The Tusculan Disputations, by Marcus Tullius Cicero

Book 5. Whether Virtue Alone Be Sufficient For A Happy Life.

I. This fifth day, Brutus, shall put an end to our Tusculan Disputations: on which day we discussed your favourite subject. For I perceive from that book which you wrote for me, with the greatest accuracy, as well as from your frequent conversation, that you are clearly of this opinion, that virtue is of itself sufficient for a happy life: and though it may be difficult to prove this, on account of the many various strokes of fortune, yet it is a truth of such a nature, that we should endeavour to facilitate the proof of it. For among all the topics of philosophy, there is not one of more dignity or importance. For as the first philosophers must have had some inducement, to neglect everything for the search of the best state of life: surely, the inducement must have been the hope of living happily, which impelled them to devote so much care and pains to that study. Now, if virtue was discovered and carried to perfection by them; and if virtue is a sufficient security for a happy life: who can avoid thinking the work of philosophising excellently recommended by them, and undertaken by me? But if virtue, as being subject to such various and uncertain accidents, were but the slave of fortune, and were not of sufficient ability to support herself; I am afraid that it would seem desirable rather to offer up prayers than to rely on our own confidence in virtue, as the foundation for our hope of a happy life. And, indeed, when I reflect on those troubles, with which I have been so severely exercised by fortune, I begin to distrust this opinion; and sometimes even to dread the weakness and frailty of human nature, for I am afraid lest, when nature had given us infirm bodies, and had joined to them incurable diseases, and intolerable pains, she perhaps also gave us minds participating in these bodily pains, and harassed also with troubles and uneasinesses, peculiarly their own. But here I correct myself, for forming my judgment of the power of virtue more from the weakness of others, or of myself perhaps, than from virtue itself: for she herself (provided there is such a thing as virtue, and your uncle Brutus has removed all doubt of it) has everything that can befal mankind in subjection to her; and by disregarding such things, she is far removed from being at all concerned at human accidents; and, being free from every imperfection, she thinks that nothing which is external to herself can concern her. But we, who increase every approaching evil by our fear, and every present one by our grief, choose rather to condemn the nature of things, than our own errors.

II. But the amendment of this fault, and of all our other vices and offences, is to be sought for in philosophy: and as my own inclination and desire led me, from my earliest youth upwards, to seek her protection; so, under my present misfortunes, I have had recourse to the same port from whence I set out, after having been tossed by a violent tempest. O Philosophy, thou guide of life! thou discoverer of virtue, and expeller of vices! what had not only I myself, but the whole life of man been without you? To you it is that we owe the origin of cities; you it was who called together the dispersed race of men into social life; you united them together, first, by placing them near one another, then by marriages, and lastly, by the communication of speech and languages. You have been the inventress of laws; you have been our instructress in morals and discipline: to you we fly for refuge; from you we implore assistance; and as I formerly submitted to you in a great degree, so now I surrender up myself entirely to you. For one day spent well, and agreeably to your precepts, is preferable to an eternity of error. Whose assistance, then, can be of more service to me than yours, when you have bestowed on us tranquillity of life, and removed the fear of death? But Philosophy is so far from being praised as much as she has deserved by mankind, that she is wholly neglected by most men, and actually evil spoken of by many. Can any person speak ill of the parent of life, and dare to pollute himself thus with parricide! and be so impiously ungrateful as to accuse her, whom he ought to reverence, even were he less able to appreciate the advantages which he might derive from her? But this error, I imagine, and this darkness, has spread itself over the minds of ignorant men, from their not being able to look so far back, and from their not imagining that those men by whom human life was first improved, were philosophers: for though we see philosophy to have been of long standing, yet the name must be acknowledged to be but modern.

III. But indeed, who can dispute the antiquity of philosophy, either in fact or name? for it acquired this excellent name from the ancients, by the knowledge of the origin and causes of everything, both divine and human. Thus those seven Σόφοι, as they were considered and called by the Greeks, have always been esteemed and called wise men by us: and thus Lycurgus many ages before, in whose time, before the building of this city, Homer is said to have lived, as well as Ulysses and Nestor in the heroic ages, are all handed down to us by tradition as having really been what they were called, wise men; nor would it have been said that Atlas supported the heavens, or that Prometheus was bound to Caucasus, nor would Cepheus, with his wife, his son-in-law, and his daughter, have been enrolled among the constellations, but that their more than human knowledge of the heavenly bodies had transferred their names into an erroneous fable. From whence, all who occupied themselves in the contemplation of nature, were both considered and called, wise men: and that name of theirs continued to the age of Pythagoras, who is reported to have gone to Phlius, as we find it stated by Heraclides Ponticus, a very learned man, and a pupil of Plato, and to have discoursed very learnedly and copiously on certain subjects, with Leon, prince of the Phliasii — and when Leon, admiring his ingenuity and eloquence, asked him what art he particularly professed; his answer was, that he was acquainted with no art, but that he was a philosopher. Leon, surprised at the novelty of the name, inquired what he meant by the name of philosopher, and in what philosophers differed from other men: on which Pythagoras replied, “That the life of man seemed to him to resemble those games, which were celebrated with the greatest possible variety of sports, and the general concourse of all Greece. For as in those games there were some persons whose object was glory, and the honour of a crown, to be attained by the performance of bodily exercises: so others were led thither by the gain of buying and selling, and mere views of profit: but there was likewise one class of persons, and they were by far the best, whose aim was neither applause nor profit, but who came merely as spectators through curiosity, to observe what was done, and to see in what manner things were carried on there. And thus, said he, we come from another life and nature unto this one, just as men come out of some other city, to some much frequented mart; some being slaves to glory, others to money; and there are some few who, taking no account of anything else, earnestly look into the nature of things: and these men call themselves studious of wisdom, that is, philosophers; and as there it is the most reputable occupation of all to be a looker-on, without making any acquisition, so in life, the contemplating things, and acquainting oneself with them, greatly exceeds every other pursuit of life.”

IV. Nor was Pythagoras the inventor only of the name, but he enlarged also the thing itself, and, when he came into Italy after this conversation at Phlius, he adorned that Greece, which is called Great Greece, both privately and publicly, with the most excellent institutions and arts; but of his school and system, I shall, perhaps, find another opportunity to speak. But numbers and motions, and the beginning and end of all things, were the subjects of the ancient philosophy down to Socrates, who was a pupil of Archelaus, who had been the disciple of Anaxagoras. These made diligent inquiry into the magnitude of the stars, their distances, courses, and all that relates to the heavens. But Socrates was the first who brought down philosophy from the heavens, placed it in cities, introduced it into families, and obliged it to examine into life and morals, and good and evil. And his different methods of discussing questions, together with the variety of his topics, and the greatness of his abilities, being immortalized by the memory and writings of Plato, gave rise to many sects of philosophers of different sentiments: of all which I have principally adhered to that one which, in my opinion, Socrates himself followed; and argue so as to conceal my own opinion, while I deliver others from their errors, and so discover what has the greatest appearance of probability in every question. And the custom Carneades adopted with great copiousness and acuteness, and I myself have often given in to it on many occasions elsewhere, and in this manner, too, I disputed lately, in my Tusculan villa; indeed I have sent you a book of the four former days’ discussions; but the fifth day, when we had seated ourselves as before, what we were to dispute on was proposed thus:—

V. A. I do not think virtue can possibly be sufficient for a happy life.

M. But my friend Brutus thinks so, whose judgment, with submission, I greatly prefer to yours.

A. I make no doubt of it; but your regard for him is not the business now; the question is now what is the real character of that quality of which I have declared my opinion. I wish you to dispute on that.

M. What! do you deny that virtue can possibly be sufficient for a happy life?

A. It is what I entirely deny.

M. What! is not virtue sufficient to enable us to live as we ought, honestly, commendably, or, in fine, to live well?

A. Certainly sufficient.

M. Can you, then, help calling any one miserable, who lives ill? or will you deny that any one who you allow lives well, must inevitably live happily?

A. Why may I not? for a man may be upright in his life, honest, praiseworthy, even in the midst of torments, and therefore live well. Provided you understand what I mean by well; for when I say well, I mean with constancy, and dignity, and wisdom, and courage; for a man may display all these qualities on the rack; but yet the rack is inconsistent with a happy life.

M. What then? is your happy life left on the outside of the prison, whilst constancy, dignity, wisdom, and the other virtues, are surrendered up to the executioner, and bear punishment and pain without reluctance?

A. You must look out for something new, if you would do any good. These things have very little effect on me, not merely from their being common, but principally because, like certain light wines, that will not bear water, these arguments of the Stoics are pleasanter to taste than to swallow. As when that assemblage of virtues is committed to the rack, it raises so reverend a spectacle before our eyes, that happiness seems to hasten on towards them, and not to suffer them to be deserted by her. But when you take your attention off from this picture and these images of the virtues, to the truth and the reality, what remains without disguise is, the question whether any one can be happy in torment? Wherefore let us now examine that point, and not be under any apprehensions, lest the virtues should expostulate and complain, that they are forsaken by happiness. For if prudence is connected with every virtue, then prudence itself discovers this, that all good men are not therefore happy; and she recollects many things of Marcus Atilius,104 Quintus Cæpio,105 Marcus Aquilius;106 and prudence herself, if these representations are more agreeable to you than the things themselves, restrains happiness, when it is endeavouring to throw itself into torments, and denies that it has any connexion with pain and torture.

VI. M. I can easily bear with your behaving in this manner, though it is not fair in you to prescribe to me, how you would have me carry on this discussion; but I ask you if I have effected anything or nothing in the preceding days?

A. Yes, something was done, some little matter indeed.

M. But if that is the case, this question is settled, and almost put an end to.

A. How so?

M. Because turbulent motions and violent agitations of the mind, when it is raised and elated by a rash impulse, getting the better of reason, leave no room for a happy life. For who that fears either pain or death, the one of which is always present, the other always impending, can be otherwise than miserable? Now supposing the same person, which is often the case, to be afraid of poverty, ignominy, infamy, or weakness, or blindness; or lastly, slavery, which doth not only befal individual men, but often even the most powerful nations; now can any one under the apprehension of these evils be happy? What shall we say of him who not only dreads these evils as impending, but actually feels and bears them at present? Let us unite in the same person, banishment, mourning, the loss of children; now how can any one who is broken down and rendered sick in body and mind by such affliction be otherwise than very miserable indeed? What reason again can there be, why a man should not rightly enough be called miserable, whom we see inflamed and raging with lust, coveting everything with an insatiable desire, and in proportion as he derives more pleasure from anything, thirsting the more violently after them? And as to a man vainly elated, exulting with an empty joy, and boasting of himself without reason, is not he so much the more miserable in proportion as he thinks himself happier? Therefore, as these men are miserable, so on the other hand those are happy, who are alarmed by no fears, wasted by no griefs, provoked by no lusts, melted by no languid pleasures that arise from vain and exulting joys. We look on the sea as calm when not the least breath of air disturbs its waves; and in like manner the placid and quiet state of the mind is discovered when unmoved by any perturbation. Now if there be any one who holds the power of fortune, and everything human, everything that can possibly befal any man, as supportable, so as to be out of the reach of fear or anxiety; and if such a man covets nothing, and is lifted up by no vain joy of mind, what can prevent his being happy? and if these are the effects of virtue, why cannot virtue itself make men happy?

VII. A. But the other of these two propositions is undeniable, that they who are under no apprehensions, who are no ways uneasy, who covet nothing, who are lifted up by no vain joy, are happy: and therefore I grant you that; but as for the other, that is not now in a fit state for discussion; for it has been proved by your former arguments that a wise man is free from every perturbation of mind.

M. Doubtless, then, the dispute is over; for the question appears to have been entirely exhausted.

A. I think indeed that that is almost the case.

M. But yet, that is more usually the case with the mathematicians than philosophers. For when the geometricians teach anything, if what they have before taught relates to their present subject, they take that for granted which has been already proved; and explain only what they had not written on before. But the philosophers, whatever subject they have in hand, get together everything that relates to it; notwithstanding they may have dilated on it somewhere else. Were not that the case, why should the Stoics say so much on that question, whether virtue was abundantly sufficient to a happy life? when it would have been answer enough, that they had before taught, that nothing was good but what was honourable; for as this had been proved, the consequence must be, that virtue was sufficient to a happy life: and each premise may be made to follow from the admission of the other, so that if it be admitted that virtue is sufficient to secure a happy life, it may also be inferred that nothing is good except what is honourable. They however do not proceed in this manner; for they would separate books about what is honourable, and what is the chief good: and when they have demonstrated from the one that virtue has power enough to make life happy, yet they treat this point separately; for everything, and especially a subject of such great consequence, should be supported by arguments and exhortations which belong to that alone. For you should have a care how you imagine philosophy to have uttered anything more noble, or that she has promised anything more fruitful or of greater consequence: for, good Gods! doth she not engage, that she will render him who submits to her laws so accomplished as to be always armed against fortune, and to have every assurance within himself of living well and happily; that he shall, in short, be for ever happy. But let us see what she will perform? In the meanwhile I look upon it as a great thing, that she has even made such a promise. For Xerxes, who was loaded with all the rewards and gifts of fortune, not satisfied with his armies of horse and foot, nor the multitude of his ships, nor his infinite treasure of gold, offered a reward to any one who could find out a new pleasure: and yet, when it was discovered, he was not satisfied with it, nor can there ever be an end to lust. I wish we could engage any one by a reward, to produce something the better to establish us in this belief.

VIII. A. I wish that indeed myself; but I want a little information. For I allow, that in what you have stated, the one proposition is the consequence of the other; that as, if what is honourable be the only good, it must follow, that a happy life is the effect of virtue: so that if a happy life consists in virtue, nothing can be good but virtue. But your friend Brutus, on the authority of Aristo and Antiochus, does not see this: for he thinks the case would be the same, even if there were anything good besides virtue.

M. What then? do you imagine that I am going to argue against Brutus?

A. You may do what you please: for it is not for me to prescribe what you shall do.

M. How these things agree together shall be examined somewhere else: for I frequently discussed that point with Antiochus, and lately with Aristo, when, during the period of my command as general, I was lodging with him at Athens. For to me it seemed that no one could possibly be happy under any evil: but a wise man might be afflicted with evil, if there are any things arising from body or fortune, deserving the name of evils. These things were said, which Antiochus has inserted in his books in many places: that virtue itself was sufficient to make life happy, but yet not perfectly happy: and that many things derive their names from the predominant portion of them, though they do not include everything, as strength, health, riches, honour, and glory: which qualities are determined by their kind, not their number: thus a happy life is so called from its being so in a great degree, even though it should fall short in some point. To clear this up, is not absolutely necessary at present, though it seems to be said without any great consistency: for I cannot imagine what is wanting to one that is happy, to make him happier, for if anything be wanting to him he cannot be so much as happy; and as to what they say, that everything is named and estimated from its predominant portion, that may be admitted in some things. But when they allow three kinds of evils; when any one is oppressed with every imaginable evil of two kinds, being afflicted with adverse fortune, and having at the same time his body worn out and harassed with all sorts of pains, shall we say that such a one is but little short of a happy life, to say nothing about the happiest possible life?

IX. This is the point which Theophrastus was unable to maintain: for after he had once laid down the position, that stripes, torments, tortures, the ruin of one’s country, banishment, the loss of children, had great influence on men’s living miserably and unhappily, he durst not any longer use any high and lofty expressions, when he was so low and abject in his opinion. How right he was is not the question; he certainly was consistent. Therefore I am not for objecting to consequences where the premises are admitted. But this most elegant and learned of all the philosophers, is not taken to task very severely when he asserts his three kinds of good; but he is attacked by every one for that book which he wrote on a happy life, in which book he has many arguments, why one who is tortured and racked cannot be happy. For in that book he is supposed to say, that a man who is placed on the wheel, (that is a kind of torture in use among the Greeks,) cannot attain to a completely happy life. He nowhere, indeed, says so absolutely, but what he says amounts to the same thing. Can I, then, find fault with him; after having allowed, that pains of the body are evils, that the ruin of a man’s fortunes is an evil, if he should say that every good man is not happy, when all those things which he reckons as evils may befal a good man? The same Theophrastus is found fault with by all the books and schools of the philosophers, for commending that sentence in his Callisthenes:

Fortune, not wisdom, rules the life of man.

They say, never did philosopher assert anything so languid. They are right, indeed, in that: but I do not apprehend anything could be more consistent: for if there are so many good things that depend on the body, and so many foreign to it that depend on chance and fortune, is it inconsistent to say that fortune, which governs everything, both what is foreign and what belongs to the body, has greater power than counsel. Or would we rather imitate Epicurus? who is often excellent in many things which he speaks, but quite indifferent how consistent he may be, or how much to the purpose he is speaking. He commends spare diet, and in that he speaks as a philosopher; but it is for Socrates or Antisthenes to say so, and not for one who confines all good to pleasure. He denies that any one can live pleasantly unless he lives honestly, wisely, and justly. Nothing is more dignified than this assertion, nothing more becoming a philosopher, had he not measured this very expression of living honestly, justly, and wisely, by pleasure. What could be better than to assert that fortune interferes but little with a wise man? But does he talk thus, who after he has said that pain is the greatest evil, or the only evil, might himself be afflicted with the sharpest pains all over his body, even at the time he is vaunting himself the most against fortune? And this very thing, too, Metrodorus has said, but in better language: “I have anticipated you, Fortune; I have caught you, and cut off every access, so that you cannot possibly reach me.” This would be excellent in the mouth of Aristo the Chian, or Zeno the Stoic, who held nothing to be an evil but what was base; but for you, Metrodorus, to anticipate the approaches of fortune, who confine all that is good to your bowels and marrow — for you to say so, who define the chief good by a strong constitution of body, and a well assured hope of its continuance — for you to cut off every access of fortune? Why, you may instantly be deprived of that good. Yet the simple are taken with these propositions, and a vast crowd is led away by such sentences to become their followers.

X. But it is the duty of one who would argue accurately, to consider not what is said, but what is said consistently. As in that very opinion which we have adopted in this discussion, namely, that every good man is always happy; it is clear what I mean by good men: I call those both wise and good men, who are provided and adorned with every virtue. Let us see, then, who are to be called happy. I imagine, indeed, that those men are to be called so, who are possessed of good without any alloy of evil: nor is there any other notion connected with the word that expresses happiness, but an absolute enjoyment of good without any evil. Virtue cannot attain this, if there is anything good besides itself: for a crowd of evils would present themselves, if we were to allow poverty, obscurity, humility, solitude, the loss of friends, acute pains of the body, the loss of health, weakness, blindness, the ruin of one’s country, banishment, slavery, to be evils: for a wise man may be afflicted by all these evils, numerous and important as they are, and many others also may be added; for they are brought on by chance, which may attack a wise man: but if these things are evils, who can maintain that a wise man is always happy, when all these evils may light on him at the same time? I therefore do not easily agree with my friend Brutus, nor with our common masters, nor those ancient ones, Aristotle, Speusippus, Xenocrates, Polemon, who reckon all that I have mentioned above as evils, and yet they say that a wise man is always happy; nor can I allow them, because they are charmed with this beautiful and illustrious title, which would very well become Pythagoras, Socrates, and Plato, to persuade my mind, that strength, health, beauty, riches, honours, power, with the beauty of which they are ravished, are contemptible, and that all those things which are the opposites of these are not to be regarded. Then might they declare openly, with a loud voice, that neither the attacks of fortune, nor the opinion of the multitude, nor pain, nor poverty, occasion them any apprehensions; and that they have everything within themselves, and that there is nothing whatever which they consider as good but what is within their own power. Nor can I by any means allow the same person, who falls into the vulgar opinion of good and evil, to make use of these expressions, which can only become a great and exalted man. Struck with which glory, up starts Epicurus, who, with submission to the Gods, thinks a wise man always happy. He is much charmed with the dignity of this opinion, but he never would have owned that, had he attended to himself: for what is there more inconsistent, than for one who could say that pain was the greatest or the only evil, to think also that a wise man can possibly say in the midst of his torture, How sweet is this! We are not, therefore, to form our judgment of philosophers from detached sentences, but from their consistency with themselves, and their ordinary manner of talking.

XI. A. You compel me to be of your opinion; but have a care that you are not inconsistent yourself.

M. In what respect?

A. Because I have lately read your fourth book on Good and Evil: and in that you appeared to me, while disputing against Cato, to be endeavouring to show, which in my opinion means to prove, that Zeno and the Peripatetics differ only about some new words; but if we allow that, what reason can there be, if it follows from the arguments of Zeno, that virtue contains all that is necessary to a happy life, that the Peripatetics should not be at liberty to say the same? For, in my opinion, regard should be had to the thing, not to words.

M. What? you would convict me from my own words, and bring against me what I had said or written elsewhere. You may act in that manner with those who dispute by established rules: we live from hand to mouth, and say anything that strikes our mind with probability, so that we are the only people who are really at liberty. But, since I just now spoke of consistency, I do not think the inquiry in this place is, if the opinion of Zeno and his pupil Aristo be true, that nothing is good but what is honourable; but, admitting that, then, whether the whole of a happy life can be rested on virtue alone. Wherefore, if we certainly grant Brutus this, that a wise man is always happy, how consistent he is, is his own business: for who indeed is more worthy than himself of the glory of that opinion? Still we may maintain that such a man is more happy than any one else.

XII. Though Zeno the Cittiæan, a stranger and an inconsiderable coiner of words, appears to have insinuated himself into the old philosophy; still the prevalence of this opinion is due to the authority of Plato, who often makes use of this expression, “that nothing but virtue can be entitled to the name of good,” agreeably to what Socrates says in Plato’s Gorgias; for it is there related that when some one asked him if he did not think Archelaus the son of Perdiccas, who was then looked upon as a most fortunate person, a very happy man: “I do not know,” replied he, “for I never conversed with him.” “What, is there no other way you can know it by?” “None at all.” “You cannot, then, pronounce of the great king of the Persians, whether he is happy or not?” “How can I, when I do not know how learned or how good a man he is?” “What! do you imagine that a happy life depends on that?” “My opinion entirely is, that good men are happy, and the wicked miserable.” “Is Archelaus, then, miserable?” “Certainly, if unjust.” Now does it not appear to you, that he is here placing the whole of a happy life in virtue alone? But what does the same man say in his funeral oration? “For,” saith he, “whoever has everything that relates to a happy life so entirely dependent on himself as not to be connected with the good or bad fortune of another, and not to be affected by, or made in any degree uncertain by, what befals another; and whoever is such a one has acquired the best rule of living; he is that moderate, that brave, that wise man, who submits to the gain and loss of everything, and especially of his children, and obeys that old precept; for he will never be too joyful or too sad, because he depends entirely upon himself.”

XIII. From Plato, therefore, all my discourse shall be deduced, as if from some sacred and hallowed fountain. Whence can I, then, more properly begin than from nature, the parent of all? For whatsoever she produces (I am not speaking only of animals, but even of those things which have sprung from the earth in such a manner as to rest on their own roots) she designed it to be perfect in its respective kind. So that among trees and vines, and those lower plants and trees which cannot advance themselves high above the earth, some are evergreen, others are stripped of their leaves in winter, and, warmed by the spring season, put them out afresh, and there are none of them but what are so quickened by a certain interior motion, and their own seeds enclosed in every one, so as to yield flowers, fruit, or berries, that all may have every perfection that belongs to it, provided no violence prevents it. But the force of nature itself may be more easily discovered in animals, as she has bestowed sense on them. For some animals she has taught to swim, and designed to be inhabitants of the water; others she has enabled to fly, and has willed that they should enjoy the boundless air; some others she has made to creep, others to walk. Again, of these very animals, some are solitary, some gregarious, some wild, others tame, some hidden and buried beneath the earth, and every one of these maintains the law of nature, confining itself to what was bestowed on it, and unable to change its manner of life. And as every animal has from nature something that distinguishes it, which every one maintains and never quits; so man has something far more excellent, though everything is said to be excellent by comparison. But the human mind, being derived from the divine reason, can be compared with nothing but with the Deity itself, if I may be allowed the expression. This, then, if it is improved, and when its perception is so preserved as not to be blinded by errors, becomes a perfect understanding, that is to say, absolute reason, which is the very same as virtue. And if everything is happy which wants nothing, and is complete and perfect in its kind, and that is the peculiar lot of virtue; certainly all who are possessed of virtue are happy. And in this I agree with Brutus, and also with Aristotle, Xenocrates, Speusippus, Polemon.

XIV. To me such are the only men who appear completely happy; for what can he want to a complete happy life who relies on his own good qualities, or how can he be happy who does not rely on them? But he who makes a threefold division of goods must necessarily be diffident, for how can he depend on having a sound body, or that his fortune shall continue? but no one can be happy without an immovable, fixed, and permanent good. What, then, is this opinion of theirs? So that I think that saying of the Spartan may be applied to them, who, on some merchant’s boasting before him, that he had despatched ships to every maritime coast, replied, that a fortune which depended on ropes was not very desirable. Can there be any doubt that whatever may be lost, cannot be properly classed in the number of those things which complete a happy life? for of all that constitutes a happy life, nothing will admit of withering, or growing old, or wearing out, or decaying; for whoever is apprehensive of any loss of these things cannot be happy; the happy man should be safe, well fenced, well fortified, out of the reach of all annoyance, not like a man under trifling apprehensions, but free from all such. As he is not called innocent who but slightly offends, but he who offends not at all; so it is he alone who is to be considered without fear who is free from all fear, not he who is but in little fear. For what else is courage but an affection of mind, that is ready to undergo perils, and patient in the endurance of pain and labour without any alloy of fear? Now this certainly could not be the case, if there were anything else good but what depended on honesty alone. But how can any one be in possession of that desirable and much-coveted security (for I now call a freedom from anxiety a security, on which freedom a happy life depends) who has, or may have, a multitude of evils attending him? How can he be brave and undaunted, and hold everything as trifles which can befal a man, for so a wise man should do, unless he be one who thinks that everything depends on himself? Could the Lacedæmonians without this, when Philip threatened to prevent all their attempts, have asked him, if he could prevent their killing themselves? Is it not easier, then, to find one man of such a spirit as we are inquiring after, than to meet with a whole city of such men? Now, if to this courage I am speaking of we add temperance, that it may govern all our feelings and agitations, what can be wanting to complete his happiness who is secured by his courage from uneasiness and fear; and is prevented from immoderate desires and immoderate insolence of joy, by temperance? I could easily show that virtue is able to produce these effects, but that I have explained on the foregoing days.

XV. But as the perturbations of the mind make life miserable, and tranquillity renders it happy; and as these perturbations are of two sorts, grief and fear, proceeding from imagined evils, and as immoderate joy and lust arise from a mistake about what is good, and as all these feelings are in opposition to reason and counsel; when you see a man at ease, quite free and disengaged from such troublesome commotions, which are so much at variance with one another can you hesitate to pronounce such an one a happy man? Now the wise man is always in such a disposition, therefore the wise man is always happy. Besides, every good is pleasant; whatever is pleasant may he boasted and talked of; whatever may he boasted of, is glorious, but whatever is glorious is certainly laudable, and whatever is laudable doubtless, also, honourable; whatever, then, is good is honourable; (but the things which they reckon as goods, they themselves do not call honourable;) therefore what is honourable alone is good. Hence it follows that a happy life is comprised in honesty alone. Such things, then, are not to be called or considered goods, when a man may enjoy an abundance of them, and yet be most miserable. Is there any doubt but that a man who enjoys the best health, and who has strength and beauty, and his senses flourishing in their utmost quickness and perfection; suppose him likewise, if you please, nimble and active, nay, give him riches, honours, authority, power, glory; now, I say, should this person, who is in possession of all these, be unjust, intemperate, timid, stupid, or an idiot, could you hesitate to call such an one miserable? What, then, are those goods, in the possession of which you may be very miserable? Let us see if a happy life is not made up of parts of the same nature, as a heap implies a quantity of grain of the same kind. And if this be once admitted, happiness must be compounded of different good things which alone are honourable; if there is any mixture of things of another sort with these, nothing honourable can proceed from such a composition; now, take away honesty, and how can you imagine anything happy? For whatever is good is desirable on that account; whatever is desirable must certainly be approved of; whatever you approve of must be looked on as acceptable and welcome. You must consequently impute dignity to this; and if so, it must necessarily be laudable; therefore, everything that is laudable is good. Hence it follows, that what is honourable is the only good. And should we not look upon it in this light, there will be a great many things which we must call good.

XVI. I forbear to mention riches, which, as any one, let him be ever so unworthy, may have them, I do not reckon amongst goods; for what is good is not attainable by all. I pass over notoriety, and popular fame, raised by the united voice of knaves and fools. Even things which are absolute nothings may be called goods; such as white teeth, handsome eyes, a good complexion, and what was commended by Euryclea, when she was washing Ulysses’s feet, the softness of his skin and the mildness of his discourse. If you look on these as goods, what greater encomiums can the gravity of a philosopher be entitled to than the wild opinion of the vulgar and the thoughtless crowd? The Stoics give the name of excellent and choice to what the others call good: they call them so, indeed; but they do not allow them to complete a happy life. But these others think that there is no life happy without them; or, admitting it to be happy, they deny it to be the most happy. But our opinion is, that it is the most happy; and we prove it from that conclusion of Socrates. For thus that author of philosophy argued: that as the disposition of a man’s mind is, so is the man: such as the man is, such will be his discourse: his actions will correspond with his discourse, and his life with his actions. But the disposition of a good man’s mind is laudable; the life, therefore, of a good man is laudable: it is honourable, therefore, because laudable: the unavoidable conclusion from which is, that the life of good men is happy. For, good Gods! did I not make it appear, by my former arguments — or was I only amusing myself and killing time in what I then said — that the mind of a wise man was always free from every hasty motion which I call a perturbation, and that the most undisturbed peace always reigned in his breast? A man, then, who is temperate and consistent, free from fear or grief, and uninfluenced by any immoderate joy or desire, cannot be otherwise than happy: but a wise man is always so, therefore he is always happy. Moreover, how can a good man avoid referring all his actions and all his feelings to the one standard of whether or not it is laudable? But he does refer everything to the object of living happily: it follows, then, that a happy life is laudable; but nothing is laudable without virtue: a happy life, then, is the consequence of virtue. — And this is the unavoidable conclusion to be drawn from these arguments.

XVII. A wicked life has nothing which we ought to speak of or glory in: nor has that life which is neither happy nor miserable. But there is a kind of life that admits of being spoken of, and gloried in, and boasted of; as Epaminondas saith —

The wings of Sparta’s pride my counsels clipt.

And Africanus boasts —

Who, from beyond Mæotis to the place

Where the sun rises, deeds like mine can trace?

If, then, there is such a thing as a happy life, it is to be gloried in, spoken of, and commended by the person who enjoys it: for there is nothing excepting that which can be spoken of, or gloried in; and when that is once admitted, you know what follows. Now, unless an honourable life is a happy life, there must of course be something preferable to a happy life: for that which is honourable, all men will certainly grant to be preferable to anything else. And thus there will be something better than a happy life; but what can be more absurd than such an assertion? What! when they grant vice to be effectual to the rendering life miserable, must they not admit that there is a corresponding power in virtue to make life happy? For contraries follow from contraries. And here I ask, what weight they think there is in the balance of Critolaus, who, having put the goods of the mind into one scale, and the goods of the body and other external advantages into the other, thought the goods of the mind outweighed the others so far, that they would require the whole earth and sea to equalise the scale.

XVIII. What hinders Critolaus, then, or that gravest of philosophers, Xenocrates (who raises virtue so high, and who lessens and depreciates everything else), from not only placing a happy life, but the happiest possible life, in virtue? and, indeed, if this were not the case, virtue would be absolutely lost. For whoever is subject to grief, must necessarily be subject to fear too; for fear is an uneasy apprehension of future grief: and whoever is subject to fear is liable to dread, timidity, consternation, cowardice. Therefore, such a person may, some time or other, be defeated, and not think himself concerned with that precept of Atreus —

And let men so conduct themselves in life,

As to be always strangers to defeat.

But such a man, as I have said, will be defeated; and not only defeated, but made a slave of. But we would have virtue always free, always invincible; and were it not so, there would be an end of virtue. But if virtue has in herself all that is necessary for a good life, she is certainly sufficient for happiness: virtue is certainly sufficient, too, for our living with courage; if with courage, then with a magnanimous spirit, and indeed so as never to be under any fear, and thus to be always invincible. — Hence it follows, that there can be nothing to be repented of, no wants, no lets or hindrances. Thus all things will be prosperous, perfect, and as you would have them; and consequently happy: but virtue is sufficient for living with courage, and therefore virtue is able by herself to make life happy. For as folly, even when possessed of what it desires, never thinks it has acquired enough: so wisdom is always satisfied with the present, and never repents on her own account.

XIX. Look but on the single consulship of Lælius — and that, too, after having been set aside (though when a wise and good man, like him, is outvoted, the people are disappointed of a good consul, rather than he disappointed by a vain people); but the point is, would you prefer, were it in your power, to be once such a consul as Lælius, or be elected four times, like Cinna? I have no doubt in the world what answer you will make, and it is on that account I put the question to you.

I would not ask every one this question; for some one perhaps might answer that he would not only prefer four consulates to one, but even one day of Cinna’s life to whole ages of many famous men. Lælius would have suffered had he but touched any one with his finger; but Cinna ordered the head of his colleague consul, Cn. Octavius, to be struck off; and put to death P. Crassus107 and L. Cæsar,108 those excellent men, so renowned both at home and abroad; and even M. Antonius,109 the greatest orator whom I ever heard; and C. Cæsar, who seems to me to have been the pattern of humanity, politeness, sweetness of temper, and wit. Could he, then, be happy who occasioned the death of these men? So far from it, that he seems to be miserable, not only for having performed these actions, but also for acting in such a manner, that it was lawful for him to do it, though it is unlawful for any one to do wicked actions; but this proceeds from inaccuracy of speech, for we call whatever a man is allowed to do, lawful. — Was not Marius happier, I pray you, when he shared the glory of the victory gained over the Cimbrians with his colleague Catulus (who was almost another Lælius, for I look upon the two men as very like one another,) than when, conqueror in the civil war, he in a passion answered the friends of Catulus, who were interceding for him, “Let him die”? And this answer he gave, not once only, but often. But in such a case, he was happier who submitted to that barbarous decree than he who issued it. And it is better to receive an injury than to do one; and so it was better to advance a little to meet that death that was making its approaches, as Catulus did, than, like Marius, to sully the glory of six consulships, and disgrace his latter days, by the death of such a man.

XX. Dionysius exercised his tyranny over the Syracusans thirty-eight years, being but twenty-five years old when he seized on the government. How beautiful and how wealthy a city did he oppress with slavery! And yet we have it from good authority, that he was remarkably temperate in his manner of living, that he was very active and energetic in carrying on business, but naturally mischievous and unjust; from which description, every one who diligently inquires into truth must inevitably see that he was very miserable. Neither did he attain what he so greatly desired, even when he was persuaded that he had unlimited power; for, notwithstanding he was of a good family and reputable parents (though that is contested by some authors), and had a very large acquaintance of intimate friends and relations, and also some youths attached to him by ties of love after the fashion of the Greeks, he could not trust any one of them, but committed the guard of his person to slaves, whom he had selected from rich men’s families and made free, and to strangers and barbarians. And thus, through an unjust desire of governing, he in a manner shut himself up in a prison. Besides, he would not trust his throat to a barber, but had his daughters taught to shave; so that these royal virgins were forced to descend to the base and slavish employment of shaving the head and beard of their father. Nor would he trust even them, when they were grown up, with a razor; but contrived how they might burn off the hair of his head and beard with red-hot nut-shells. And as to his two wives, Aristomache his countrywoman, and Doris of Locris, he never visited them at night before everything had been well searched and examined. And as he had surrounded the place where his bed was with a broad ditch, and made a way over it with a wooden bridge, he drew that bridge over after shutting his bedchamber door. And as he did not dare to stand on the ordinary pulpits from which they usually harangued the people, he generally addressed them from a high tower. And it is said, that when he was disposed to play at ball — for he delighted much in it — and had pulled off his clothes, he used to give his sword into the keeping of a young man whom he was very fond of. On this, one of his intimates said pleasantly, “You certainly trust your life with him;” and as the young man happened to smile at this, he ordered them both to be slain, the one for showing how he might be taken off, the other for approving of what had been said by smiling. But he was so concerned at what he had done, that nothing affected him more during his whole life; for he had slain one to whom he was extremely partial. Thus do weak men’s desires pull them different ways, and whilst they indulge one, they act counter to another.

XXI. This tyrant, however, showed himself how happy he really was: for once, when Damocles, one of his flatterers, was dilating in conversation on his forces, his wealth, the greatness of his power, the plenty he enjoyed, the grandeur of his royal palaces, and maintaining that no one was ever happier — “Have you an inclination,” said he, “Damocles, as this kind of life pleases you, to have a taste of it yourself, and to make a trial of the good fortune that attends me?” And when he said that he should like it extremely, Dionysius ordered him to be laid on a bed of gold with the most beautiful covering, embroidered and wrought with the most exquisite work, and he dressed out a great many sideboards with silver and embossed gold. He then ordered some youths, distinguished for their handsome persons, to wait at his table, and to observe his nod, in order to serve him with what he wanted. There were ointments and garlands; perfumes were burned; tables provided with the most exquisite meats. Damocles thought himself very happy. In the midst of this apparatus, Dionysius ordered a bright sword to be let down from the ceiling, suspended by a single horsehair, so as to hang over the head of that happy man. After which he neither cast his eye on those handsome waiters, nor on the well wrought plate; nor touched any of the provisions: presently the garlands fell to pieces. At last he entreated the tyrant to give him leave to go, for that now he had no desire to be happy.110 Does not Dionysius, then, seem to have declared there can be no happiness for one who is under constant apprehensions? But it was not now in his power to return to justice, and restore his citizens their rights and privileges; for, by the indiscretion of youth, he had engaged in so many wrong steps, and committed such extravagances, that had he attempted to have returned to a right way of thinking he must have endangered his life.

XXII. Yet, how desirous he was of friendship, though at the same time he dreaded the treachery of friends, appears from the story of those two Pythagoreans: one of these had been security for his friend, who was condemned to die; the other, to release his security, presented himself at the time appointed for his dying: “I wish,” said Dionysius, “you would admit me as the third in your friendship.” What misery was it for him to be deprived of acquaintance, of company at his table, and of the freedom of conversation; especially for one who was a man of learning, and from his childhood acquainted with liberal arts, very fond of music, and himself a tragic poet — how good a one is not to the purpose, for I know not how it is, but in this way, more than any other, every one thinks his own performances excellent. I never as yet knew any poet (and I was very intimate with Aquinius), who did not appear to himself to be very admirable. The case is this; you are pleased with your own works, I like mine. But to return to Dionysius: he debarred himself from all civil and polite conversation, and spent his life among fugitives, bondmen, and barbarians; for he was persuaded that no one could be his friend who was worthy of liberty or had the least desire of being free.

XXIII. Shall I not, then, prefer the life of Plato and Archytas, manifestly wise and learned men, to his, than which nothing can possibly be more horrid, or miserable, or detestable?

I will present you with an humble and obscure mathematician of the same city, called Archimedes, who lived many years after; whose tomb, overgrown with shrubs and briars, I in my quæstorship discovered, when the Syracusans knew nothing of it, and even denied that there was any such thing remaining: for I remembered some verses, which I had been informed were engraved on his monument, and these set forth that on the top of the tomb there was placed a sphere with a cylinder. When I had carefully examined all the monuments (for there are a great many tombs at the gate Achradinæ), I observed a small column standing out a little above the briars, with the figure of a sphere and a cylinder upon it; whereupon I immediately said to the Syracusans, for there were some of their principal men with me there, that I imagined that was what I was inquiring for. Several men being sent in with scythes, cleared the way, and made an opening for us. When we could get at it, and were come near to the front of the pedestal, I found the inscription, though the latter parts of all the verses were effaced almost half away. Thus one of the noblest cities of Greece, and one which at one time likewise had been very celebrated for learning, had known nothing of the monument of its greatest genius, if it had not been discovered to them by a native of Arpinum. But to return to the subject from which I have been digressing. Who is there in the least degree acquainted with the Muses, that is, with liberal knowledge, or that deals at all in learning, who would not choose to be this mathematician rather than that tyrant? If we look into their methods of living and their employments, we shall find the mind of the one strengthened and improved with tracing the deductions of reason, amused with his own ingenuity, which is the one most delicious food of the mind; the thoughts of the other engaged in continual murders and injuries, in constant fears by night and by day. Now imagine a Democritus, a Pythagoras, and an Anaxagoras; what kingdom, what riches would you prefer to their studies and amusements? for you must necessarily look for that excellence which we are seeking for in that which is the most perfect part of man; but what is there better in man than a sagacious and good mind? The enjoyment, therefore, of that good which proceeds from that sagacious mind, can alone make us happy: but virtue is the good of the mind; it follows, therefore, that a happy life depends on virtue. Hence proceed all things that are beautiful, honourable, and excellent, as I said above (but this point must, I think, be treated of more at large), and they are well stored with joys. For, as it is clear that a happy life consists in perpetual and unexhausted pleasures, it follows too, that a happy life must arise from honesty.

XXIV. But that what I propose to demonstrate to you may not rest on mere words only, I must set before you the picture of something, as it were, living and moving in the world, that may dispose us more for the improvement of the understanding and real knowledge. Let us, then, pitch upon some man perfectly acquainted with the most excellent arts; let us present him for a while to our own thoughts, and figure him to our own imaginations. In the first place, he must necessarily be of an extraordinary capacity; for virtue is not easily connected with dull minds. Secondly, he must have a great desire of discovering truth, from whence will arise that threefold production of the mind; one of which depends on knowing things, and explaining nature: the other in defining what we ought to desire, and what to avoid: the third in judging of consequences and impossibilities: in which consists both subtilty in disputing, and also clearness of judgment. Now with what pleasure must the mind of a wise man be affected, which continually dwells in the midst of such cares and occupations as these, when he views the revolutions and motions of the whole world, and sees those innumerable stars in the heavens, which, though fixed in their places, have yet one motion in common with the whole universe, and observes the seven other stars, some higher, some lower, each maintaining their own course, while their motions, though wandering, have certain defined and appointed spaces to run through, the sight of which doubtless urged and encouraged those ancient philosophers to exercise their investigating spirit on many other things. Hence arose an inquiry after the beginnings, and, as it were, seeds from which all things were produced and composed; what was the origin of every kind of thing, whether animate or inanimate, articulately speaking or mute; what occasioned their beginning and end, and by what alteration and change one thing was converted into another: whence the earth originated, and by what weights it was balanced: by what caverns the seas were supplied: by what gravity all things being carried down tend always to the middle of the world, which in any round body is the lowest place.

XXV. A mind employed on such subjects, and which night and day contemplates them, contains in itself that precept of the Delphic God, so as to “know itself,” and to perceive its connexion with the divine reason, from whence it is filled with an insatiable joy. For reflections on the power and nature of the Gods raise in us a desire of imitating their eternity. Nor does the mind, that sees the necessary dependences and connexions that one cause has with another, think it possible that it should be itself confined to the shortness of this life. Those causes, though they proceed from eternity to eternity, are governed by reason and understanding. And he who beholds them and examines them, or rather he whose view takes in all the parts and boundaries of things, with what tranquillity of mind does he look on all human affairs, and on all that is nearer him! Hence proceeds the knowledge of virtue; hence arise the kinds and species of virtues; hence are discovered those things which nature regards as the bounds and extremities of good and evil; by this it is discovered to what all duties ought to be referred, and which is the most eligible manner of life. And when these and similar points have been investigated, the principal consequence which is deduced from them, and that which is our main object in this discussion, is the establishment of the point — that virtue is of itself sufficient to a happy life.

The third qualification of our wise man is the next to be considered, which goes through and spreads itself over every part of wisdom; it is that whereby we define each particular thing, distinguish the genus from its species, connect consequences, draw just conclusions, and distinguish truth from falsehood, which is the very art and science of disputing; which is not only of the greatest use in the examination of what passes in the world, but is likewise the most rational entertainment, and that which is most becoming to true wisdom. Such are its effects in retirement. Now let our wise man be considered as protecting the republic; what can be more excellent than such a character? By his prudence he will discover the true interests of his fellow-citizens, by his justice he will be prevented from applying what belongs to the public to his own use; and in short, he will be ever governed by all the virtues which are many and various? To these let us add the advantage of his friendships; in which the learned reckon not only a natural harmony and agreement of sentiments throughout the conduct of life, but the utmost pleasure and satisfaction in conversing and passing our time constantly with one another. What can be wanting to such a life as this, to make it more happy than it is? Fortune herself must yield to a life stored with such joys. Now if it be a happiness to rejoice in such goods of the mind, that is to say, in such virtues, and if all wise men enjoy thoroughly these pleasures, it must necessarily be granted that all such are happy.

XXVI. A. What, when in torments and on the rack?

M. Do you imagine I am speaking of him as laid on roses and violets? Is it allowable even for Epicurus (who only puts on the appearance of being a philosopher, and who himself assumed that name for himself,) to say, (though as matters stand, I commend him for his saying,) that a wise man might at all times cry out, though he be burned, tortured, cut to pieces, “How little I regard it!” Shall this be said by one who defines all evil as pain, and measures every good by pleasure; who could ridicule whatever we call either honourable or base, and could declare of us that we were employed about words, and uttering mere empty sounds; and that nothing is to be regarded by us, but as it is perceived to be smooth or rough by the body? What, shall such a man as this, as I said, whose understanding is little superior to the beasts, be at liberty to forget himself; and not only to despise fortune, when the whole of his good and evil is in the power of fortune, but to say, that he is happy in the most racking torture, when he had actually declared pain to be not only the greatest evil, but the only one? Nor did he take any trouble to provide himself with those remedies which might have enabled him to bear pain; such as firmness of mind, a shame of doing anything base, exercise, and the habit of patience, precepts of courage, and a manly hardiness: but he says that he supports himself on the single recollection of past pleasures, as if any one, when the weather was so hot as that he was scarcely able to bear it, should comfort himself by recollecting that he was once in my country Arpinum, where he was surrounded on every side by cooling streams: for I do not apprehend how past pleasures can allay present evils. But when he says that a wise man is always happy, who would have no right to say so if he were consistent with himself, what may they not do, who allow nothing to be desirable, nothing to be looked on as good but what is honourable? Let, then, the Peripatetics and old Academics follow my example, and at length leave off muttering to themselves; and openly and with a clear voice let them be bold to say, that a happy life may not be inconsistent with the agonies of Phalaris’s bull.

XXVII. But to dismiss the subtleties of the Stoics, which I am sensible I have employed more than was necessary, let us admit of three kinds of goods: and let them really be kinds of goods, provided no regard is had to the body, and to external circumstances, as entitled to the appellation of good in any other sense than because we are obliged to use them: but let those other divine goods spread themselves far in every direction, and reach the very heavens. Why, then, may I not call him happy, nay, the happiest of men, who has attained them? Shall a wise man be afraid of pain? which is, indeed, the greatest enemy to our opinion. For I am persuaded that we are prepared and fortified sufficiently, by the disputations of the foregoing days, against our own death, or that of our friends, against grief and the other perturbations of the mind. But pain seems to be the sharpest adversary of virtue: that it is which menaces us with burning torches; that it is which threatens to crush our fortitude, and greatness of mind, and patience. Shall virtue then yield to this? Shall the happy life of a wise and consistent man succumb to this? Good Gods! how base would this be! Spartan boys will bear to have their bodies torn by rods without uttering a groan. I myself have seen at Lacedæmon, troops of young men, with incredible earnestness contending together with their hands and feet, with their teeth and nails, nay even ready to expire, rather than own themselves conquered. Is any country of barbarians more uncivilized or desolate than India? Yet they have amongst them some that are held for wise men, who never wear any clothes all their life long, and who bear the snow of Caucasus, and the piercing cold of winter, without any pain: and who if they come in contact with fire endure being burned without a groan. The women too, in India, on the death of their husbands have a regular contest, and apply to the judge to have it determined which of them was best beloved by him; for it is customary there for one man to have many wives. She in whose favour it is determined exults greatly, and being attended by her relations is laid on the funeral pile with her husband: the others, who are postponed, walk away very much dejected. Custom can never be superior to nature: for nature is never to be got the better of. But our minds are infected by sloth and idleness, and luxury, and languor, and indolence: we have enervated them by opinions, and bad customs. Who is there who is unacquainted with the customs of the Egyptians? Their minds being tainted by pernicious opinions, they are ready to bear any torture, rather than hurt an ibis, a snake, a cat, a dog, or a crocodile: and should any one inadvertently have hurt any of these animals, he will submit to any punishment. I am speaking of men only. As to the beasts, do they not bear cold and hunger, running about in woods, and on mountains and deserts? will they not fight for their young ones till they are wounded? Are they afraid of any attacks or blows? I mention not what the ambitious will suffer for honour’s sake, or those who are desirous of praise on account of glory, or lovers to gratify their lust. Life is full of such instances.

XXVIII. But let us not dwell too much on these questions, but rather let us return to our subject. I say, and say again, that happiness will submit even to be tormented; and that in pursuit of justice, and temperance, and still more especially and principally fortitude, and greatness of soul, and patience, it will not stop short at sight of the executioner; and when all other virtues proceed calmly to the torture, that one will never halt, as I said, on the outside and threshold of the prison: for what can be baser, what can carry a worse appearance, than to be left alone, separated from those beautiful attendants? not however that this is by any means possible: for neither can the virtues hold together without happiness, nor happiness without the virtues: so that they will not suffer her to desert them, but will carry her along with them, to whatever torments, to whatever pain they are led. For it is the peculiar quality of a wise man to do nothing that he may repent of, nothing against his inclination: but always to act nobly, with constancy, gravity, and honesty: to depend on nothing as certainty: to wonder at nothing, when it falls out, as if it appeared strange and unexpected to him: to be independent of every one, and abide by his own opinion. For my part, I cannot form an idea of anything happier than this. The conclusion of the Stoics is indeed easy; for since they are persuaded that the end of good is to live agreeably to nature, and to be consistent with that — as a wise man should do so, not only because it is his duty, but because it is in his power, it must of course follow, that whoever has the chief good in his power, has his happiness so too. And thus the life of a wise man is always happy. You have here what I think may be confidently said of a happy life, and as things now stand, very truly also, unless you can advance something better.

XXIX. A. Indeed I cannot; but I should be glad to prevail on you, unless it is troublesome (as you are under no confinement from obligations to any particular sect, but gather from all of them whatever strikes you most as having the appearance of probability), as you just now seemed to advise the Peripatetics and the Old Academy, boldly to speak out without reserve, “that wise men are always the happiest,”— I should be glad to hear how you think it consistent for them to say so, when you have said so much against that opinion, and the conclusions of the Stoics.

M. I will make use, then, of that liberty which no one has the privilege of using in philosophy but those of our school, whose discourses determine nothing, but take in everything, leaving them, unsupported by the authority of any particular person, to be judged of by others, according to their weight. And as you seem desirous of knowing how it is that, notwithstanding the different opinions of philosophers with regard to the ends of goods, virtue has still sufficient security for the effecting of a happy life — which security, as we are informed, Carneades used indeed to dispute against; but he disputed as against the Stoics, whose opinions he combated with great zeal and vehemence — I however shall handle the question with more temper; for if the Stoics have rightly settled the ends of goods, the affair is at an end; for a wise man must necessarily be always happy. But let us examine, if we can, the particular opinions of the others, that so this excellent decision, if I may so call it, in favour of a happy life, may be agreeable to the opinions and discipline of all.

XXX. These then are the opinions, as I think, that are held and defended: the first four are simple ones; “that nothing is good but what is honest,” according to the Stoics: “nothing good but pleasure,” as Epicurus maintains: “nothing good but a freedom from pain,” as Hieronymus111 asserts: “nothing good but an enjoyment of the principal, or all, or the greatest goods of nature,” as Carneades maintained against the Stoics:— these are simple, the others are mixed propositions. Then there are three kinds of goods; the greatest being those of the mind, the next best those of the body, the third are external goods, as the Peripatetics call them, and the old Academics differ very little from them. Dinomachus112 and Callipho113 have coupled pleasure with honesty: but Diodorus,114 the Peripatetic, has joined indolence to honesty. These are the opinions that have some footing; for those of Aristo,115 Pyrrho,116 Herillus,117 and of some others, are quite out of date. Now let us see what weight these men have in them, excepting the Stoics, whose opinion I think I have sufficiently defended; and indeed I have explained what the Peripatetics have to say; excepting that Theophrastus, and those who followed him, dread and abhor pain in too weak a manner. The others may go on to exaggerate the gravity and dignity of virtue, as usual; and then, after they have extolled it to the skies, with the usual extravagance of good orators, it is easy to reduce the other topics to nothing by comparison, and to hold them up to contempt. They who think that praise deserves to be sought after, even at the expense of pain, are not at liberty to deny those men to be happy, who have obtained it. Though they may be under some evils, yet this name of happy has a very wide application.

XXXI. For even as trading is said to be lucrative, and farming advantageous, not because the one never meets with any loss, nor the other with any damage from the inclemency of the weather, but because they succeed in general: so life may be properly called happy, not from its being entirely made up of good things, but because it abounds with these to a great and considerable degree. By this way of reasoning, then, a happy life may attend virtue even to the moment of execution; nay, may descend with her into Phalaris’s bull, according to Aristotle, Xenocrates, Speusippus, Polemon; and will not be gained over by any allurements to forsake her. Of the same opinion will Calliphon and Diodorus be: for they are both of them such friends to virtue, as to think that all things should be discarded and far removed that are incompatible with it. The rest seem to be more hampered with these doctrines, but yet they get clear of them; such as Epicurus, Hieronymus, and whoever else thinks it worth while to defend the deserted Carneades: for there is not one of them who does not think the mind to be judge of those goods, and able sufficiently to instruct him how to despise what has the appearance only of good or evil. For what seems to you to be the case with Epicurus, is the case also with Hieronymus and Carneades, and indeed with all the rest of them: for who is there who is not sufficiently prepared against death and pain? I will begin, with your leave, with him whom we call soft and voluptuous. What! does he seem to you to be afraid of death or pain, when he calls the day of his death happy; and who, when he is afflicted by the greatest pains, silences them all by recollecting arguments of his own discovering? And this is not done in such a manner as to give room for imagining that he talks thus wildly from some sudden impulse: but his opinion of death is, that on the dissolution of the animal, all sense is lost; and what is deprived of sense is, as he thinks, what we have no concern at all with. And as to pain too, he has certain rules to follow then: if it be great, the comfort is, that it must be short; if it be of long continuance, then it must be supportable. What then? Do those grandiloquent gentlemen state anything better than Epicurus, in opposition to these two things which distress us the most? And as to other things, do not Epicurus and the rest of the philosophers seem sufficiently prepared? Who is there who does not dread poverty? And yet no true philosopher ever can dread it.

XXXII. But with how little is this man himself satisfied? No one has said more on frugality. For when a man is far removed from those things which occasion a desire of money, from love, ambition, or other daily extravagance, why should he be fond of money, or concern himself at all about it? Could the Scythian Anacharsis118 disregard money, and shall not our philosophers be able to do so? We are informed of an epistle of his, in these words: “Anacharsis to Hanno, greeting. My clothing is the same as that with which the Scythians cover themselves; the hardness of my feet supplies the want of shoes; the ground is my bed, hunger my sauce, my food milk, cheese, and flesh. So you may come to me as to a man in want of nothing. But as to those presents you take so much pleasure in, you may dispose of them to your own citizens, or to the immortal gods.” And almost all philosophers, of all schools, excepting those who are warped from right reason by a vicious disposition, might have been of this same opinion. Socrates, when on one occasion he saw a great quantity of gold and silver carried in a procession, cried out, “How many things are there which I do not want!”

Xenocrates, when some ambassadors from Alexander had brought him fifty talents, which was a very large sum of money in those times, especially at Athens, carried the ambassadors to sup in the Academy; and placed just a sufficiency before them, without any apparatus. When they asked him, the next day, to whom he wished the money which they had for him to be paid: “What?” said he, “did you not perceive by our slight repast of yesterday, that I had no occasion for money?” But when he perceived that they were somewhat dejected, he accepted of thirty minæ, that he might not seem to treat with disrespect the king’s generosity. But Diogenes took a greater liberty, like a Cynic, when Alexander asked him if he wanted anything: “Just at present,” said he, “I wish that you would stand a little out of the line between me and the sun,” for Alexander was hindering him from sunning himself. And indeed this very man used to maintain how much he surpassed the Persian king, in his manner of life and fortune; for that he himself was in want of nothing, while the other never had enough; and that he had no inclination for those pleasures of which the other could never get enough to satisfy himself: and that the other could never obtain his.

XXXIII. You see, I imagine, how Epicurus has divided his kinds of desires, not very acutely perhaps, but yet usefully: saying, that they are “partly natural and necessary; partly natural, but not necessary; partly neither. That those which are necessary may be supplied almost for nothing; for that the things which nature requires are easily obtained.” As to the second kind of desires, his opinion is, that any one may easily either enjoy or go without them. And with regard to the third, since they are utterly frivolous, being neither allied to necessity nor nature, he thinks that they should be entirely rooted out. On this topic a great many arguments are adduced by the Epicureans; and those pleasures which they do not despise in a body, they disparage one by one, and seem rather for lessening the number of them: for as to wanton pleasures, on which subject they say a great deal, these, say they, are easy, common, and within any one’s reach; and they think that if nature requires them, they are not to be estimated by birth, condition, or rank, but by shape, age, and person: and that it is by no means difficult to refrain from them, should health, duty, or reputation require it; but that pleasures of this kind may be desirable, where they are attended with no inconvenience, but can never be of any use. And the assertions which Epicurus makes with respect to the whole of pleasure, are such as show his opinion to be that pleasure is always desirable, and to be pursued merely because it is pleasure; and for the same reason pain is to be avoided, because it is pain. So that a wise man will always adopt such a system of counterbalancing as to do himself the justice to avoid pleasure, should pain ensue from it in too great a proportion; and will submit to pain, provided the effects of it are to produce a greater pleasure: so that all pleasurable things, though the corporeal senses are the judges of them, are still to be referred to the mind, on which account the body rejoices, whilst it perceives a present pleasure; but that the mind not only perceives the present as well as the body, but foresees it, while it is coming, and even when it is past will not let it quite slip away. So that a wise man enjoys a continual series of pleasures, uniting the expectation of future pleasure to the recollection of what he has already tasted. The like notions are applied by them to high living; and the magnificence and expensiveness of entertainments are deprecated, because nature is satisfied at a small expense.

XXXIV. For who does not see this, that an appetite is the best sauce? When Darius, in his flight from the enemy, had drunk some water which was muddy and tainted with dead bodies, he declared that he had never drunk anything more pleasant; the fact was, that he had never drunk before when he was thirsty. Nor had Ptolemy ever eaten when he was hungry: for as he was travelling over Egypt, his company not keeping up with him, he had some coarse bread presented him in a cottage: upon which he said, “Nothing ever seemed to him pleasanter than that bread.” They relate too of Socrates, that, once when he was walking very fast till the evening, on his being asked why he did so, his reply was that he was purchasing an appetite by walking, that he might sup the better. And do we not see what the Lacedæmonians provide in their Phiditia? where the tyrant Dionysius supped, but told them he did not at all like that black broth, which was their principal dish; on which he who dressed it said, “It was no wonder, for it wanted seasoning.” Dionysius asked what that seasoning was; to which it was replied, “Fatigue in hunting, sweating, a race on the banks of Eurotas, hunger, and thirst:” for these are the seasonings to the Lacedæmonian banquets. And this may not only be conceived from the custom of men, but from the beasts, who are satisfied with anything that is thrown before them, provided it is not unnatural, and they seek no farther. Some entire cities, taught by custom, delight in parsimony, as I said but just now of the Lacedæmonians. Xenophon has given an account of the Persian diet; who never, as he saith, use anything but cresses with their bread, not but that, should nature require anything more agreeable, many things might be easily supplied by the ground, and plants in great abundance, and of incomparable sweetness. Add to this, strength and health, as the consequence of this abstemious way of living. Now compare with this, those who sweat and belch, being crammed with eating, like fatted oxen: then will you perceive that they who pursue pleasure most, attain it least: and that the pleasure of eating lies not in satiety, but appetite.

XXXV. They report of Timotheus, a famous man at Athens, and the head of the city, that having supped with Plato, and being extremely delighted with his entertainment, on seeing him the next day, he said, “Your suppers are not only agreeable whilst I partake of them, but the next day also.” Besides, the understanding is impaired when we are full with over-eating and drinking. There is an excellent epistle of Plato to Dion’s relations, in which there occurs as nearly as possible these words: “When I came there, that happy life so much talked of, devoted to Italian and Syracusan entertainments, was no ways agreeable to me; to be crammed twice a day, and never to have the night to yourself, and the other things which are the accompaniments of this kind of life, by which a man will never be made the wiser, but will be rendered much less temperate; for it must be an extraordinary disposition that can be temperate in such circumstances.” How, then, can a life be pleasant without prudence and temperance? Hence you discover the mistake of Sardanapalus, the wealthiest king of the Assyrians, who ordered it to be engraved on his tomb,

I still have what in food I did exhaust,

But what I left, though excellent, is lost.

“What less than this,” says Aristotle, “could be inscribed on the tomb, not of a king but an ox?” He said that he possessed those things when dead, which, in his lifetime, he could have no longer than whilst he was enjoying them. Why, then, are riches desired? And wherein doth poverty prevent us from being happy? In the want, I imagine, of statues, pictures, and diversions. But if any one is delighted with these things, have not the poor people the enjoyment of them more than they who are the owners of them in the greatest abundance? For we have great numbers of them displayed publicly in our city. And whatever store of them private people have, they cannot have a great number, and they but seldom see them, only when they go to their country seats; and some of them must be stung to the heart when they consider how they came by them. The day would fail me, should I be inclined to defend the cause of poverty: the thing is manifest, and nature daily informs us how few things there are, and how trifling they are, of which she really stands in need.

XXXVI. Let us inquire, then, if obscurity, the want of power, or even the being unpopular, can prevent a wise man from being happy. Observe if popular favour, and this glory which they are so fond of, be not attended with more uneasiness than pleasure. Our friend Demosthenes was certainly very weak in declaring himself pleased with the whisper of a woman who was carrying water, as is the custom in Greece, and who whispered to another, “That is he — that is Demosthenes.” What could be weaker than this? and yet what an orator he was! But although he had learned to speak to others, he had conversed but little with himself. We may perceive, therefore, that popular glory is not desirable of itself; nor is obscurity to be dreaded. “I came to Athens,” saith Democritus, “and there was no one there that knew me:” this was a moderate and grave man who could glory in his obscurity. Shall musicians compose their tunes to their own tastes; and shall a philosopher, master of a much better art, seek to ascertain, not what is most true, but what will please the people? Can anything be more absurd than to despise the vulgar as mere unpolished mechanics, taken singly, and to think them of consequence when collected into a body? These wise men would contemn our ambitious pursuits, and our vanities, and would reject all the honours which the people could voluntarily offer to them: but we know not how to despise them till we begin to repent of having accepted them. There is an anecdote related by Heraclitus the natural philosopher, of Hermodorus the chief of the Ephesians, that he said, “that all the Ephesians ought to be punished with death, for saying, when they had expelled Hermodorus out of their city, that they would have no one amongst them better than another; but that if there were any such, he might go elsewhere to some other people.” Is not this the case with the people everywhere? do they not hate every virtue that distinguishes itself? What! was not Aristides (I had rather instance in the Greeks than ourselves) banished his country for being eminently just? What troubles, then, are they free from who have no connexion whatever with the people! What is more agreeable than a learned retirement? I speak of that learning which makes us acquainted with the boundless extent of nature, and the universe, and which even while we remain in this world discovers to us both heaven, earth, and sea.

XXXVII. If, then, honour and riches have no value, what is there else to be afraid of? Banishment, I suppose; which is looked on as the greatest evil. Now, if the evil of banishment proceeds not from ourselves, but from the froward disposition of the people, I have just now declared how contemptible it is. But if to leave one’s country be miserable, the provinces are full of miserable men; very few of the settlers in which ever return to their country again. But exiles are deprived of their property! What, then! has there not been enough said on bearing poverty? But with regard to banishment, if we examine the nature of things, not the ignominy of the name, how little does it differ from constant travelling? in which some of the most famous philosophers have spent their whole life: as Xenocrates, Crantor, Arcesilas, Lacydes, Aristotle, Theophrastus, Zeno, Cleanthes, Chrysippus, Antipater, Carneades, Panætius, Clitomachus, Philo, Antiochus, Posidonius, and innumerable others; who from their first setting out never returned home again. Now what ignominy can a wise man be affected with (for it is of such a one that I am speaking) who can be guilty of nothing which deserves it; for there is no occasion to comfort one who is banished for his deserts. Lastly, they can easily reconcile themselves to every accident who measure all their objects and pursuits in life by the standard of pleasure; so that in whatever place that is supplied, there they may live happily. Thus what Teucer said may be applied to every case:

Wherever I am happy, is my country.

Socrates, indeed, when he was asked where he belonged to, replied, “The world;” for he looked upon himself as a citizen and inhabitant of the whole world. How was it with T. Altibutius? Did he not follow his philosophical studies with the greatest satisfaction at Athens, although he was banished? which, however, would not have happened to him, if he had obeyed the laws of Epicurus, and lived peaceably in the republic. In what was Epicurus happier, living in his own country, than Metrodorus who lived at Athens? Or did Plato’s happiness exceed that of Xenocrates, or Polemo, or Arcesilas? Or is that city to be valued much, that banishes all her good and wise men? Demaratus, the father of our king Tarquin, not being able to bear the tyrant Cypselus, fled from Corinth to Tarquinii, settled there, and had children. Was it, then, an unwise act in him to prefer the liberty of banishment to slavery at home?

XXXVIII. Besides the emotions of the mind, all griefs and anxieties are assuaged by forgetting them, and turning our thoughts to pleasure. Therefore, it was not without reason that Epicurus presumed to say that a wise man abounds with good things, because he may always have his pleasures: from whence it follows, as he thinks, that that point is gained, which is the subject of our present inquiry, that a wise man is always happy. What! though he should be deprived of the senses of seeing and hearing? Yes; for he holds those things very cheap. For, in the first place, what are the pleasures of which we are deprived by that dreadful thing, blindness? For though they allow other pleasures to be confined to the senses, yet the things which are perceived by the sight do not depend wholly on the pleasure the eyes receive; as is the case when we taste, smell, touch, or hear; for, in respect of all these senses, the organs themselves are the seat of pleasure; but it is not so with the eyes. For it is the mind which is entertained by what we see; but the mind may be entertained in many ways, even though we could not see at all. I am speaking of a learned and a wise man, with whom to think is to live. But thinking in the case of a wise man does not altogether require the use of his eyes in his investigations; for if night does not strip him of his happiness, why should blindness, which resembles night, have that effect? For the reply of Antipater the Cyrenaic, to some women who bewailed his being blind, though it is a little too obscene, is not without its significance. “What do you mean?” saith he; “do you think the night can furnish no pleasure?” And we find by his magistracies and his actions, that old Appius119 too, who was blind for many years, was not prevented from doing whatever was required of him, with respect either to the republic or his own affairs. It is said, that C. Drusus’s house was crowded with clients. When they, whose business it was, could not see how to conduct themselves, they applied to a blind guide.

XXXIX. When I was a boy, Cn. Aufidius, a blind man, who had served the office of prætor, not only gave his opinion in the senate, and was ready to assist his friends, but wrote a Greek history, and had a considerable acquaintance with literature. Diodorus the Stoic was blind, and lived many years at my house. He, indeed, which is scarcely credible, besides applying himself more than usual to philosophy, and playing on the flute, agreeably to the custom of the Pythagoreans, and having books read to him night and day, in all which he did not want eyes, contrived to teach geometry, which, one would think, could hardly be done without the assistance of eyes, telling his scholars how and where to draw every line. They relate of Asclepiades, a native of Eretria, and no obscure philosopher, when some one asked him what inconvenience he suffered from his blindness, that his reply was, “He was at the expense of another servant.” So that, as the most extreme poverty may be borne, if you please, as is daily the case with some in Greece; so blindness may easily be borne, provided you have the support of good health in other respects. Democritus was so blind he could not distinguish white from black: but he knew the difference betwixt good and evil, just and unjust, honourable and base, the useful and useless, great and small. Thus one may live happily without distinguishing colours; but without acquainting yourself with things, you cannot; and this man was of opinion, that the intense application of the mind was taken off by the objects that presented themselves to the eye, and while others often could not see what was before their feet, he travelled through all infinity. It is reported also that Homer120 was blind, but we observe his painting, as well as his poetry. What country, what coast, what part of Greece, what military attacks, what dispositions of battle, what army, what ship, what motions of men and animals can be mentioned which he has not described in such a manner as to enable us to see what he could not see himself? What, then! can we imagine that Homer, or any other learned man, has ever been in want of pleasure and entertainment for his mind? Were it not so, would Anaxagoras, or this very Democritus, have left their estates and patrimonies, and given themselves up to the pursuit of acquiring this divine pleasure? It is thus that the poets who have represented Tiresias the Augur as a wise man and blind, never exhibit him as bewailing his blindness. And Homer, too, after he had described Polyphemus as a monster and a wild man, represents him talking with his ram, and speaking of his good fortune, inasmuch as he could go wherever he pleased and touch what he would. And so far he was right, for that Cyclops was a being of not much more understanding than his ram.

XL. Now, as to the evil of being deaf: M. Crassus was a little thick of hearing; but it was more uneasiness to him that he heard himself ill spoken of, though, in my opinion, he did not deserve it. Our Epicureans cannot understand Greek, nor the Greeks Latin: now, they are deaf reciprocally as to each other’s language, and we are all truly deaf with regard to those innumerable languages which we do not understand. They do not hear the voice of the harper; but then they do not hear the grating of a saw when it is setting, or the grunting of a hog when his throat is being cut, nor the roaring of the sea when they are desirous of rest. And if they should chance to be fond of singing, they ought in the first place to consider that many wise men lived happily before music was discovered; besides, they may have more pleasure in reading verses than in hearing them sung. Then, as I before referred the blind to the pleasures of hearing, so I may the deaf to the pleasures of sight: moreover, whoever can converse with himself doth not need the conversation of another. But suppose all these misfortunes to meet in one person: suppose him blind and deaf — let him be afflicted with the sharpest pains of body, which, in the first place, generally of themselves make an end of him; still, should they continue so long, and the pain be so exquisite, that we should be unable to assign any reason for our being so afflicted — still, why, good Gods! should we be under any difficulty? For there is a retreat at hand: death is that retreat — a shelter where we shall for ever be insensible. Theodoras said to Lysimachus, who threatened him with death, “It is a great matter, indeed, for you to have acquired the power of a Spanish fly!” When Perses entreated Paulus not to lead him in triumph, “That is a matter which you have in your own power,” said Paulus. I said many things about death in our first day’s disputation, when death was the subject; and not a little the next day, when I treated of pain; which things if you recollect, there can be no danger of your looking upon death as undesirable, or at least it will not be dreadful.

That custom which is common among the Grecians at their banquets should, in my opinion, be observed in life:— Drink, say they, or leave the company: and rightly enough; for a guest should either enjoy the pleasure of drinking with others, or else not stay till he meets with affronts from those that are in liquor. Thus, those injuries of fortune which you cannot bear, you should flee from.

XLI. This is the very same which is said by Epicurus and Hieronymus. Now, if those philosophers, whose opinion it is that virtue has no power of itself, and who say that the conduct which we denominate honourable and laudable is really nothing, and is only an empty circumstance set off with an unmeaning sound, can nevertheless maintain that a wise man is always happy, what, think you, may be done by the Socratic and Platonic philosophers. Some of these allow such superiority to the goods of the mind, as quite to eclipse what concerns the body and all external circumstances. But others do not admit these to be goods; they make everything depend on the mind: whose disputes Carneades used, as a sort of honorary arbitrator, to determine. For, as what seemed goods to the Peripatetics were allowed to be advantages by the Stoics, and as the Peripatetics allowed no more to riches, good health, and other things of that sort, than the Stoics, when these things were considered according to their reality, and not by mere names, his opinion was that there was no ground for disagreeing. Therefore, let the philosophers of other schools see how they can establish this point also. It is very agreeable to me that they make some professions worthy of being uttered by the mouth of a philosopher, with regard to a wise man’s having always the means of living happily.

XLII. But as we are to depart in the morning, let us remember these five days’ discussions; though, indeed, I think I shall commit them to writing: for how can I better employ the leisure which I have, of whatever kind it is, and whatever it be owing to? and I will send these five books also to my friend Brutus, by whom I was not only incited to write on philosophy, but, I may say, provoked. And by so doing, it is not easy to say what service I may be of to others; at all events, in my own various and acute afflictions, which surround me on all sides, I cannot find any better comfort for myself.

THE END

104. This was Marcus Atilius Regulus, the story of whose treatment by the Carthaginians in the first Punic War is well known to everybody.

105. This was Quintus Servilius Cæpio, who, b.c. 105, was destroyed, with his army, by the Cimbri — it was believed as a judgment for the covetousness which he had displayed in the plunder of Tolosa.

106. This was Marcus Aquilius, who, in the year b.c. 88, was sent against Mithridates as one of the consular legates: and being defeated, was delivered up to the king by the inhabitants of Mitylene. Mithridates put him to death by pouring molten gold down his throat.

107. This was the elder brother of the triumvir Marcus Crassus, b.c. 87. He was put to death by Fimbria, who was in command of some of the troops of Marius.

108. Lucius Cæsar and Caius Cæsar were relations (it is uncertain in what degree) of the great Cæsar, and were killed by Fimbria on the same occasion as Octavius.

109. M. Antonius was the grandfather of the triumvir; he was murdered the same year, b.c. 87, by Annius, when Marius and Cinna took Rome.

110. This story is alluded to by Horace —

Districtus ensis cui super impiâ

Cervice pendet non Siculæ dapes

Dulcem elaborabunt saporem,

Non avium citharæve cantus

Somnum reducent. — iii. 1. 17.

111. Hieronymus was a Rhodian, and a pupil of Aristotle, flourishing about 300 b.c. He is frequently mentioned by Cicero.

112. We know very little of Dinomachus. Some MSS. have Clitomachus.

113. Callipho was in all probability a pupil of Epicurus, but we have no certain information about him.

114. Diodorus was a Syrian, and succeeded Critolaus as the head of the Peripatetic School at Athens.

115. Aristo was a native of Ceos, and a pupil of Lycon, who succeeded Stratton as the head of the Peripatetic School, b.c. 270. He afterwards himself succeeded Lycon.

116. Pyrrho was a native of Elis, and the originator of the sceptical theories of some of the ancient philosophers. He was a contemporary of Alexander.

117. Herillus was a disciple of Zeno of Cittium, and therefore a Stoic. He did not, however, follow all the opinions of his master: he held that knowledge was the chief good. Some of the treatises of Cleanthes were written expressly to confute him.

118. Anacharsis was (Herod, iv. 76) son of Gnurus and brother of Saulius, king of Thrace. He came to Athens while Solon was occupied in framing laws for his people; and by the simplicity of his way of living, and his acute observations on the manners of the Greeks, he excited such general admiration, that he was reckoned by some writers among the seven wise men of Greece.

119. This was Appius Claudius Cæcus, who was censor b.c. 310, and who, according to Livy, was afflicted with blindness by the gods for persuading the Potitii to instruct the public servants in the way of sacrificing to Hercules. He it was who made the Via Appia.

120. The fact of Homer’s blindness rests on a passage in the Hymn to Apollo, quoted by Thucydides as a genuine work of Homer, and which is thus spoken of by one of the most accomplished scholars that this country or this age has ever produced:—“They are indeed beautiful verses, and if none worse had ever been attributed to Homer, the Prince of Poets would have had little reason to complain.

“He has been describing the Delian festival in honour of Apollo and Diana, and concludes this part of the poem with an address to the women of that island, to whom it is to be supposed that he had become familiarly known by his frequent recitations:

Χαίρετε δ᾽ υμεῖς πᾶσαι, ἐμεῖο δὲ καὶ μετόπισθε

μνήσασθ᾽, ὅπποτέ κέν τις ἐπιχθονίων ἀνθρώπων

ἐνθάδ᾽ ἀνείρηται ξεῖνος ταλαπείριος ἐλθὼν

ὦ κοῦραι, τίς δ᾽ ὕμμιν ἀνὴρ ἥδιστος ἀοιδῶν

ἐνθάδε πωλεῖται καὶ τέῳ τέρπεσθε μάλιστα?

ὑμεῖς δ᾽ εὖ μάλα πᾶσαι ὑποκρίνασθε ἀφ᾽ ἡμῶν,

Τυφλὸς ἀνὴρ, οἰκεῖ δὲ Χίῳ ἐνὶ παιπαλοέσσῃ,

τοῦ πᾶσαι μετόπισθεν ἀριστεύουσιν ἀοιδαί.

Virgins, farewell — and oh! remember me

Hereafter, when some stranger from the sea,

A hapless wanderer, may your isle explore,

And ask you, “Maids, of all the bards you boast,

Who sings the sweetest, and delights you most?”

Oh! answer all — “A blind old man, and poor,

Sweetest he sings, and dwells on Chios’ rocky shore.”

Coleridge’s Introduction to the Study of the Greek Classic Poets.

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Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:53