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music, we carry away the modulation and sweetness of an air, that engages our thoughts, nor will suffer us to give attention to any thing nore serious; so the voice of flatterers, and of such as commend vice, stays longer with us than the time we give it hearing ; nor is it an eafy matter to shake off from the fond mind the pleasing sound : it pursues us; will not forsake us; and at times will interfere do what we can. We must shut our ears therefore to frivolous discourse; and indeed to the first attack of such men; for, when once they have made a beginning, and find free admission, they soon grow bolder, and at length come to the following language:
“ Virtue, Philosophy, and Justice! what are they but mere empty " sounds! Our only happiness consists in good living ! to do every
thing we please; ånd to enjoy one's patrimony. This is to live ; “ this is to remember that we are mortal : the day fleets from us, and “ life irrecoverably passeth away (e). Why should we scruple to em“ brace every delight, and to treat life with those pleasures it cannot
always enjoy; but now can, and even demands them? What avails “ it to stretch our frugality even beyond the grave ? and now to deny “ ourselves those things which death will soon deprive us of? What
wretch art thou, who hast no mistress? and no minion for a “ mistress to envy! How ridiculous is it to walk the streets sober, “ and to sup so early and frugally as if you were to make a diary for the “ approbation of a father! This is not to live for yourself, but for “ another! What madness is it for a man to follicit for his heir ! and “ to deny himself every thing, that the prospect of a large legacy, or “ an inheritance may make your friend your enemy!
your enemy! For, the more “ he is to receive, the sooner will he desire, and rejoice in your
death. “ Value not a rush those severe and supercilious censurers of other “ men's lives, and enemies to their own; those public pedagogues, “ who would fain govern the world ! Despise them we say, and make
no scruple to prefer mirth, and good living, to the empty name of “ a good man."
Such harangues as these are to be dreaded, as the voice of the Syrins whom Ulyles would not venture to hear; before he had bound himself to the main-maft. They are altogether as prevalent; they draw us from our country, our parents, our friends, our virtue: and bafely inveigle those wretches that listen to them into a scandalous life. How much better is it to walk in the strait path, and to attain this happy end, to think those things alone delightful, which are sit and honourable? And this we should certainly attain, if we suppose and sincerely reflect on two sorts of things, those that have sufficient charms to incite us, or those that are attended with horror. By the former I mean riches, pleasures, beauty, ambition, and the like pleasing, swectly-foothing baits; while such as drive us from them with abhorrence, are ignominy, hard-living, labour, pain and death. We must therefore be well exercised that we fear not these, nor covet the foriner. We must fight contrariwise, retreat from thofe that invite us to them, and make head against those that press upon us.
not how different is the attitude of those, who ascend or descend an hill? They that go
down a fteep place bend their bodies backward ; they that go up stoop forwards. For if when you defcend you stoop forwards, or in ascending lean backwards, this, my Lucilius, would be to favour and assist the
precipice. Now, we descend into pleasures, but climb up against adverfity and hardships : here then must we stoop forward our bodies, and in the former case lean them back, restraining them with all our might.
But think not that these are the only men whose discourse is pernicious to us, while they recommend pleasure, and instil a dread of pain; which is terrible enough in itself. No, there are others whom I think as prejudicial; I mean those who under a pretence of affecting Stoicism exhort to vice: for, this is their boast: that the lover is the only wise and learned man; and that be is most wise, who hath the mojt skill iz drinking and feasting. Let us enquire then, say they, to what age young men are amiable.—No; let us give up those vices to the Grerks; and rather attend to the following instructions: No one is casually good: virtue is to be learned: preasure is a low and mean engagement; to be held in no esteem ; common with dumb animals; the lowest and most contemptible VOL. II.
have recourse thereto; glory is something vain, volatile, and more inconstant than the winds; poverty is no real burthen, but to those who repugn it; death is no evil; why do you complain? This is the most just and equal law to all mankind: fuperftition is a mad error (f); it fears those, who ought most to be beloved; and abuseth those it worstippeth: for what difference is there whether you deny the Gods, or scandalize them? These are the things, Lucilius, that are to be learned ; nay, they are to be learned, as we say, by heart. Philosophy should never suggest any excuses for vice; the fick man can have but little hopes of recovery, to whom his physician recommends intemperance.
(a) A dicbus optantem: al. a diis. al. a diu optatis. al. octayam, referring to the hour of fupper :
Exul ab octava Marius bibit, et fruitur diis
Leaves thee, prevailing province, to complain. Dryden. (6) Cæna Diali) al. adjiciali, five adiciali. Ep. 95.
(c) Numidarum equitatus) So in Ep. 87. Cursores, et Numidas, et multum ante se pulveris agentem. (d) Defideret medicamentum) So Juvenal, of women:
Sed quæ mutatis inducitur, atque fovetur
'Twas so unlike a face, it seem'd a fore. Dryden. (e) Una felicitas eft, bona vita, facere omnia libere) This is another pafrage in full agreement with that of St. Paul, coxie let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die. i. Cor. xi. 32. which in my paraphrase of that admirable chapter runs thus :
Come, let us swim in pleafure; swim at large;
The common period of all earthly beings.
people were more sober and frugal than the Lacedæmonians. -St. Paul certainly took it from Il. xxii. 13. but to a different end, &c.
(f) Error insanas, al infantis, a childish error. • Superftition is a very dangerous weapon, that cuts with two edges; for while it fils with some false fears, the absurdity of those fears drives others into infidelity. Superftition built the Pagan hell and elysium, and infidelity, not content with pulling down the superstructure, erased the very foundations. The extreme errors are, ruperstition, which realizes the fire and the worm; and infidelity, which, laughing at these, overbooks the analogy. Malampus, p. 207.
Against the Epicureans, that Good confifis in Reason and not in Senfe.
Possum multa tibi veterum præcepta referre,
many solid precepts could rehearse,
Would you attend to the instructive verse. But you, I know, Lucilius, will attend; nor are you disgusted at the most subtle question. Such is your elegance of taste, not to delight only in what is great. And this I likewise approve in you, that you reduce all things to some use and profit; and then only are offended, when a subject is not argued with the nicest subtlety imaginable : which indeed is not what I shall now pretend to. The plain question is, whether good is comprehended by fense, or the understanding. And as an adjunct to this, it is said, that neither infants nor brute animals are capable
The Epicurears, who set pleasure in the highest place, affirm good to be sensual: but we Stoics, on the other hand, who attribute it to the mind, suppose it intellettual. If the senses were the sole judges of good, we should reject no sort of pleasure ; for there is no pleasure but what is alluring and delightful: and, on the contrary, we should undergo no pain willingly; as there is none but what offends the senses. 3 A 2
Besides, they would by no means deserve blame or censure, who are too fond of pleasure, and who live in the utmost dread of pain ; whereas we condemn those, who devote themselves to lust and gluttony; and despise those, who dare not engage in any manly exercise for fear of pain. For, how do they sin, or do wrong, who act in obedience to the senses, supposing these to be the judges of good and evil; for to these
you have given the power of determining what you shall fly from, or what pursue? But surely reason should preside in this affair; which as it ought to determine concerning life, virtue, and the fitness of things ; so likewise concerning good and evil: for otherwise, according to these men, pre-eminence is given to the baser part to judge of the better; if good must be judged of by the senses, dull and stupid as they are, and much more imperfect in man than in other animals. What if any one had a mind to discern minute things not with his
eye, but his touch? Surely to discern good from evil, no penetration can be more sharp and exact for this purpose than the light of the eyes. You see then how ignorant of truth they are, and how disrespectfully they trample upon things high and sublime, who make the touch the judge of good and evil.
But it is said, that as every science and every art must have fomething that is manifest, and comprehended by fenfe, from whence it may
be derived and encrease; fo an bappy life takes its fource and foundation from such things as are manifesi and fall under the apprehenfion of fenfe. Well then, you say, an happy life takes its beginning from things manifest; and we say, that such things are happy, or create happiness, which are according to nature. And what is according to nature appears clearly, and at first light, as whatever is perfect and entire. What then is according to naturi? . Why, it is that which befalleth him, who is just born: I do not call it actually good, but the beginning of good. Whereas you attribute pleasure as the chief good to infancy; as if a child began to have that from its birth, which he obtaineth only when a complete man. This is to set the top of the tree, where should be the root. If any one should say that an infant, while it lies in its mother's womb, of an uncertain sex, tender, imperfect, and unhapen, is already