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any consequence, how frizzled and curled the page is (f), and how clear the glass, you are not dry.
Among other favours, this particular one is bestowed on us by Nature, that she hath removed all disdain from necessity. Superfluities alone require choice. Such a thing does not become me, this is not elegant, and that offends the eyes. The will of the Creator of the world, who hath prescribed to us the rules of life, is, that we study to preserve ourselves, and not to be over-nice and delicate.
All things that tend to our health and preservation are ready and at hand. Delicacies are not provided but with care and trouble. Let us then make use of, and thankfully enjoy, this estimable bounty of Nature; and think, that in nothing she hath more obliged us, than, in that whatever is necessarily wanted, or desired, it is accepted without disdain.
(a) In commune] It was proverbial among the Greeks, when any one found a thing, for another who was present, to say xocròs ‘Epjeñis, communis Mercurius: forasmuuh as Mercury was supposed to preside over the highway or common road, and the thing so found was called “Eppicãox, Mercurial,
-as we say, halves, (6) Catonianum illud] Lipsius and Pincian read it, Hecatonianum; as frequent mention is made by Seneca of Hecaton, the philosopher. So Propertius,
Ipfa petita lacu nunc mihi dulcis aqua et.
Ev’n from a pool the water now seems sweet.
Content, thou best of friends! for thou
Content, the good and golden mean,
He 'midit his thousand kingdoms still is poor,
() These two names are likewise mentioned together in Perfius, ii. 36.
Tunc manibus quatit, et fpem macram supplice voto
Keeping a guard for fear of fire all night--Dryden.
Marmoreo hoc tumulo Licinus jacet; at Cato nullo.
Pompeius parvo. Credimus effe Deos?
Difcrimen obfcurum, folutis
IFIND, my Lucilius, that your Epistle, after wandering through many petty questions, at last fixed upon one, which you desire me to explain : from whence do we receive the first notices, or ideas, of Good and Right? These two things, in the opinion of fome, are very different; but we Stoics only suppose them subject to a slight distinction. What I mean is this : some think a thing good from its being useful; they give this title therefore to riches, an horse, wine, sioes, &c. So low do they degrade the name of good, making it applicable to servile ufes. And they suppose that to be right, which consists in the difcharge of any just duty: as, in the pious care of an aged father ; aflisting a friend in adversity; a brave and bold expedition; or in passing a prudent and merciful sentence. Now we (Stoics) suppose good and right to be two things indeed, but of the same import. Nothing is good but what is right; and what is right, is elfo good. I think it unnecessary to add the difference between them, having so often taken notice of it. I shall only observe, that nothing seems good to us, which may be made a bad use of.
And you see how
see how many make a bad use of riches, nobility, strength, and the like.
I therefore now return to the question proposed, How we come to the first knowledge of Good and Right?
Nature could not teach us this. She hath sown in our minds the seeds of knowledge, but not implanted knowledge itself. Some affirm that we fall upon this knowledge accidentally; but it is incredible that any one should have met by chance with the idea or image of virtue. We rather think it gathered from observation and reflection; and that from comparing such things with themselves as have been well experienced, the understanding formed from hence its judgment of what is good and right, by analogy *. For since the Latins have adopted this word, and made it a free denizen of Rome, I think it by no means to be rejected, or returned to its native country, Greece; it is to be accepted therefore, not as a stranger and newly-received word, but as if it were in common use.
To explain then what is meant by the word (analogy). We know that fanity or health is a quality belonging to the body; from hence we infer a like quality belonging to the soul: we know that strength and vigour are properties of the body : from whence we presume the foul to be endowed with the like properties. We have been amazed at some generous, humane, brave actions; hence we began to admire them, as fo many perfections : but these however have been traversed with many failings, which the glare and splendor of some notable action concealed from us; we therefore pretended not to see them. Nature commands us to magnify deeds that are praise-worthy; whereupon glory is generally carried beyond truth. From hence we took the idea of some extraordinary good.
Fabricius refused the gold of King Pyrrku:, and judged it greater than a kingdom, that he was able to contemn the riches of a King (a). The fame hero, when a physician made him an offer to poison Pyrrhus, advised the King to be upon his guard against treachery. Now it was the same greatness of soul, that scorned to be overcome with gold, or to overcome his adversary by poison. We therefore justly admired this great man, who was not to be prevailed upon by the promises of a King, nor by any that were treacherously made against a King. So resolutely fixed was he on setting a good example: and what is most difficult, he preserved his innocence, in war. He thought a man might be guilty of baseness even towards his profest enemies; and in the extreme poverty, wherein he gloried, detested riches no less than poison. Live, faid he, Pyrrhus, by my courtesy, and rejoice at what you was so much displeased before, that Fabricius was not to be corrupted.
Horatius Cocles, with his single arm, kept the narrow pass of the bridge, and ordered it to be pulled down behind to prevent the passage of the enemy: and so long did he maintain his post against the assailants, 'till he heard the downfall of the props and timbers; and looking behind and seeing his purpose affected, so as at his own peril to stop the peril of his country, Now follow, said he, who will; this is the way I go. And thereupon immediately flung himself into the river; and being not less follicitous in the rapid stream to preserve his arms than his life, with this honourable and victorious load upon him, he got to land as safe as if he had returned by the bridge (b). These and the like actions give us an idea of valour and magnanimity.
I will add what perhaps may seem strange to you. Evil things have sometimes given us the idea of good. And what is most right and fit hath appeared from the contrary. For there are you know certain vices, which border upon, or have the resemblance of, virtues, so that even in the most vile and base men, there is sometimes the appearance of goodness. Thus the prodigal man counterfeits the liberal; whereas there is a great difference between a man's knowing how to give, and not knowing how to kcep, his money. There are many, I say, Lucilius,
who do not give, but throw it away.
I do not call him a liberal man, who is angry, as it were, with his
money. In like manner, carelessness assumes the air of ease and freedom; and rashness, of fortitude. Now this resemblance hath obliged us to examine things carefully, and to distinguish such as resemble one another indeed in appearance, but in fact are widely different. While we respect those whom fome noble exploit hath rendered famous, we begin to remark that such a one hath executed an enterprize with nobleness of spirit and great resolution; yet it was but once. We see him brave in war, in the forum a coward: bearing poverty with manliness and courage; but scandal and infamy with
and abject mind. We have therefore praised the particular deed, but despised the man.
We have seen another person courteous to his friends ; moderate towards his enemies'; and both in public and private life, behaving himself soberly and righteously; not wanting patience, in what he was bound to suffer ; nor prudence in what he was to perform: we have seen him, when it was a time to give, distributing his bounty with a full hand; and when labour was required of him, how resolute! industrious, subject to command, relieving the weariness of his body with constancy, and firmness of mind. He was moreover always the same, consistent with himself in every action; and not only good by intention and design, but happily arrived to such an habit, as not only to do what was right, but to be capable of doing nothing but what was right.
From whence then we learn that in such a one virtue is perfect; and this we divide into several parts: seeing that desires are to be restrained; fear to be repressed; requisite actions to be foreseen ; and their several duties paid to every one (c): from hence we learned temperance, fortitude, prudence, justice, and gave to each their particular office. And from whence did we learn virtue? It was displayed in the order, decency, constancy and uniformity, that such a one observed in all his actions; and particularly in that greatness of soul which exalted itself above all the rest. Hence appeared that blessed state of life, which
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