix thine eye upon the end or design of all things, and you will disdain superfluities. Hunger calls upon me; I therefore reach out my hand to the next thing I meet with that is eatable. Hunger will make me relish it, be it what it will; an hungry stomach disdains not any thing.
to be poor,
If you ask now what it is that hath so delighted me; it is this, which I think an excellent sentence, fapiens, divitiarum naturalium eft quæsitor acerrimus, the wife man is a most diligent searcher after natural riches. But this, you say, is setting before me an empty platter. What can this mean? I was preparing my begs, and considering in what sea 1 fiould first make my trading voyage, what public business I should take in hand, or what wares I fiould fend for. This is deceiving me; to teach me
when you promised me riches. Do you then think the man poor, who wants nothing ? But this, you say, be owes to himself, and the benefit of his patience, not to Fortune. Well; and do
therefore think him not rich, because his riches, such as they are, can never forfake him? Tell me, which you had rather have? much, or a sufficient competency? He that hath much desireth more; which is an argument that he hath not enough: he that thinks he hath enough, hath attained what the rich man never can, the end of his wishes (*).
Or do you think them no riches, for which a man is in no danger of being proscribed ? or because they are not enough to tempt a bad son or wife to prepare poison for their father or husband ? because they are fafe in time of war, or in peace at their own disposal? Because it is neither dangerous to enjoy them, nor does it require much labour to dispose of them?
think a man hath but little, who hath just enough to keep him from being cold, or hungry, or thirsty ? Jupiter himself hath not more. It is never little, which is enough. Alexander of Macedon, after he had conquered Darius and the Indians, was still poor. He was still seeking fomewhat more, which he might call his own: he searcheth out unknown feas: he sends a fresh fleet into the ocean : and, if I may say it, he breaks through the barriers of the known world. What Nature is fatisfied with, satisfieth not man. There are those who still desire something, when they have got every thing. So great is the blindness of our minds; and so forgetful is every one of their beginning, when they see themselves advanced; that he, who was but now master of a little nook in Greece, and that controvertible, is soon after grieved, that, being checked in his career by the far distant end of the world, he must now return through that world he has made his own. Money never made any one rich. On the contrary, it only makes the poffeffor more covetous and needy. Do you ask the cause of this? The more a man hath, the more he thinks it possible to have.
Upon the whole, set before me one of those whose name may
be joined with that of Crasus, or Licinus ( e); and let him set down his revenues, and take into the account not only what he hath, but what he hopes to have. Yet even such a one, if you
will believe me, is poor; or, if you
will believe yourself, he may be fo. Whereas the man who hath fo composed and formed himself to that which Nature alone requires of him, is not only out of the reach, or sense of poverty, but from the dread of it. But that
you may know how difficult a thing it is for a man to straiten himself within the measure of Nature, even he, whom we supposed to live according to Nature, and whom
you call poor, hath fill fomething that is superfluous. But riches attract and blind the common people; when they fee large sums of money expended in any houle; or the house adorned with gold; or if the family be comely in body, and fplendid in apparel; the happiness of such a family exifts in oftentation and outward thew; but the nan whom we have withdrawn, both from the eye of the people, and the reach of fortune, i happy within himfelf. For as to those, whom poverty hath seized ufus, under the fulle name of riches, they have
iches, as we are said to have an ague, when the ague hath us. ought therefore to fay, an ague hath hold of such a one, in like manner we should lay, riches hath hold of him.
There is nothing therefore I would sooner remind you of than this, which but few or none sufficiently observe : that you measure all things by pure natural desires, which are easily satisfied, or with
very be careful to keep your desires clear from vice. You enquire perhaps, what sort of table I would keep, what plate, and how many spruce servants in livery I would have attend dinner? Know then, that Nature requireth nothing more than meat and drink;
Nam tibi cùm fauces urit sitis, aurea quæris
An ortelan, or turbot ?
It is well content when fatisfied; nor regardeth much by what means. Such torments belong to wretched luxury: which though glutted, is continually seeking to get an appetite ; not to fill the belly, but to stuff it: and how to recover the thirst that hath been quenched by the first draught. Horace therefore hath elegantly denied that it at all concerns the thirsty, in what glass, or with what delicate hand they are served with water. For if
you think it of