The Stoics Library
Essays Volume 2
On Consolation
by Seneca
Translated by John W. Basore


If I did not know, Marcia, that you were as far removed from womanish weakness of mind {effeminacy+} as from all other vices, and that your character was looked upon as a model of ancient virtue, I should not dare to assail your grief - the grief that even men are prone to nurse and brood upon - nor should I have conceived the hope of being able to induce you to acquit Fortune of your complaint, at a time so unfavourable, with her judge so hostile, after a charge so hateful. But your strength of mind has been already so tested and your courage, after a severe trial, so approved that they have given me confidence. How you bore yourself in relation to your father is common knowledge; for you loved him not less dearly than your children, save only that you did not wish him to outlive you. And yet I am not sure that you did not wish even that; for great affection sometimes ventures to break the natural law. The death of your father, Aulus Cremutius Cordus, you delayed as long as you could; after it became clear that, surrounded as he was by the minions of Sejanus, he had no other way of escape from servitude, favour his plan you did not, but you acknowledged defeat, and you routed your tears in public and choked down your sobs, yet in spite of your cheerful face you did not conceal them - and these things in an age when the supremely filial was simply not to be unfilial! When, however, changed times gave you an opportunity, you recovered for the benefit of men that genius of your father which had brought him to his end, and thus saved him from the only real death, and the books which that bravest hero had written with his own blood you restored to their place among the memorials of the nation. You have done a very great service to Roman scholarship, for a large part of his writings had been burned; a very great service to posterity, for history will come to them as an uncorrupted record whose honesty cost its author dear and a very great service to the man himself, whose memory now lives and will ever live so long as it shall be worth while to learn the facts of Roman history - so long as there shall be anyone who will wish to hark back to the deeds of our ancestors, so long as there shall be anyone who will wish to know what it is to be a Roman hero, what it is to be unconquered when all necks are bowed and forced to bear the yoke of a Sejanus, what it is to be free in thought, in purpose, and in act. A great loss, in very truth, the state had suffered, had you not rescued this man who had been thrust into oblivion for the sake of two of the noblest things - eloquence and freedom. But he is now read, he lives, and ensconced in the hands and hearts of men he fears no passing of the years; but, those cutthroats even their crimes, by which alone they deserved to be remembered, will soon be heard of no more. This evidence of the greatness of your mind forbade me to pay heed to your sex, forbade me to pay heed to your face, which, since sorrow once clouded it, unbroken sadness holds for all these years. And see! - I am not stealing upon you with stealth, nor am I planning to filch from you any of your sufferings. I have recalled to your memory old misfortunes, and, that you may know that even this deep-cut wound will surely heal, I have shown you the scar of an old wound that was not less severe. And so let others deal with you gently and ply soft words. I myself have determined to battle with your grief, and your eyes that are wearied and worn - weeping now, if I may speak the truth, more from habit than from sorrow - shall be checked by measures that, if so it may be, you welcome, if not, even against your will, even though you hug and embrace the sorrow that you have kept alive in place of your son. Else what end shall it have? Every means has been tried in vain. The consolations of your friends, the influence of great men who were your relatives have been exhausted. Books, your love for which was a boon bequeathed by your father, now void of comfort and scarcely serving for brief distraction, make their appeal to unheeding ears. Even time, Nature's great healer, that lays even our most grievous sorrows, in your case only has lost its power. Three whole years have now passed, and yet the first violence of your sorrow has in no way abated. Your grief is renewed and grows stronger every day - by lingering it has established its right to stay, and has now reached the point that it is ashamed to make an end, just as all vices become deep-rooted unless they are crushed when they spring up, so, too, such a state of sadness and wretchedness, with its self afflicted torture, feeds at last upon its very bitterness, and the grief of an unhappy mind becomes a morbid pleasure. And so I should have liked to approach your cure in the first stages of your sorrow. While it was still young, a gentler remedy might have been used to check its violence; against inveterate evils the fight must be more vehement. This is likewise true of wounds - they are easy to heal while they are still fresh and bloody. When they have festered and turned into a wicked sore, then they must be cauterized and, opened up to the very bottom, must submit to probing fingers. As it is, I cannot possibly be a match for such hardened grief by being considerate and gentle; it must be crushed. I am aware that all those who wish to give anyone admonition commonly begin with precepts, and end with examples. But it is desirable at times to alter this practice; for different people must be dealt with differently. Some are guided by reason, some must be confronted with famous names and an authority that does not leave a man's mind free, dazzled as he is by showy deeds. I shall place before your eyes but two examples - the greatest of your sex and century -one, of a woman who allowed herself to be swept away by grief, the other, of a woman who, though she suffered a like misfortune and even greater loss, yet did not permit her ills to have the mastery long, but quickly restored her mind to its accustomed state. Octavia and Livia, the one the sister of Augustus, the other his wife, had lost their sons - both of them young men with the well-assured hope of becoming emperor.

Octavia lost Marcellus, upon whom Augustus, at once his uncle and his father-in-law, had begun to lean, upon whom he had begun to rest the burden of empire - a young man of keen mind, of commanding ability, yet withal marked by a frugality and self- restraint that, for one of his years and wealth, commanded the highest admiration, patient under hardships, averse to pleasures, and ready to bear whatever his uncle might wish to place or, so to speak, to build upon him: well had he chosen a foundation that would not sink beneath any weight. Through all the rest of her life Octavia set no bounds to her tears and moans, and closed her ears to all words that offered wholesome advice; with her whole mind fixed and centred upon one single thing, she did not allow herself even to relax. Such she remained during her whole life as she was at the funeral - I do not say lacking the courage to rise, but refusing to be uplifted, counting any loss of tears a second bereavement. Not a single portrait would she have of her darling son, not one mention of his name in her hearing. She hated all mothers, and was inflamed nost of all against Livia, because it seemed that the happiness which had once been held out to herself had passed to the other woman's son. Companioned ever by darkness and solitude, giving no thought even to her brother, she spurned the poems that were written to glorify the memory of Marcellus and all other literary honours, and closed her ears to every form of consolation. Withdrawing from all her accustomed duties and hating even the good fortune that her brother's greatness shed all too brightly around her, she buried herself in deep seclusion. Surrounded by children and grandchildren, she would not lay aside her garb of mourning, and, putting a slight on all her nearest, accounted herself utterly bereft though they still lived.

And Livia lost her son Drusus, who would have made a great emperor, and had already shown himself a great leader. For he had penetrated far into Germany, and had planted the Roman standards in a region where it was scarcely known that any Romans existed. He had died on the campaign, and his very foes had reverently honoured his sick-bed by maintaining peace along with us; nor did they dare to desire what their interests demanded. And to these circumstances of his death, which he had met in the service of his country, there was added the unbounded sorrow of his fellow-citizens, of the provinces, and of all Italy, through the length of which crowds poured forth from the towns and colonies, and, escorting the funeral train all the way to the city, made it seem more like a triumph. His mother had not been permitted to receive her son's last kisses and drink in the fond words of his dying lips. On the long journey a through which she accompanied the remains of her dear Drusus, her heart was harrowed by the countless pyres that flamed throughout all Italy - for on each she seemed to be losing her son afresh -, yet as soon as she had placed him in the tomb, along with her son she laid away her sorrow, and grieved no more than was respectful to Caesar or fair to Tiberius, seeing, that they were alive. And lastly, she never ceased from proclaiming the name of her dear Drusus. She had him pictured everywhere, in private and in public places, and it was her greatest pleasure to talk about him and to listen to the talk of others - she lived with his memory. But no one can cherish and cling to a memory that he has rendered an affliction to himself.

Do you choose, therefore, which of these two examples you think the more laudable. If you prefer to follow the former, you will remove yourself from the number of the living; you will turn away your eyes both from other people's children and from your own, even from him whom you mourn; mothers will regard you as an unhappy omen; honourable and permissible pleasures you will renounce as ill-becoming to your plight; hating the light of day, you will linger in it, and your deepest offence will be your age, because the years do not hurry you on and make an end of you as soon as possible; you will show that you are unwilling to live and unable to die - a condition that is most disgraceful and foreign, too, to your character, which is conspicuous for its leaning toward the better course. If, on the other hand, you appropriate the example of the other most exalted lady, showing thus a more restrained and more gentle spirit, you will not dwell in sorrow, nor rack yourself with anguish. For what madness it is -how monstrous! - to punish one's self for misfortune and add new ill to present ills! That correctness of character and self- restraint which you have maintained all your life, you will exhibit in this matter also; for there is such a thing as moderation even in grieving. And as to the youth himself, who so richly deserved that the mention of his name and your thought of him should always bring you joy, you will set him in a more fitting place, if he comes before his mother as the same merry and joyous son that he used to be when he was alive.

Nor shall I direct your mind to precepts of the sterner sort, so as to bid you bear a human fortune in inhuman fashion, so as to dry a mother's eyes on the very day of burial. But I shall come with you before an arbiter, and this will be the question at issue between us - whether grief ought to be deep or neverending. I doubt not that the example of Julia Augusta, whom you regarded as an intimate friend, will seem more to your taste than the other; she summons you to follow her. She, during the first passion of grief, when its victims are most unsubmissive and most violent, made herself accessible to the philosopher Areus, the friend of her husband, and later confessed that she had gained much help from that source - more than from the Roman people, whom she was unwilling to sadden with this sadness of hers; more than from Augustus, who was staggering under the loss of one of his main supports, and was in no condition to be further bowed down by the grief of his dear ones; more than from her son Tiberius, whose devotion at that untimely funeral that made the nations weep kept her from feeling that she had suffered any loss except in the number of her sons. It was thus, I fancy, that Areus approached her, it was thus he commenced to address a woman who clung most tenaciously to her own opinion: "Up to this day, Julia, at least so far as I am aware - and, as the constant companion of your husband, I have known not only everything that was given forth to the public, but all the more secret thoughts of your minds - you have taken pains that no one should find anything at all in you to criticize; and not only in the larger matters, but in the smallest trifles, you have been on your guard not to do anything that you could wish public opinion, that most frank judge of princes, to excuse. And nothing, I think, is more admirable than the rule that those who have been placed in high position should bestow pardon for many things, should seek pardon for none. {noblesse_oblige+} And so in this matter also you must still hold to your practice of doing nothing that you could wish undone, or done otherwise.

"Furthermore, I beg and beseech of you, do not make yourself unapproachable and difficult to your friends. For surely you must be aware that none of them know how to conduct themselves - whether they should speak of Drusus in your presence or not - wishing neither to wrong so distinguished a youth by forgetting him, or to hurt you by mentioning him. When we have withdrawn from your company and are gathered together, we extol his deeds and words with all the veneration he deserved; in your presence there is deep silence about him. And so you are missing a very great pleasure in not hearing the praises of your son, which I doubt not, you would be glad, if you should be given the opportunity, to prolong to all time even at the cost of your life. Wherefore submit to conversation about your son, nay encourage it, and let your ears be open to his name and memory; and do not consider this burdensome, after the fashion of some others, who in a calamity of this sort count it an added misfortune to have to listen to words of comfort. As it is, you have tended wholly to the other extreme, and, forgetting the better aspects of your fortune, you gaze only upon its worse side. You do not turn your thought to the pleasant intercourse and the meetings you had with your son, nor to his fond and boyish caresses, nor to the progress of his studies; you dwell only on that last appearance of fortune, and just as if it were not horrible enough in itself, you add to it all the horror you can. Do not, I pray you, covet that most perverse distinction - that of being considered the most unhappy of women! Reflect, too, that it is no great thing to show one's self brave in the midst of prosperity, when life glides on in a tranquil course; a quiet sea and a favouring wind do not show the skill of a pilot either - some hardship must be encountered that will test his soul. Accordingly, do not be bowed down - nay, on the contrary, plant your feet firmly, and, terrified only at first by the din, support whatever burden may fall from above. Nothing casts so much contempt on Fortune as an unruffled spirit." After this he directed her to the son that was still alive, he directed her to the children of the son she had lost.

It was your trouble, Marcia, that was dealt with there, it was at your side that Areus sat; change the role - it was you that he tried to comfort. But suppose, Marcia, more was snatched from you than any mother has ever lost - I am not trying to soothe you or to minimize your calamity. If tears can vanquish fate, let us marshal tears; let every day be passed in grief, let every night be sleepless and consumed with sorrow; let hands rain blows on a bleeding breast, nor spare even the face from their assault; if sorrow will help, let us vent it in every kind of cruelty. But if no wailing can recall the dead, if no distress can alter a destiny that is immutable and fixed for all eternity, and if death holds fast whatever it has once carried off, then let grief, which is futile, cease. Wherefore let us steer our own ship, and not allow this power to sweep us from the course! He is a sorry steersman who lets the waves tear the helm from his hands, who has left the sails to the mercy of the winds, and abandoned the ship to the storm; but he deserves praise, even amid shipwreck, whom the sea overwhelms still gripping the rudder and unyielding.

"But," you say, "Nature bids us grieve for our dear ones." Who denies it, so long as grief is tempered? For not only the loss of those who are dearest to us, but a mere parting, brings an inevitable pang and wrings even the stoutest heart. But false opinion has added something more to our grief than Nature has prescribed. Observe how passionate and yet how brief is the sorrow of dumb animals. The lowing of cows is heard, for one or two days only, and that wild and frantic running about of mares lasts no longer; wild beasts, after following the tracks of their stolen cubs, after wandering through the forests and returning over and over to their plundered lairs, within a short space of time quench their rage; birds, making a great outcry, rage about their empty nests, yet in a trice become quiet and resume their ordinary flight; nor does any creature sorrow long for its offspring except man - he nurses his grief, and the measure of his affliction is not what he feels, but what he wills to feel.

Moreover, in order that you may know that it is not by the will of Nature that we are crushed by sorrow, observe, in the first place, that, though they suffer the same bereavement, women are wounded more deeply than men, savage peoples more deeply than the peaceful and civilized, the uneducated, than the educated. But the passions that derive their power from Nature maintain the same hold upon all; therefore it is clear that a passion of variable power is not ordered by Nature. Fire will burn alike people of all ages and of all nationalities, men as well as women; steel will display its cutting force upon every sort of flesh. And why? Because each derives its power from Nature, which makes no distinction of persons. But poverty, grief, and ambition are felt differently by different people according as their minds are coloured by habit, and a false presumption, which arouses a fear of things that are not to be feared, makes a man weak and unresisting. In the second place, whatever proceeds from Nature is not diminished by its continuance. But grief is effaced by the long lapse of time. However stubborn it may be, mounting higher every day and bursting forth in spite of efforts to allay it, nevertheless the most powerful agent to calm its fierceness is time -time will weaken it. There remains with you even now, Marcia, an immense sorrow; it seems already to have grown calloused - no longer the passionate sorrow it was at first, but still persistent and stubborn; yet this also little by little time will remove. Whenever you engage in something else, your mind will be relieved. As it is now, you keep watch on yourself; but there is a wide difference between permitting and commanding yourself to mourn. How much better would it accord with the distinction of your character to force, and not merely to foresee, an end to your grief, and not to wait for that distant day on which, even against your will, your distress will cease! Do you of your own will renounce it! "Why then," you ask, "do we all so persist in lamenting what was ours, if it is not Nature's will that we should?" Because we never anticipate any evil before it actually arrives, but, imagining that we ourselves are exempt and are travelling a less exposed path, we refuse to be taught by the mishaps of others that such are the lot of all. So many funerals pass our doors, yet we never think of death! So many deaths are untimely, yet we make plans for our own infants - how they will don the toga, serve in the army, and succeed to their father's property! So many rich men are stricken before our eyes with sudden poverty, yet it never occurs to us that our own wealth also rests on just as slippery a footing! Of necessity, therefore, we are more prone to collapse; we are struck, as it were, off our guard; blows that are long foreseen fall less violently. And you wish to be told that you stand exposed to blows of every sort, and that the darts that have transfixed others have quivered around you! Just as if you were assaulting some city wall, or were mounting, only half-armed, against some lofty position manned by a host of the enemy, expect to be wounded, and be sure that the missiles that whirl above your head, the stones and the arrows and the javelins, were all aimed at your own person. Whenever anyone falls at your side or behind you, cry out: "Fortune, you will not deceive me, you will not fall upon me confident and heedless. I know what you are planning; it is true you struck someone else, but you aimed at me." Who of us ever looked upon his possessions with the thought that he would die?" Who of us ever ventured to think upon exile, upon want, upon grief? Who, if he were urged to reflect upon these things, would not reject the idea as an unlucky omen, and demand that those curses pass over to the head of an enemy or even to that of his untimely adviser? You say: "I did not think it would happen." Do you think there is anything that will not happen, when you know that it is possible to happen, when you see that it has already happened to many? A striking verse this - too good to have come from the stage:

Whatever can one man befall can happen just as well to all!

That man lost his children; you also may lose yours. That man was condemned to death; your innocence also is in imminent peril.

Such is the delusion that deceives and weakens us while we suffer misfortunes which we never foresaw that we ourselves could possibly suffer. He robs present ills of their power who has perceived their coming beforehand.

All these fortuitous things, Marcia, that glitter about us - children, honours, wealth, spacious halls and vestibules packed with a throng of unadmitted, clients, a famous name, a high-born or beautiful wife, and all else that depends upon uncertain and fickle chance - these are not our own but borrowed trappings; not one of them is given to us outright. The properties that adorn life's stage have been lent, and must go back to their owners; some of them will be returned on the first day, others on the second, only a few will endure until the end. We have, therefore, no reason to be puffed up as if we were surrounded with the things that belong to us; we have received them nerely as a loan.{common_property+} The use and the enjoyment are ours, but the dispenser of the gift determines the length of our tenure. On our part we ought always to keep in readiness the gifts that have been granted for a time not fixed, and, when called upon, to restore them without complaint; it is a very mean debtor that reviles his creditor. And so we should love all of our dear ones, both those whom, by the condition of birth, we hope will survive us, and those whose own most just prayer is to pass on before us, but always with the thought that we have no promise that we may keep them forever -nay, no promise even that we may keep them for long. Often must the heart be reminded - it must remember that loved objects will surely leave, nay, are already leaving. Take whatever Fortune gives, remembering that it has no voucher. Snatch the pleasures your children bring, let your children in turn find delight in you, and drain joy to the dregs without delay; no promise has been given you for this night - nay, I have offered too long a respite! - no promise has been given even for this hour. We must hurry, the enemy presses upon our rear. Soon these companions will all be scattered, soon the battle-cry will be raised, and these comrade ties sundered. Nothing escapes the pillage; poor wretches, amid the rout ye know not how to live! If you grieve for the death of your son, the blame must go back to the time when he was born; for his death was proclaimed at his birth; into this condition was he begotten, this fate attended him straightway from the womb. We have come into the realm of Fortune, and harsh and invincible is her power; things deserved and undeserved must we suffer just as she wills. With violence, insult, and cruelty she will maltreat our bodies. Some she will burn with fire, applied, it may be, to punish, it may be, to heal; some she will bind with chains, committing the power now to an enemy, now to a fellow-countryman; some she will toss naked upon the fickle sea, and, when their struggle with the waves is over, she will not even cast them up on the sand or the shore, but will hide them away in the maw of some huge monster; others, when she has worn them down with divers diseases, she will long keep suspended between life and death. Like a mistress that is changeable and passionate and neglectful of her slaves, she will be capricious in both her rewards and her punishments. What need is there to weep over parts of life?

The whole of it calls for tears+. New ills will press on before you have done with the old. Therefore you women especially must observe moderation, you who are immoderate in your grief, and against your many sorrows the power of the human breast must be arrayed. Again, why this forgetfulness of what is the individual and the general lot? Mortal have you been born, to mortals have you given birth. You, who are a crumbling and perishable body and oft assailed by the agents of disease, - can you have hoped that from such frail matter you gave birth to anything durable and imperishable? Your son is dead; that is, he has finished his course and reached that goal toward which all those whom you count more fortunate than your child are even now hastening. Toward this, at different paces, moves all this throng that now squabbles in the forum, that looks on at the theatres, that prays in the temples; both those whom you love and revere and those whom you despise one heap of ashes will make equal. This, clearly, is the meaning of that famous utterance ascribed to the Pythian oracle:


I'V@Ot CrEaVT6p! And is this the prime And heaven-sprung adage of the olden time?


is man? A vessel that the slightest shaking, the slightest toss will break. No mighty wind is needed to scatter you abroad; whatever you strike against, will be your undoing. What is man? A body weak and fragile, naked, in its natural state defenceless, dependent upon another's help, and exposed to all the affronts of Fortune; when it has practised well its muscles, it then becomes the food of every wild beast, of everyone the prey; a fabric of weak and attractive only in its outer features, unable to bear cold, heat, and toil, yet from mere rust and idleness doomed to decay; fearful of the foods that feed it, it dies now from the lack of these, and now is burst open by their excess; filled with anxiety and concern for its safety, it draws its very breath on sufferance, keeping but a feeble hold upon it - for sudden fear or a loud noise that falls unexpectedly upon the cars will drive it forth and fosters ever its own unrest, a morbid and a useless thing. Do we wonder that in this thing is death, which needs but a single sigh? Is it such a mighty undertakinlg to compass its destruction? For it, smell and taste, weariness and loss of sleep, drink and food, and the things without which it cannot live are charged with death. Whithersoever it moves it straightway becomes conscious of its frailty; unable to endure all climates, from strange waters, a blast of unfamiliar air, the most trifling causes and complaints, it sickens and rots with disease - having {Pope_frailty+} {Donne_death+} started life with tears, what a mighty pother all the while does this despicable creature make! Forgetting his inevitable lot, to what mighty thoughts does man aspire! He ponders upon everlasting and eternal things, and makes plans for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, while meantime, amid his far-reaching schemes, death overtakes him, and even this, which we call old age, is but the passing round of a pitifully few years.

But your sorrow - granting that there is any reason in it - tell me, does it have in view your own ills or the ills of him who is gone? In the loss of your son are you stirred by the thought that you have received no pleasures from him, or is it that you milyht have experienced greater pleasures if he had lived longer? If you answer that you have experienced none, you will render your loss more bearable; for the things from which men have experienced no joy and gladness are always less missed. If you confess that you have experienced great pleasures from him, then it is your duty not to complain about what has been withdrawn, but to give thanks for what you have had. Surely his rearing alone has yielded you ample reward for all your toil, unless perhaps it happens that those who spare no pains in raising pups and birds and other silly pets derive some slight pleasure from the sight and touch and fawning caresses of these dumb creatures, while those who raise children miss the rearer's reward that comes from the mere act of rearing them. And so although his industry may have gained you nothing, although his carefulness may have saved you nothing, although his wisdom may have taught you nothing, yet in having had him, in having loved him, lies your reward. "But," you say, "it might have lasted longer, might have been greater." True, but you have been better dealt with than if you had never had a son; for if we should be given the choice - whether it is better to be happy for a short time only or never at all - it is better for us to have blessings that will flee than none at all. Would you rather have had a son who was a disgrace, someone who has possessed merely the place and the name of a son, or one with the fine qualities your son had, a youth who was early discerning, early dutiful, early a husband, early a father, who was early diligent in every public duty, early a priest, as though he were always hastening? Great and at the same time long-lasting blessings fall to scarcely any man's lot; it is only the good fortune which comes slowly that lasts and goes with us to the end. The immortal gods, not purposing to give him to you for a long time, gave to you from the first a son such as length of time is able to produce. And you cannot say even this -that the gods picked you out in order to deprive you of th enjoyment of your son. Cast your eyes upon the great company of people you know, or do not know - everywhere you will find those who have suffered greater losses than yours. Great generals have experienced such as yours, princes have experienced them; story has left not even the gods a exempt, in order, I fancy, that the knowledge that even divinities can perish may lighten our grief for the dead. Look about you, I say, at everyone; you will not mention a single home so wretched that it could not take comfort from knowing one more wretched. But I do not think so ill of your character - Heaven forbid! - as to believe that you would be able to bear your own misfortune more lightly if I should bring before you a mighty number of mourners. The solace that comes from having company in misery smacks of ill-will. Nevertheless, I shall cite some others, not so much to show you that this calamity often befalls mankind - for it would be absurd to collect the examples of man's mortality - as to show you that there have been many who sweetened bitter fortune by enduring it calmly. I shall begin with a man who was most fortunate.

Lucius Sulla lost a son, but that circumstance neither blunted his malice and the great energy of his prowess against his enemies and his fellow-countrymen nor made it appear that he had wrongly used his famous title; for he assumed it after the death of his son, fearing neither the hatred of men, by whose misfortune that excessive prosperity of his was purchased, nor the envy of the gods, whose reproach it was that Sulla was so truly "the Fortunate." The question, however, of Sulla's character may be left among the matters not yet decided - that he took up arms honourably and honourably laid them aside even his enemies will admit. But the point at present involved will be clear - that an evil which reaches even the most fortunate men is not the greatest of evils. Greece had a famous father, who, having received news of the death of his son while he was in the very act of offering sacrifice, merely bade the flutist be silent, withdrew the chaplet from his head, and finished duly the rest of the ceremony; but, thanks to Pulvillus, a Roman priest, Greece cannot give ljim too much glory. He was dedicating the temple on the Capitoline, and was still grasping the door-post when he received news of the death of his son. But he pretended not to hear it, and repeated the words of the pontifical ritual in the appointed manner; not a single moan interrupted the course of his Prayer, and he entreated the favour of Jove with the name of his son ringing in his ears. Do you not think that such grief must have an end, when even the first day of it and its first fury failed to divert him, father though he was, from his duty at the public altar and from an auspicious delivery of his solemn proclarnation? Worthy, in truth, was he of the notable dedication, worthy was he to hold the most exalted priesthood - a man who did not desist from the worship of the gods even when they were angry! Yet when he had returned to his home, this man's eyes were flooded with tears and he indulged in a few tearful laments, then, having completed the rites that custom prescribed for the dead, he resumed the expression he had worn at the Capitol.

Paulus, about the time of his most glorious triumph, in which he drove Perses, that king of high renown, in chains before his car, gave over two of his sons to be adopted by others, and the two whom he had kept for himself he buried. What manner of men, think you, were those whom he retained when Scipio was one of those whom he bestowed on others! Not without emotion did the Roman people gaze upon the car of Paulus that now was empty. Nevertheless he made a public address, and gave thanks to the gods for having granted his prayer; for he had prayed that, if he should be required to make some payment to Envy on account of his mighty victory, the debt might be discharged by a loss to himself rather than to the state. Do you see with how noble a spirit he bore himself? He con- gratulated himself on the loss of his children! And who would have had a better right to be deeply moved by so great a shift of forturne? He lost at the same time both his comfort and his stay. Yet Perses never had the pleasure of seeing Paulus sad!

But why should I now drag you through the countless examples of great men, and search for those who were unhappy just as though it were not more difficult to find those who were happy? For how few families have endured even to the end with all members intact? What one is there that has not known trouble? Take any one year you please and call for its magistrates. Take, if you like, Lucius Bibulus and Gaius Caesar; you will see that, though these colleagues were the bitterest foes, their fortunes agreed.

Lucius Bibulus, a good, rather than a strong, man, had two sons murdered at the same time, and that, too, by Egyptian soldiery, who had subjected them to insult, so that not less than the bereavement itself the source of it was a matter that called for tears. Yet Bibulus, who, during the whole year of his consulship, on account of his jealousy of his colleague, had stayed at home in retirement, on the day after he had heard of the twofold murder came forth and performed the routine duties of his office. Who can devote less than one day to mourning for two sons? So quickly did he end his grief for his children - he who had grieved for the consulship a year.

Gaius Caesar, when he was traversing Britain, and could not endure that even the ocean should set bounds to his success, heard that his daughter had departed; and with her went the fate of the republic.

It was alredy plain to his eyes that Gnaeus Pompeius would not endure with calmness that any other should become "great" in the commonwealth, and would place a check upon his own advancement, which seemed to cause him offence even when it was increasing to their common interest. Yet within three days he returned to his duties as a general, and conquered his grief as quickly as he was wont to conquer everything. Why should I recall to you the bereavements of the other Caesars, whom Fortune seems to me at times deliberately to outrage in order that so also they may benefit the human race by showing that not even they who are said to be born from gods, and to be destined to give birth to gods, can have the same power over their own fortune that they have over the fortune of others.

The deified Augustus, when he had lost his children and his grandchildren, and the supply of Caesars had been exhausted, bolstered his depleted house by adoption; nevertheless he bore his lot with the bravery of one who was already counting it a personal affair and his deepest concern that no man should make complaint of the gods. Tiberius Caesar lost both the son he had begotten and the son he had adopted; nevertheless he himself delivered a panegyric upon his own son from the Rostra, and he stood there beside the corpse, which lay in plain view, with but a veil intervening, so that the eyes of a high-priest might not look upon a corpse, and, while the Roman people wept, he did not even change countenance. To Sejanus, standing by his side, he offered an example of how patiently he could endure the loss of his dear ones!

You see how long is the list of men who were most eminent and yet were not exempted from this misfortune that lays everything low - men, too, upon whom so many gifts of mind had been heaped, so many distinctions in public and private life! But it is very plain that this storm of disaster moves upon its round, lays waste everything without distinction, and drives everything before it as its prey. Order all men one by one to compare their accounts; no man has escaped paying the penalty for being born. I know what you are saying: "You forget that you are giving comfort to a woman; the examples you cite are of men."

But who has asserted that Nature has dealt grudgingly with women's natures and has narrowly restricted their virtues? Believe me, they have just as much force, just as much capacity, if they like, for virtuous action; they are just as able to endure suffering and toil when they are accustomed to them. In what city, good heavens, are we thus talking? In the city where Lucretia and Brutus tore the yoke of a king from the heads of the Romans - to Brutus we owe liberty, to Lucretia we owe Brutus.

In the city where Cloelia, who braved both the enemy and the river has been almost transferred by us, on account of her signal courage, to the list of heroes: the statue of Cloelia, mounted upon a horse, stands on the Sacred Way in the city's busiest quarter, and, as our young coxcombs mount to their cushioned seats, she taunts them with journeying in such a fashion in a city in which even women have been presented with a horse! {feminism+} But if you wish me to cite examples of women who have bravely suffered the loss of dear ones, I shall not go from door to door to find them. From one family I shall present to you the two Cornelias - the first one, the daughter of Scipio and mother of the Gracchi. Twelve births did she recall by as many deaths. The rest whom the state never knew as either born or lost matter little; as for Tiberius and Gaius, who even the man who denies that they were good will admit were great men, she saw them not only murdered but left unburied. Yet to those who tried to comfort her and called her unfortunate she said: "Never shall I admit that I am not fortunate, I who have borne the Gracchi." Cornelia, the wife of Livius Drusus, had lost a son, a young man of distinguished ability and very great renown, who, while following in the footsteps of the Gracchi, was killed at his own hearth by an unknown murderer, just when he had so many measures pending and was at the height of his fame. Yet she showed as much courage in supporting the death of her son, untimely and unavenged as it was, as he had shown in supporting his laws.

If Fortune, Marcia, has pierced the Scipios and the mothers and daughters of the Scipios with her darts, if with them she has assailed the Caesars, will you not now pardon her if she has not held them back even from you? Life is beset with full many and varied misfortunes; they grant to no one long-extended peace, scarcely even a truce. Four children, Marcia, you had borne. Not a single dart, they say, that is hurled into the thick of the line falls without a victim - is it surprising that such a company as yours has not been able to get by without incurring envy and harm? But Fortune was all the more unfair because she not only carried off your sons but chose them out! Yet you should never call it an in- justice to be forced to share equally with one more powerful; she has left you two daughters and the children of these. And even the son whom you, forgetful of an earlier loss, mourn so deeply has not been utterly taken from you; you still have the two daughters he left - great burdens if you are weak, great comforts if you are brave. Do bring yourself to this - whenever you see them, let them remind you of your son and not of your grief! When the farmer sees his fruit-trees all ruined - completely uprooted by the wind, or twisted and broken by the sudden fury of a cyclone - he nurses the young stock they have left, and immediately plants seeds and cuttings to replace the trees that were lost; and in a moment (for if time causes speedy and swift destruction, it likewise causes swift and speedy growth) more flourishing trees grow up than those he lost. Do you no now put these daughters of your son Metilius in his stead, and fill the vacant place, and lighten your sorrow for one by drawing comfort from two! Yet such is the nature of mortals that they find nothing so pleasing as what they have lost; yearning for what is taken away makes us too unfair towards what is left. But if you are willing to count up how very merciful Fortune has been to you even when she was angry, you will find that she has left you much beside consolations; look at all your grandchildren, your two daughters. And, Marcia, say this also to yourself: "I might indeed be disturbed, if everyone's lot accorded with his conduct, and if evils never pursued the good; as it is, I see that there is no distinction and that the good and the bad are tossed to and fro after the same fashion. {Job+}

"Nevertheless it is hard," you reply, "to lose a son whom you have reared to young manhood just when his mother, just when his father was finding him their stay and pride." Who will deny that it is hard? But it is the common+ lot. To this end were you born - to lose, to perish, to hope, to fear, to disquiet yourself and others, both to fear death and to long for it, and, worst of all, never to know the real terms of your existence. Suppose a man should be planning a visit to Syracuse and someone should say to him: "First inform yourself of all the disagreeable and all the pleasurable features of your future journey, and then set sail. The things that may fill you with wonder are these. First, you will see the island itself, cut off from Italy by a narrow strait, but once evidently joined to the mainland; there the sea suddenly broke through, and

Severed Sicily from Hesperia's side.

Next, you will see Charybdis - for it will be possible for you to skirt this greediest of whirlpools, so famous in story - resting quietly so long as there is no wind from the south, but whenever a gale blows from that quarter, sucking down ships into its huge and deep maw. You will see the fountain of Arethusa, oft famed in song, with its bright gleaming pool, transparent to the very bottom, and pouring forth its icy waters - whether it found them there where they first had birth, or yielded up a river that had plunged beneath the earth and, gliding intact beneath so many seas, had been kept from the contamination of less pure water.{Kubla_Khan+} You will see a harbour, of all havensthe most peaceful - whether those that Nature has set to give shelter to ships or that man's hand has improved - and so safe that not even the fury of the most violent storms can have access there. You will see where the might of Athens was broken, where so many thousands of captives were confined in that natural prison, hewn out of solid rock to immeasurable depth - you will see the great city itself, occupying a broader extent of territory than many a metropolis can boast, where the winters are the balmiest, and not a single day passes without the appearance of the sun. But, having learned of all these things, you will discover that the blessings of its winter climate are ruined by oppressive and unwholesome summers. You will find there the tyrant Dionysius, that destroyer of freedom, justice, and law, greedy of power, even after knowing Plato, and of even after exile! Some he will burn, some he will flog, some for a slight offence he will order to be beheaded, he will call for males and females to satisfy his lust, and to enjoy two at one time of his shameful victims will will suffice for his royal excesses. You have now heard what may attract, what repel you - now, then, either set sail or stay at home! If after such a warning anyone should declare that he desired to enter Syracuse, against whom but himself could he find just cause for complaint, since he would not have stumbled upon those conditions, but have come into them purposely and with full knowledge?

To all of us Nature says: "I deceive no one. If you bear sons, it may be that they will be handsome, it may be that they will be ugly; perchance they will be born dumb. Some one of them, it may be, will be the saviour of his country, or as likely its betrayer. It is not beyond hope that they will win so much esteem that out of regard for them none will venture to speak evil of you; yet bear in mind, too, that they may sink to such great infamy that they themselves will become your curse.

There is nothing to forbid that they should perform the last sad rites for you, and that those who deliver your panegyric should be your children, but, too, hold yourself ready to place your son upon the pyre, be he lad or man or graybeard; for years have nothing to do with the matter, since every funeral is untimely at which a parent follows the bier." If, after these conditions have been set forth, you bring forth children, you must free the gods from all blame; for they have made you no promises.

Come now, apply this picture to your entrance into life as a whole. I have set forth what could there delight you, what offend you, if you were debating whether you should visit Syracuse; consider that I am coming now to give you advice at your birth: "You are about to enter a city," I should say, "shared by gods and men - a city that embraces the universe, that is bound by fixed and eternal laws, that holds the celestial bodies aas they whirl through their unwearied rounds. {starsfromwrong+} You will see there the gleaming of countless stars, you will see one star flooding everything with his light - the sun that marks off the spaces of day and night in his daily course, and in his annual course distributes even more equably the periods of summer and winter. You will see the moon taking his place by night, who as she meets her brother borrows from him a pale, reflected light, now quite hidden, now overhanging the earth with her whole face exposed, ever changing as she waxes and wanes, ever different from her last appearance. You will see the five planets a pursuing their different courses and striving to stem the headlong whirl of heaven; on even the slightest motions of these hang the fortunes of nations, and the greatest and smallest happenings are shaped to accord with the progress of a kindly or unkindly star. {Wdswth+} You will wonder at the piled-up clouds and the falling waters and the zigzag lightning and the roar of heaven. When your eyes are sated with the spectacle of things above and you lower them to earth, another aspect of things, and otherwise wonderful, will meet your gaze. On this side you will see level plains stretching out their boundless expanse, on the other, mountains rising in great, snowclad ridges and lifting their peaks to heaven; descending streams and rivers that rise from one source flowing both to the east and to the west, and waving trees on the topmost summits and vast forests with the creatures that people them, and birds blending into harmony the discord of their songs. You will see cities in diverse places, and the nations fenced off by natural barriers, some of them withdrawn to mountain heights, and others in their fear hugging the river-banks, lakes, and valleys; corn- fields assisted by cultivation and orchards that need none to tend their wildness; and brooks flowing gently through the meadows, lovely bays, and shores curving inwards to form a harbour; the countless islands that are scattered over the deep and, breaking up its expanse, stud the seas. And what of the gleaming of precious stones and jewels, and the gold that rolls down amid the sands of rushing streams, and the flaming torches that soar from the midst of the land and at times even from the midst of the sea, and the ocean that encircles the lands, severing the continu- ity of the nations by its three gulfs and boiling up in mighty rage? Here you will see its waters troubled and rising up in billows, stirred not by the wind but by swimming monsters that surpass in size all creatures of the land, some of them sluggish and moving under the guidance of another, others nimble and more swift than rowers at full speed, and still others that drink in the waters of the sea and blow them out to the great peril of those who are sailing by. You will see here ships searching for lands that they do not know; you will see man in his audacity leaving nothing untried, and you will yourself be both a spectator and a partner of mighty enterprises; {Ulysses+} {Faust+} you will learn and will teach the arts, of which some serve to maintain life, some to adorn it, and others to regulate it. But there, too, will be found a thousand plagues, banes of the body as well as of the mind, wars, robberies, poisons, shipwreeks, distempers of climate and of the body, untimely grief for those most dear, and death - whether an easy one or only after pain and torture no one can tell. {Liberal_Arts+} Now take counsel of yourself and weigh carefully the choice you make; if you would reach these wonders, you must pass through these perils." Will your answer be that you choose to live? Of course it will - nay, perhaps, on second thought, you will not enter upon a state in which to suffer any loss causes you pain! Live, then, upon the terms you have accepted. "But,"you say, "no one has consulted us." Yet our psarents have been consulted about us, and they, knowing the terms of life, have reared us to accept them. But, to come back now to the subject of consolation, let us consider, first, what wound must be healed, and, second, in what way. One source of grief is the longing we have for one that we have lost. But it is evident that this in itself is bearable; for, so long as they are alive, we do not shed tears for those who are absent or will soon be absent, although along with the sight of them we are robbed of all enjoyment of them. What tortures us, therefore, is an opinion, and every evil is only as great as we have reckoned it to be. In our own hands we have the remedy. Let us consider that the dead are merely absent, and let us deceive ourselves; we have sent them on their way - nay, we have sent them ahead and shall soon follow.

Another source of grief is the thought: "I shall have no one to protect me, no one to keep me from being despised." If I may employ a consolation by no means creditable but true, in this city of ours childlessness bestows more influence than it takes away, and the loneliness that used to be a detriment to old age, now leads to so much power that some old men pretend to hate their sons and disown their children, and by their own act make themselves childless. Yet I know what you will say: "My own losses do not stir me; for no parent is worthy of consolation who sorrows over the loss of a son just as he would over the loss of a slave, who in the case of a son has room to consider anything except the son himself." What then, Marcia, is it that troubles you? - the fact that your son has died, or that he did not live long? If it is that he has died, then you had always reason to grieve; for you always knew that he would have to die.

Reflect that there are no ills to be suffered after death, that the reports that make the Lower World terrible to us are mere tales, that no darkness is in store for the dead, no prison, no blazing streams of fire, no river of Lethe, that no judgement-seats are there, nor culprits, nor in that freedom so unfettered are there a second time any tyrants. All these things are the fancies of the poets, who have harrowed us with groundless terrors. Death is a release from all suffering, a boundary beyond which our ills cannot pass - it restores us to that peaceful state in which we lay before we were born. If anyone pities the dead, he must also pity those who have not been born. Death is neither a good nor an evil; for that only which is something is able to be a good or an evil. But that which is itself nothing and reduces all things to nothingness consigns us to neither sphere of fortune for evils and goods must operate upon ,something material. Fortune cannot maintain a hold upon that which Nature has let go, nor can he be wretched who is non-existent. Your son has passed beyond those boundaries within which there is servitude; a great and everlasting peace has welcomed him. No fear of want assails him, no anxicty from riches, no stings of lust+ that through the pleasure of the body rends the soul; envy of another's prosperity touches him not, envy of his own afflicts him not, no reproaches ever assail his unoffending ears; no disaster either to his country or to himself does he descry, nor does he, in suspense about the future, hang upon the distant outcome that ever repays with ever more uncertainty. At last he has an abiding-place from which nothing can drive him, where nothing can affright him.

O ignorant are they of their ills, who do not laud death and look forward to it as the most precious discovery of Nature! Whether it shuts off prosperity, or repels calamity, or terminates the satiety and weariness of the old man, or leads off the youth in the bloom of life while he still hopes for happier things, or calls back the boy before the harsher stages of life are reached, it is to all the end, to many a relief, to some an answer to prayer, and to none does it show more favour than to those to whom it comes before it is asked for! Death frees the slave though his master is unwilling; it lightens the captive's chains; from the dungeon it leads forth those whom unbridled power had forbidden to leave it; to exiles, whose eyes and minds are ever turning to their native land, death shows that it makes no difference beneath whose soil a man may lie. If Fortune has apportioned unjustly the common goods+, and has given over one man to another though they were born with equal rights, death levels all things; this it is, after whose coming no one any more does the will of another; this it is, under whose sway no one is aware of his lowly estate; this it is, that lies open to everyone this it is, Marcia, that your father eagerly desired; this it is, I say, that keeps my birth from being a punishment, that keeps me from falling in the face of threatening misfortunes, that makes it possible to keep my soul unharmed and master of itself {invictus+}: I have a last appeal. Yonder I see instruments of torture, not indeed of a single kind, but differently contrived by different peoples; some hang their victims with head toward the ground, some impale their private parts, others stretch out their arms on a fork-shaped gibbet; I see cords, I see scourges, and for each separate limb and each joint there is a separate engine of torture! But I see also Death. There, too, are bloodthirsty enemies and proud fellow-countrymen; but yonder, too, I see Death. Slavery is no hardship when, if a man wearies of the yoke, by a single step he may pass to freedom.

O Life, by the favour of Death I hold thee dear!

Think how great a boon a timely death offers, how many have been harmed by living too long! If Gnaeus Pompeius, that glory and stay of the realm, had been carried off by his illness at Naples, he would have departed the unchallenged head of the Roman people. But as it was, a very brief extension of time cast him down from his pinnacle. He saw his legions slaughtered before his eyes, and from that battle where the first line was the senate, he saw - what a melancholy remnant - the commander himself left alive! He saw an Egyptian his executioner, and yielded to a slave a body that was sacrosanct to the victors, though even had he been unharmed, he would have repented of his escape; for what were haser than that a Pompey should live by the bounty of a king! If Marcus Cicero had fallen at the moment when he escaped the daggers of Catiline, which were aimed not less at him than at his country, if he had fallen as the saviour of the commonwealth which he had freed, if his death had followed close upon that of his daughter, even then he might have died happy. He would not have seen swords drawn to take the lives of Roman citizens, nor assassins parcelling out the goods of their victims in order that these might even be murdered at their own cost, nor the spoils of a consul put up at public auction, nor murders contracted for officially, nor brigandage and war and pillage - so many new Catilines!

If the sea had swallowed up Marcus Cato as he was returning from Cyprus and his stewardship of the royal legacy, and along with him even the money which he was bringing to defray the expense of the Civil War, would it not then - the conviction that no one would have the effrontery to do wrong in the presence of Cato! As it was, having gained the respite of a very few years, that hero, who was born no less for personal than for political freedom, was forced to flee from Caesar and to submit to Pompey.

To your son, therefore, though his death was premature, it brought no ill; rather has it released him from suffering ills of every sort. "Yet," you say, "he perished too soon and before his time." In the first place, suppose he had survived - grant him the very longest life a man can have - how many years are there after all? Born as we are for the briefest space, and destined soon to yield place to another coming into his lease of time, we view our life as a sojourn at an inn. "Our" life do I say, when Time hurries it on with such ineredible swiftness? Count the centuries of cities; you will see how even those that boast of their great age have not existed long. All things human are short-lived and perishable, and fill no part at all of infinite time. This earth with its cities and peoples, its rivers and the girdle of the sea, if measured by the universe, we may count a mere dot; our life, if compared with all time, is relatively even less than a dot; for the com- pass of eternity is greater than that of the world, since the world renews itself over and over within the bounds of time. What, then, is to be gained by lengthening out that which, however much shall be added on to it, will still not be far from nothing? The time we live is much in only one way - if it is enough! You may name to me men who were long-lived and attained an age that has become proverbial, and you may count up a hundred and ten years for each, yet when you turn your thought upon eternal time, if you compare the space that you discover a man has lived with the space that he has not lived, not a whit of difference will you find between the shortest and the longest life. Again, your son himself was ripe for death; for he lived as long as he needed to live -nothing further was left for him to do. There is no uniform time for old age in the case of men, nor indeed of animals either. Some animals are exhausted within the space of fourteen years, and their longest life is no more than the first stage of a man's; to each has been given a different capacity for living. No man dies too soon, because he lives only as long as he was destined to live. For each the boundary-line is marked; where it has been once placed, it will always remain, and no endeavour or favour will move it farther on. Look at the matter thus

  • you lost your son in accordance with a fixed plan. He had his day

And reached the goal of his allotted years.

And so you must not burden yourself with the thought: "He might have lived longer." His life has not been cut short, nor does Chance ever thrust itself into the years. What has been promised to each man, is paid; the Fates go their way, and neither add any thing to what has once been promised, nor subtract from it. Prayers and struggles are all in vain; each one will get just the amount that was placed to his credit on the first day of his existence. That day on which he first saw the light, he entered upon the path to death and drew ever nearer to his doom, and the very years that were added to his youth were subtracted from his life. We all fall into the error of thinking that only those who are old and already on the downward path are tending toward death, whereas earliest infancy, middle age, every period of life indeed leads in that direction. The Fates ply their work; they keep us from being conscious that we are dying, and, to have it steal upon us the more easily, death lurks beneath the very name of life; infancy changes into boyhood, boyhood into adolescence, and old age steals away the age of maturity. Our very gains, if you reckon them properly, are losses. Do you complain, Marcia, that your son did not live as long as he might have lived? For how do you know whether it was advisable for him to live longer? whether his interest was served by such a death? Can you this day find anyone whose fortunes are so happily placed and so firmly grounded that he has nothing to fear from the advance of time? Human affairs are unstable and fleeting, and no part of our life is so frail and perishable as that which gives most pleasure, and therefore at the height of good fortune we ought to pray for death, since in all the inconstancy and turmoil of life we can feel sure of nothing except the past. And your son who was so handsome in body and under the eyes of a dissolute city had been kept pure by his strict regard for chastity - what assurance have you that he could have escaped the many diseases there are, and so have preserved the unimpaired beauty of his person down to old age? And think of the thousand taints of the soul! For even noble natures do not support continuously into old age the expectations they had stirred in their youth, but are often turned aside; they either fall into dissipation, which coming late is for that reason the more disgraceful, and begins to tarnish the brilliance of their first years, or they sink wholly to the level of the eating-house and the belly, and what they shall eat and what they shall drink become their chief concern. To this add fires and falling houses, and shipwrecks and the agonies from surgeons as they pluck bones from the living body, and thrust their whole hands deep into the bowels, and treat the private parts at the cost of infinite pain. And besides all these there is exile -surely your son was not more blameless than Rutilius! - and the prison -surely he was not wiser than Socrates! - and the suicide's dagger, piercing the heart - surely he was not more holy than Cato! If you will consider all these possibilities, you will learn that those who are treated most kindly by Nature are those whom she removes early to a place of safety, because life had in store some such penalty as this. Yes, nothing is so deceptive as human life, nothing is so treacherous. Heaven knows! not one of us would have accepted it as a gift, were it not given to us without our knowledge. If, therefore, the happiest lot is not to be born, {Sophocles+} the next best, I think, is to have a brief life and by death to be restored quicky to the original state.

Recall that time, so bitter for you, when Sejanus handed over your father to his client, Satrius Secundus, as a largess. He was angry because your father, not being able to endure in silence that a Sejanus should be set upon our necks, much less climb there, had spoken out once or twice rather boldly. Sejanus was being voted the honour of a statue, which was to be set up in the theatre of Pompey, just then being restored by Tiberius after a fire. Whereupon Cordus exclaimed: "Now the theatre is ruined indeed!" What! Was it not to burst with rage to think of a Sejanus planted upon the ashes of Gnaeus Pompeius, a disloyal soldier hallowed by a statue in a memorial to one of the greatest generals? Hallowed, too, was the signature of Sejanus! and those fiercest of dogs\,b which, savage toward all others, he kept friendly only to himself by feeding them on human blood, began to bark around that great man, who was already caught in a trap. What was he to do? If he wished to live, he had to make his plea to Sejanus; if he wished to die, to his own daughter, and both were inexorable. So he determined to deceive his daughter. Therefore, having taken a bath and seeking to reduce his strength still further, he retired to his bedchamber, giving out that he would have luncheon there; then, having dismissed the slaves, he threw part of the food out of the window in order to have it appear that he had eaten it; later he refused dinner on the pretext that he had already eaten enough in his room. He did the same thing also on the second day and the third day; on the fourth, the very weakness of his body revealed the truth. And so, taking you into his arms, he said: "My dearest daughter, nothing in my whole life have

I ever concealed from you but this, but I have entered upon the road to death, and am now almost half-way there; you cannot and you ought not to call me back." And so, having ordered all light to be shut out, he buried himself in deep darkness. When his purpose was recognized, there was general rejoicing, because the jaws of the ravening wolves were being cheated of their prey. At the instigation of Sejanus, accusers of Cordus appeared before the tribunal of the consuls, complained that their victim was dying, and begged them to prevent the very thing they had forced upon him; so strongly did they feel that Cordus was escaping them! The great question in dispute was whether an accused man lost his right to die; while the matter was being debated, while his accusers were making their plea a second time, he had already gained his freedom. Do you not see, Marcia, what great vicissitudes of fortune assail us unexpectedly when the times are evil? Weep you because one of your dear ones was required to die? One was very nearly not allowed.

Besides the fact that all the future is uncertain, and more certain to be worse than otherwise, it is true that the souls that are quickly released from intercourse with men find the journey to the gods above most easy; for they carry less weight of earthly dross. Set free before they become hardened, before they are too deeply contaminated by the things of earth, they fly back more lightly to the source of their being, and more easily wash away all defilement and stain. And souls that are great find no joy in lingering in the body; they yearn to go forth and burst their bonds, and they chafe against these narrow bounds, accustomed as they are to range far aloft throughout the universe, and from on high to look down in scorn upon the affairs of men. Hence it is that Plato cries out that the wise man reaches out with all his mind toward death, longs for it, thinks upon it, and because of this passion moves through life striving ever for the things beyond. Tell me, Marcia, when you saw in your son, youth that he was, the wisdom of an old man, a mind victorious over all sensual pleasures, unblemished, faultless, seeking riches without greed, honours without ostentation, pleasures without excess, did you think that you could long have the good fortune to keep him safe and unharmed? Whatever has reached perfection, is near its end. Ideal Virtue hurries away and is snatched from our eyes, and the fruits that ripen in their first days do not wait long for their last. The brighter a fire glows, the more quickly it dies; the fire that is kindled with tough and stubborn wood, and, shrouded in smoke, shines with a murky light is longer lived; for the same condition keeps it alive that provides it grudging food. So with men - the brighter their spirits, the briefer their day; for when there is no room for increase, destruction is near. Fabianus relates - our parents also actually saw him - that there was at Rome a boy who was as tall as a very tall man; but he soon died, and every sensible person said beforehand that he would promptly die, for he could not be expected to reach an age that he had already forestalled. And so it is - ripe maturity is the sign of impending destruction; when growth stops, the end approaches.

Undertake to estimate him by his virtues, not by his years, and you will see he lived long enough. Left as a ward, he was under the care of guardians up to his fourteenth year, but his mother's guardianship lasted all his life. Although he had his own hearthstone, he did not wish to leave yours, and at an age when most children can scarcely endure the society of a father, he persisted in seeking that of his mother. As a young man, although by his stature, beauty, and sure bodily strength, born for the camp, he refused military service so as not to leave you. Consider, Marcia, how rarely it happens that mothers who live in separate houses see their children; think of all the years that are lost to those mothers who have sons in the army, and they are spent in constant anxiety; you will find that this period during which you suffered no loss has been very extended. Your son was never removed from your sight; with an ability that was outstanding and would have made him the rival of his grandfather had he not been hampered by modesty, which in the case of many men checks their advancement by silence, he shaped all his studies beneath your eyes. Though he was a young man of the rarest beauty of person, and was surrounded by such a great horde of women, the corrupters of men {Eve_evil+}, he lent himself to the hopes of none, and when some of them in their effrontery went so far as to make advances to him, he blushed with shame as if he had sinned even by pleasing them. It was this purity of character that made him seem worthy of being appointed to the priesthood while he was still a lad; his mother's influence undoubtedly helped, but, unless the candidate himself had been good, even a mother's influence would have had no weight. In thinking of all these virtues hold again, as it were, your son in your arms! He has now more leisure to devote to you, there is nothing now to call him away from you; never again will he cause you anxiety, never again any grief. The only sorrow you could possibly have from a son so good is the sorrow you have had; all else is now exempt from the power of chance, and holds nought but pleasure if only you know how to enjoy your son, if only you come to understand what his truest value was. Only the image of your son and a very imperfect likeness it was -has perished; he himself is eternal and has reached now a far better state, stripped of all outward encumbrances and left simply himself. This vesture of the body which we see, bones and sinews and the skin that covers us, this face and the hands that serve us and the rest of our human wrapping -these are but chains and darkness to our souls. By these things the soul is crushed and strangled and stained and, imprisoned in error, is kept far from its true and natural sphere. It constantly struggles against this weight of the flesh in the effort to avoid being dragged back and sunk; it ever strives to rise to that place from which it once descended. There eternal peace awaits it when it has passed from earth's dull motley to the vision of all that is pure and bright. There is no need, therefore, for you to hurry to the tomb of your son; what lies there is his basest part and a part that in life was the source of much trouble - bones and ashes are no more parts of him than were his clothes and the other protections of the body. He is complete - leaving nothing of himself behind, he has fled away and wholly departed from earth; for a little while he tarried above us while he was being purified and was ridding himself of all the blemishes and stain that still clung to him from his mortal existence, then soared aloft and sped away to join the souls of the blessed. A saintly hand gave him wel- come - the Scipios tnd the Catos and, joined with those who scorned life and through a drought of poison found freedom, your father, Marcia. Although there all are akin with all, he keeps his grandson near him, and, while your son rejoices in the newfound light, he instructs him in the movement of the neighbouring stars, and gladly initiates him into Nature's secrets, not by guesswork, but by experience having true knowledge of them all; and just as a stranger is grateful for a guide, through an unknown city, so your son, as he searches into the causes of celestial things, is grateful for a kinsman as his instructor. He bids him also turn his gaze upon the things of earth far below; for it is a pleasure to look back upon all that has been left behind. Do you therefore, Marcia, always act as if you knew that the eyes of your father and your son were set upon you - not such as you once knew them, but far loftier beings, dwelling in the highest heaven. Blush to have a low or common thoughtt, and to weep for those dear ones who have changed for the better! Throughout the free and boundless spaces of eternity they wander; no intervening seas block their course, no lofty mountains or pathless valleys or shallows of the shifting Syrtes; there every way is level, and, being swift and unencumbered, they easily are pervious to the matter of the stars and, in turn, are mingled with it. Consider, therefore, Marcia, that your father, whose influence upon you was not less great than was yours upon your son, using no longer that tone in which he bewailed the civil wars, in which he himself proscribed for all time the sponsors of proscription, but the loftier tone that befits his more exalted state, speaks to you from the citadel of high heaven and says: "Why, my daughter, are you held by such lengthy sorrow? Why do you live in such ignorance of the truth as to believe that our son was unfairly treated because, leaving his family fortunes whole, he himself returned to his forefathers, safe and whole? Do you not know how mighty are the storms of Fortune that demolish everything? How if she shows herself kindly and indulgent, it is only to those who have the fewest possible dealings with her? Need I name to you the kings who would have been the happiest of mortals if death had removed them sooner from the evils that were threatening? or even the Roman leaders who would lose not a tithe of greatness if you should subtract some years from their life? or those heroes of the highest birth and fame who calmly bowed their necks to receive the stroke of a soldier's sword? Look back upon your father and your grandfather. Your grandfather fell into the power of a foreign assassin; I myself suffered no man to have any power over me, and, having cut myself off from food, I proved that I was as courageous as I seemed to have been in my writings. Why should that member who has had the happiest death be longest mourned in our family? We are all together in one place, and, released from the deep night that envelops you, we discover among you nothing that is, as you think, desirable, nothing that is lofty, nothing glorious, but all is lowly, heavy laden, and troubled, and beholds how small a fraction of the light in which we dwell! Why need I say that here are no rival armies clashing in their rage, no fleets to shatter one another, no parricides are here either conceived or planned, no forums ring with strife the livelong day, that no secrecy is here, but minds are uncovered and hearts revealed and our lives are open and manifest to all, while every age and things to come are ranged before our sight?

"It was once my delight to compile the history of what took place in a single epoch in the most distant region of the universe and among the merest handful of people. Now l may have the view of countless centuries, the succession and train of countless ages, the whole array of years: I may behold the rise and fall of future kingdoms, the downfall of great cities, and new invasions of the sea. For, if the common fate can be a solace for your yearning, know that nothing will abide where it is now placed, that time will lay all things low and take all things with it. And not simply men will be its sport+ - for how small a part are they of Fortune's domain! - but places, countries, and the great parts of the universe. It will level whole mountains, and in another place will pile new rocks on high; it will drink up seas, turn rivers from their courses, and, sundering the communication of nations, break up the association and intercourse of the human race; in other places it will swallow up cities in yawning chasms, will shatter them with earthquakes, and from deep below send forth a pestilential vapour; it will cover with floods the face of the inhabited world, and, deluging the earth, will kill every living creature, and in huge conflagration it will scorch and burn all mortal things. And when the time shall come for the world to be blotted out in order that it may begin its life anew, these things will destroy themselves by their own power, and stars will clash with stars, and all the fiery matter of the world that now shines in orderly array will blaze up in a common conflagration. Then also the souls of the blest, who have partaken of immortality, when it shall seem best to God to create the universe anew - we, too, amid the falling universe, shall be added as a tiny fraction to this mighty destruction, and shall be changed again into our former elements." Happy, Marcia, is your son, who already knows these mysteries!


CITIES and monuments made of stone, if you compare them with our life, are enduring; if you submit them to the standard of Nature's law they are perishable, since Nature brings all things to destruction and recalls them to the state from which they sprang. For what that mortal hands have made is ever immortal? The seven wonders of the world and all the works, far more wonderful than these, that the ambition of later years has reared, will some day be seen levelled to the ground. So it is - nothing is everlasting, few things are even long-lasting; one thing perishes in one way, another in another, though the manner of their passing varies, yet whatever has beginning has also an end. Some there are who threaten even the world with destruction, and (if you think that piety admits the belief) this universe, which contains all the works of gods and men, will one day be scattered and plunged into the ancient chaos and darkness.

What folly, then, for anyone to weep for the lives of individuals, to mourn over the ashes of Carthage and Numantia and Corinth and the fall of any other city, mayhap loftier than these, when even this universe will perish though it has no place into which it can fall; what folly for anyone to complain that Fate+, though she will some day dare so great a crime, has not spared even him! Who is of such haughty and overweaning presumption as to wish that he and his dear ones alone be excepted from this law of Nature that brings all things to their end, and to exempt some one household from the destruction that threatens even the world itself? A man, therefore, will find the greatest comfort in the thought that what has befallen himself was suffered by all who were before him and will be suffered by all who come after hint; and Nature has, it seems to me, made universal what she had made hardest to bear in order that the uniformity of fate might console men for its cruelty.

And it will help you, too, not a little if you reflect that your grief can accomplish nothing either for him whose loss you mourn or for yourself; for the suffering that is vain you will be unwilling to prolong. For if we are likely to accomplish anything by sorrow, I do not refuse to shed whatever tears my own fortune has left me in regret for yours; for I shall even yet find some that may flow from these eyes of mine, that have already been drained by my personal woes, if only thereby I may do you some good. Why do you hesitate? Let us lament together, or rather I myself will bring forth this indictment as my own: "O Fortune, you who by the verdict of all men are most unjust, you seemed hitherto to have cherished this man in your bosom, for, thanks to you, he had by a rare accident won so much respect that his prosperity escaped envy. But now you have stamped upon him the greatest sorrow that, while Caesar lives, he could possibly have received, and, having thoroughly reconnoitred him on every side, you discovered that from this direction only was he exposed to your arrows. For what other harm could you have dealt him? Should you have snatched away his money? But he was never its slave; even now he thrusts it from him as much as he can, and, though he has so many opportunities to acquire it, he seeks from it no greater gain than the power to scorn it. Should you have snatched away his friends? But you knew that, so lovable is he, he could easily substitute others in place of those he had lost; for of all those I have seen holding high place in the imperial household, I seem to have discovered in him the only one whom, though it is to the interest of all, it is yet even more their pleasure, to have as a friend. Should you have snatched away his good reputation? But in his case this is too well-grounded for even you to be able to shake it. Should you have snatched away good health? But you knew that his mind was so well grounded by liberalstudies+ -for he had not merely been bred, but born, among books - that it rose superior to all pains of the body. Should you have snatched away his life? But how little you could have harmed him! Fame has promised him that the life of his genius shall be very long; and he himself has made it his aim that he should endure, in the better part of him, and by the composition of glorious works of eloquence rescue himself from mortality. So long as letters shall have any honour, so long as the force of the Latin or the grace of the Greek tongue shall survive, he shall flourish in the company of those giants of whose genius he has made himself a rival, or, if his modesty refuses so much, a devotee. Consequently, Fortune, you have found out that this is the only way in which you could injure him very deeply; for the better a man is, the more often is he wont to endure your assaults - you who vent your rage without discrimination, and are to be feared even in the midst of your kindnesses. How little it would have cost you to render him exempt from such an injury - a man to whom, it seemed, your favour had been extended on a fixed principle, and had not, after your usual fashion, fallen upon him at random."

Let us add, if you will, to these grounds of complaint the character of the youth himself, cut off in the midst of its first growth; worthy was he to be your brother. You, at any rate, were most worthy that not even an unworthy brother should be to you any cause for grief. All men alike bear witness to his character; he is regretted in compliment to you, he is lauded in compliment to himself. There was nothing in him which you were not glad to recognize. You would indeed have been good even to a brother less good, but in his case your natural affection, having found a suitable object, displayed itself much more generously. No one was ever made to feel his power from an injury he did, he never threatened anyone with your being his brother. He had moulded himself after the pattern of your modesty, and remembered what a great ornament you were to your family, and what a responsibility; but he was equal to this burden. O pitiless Fate, always unjust to virtue!{gooddieyoung+} Before your brother could know his own happiness, he was taken from it. But I know that I express my indignation poorly; for nothing is so difficult as to find words to match a great sorrow. Yet once again, if words can be of any avail, let us complain together: "What did you mean, O Fortune, by being so unjust and so violent? Did you repent so quickly of your former kindness? What cruelty is this, to make your assault upon a company of brothers, and by such cruel robbery to impoverish so loving a group? Did you mean to break up a household of admirable young men so closely united, no one of whom fell short of his brothers, and without any reason to take one from their number? Does blamelessness, then, avail nothing, though tested by every principle? old-fashionedsimplicity+, nothing? persistent self-restraint when there was unlimited opportunity to gain unlimited wealth, nothing? a sincere and safe love of letters, nothing? a mind free from every taint of sin, nothing? Polybius mourns, and, warned by the fate of one brother of what he may dread concerning the rest, he fears for the very solaces of his sorrow. O the shame! Polybius mourns and suffers sorrow while Caesar smiles upon him! 0 O unbridled Fortune, clearly what you aimed at was this - to show that no one can be protected against you - no, not even by Caesar."

We can go on blaming Fate much longer, change it we cannot. It stands harsh and inexorable; no one can move it by reproaches, no one by tears, no one by his cause; it never lets anyone off nor shows mercy. Accordingly let us refrain from tears, that profit nothing; for sooner will this grief unite us with the dead than bring them back to us. And if grief tortures us and does not help us, we ought to lay it aside as soon as possible, and recall the mind from its empty consolations and a sort of morbid pleasure in grieving. For unless reason puts an end to our tears, fortune will not do so.

Come, look about you, survey all mortals - everywhere there is ample and constant reason for tears. Toilsome poverty summons one man to his daily task, never-resting ambition harasses another; one fears the riches that he had prayed for, and suffers from the granting of his prayer; his loneliness torments one, the throng that besieges his threshold, another; this man mourns because he has children, this one because he has lost them. Tears will fail us sooner than the causes for weeping. Do you not see what sort of life Nature has promised us -she who decreed that the first act of man at birth should be to weep?{Lear+} With such a beginning are we brought forth, with such the whole series of later years accords. Thus we spend our lives, and therefore we ought to do in moderation this thing that we must do so often; and as we look back upon the great mass of sorrows that threatens us behind, we ought, if not to end our tears, yet at any rate to keep guard over them. Nothing must be husbanded more carefully than that of which there is such frequent need.

And this also will give you no small help - if you reflect that there is no one who is less pleased by your grief than he to whom it seems to be offered; for he either does not wish you to suffer, or does not know that you do. There is, therefore, no sense in this service, for if he to whom it is offered lacks consciousness, it is useless, and, if he has consciousness, it is displeasing to him. I may say boldly that there is no one in the whole wide world who finds pleasure in your tears. And what then? Do you suppose that your brother has towards you the disposition that no one else displays - the desire that you should withdraw from your ordinary tasks - that is, from the serving of Caesar -in order to do harm to yourself by self- torture? This is not likely. For he always paid to you the love due to a brother, the respect due to a parent, and the court due to a superior; he wishes to be missed by you, not to cause you suffering. Why, therefore, do you choose to pine away with a sorrow which, if the dead have any consciousness, your brother desires to have ended? Were it any other brother, about whose goodwill there might seem to be some uncertainty, I should put all these things doubtfully, and say: "If your brother desires that you be tortured with tears that never cease, he is unworthy of this affection of yours; if he does not wish this, leave off the grief that is painful to both; an unloving brother ought not, and a loving brother would not want, to be mourned for in this way." But in his case his brotherly love has been so clearly proved that we must feel sure that nolhing could be more bitter for him than seeing that this mishap of his is bitter for you, that it in any way causes you distress, that to those eyes of yours, which least deserve so great an ill, it, too, brings both trouble and exhaustion without any end of weeping.

Nothing, however, will so effectually restrain your love from such useless tears as the thought that you ought to give to your brothers an example by bearing this injustice of Fortune bravely. This is the way great generals act in times of disaster - they purposely make pretence of cheerfulness, and conceal their misfortunes by feigning joy, lest the soldiers themselves should likewise grow faint-hearted if they saw the spirit of their leader broken. You also must now do the same. Assume an expression that belies your feeling, and, if you can, wholly cast out all your sorrow; if not, hide it in your heart, and keep it from showing, and make effort to have your brothers copy you, who will think whatever they see you doing to to be right, and will take heart from your face. You ought to be to them both their comfort and their consoler; but you will not be able to check their sorrow if you indulge your own.

And it may be that this also will keep you from excessive grief - if you remind yourself that none of the things that you do can be kept secret. Public opinion has assigned to you an important role; this you must maintain. All yonder throng that you consolation stands about you, and it searches into your heart, and descries how much strength this has in the face of sorrow, and whether you only know how to use prosperity adroitly, or are able also to bear adversity with courage. They watch your eyes! Those have more liberty whose feelings are able to be concealed; you are not free to have any privacy. Fortune has placed you in the bright light; all people will know how you have behaved under this wound of yours - whether the moment you were struck you laid down your arms, or stood your ground. Long ago the love of Caesar lifted you to a higher rank, and your literary pursuits have elevated you. Nothing vulgar, nothing base befits you. Yet what is so base and so womanish+ as to give oneself over to be utterly consumed by sorrow? Though you have equal grief, you do not have the same liberty as your brothers; there are many things that the opinion which others have formed of your learning and your character does not permit you to do - men demand much of you, expect much. If you wished to be free to do everything, you should not have turned all faces toward you; as it is, you must make good all that of which you have given promise. All those who praise the works of vour genius, who take copies of them, who, though they have no need of your greatness, have need of your genius, keep watch on your mind. And thus you can never do anything unworthy of your claim to be a sage and a scholar without making many repent of their admiration for you. You may not weep beyond measure nor is this the only thing you may not do; you may not either prolong sleep into the hours of day, or flee from the turmoil of business to the leisure of rural repose, or refresh your body, wearied by its constant guard at the post, of toilsome duty, by a trip abroad for pleasure, or engage your mind with a variety of shows, or arrange your day according to your own desire. Many things you may not do, which the lowliest wretch that lies in his corner may do. A great fortune is a greatslavery+; you may not do anything according to your wish. You must give audience to countless thousands of men, countless petitions a must be disposed of; so great is the pile of business, accumulated from every part of the world, that must be carefully weighed in order that it may be brought to the attention of a most illustrious prince in the proper order. You, I say, are not allowed to weep; in order that you may be able to listen to the many who weep - in order that you may dry the tears of those who are in peril and desire to obtain mercy from Caesar's clemeney, it is your own tears that you must dry. My suggestions, so far, deal with the milder remedies, nevertheless they will help you; but when you shall wish to forget everything else - think of Caesar. Think what loyalty, what industry, you owe him in return for his imperial favour to you; you will then understand that you may no more bend beneath the burden than he - if there really is anyone such as myths tell of -whose shoulders uphold the sky. Even Caesar himself, who may do all things, may not do many things for the very same reason. His watchfulness guards all men's sleep, his toil all men's ease, his industry all men's dissipations, his work all men's vacation. On the day that Caesar dedicated himself to the wide world, he robbed himself of himself; and even as the planets, which, unresting, ever pursue their courses, he may never halt or do anything for himself. And so, to a certain degree, the same necessity is enjoined upon you also; you may not pay regard to your own interests or to your books. While Caesar owns the wide world, you can give no part of yourself either to pleasure or sorrow or anything else; you owe the whole of yourself to Caesar. And besides, since you always declare that Caesar is dearer to you than your own life, it is not right for you to make complaint of Fortune while Caesar is alive, so long as be is alive, your dear ones are alive - you have lost nothing. Your eyes ought to be not only dry, but even happy; in him you have all things, he takes the place of all. If you allow your self to weep for anything while he is alive, you lack gratitude for your good fortune; but this is very foreign to your sensible and loyal disposition. {king's_burden+}

Further, I shall prescribe a remedy that is not indeed surer, but more private. Whenever you retire to your home, then will be the time for you to dread your sadness. For as long as your divinity is before your eyes, that will find no access to you, Caesar will possess all that is in you; but when you have left him, then, having found, as it were, a good opportunity, sorrow will he in wait for your loneliness, and will little by little steal upon your mind when it is unoccupied. And so there is no reason why you should allow any of your time to be without the interest of literature. Then let your books, so long and so faithfully loved, repay your favour, then let them claim you for their high priest and worshipper, then let Homer and Virgil, to whom the human race owes as much as they and all men owe to you, whom you wished to become known to a wider eircle than that for which they wrote, be much in your company; the time that you entrust to their safeguarding will be safe indeed. Then, with your best powers, compile an account of the deeds of your Caesar, so that, being heralded by one of his own household, they may be repeated throughout all ages; since, for the fashioning and writing of history, he himself will best supply you with both matter and model.

I do not venture to push you to the point of putting together also, with your characteristic charm, the tales and fables of

Aesop - a task that Roman talent has not yet essayed.

It would be difficult indeed for a mind so severely smitten to approach so quickly this lighter kind of literature; nevertheless, if it shall be able to pass from more serious compositions to these less exacting ones, you must count this as proof that it has now recovered its strength and is itself again. For in the case of the former, the very sternness of the subject which it treats will distract the mind although still suffering and struggling with itself; the latter, which must be pondered with a brow unbent, it will not endure until it has wholly recovered its native harmony. Your duty, therefore, will be first to give it hard work with a more serious subject, and then to modify its effort with a lighter.

It will also serve as a great relief, if you will often question yourself thus: "Am I grieving on my own account, or on account of him who has departed? If on my own account, tis parade of affection is idle, and my grief, the only excuse for which is that it is honourable, begins to show defection from brotherly love when it looks toward personal advantage; but nothing is less becoming to a good man than to be calculating in his grief for a brother. If I grieve on his account, I must decide that one or the other of the two following views is true. For, if the dead retain no feeling whatever, my brother has escaped from all the ills of life, and has been restored to that state in which he had been before he was born, and, exempt from every ill, he fears nothing, desires nothing, suffers nothing. What madness this is - that I should never cease to grieve for one who will never grieve any more! If, however, the dead do retain some feeling, at this moment my brother's soul, released, as it were, from its long imprisonment, exults to be at last its own lord and master, enjoys the spectacle of Nature, and from its higher place looks down upon all human things, while upon things divine, the explanation of which it had so long sought in vain, it gazes with a nearer vision. And so why should I pine away in yearning for him who either is happy or does not exist? But to weep for one who is happy is envy; for one who does not exist, madness."

Or is it this that moves you - the thought that he has been deprived of great blessings just when they were showered upon him? But when you reflect that there are many things which he has lost, reflect also that there are more which he no longer fears. He is not racked by anger, he is not smitten with disease, he is not worried by suspicion, he is not assailed by gnawing envy that is always hostile to other men's successes, he is not disquieted by fear, he is not alarmed by the fickleness of Fortune, who quickly shifts her favours. If you count carefully, he has been spared more than he has lost. He will not enjoy wealth, nor favour at court, his own together with yours; he will not receive benefits, he will not bestow them. Do you think that he is unhappy because he has lost these things, or happy because be does not miss them? Believe me, he is happier who does not need good fortune than he for whom it is in store. All those goods which delight us by their showy, but deceptive, charm - money, standing, power, and the many other things at the sight of which the human race, in its blind greed, is filled with awe - bring trouble to their possessor, stir jealousy in the beholder, and in the end also crush the very men that they adorn; they are more of a menace than a good. They are slippery and uncertain, and are never held happily; for though there should be no anxiety about the future, yet the mere preservation of great prosperity is full of worry. If we are to believe some who have a more profound insight into truth, all life is a torment. Plunged into this deep and restless sea, that ebbs and flows with changing tides, now uplifting us with sudden accessions of fortune, now sweeping us downward with greater losses and flinging us about incessantly, we never stay steadfast in one place, we dangle aloft, are tossed hither and thither, collide with each other, and sometimes suffer shipwreck, always fear it; for those who sail upon this sea, so stormy and exposed to every gale, there is no harbour save death. And so do not grudge your brother this - he is at rest. At last he is free, at last safe, at last immortal. He leaves Caesar and all of Caesar's offspring still surviving, he leaves you surviving in company with the brothers of you both. While Fortune was still standing near him and bestowing her gifts with generous hand, he left her before she could make any change in her favour. He delights now in the open and boundless sky, from a low and sunken region he has darted aloft to that place (whatever it be) which receives in its happy embrace souls that are freed from their chains; and he now roams there, and explores with supreme delight all the blessings of Nature. You are mistaken - your brother has not lost the light of day, but he has gained a purer light. The way thither is the same for us all. Why do we bemoan his fate? He has not left us, but has gone before. Believe me, there is great happiness in the very necessity of dying. We can be sure of nothing - not even for the whole of one day. Where the truth is so dark and involved, who can divine whether Death had a grudge against your brother or sought his welfare?

And, such is your justice in all things, this, too, must give you comfort -the thought that no wrong has been done you because you lost such a brother, but that a favour was shown you, because you were permitted to have and enjoy his affection so long. He who does not leave to the giver the power over his own gift is unfair, he who does not count whatever he receives as gain and yet counts whatever he gives back as loss, is greedy. He who calls the ending of pleasure an injustice is an ingrate; he who thinks that there is no enjoyment from blessings unless they are present, who does not find comfort also in past blessings, and does not regard those that are gone as more certain because he need have no fear that they will cease - this man is a fool. He limits his pleasures too narrowly who thinks that he enjoys only those which he now has and sees, and counts his having had these same pleasures as nothing; for every pleasure quickly leaves us it flows on and passes by and is gone almost before it comes, and so our thoughts must be turned towards time that has passed, and whatever has once brought us pleasure must be recalled, and we must ruminate over it by frequent thought; the remembrance of pleasures is more lasting and trustworthy than their reality. Count this, then, among your greatest blessins - the fact that you have had an excellent brother! There is no reason for you to think of how much longer you might have had him - think, rather, of how long you did have him. Nature gave him to you, just as she gives to others their brothers, not as a permanent possession, but as a loan; when it seemed best to her, then she took him back, nor was she guided by your having had your fill of him, but only by her own law. If anyone should be angry that he has had to pay back borrowed money -especially that of which he had the use without paying interest - would he not be considered an unfair man? Nature gave your brother his life, she has likewise given you yours. If she has required from him from whom she wanted it an earlier payment of her loan, she has but used her own right; the fault is not with her, for her terms were known, but with the greedy hopes of mortal minds that often forget what nature+ is, and never remember their own lot except when they are reminded. Rejoice, therefore, that you have had such a good brother, and have had the use and enjoyment of him; though this was briefer than you wished, count it so much good. Reflect that to have had him is most delightful; to have lost him, the human lot.{common+} For nothing is less consistent than for a man to grieve because he did not have long enough the blessing of such a brother, and not to rejoice because, after all, such a blessing had once been his. "But," you say, "he was snatched from me unexpectedly." Every man is deceived by his own credulity, and in the case of those whom he loves he wilfully forgetsmortality+. Yet Nature has made it clear that she will exempt no man from her stern law. Every day the funerals of acquaintances and strangers pass by before our eyes, we, nevertheless, pay no heed, and we count that event as sudden of whose coming the whole of life has given us warning. This, therefore, is not the injustice of Fate, but the perversity of the human mind that, with its insatiable greed for all things, chafes at leaving a place to which it was admitted on sufferance.

How much more righteous was he who, on the announcement of the death of his son, uttered the words, worthy of a great man: "When I begat him, I knew then that he would

Why need I tell you of generals and the offspring of generals, of men famous for their many consulships or many triumphs, who have finished their appointed lot? Whole kingdoms with their kings and peoples with their rulers have met their fate; all men, nay, all things, look toward their last day. They do not all have the same end; life forsakes one in the middle of his career, it leaves another at the very entrance, and another it reluctantly releases in extreme old age when he is now worn out and eager to depart; one goes at one time, another at another, yet we are all travelling toward the same place. I know not whether it is more foolish to be ignorant of the law of mortality, or more presumptuous to refuse to obey it.

Turn, now, to those poems which the efforts of our genius have made famous and which you have turned into prose with such skill that, though their form has disappeared, they, nevertheless, retain all their charm (for you have so performed the most difficult task of transferring them from one language to another that all their merits have followed them into the foreign speech) -take into your hands whichever of the two authors you please, and you will find that there is not a single book of their writings which does not supply numberless examples of the vicissitudes of human life, of unexpected misfortunes, and of tears that for one reason or another have been made to flow. Read with what great vigour you have thundered in mighty words; suddenly to break down and fall short of such grandeur of utterance will make you blush. Let it not happen that every one who admired your writings as a model should wonder how a spirit so easily broken produced such mighty and substantial works.

Do you turn, rather, from the thoughts that torture you to the many and great sources of consolation you have, and look upon your admirable brothers, look upon your wife, look upon your son; it is for all their lives that Fortune has settled with you for this partial payment. You have many on whose affection to rest. Save yourself from the shame of having everybody think that your grief for one counts for more than these many sources of comfort.

You see that they all have been smitten along with you, and you know that they are not able to come to your rescue - nay, even that they on their part are expecting to be rescued by you; and, therefore, the less their learning, the less their ability than yours, the more necessary it is for you to withstand the common+ misfortune. Moreover, to share one's grief with many is in itself a kind of consolation; because, if it is distributed among many, the part that is left behind with you must be small. I shall not cease to confront you over and over again with Caesar. While he governs the earth, while he shows how much better it is to safeguard the empire by benefits than by arms, while he presides over human affairs, there is no danger of your feeling that you have suffered any loss; in this one source you have ample protection, ample consolation. Lift yourself up, and every time that tears well up in your eyes, fix these upon Caesar; at the sight of the exceeding greatness and splendour of his divinity they will be dried; his brilliance will dazzle them so that they will be able to see nothing else, and will keep them fastened upon himself. He, whom you behold day and night, from whom you never lower your thoughts, must fill your mind, he must be summoned to your help against Fortune. And, so great is his kindness; so great is his gracious favour toward all followers, I do not doubt that he has already covered over this wound of yours with many balms, that he has already supplied many things to stay your sorrow. Besides, even though he has done none of these things, are not the very sight and merely the thought of Caesar, in themselves, forthwith to you the very greatest comfort? May gods and goddesses lend him long to earth! May he rival the achievements, may he surpass the years, of the deified Augustus! So long as he shall linger among mortals, may he not learn that aught of his house is mortal! By long proof may he commend his son as ruler to the Roman Empire and see him his father's consort ere that he is his successor! Late be the day and known only to our grandchildren on which his kindred claim him for the skies! From him, O Fortune, refrain thy hands, and in his case display not thy power save in that part where thou dost benefit. Suffer him to heal the human race, that has long been sick and in evil case, suffer him to restore and return all things to their place out of the havoc the madness of the preceding prince has wrought! May this sun, which has shed its light upon a world that had plunged into the abyss and was sunk in darkness, ever shine! May he bring peace to Germany, open up Britain, and celebrate again both his father's triumphs and new ones! And his mercy, which in the list of his virtues holds the chief place, raises the hope that of these I also shall not fail to be a spectator. For he has not cast me down with no thought of ever lifting me up - nay, he has not even cast me down, but when I had been smitten by Fortune and was falling, he checked my fall, and, using the mitigating power of his divine hand, he let me down gently when I was plunging to destruction; he besought the senate in my behalf, and not only gave me my life, but even begged it. Be his the care -howsoever he shall wish, such let him account my case. Let either his justice discern that it is good, or his mercy make it good; whether he shall discern that I am innocent, or shall wish me to be so - either, in my eyes, will equally show his kindness. Meanwhile, the great consolation of my own wretchedness is to see his compassion spreading over the whole world; and since even in this remote corner, in which I am planted, his mercy has unearthed many who were buried under a downfall that came long years ago, and has restored them to light, I do not fear that I shall be the only one it will pass by. But he himself knows best the time at which he ought to come to each man's rescue; I, for my part, shall strive that he should not blush to come to mine. O how bIessed is your mercy, Caesar, which makes exiles live more peacefully under your rule than did princes recently under the rule of Gaius! They are not uneasy, nor do they expect the sword hour by hour, nor cower at the sight of every ship; through you they possess not only a limit to the cruelty of Fortune, but also the hope of her being more kindly and peace even as she is. One may know that those thunderbolts are indeed most just which even those they have smitten worship. And so this prince, who is the universal consolation of all mankind, has already, if I am not altogether mistaken, revived your spirit and applied the more potent remedies to a wound so serious. He has already strengthened you in every way; by reason of his most retentive memory he has already presented to you all the examples which could bring your mind to a state of equanimity; with his habitual eloquence he has already set before you the precepts of all the sages. There is no one, therefore, who could better have appropriated these roles of the comforter. Words, when he speaks, have, as if the utterances of an oracle, a different weight; his divine authority will dull all the sharpness of your grief. Think, then, that he speaks to you in these words. "You are not the only one whom Fortune has picked out to afflict with an injury so grievous; there is no family in all the earth, nor has there ever been one, that has no one to mourn for. {common+} I will pass over examples from the masses, which, while they have less weight, are nevertheless countless I will direct you to the Calendar and the State Chronicles. See you all these portrait busts that fill the hall of the Caesars? Every one of these men is marked by some ill that befell their dear ones; every one, too, of those men whose glory lights up the ages was either tortured with yearning for dear ones, or was yearned for by dear ones with bitterest torture of mind. "Why need I remind you of Scipio Africanus, who learned of the death of his brother while he himself was in exile? The brother who snatched his brother from prison was not able to snatch him from Fate. And Africanus's brotherly love made it clear to all how impatient he was of equal rights; for on the same day on which he had rescued his brother from the hands of a court-summoner, he also, though he held no office, interfered with the acts of a tribune of the people. Yet he showed as much greatness of spirit in his grief for his brother as he had shown in his defence. Why need I remind you of Scipio Aemilianus, who viewed the triumph of his father and the funerals of his two brothers at almost the same time? Nevertheless, a mere youth and hardly more than a boy, he bore that sudden desolation, which befell his own family close upon the triumph of Paulus, with all the courage that became a man, born to the end that a Scipio might not fail, or Carthage outlive, the city of Rome. "Why need I remind you of the two Luculli, whose concord was broken only by death? Or of the Pompeys, to whom cruel Fortune did not even grant that they should perish together in the same disaster? Sextus Pompeius, in the first place, survived his sistere by whose death the closely knit bonds of peace between the Romans were broken, and he likewise survived his excellent brother, whom Fortune had raised aloft for the very purpose of hurling him down from a pinnacle not less high than that from which she had hurled his father; and yet, even after this misfortune, Sextus Pompeius sustained the burden, not only of grief, but also of war. The examples that are supplied from every side of brothers who were separated by death are innumerable - nay, almost never have pairs of brothers been seen who were growing old together. But I shall be content with examples from my own family; for no one will be so devoid of feeling and good sense as to complain that Fortune has brought grief upon any when he knows that she has coveted the tears of even the Caesars.

The deified Augustus lost his darling sister Octavia, and not even was he, whom Nature had destined for heaven, made exempt from the necessity of mourning - nay, he was harassed by every sort of bereavement, and, when he had planned to make his sister's son his own successor, he lost him. In fine, not to mention his sorrows one by one, he lost his sons-in-law a and his children and his grandchildren, and, while he lingered among men, no one of all mortals had clearer evidence that he was a man. Nevertheless, his heart that was able to bear all things bore bravely these many deep afflictions, and the deified Augustus rose victor, not only over foreign nations, but also over sorrows. "Gaius Caesar, grandson of the deified Augustus, my great-uncle, when he was in the early years of manhood, lost his beloved brother Lucius; Prince of the Roman Youth, he lost a 'Prince' of that same youth in the very midst of his preparation for the Parthian War, and he suffered much more deeply from this wound of the mind than he did later from the wound of his body; yet he bore both most righteously and bravely.

"Tiberius Caesar, my uncle, lost his younger brother Drusus Germanicus, my father, just when he was opening up the remote parts of Germany, and was bringing the fiercest tribes under the power of Rome, and, holding him in his arms, he gave him a last kiss. Yet, not only for himself but for others, he set a limit upon mourning, and when the whole army was not only disconsolate but even distraught, and claimed the body of the loved Drusus for itself, he forced it to return to the Roman fashion of mourning, and ruled that discipline must be maintained, not only in fighting, but also in grieving. But he would not have been able to check the tears of others if he had not first repressed his own. "Mark Antony, my grandfather, second to none save his conqueror, received the news of his brother's execution just at the time when he was setting the state in order, and when, as a member of the triumvirate, he beheld no man above him - nay, with the exception of his two colleagues, saw all men beneath him. O unbridled Fortune, what sport {flies+} dost thou make for thyself out of human ills. At the very time at which Mark Antony sat enthroned with the power of life and death over his own countrymen, the brother of Mark Antony was being ordered to execution! Yet such a bitter wound was borne by Mark Antony with the same loftiness of spirit with which he had endured all his other adversities, and this was his mourning - to give sacrifice to the shade of his brother with the blood of twenty legions! "But to pass over all ether examples, to be silent concerning the other deaths, even in my own case also twice has Fortune assailed me through my grief as a brother, twice has she learned that I might be injured, but that I could not be conquered. I lost my brother Germanicus, and how much I loved him all those assuredly understand who consider how brothers, who have true affection, love their brothers; yet I so ruled my feelings that I neither left anything undone that ought to have been required of a loving brother, nor did anything that a prince could have been censured for doing."

Consider, therefore, that these are the examples the Father of the State cites for you, and that he also shows how nothing is sacred and inviolable to Fortune, who has dared to lead funerals from those households whence she was to seek gods. And so let no man be surprised at any cruel or unjust act of hers; for is it possible that she, whose insatiate cruelty has so often desolated the very seats of the gods, should know any justice or self- restraint in her dealings with private families? Though we heap reproach upon her, voicing not merely our own protest, but that of all men, she will not be changed; she will work her will despite all entreaties, despite all complaints. Such has fortune ever been in human affairs, such will she ever be. Nothing has she ever left undared, nothing will she ever leave untried; in violent rage will she range through all places just as has always been her wont, she who, on injury bent, has dared to enter even those houses whose entrance lies through the temples of the gods, and she will drape the laurelled doors with the garb of mourning. If she has not yet resolved to destroy utterly the human race, if she still looks with favour upon the name of Roman, may we by public vows and prayers obtain from her this one concession - that this prince, who has been granted to the fallen+ estate of mankind, should be held as sacred by her as he is by all mortal men! Let her learn mercy from him, and to the kindest of all princes let her become kind!

And so you ought to turn your eyes upon all these - those whom I have just mentioned as either enrolled in the skies or soon so to be - and submit calmly to Fortune, who now lays also upon you the hands that she does not withhold even from those by whose names we swear; you must imitate the firmness of these in enduring and conquering sorrows, so far as it is permissible for a man to follow in the footsteps of the gods. Although in other matters there are great distinctions of rank and birth, virtue is accessible to all; she deems no man unworthy if only he deems himself worthy of her. Surely you cannot do better than imitate those who, though they might have been indignant that even they were not exempt from this evil, yet decided that it was not injustice, but the law of mortality, that in this one respect put them on a level with the rest of mankind, and endured what had befallen them neither with too much bitterness and wrath, nor in a weak and womanly+ fashion; for it is not human not to feel misfortunes, and it is not manly not to bear them.

And yet, since I have run through the roll of all the Caesars from whom Fortune snatched brothers and sisters, I cannot pass by the one whose name ought to be torn from very list of the Caesars, whom Nature produced to be the ruin and the shame of the human race, who utterly wasted and wrecked the empire that is now being restored by the mercy of the kindliest of princes. Having lost his sister Drusilla, Gaius Caesar, a man who could no more indulge his grief than his pleasure in princely fashion, fled the sight and society of his fellow-men, did not attend the funeral of his sister, did not pay to his sister the ordinary tributes, but in his villa at Alba he tried to relieve his distress at her deeply regretted death with dice and gaming- board and other common engrossments of this sort. What a disgrace to the empire! Gambling was the solace of a Roman prince mourning for his sister! And this same Gaius with mad caprice, sometimes allowing his beard and hair to grow, sometimes shearing them close, wandering aimlessly along the coast of Italy and Sicily, and never quite sure whether he wished his sister to be lamented or worshipped, during the whole time that he was rearing temples and shrines to her memory would inflict the most cruel punishment upon those who had not shown sufficient sorrow; for he was bearing the blows of adversity with the same lack of self restraint from which, when puffed up by prosperity, he was swollen with pride beyond all human decency. Far be it from every manly Roman to follow such an example - either to divert his sorrow by untimely amusements, or to encourage it by disgraceful neglect and squalor, or to seek relief by that most inhuman of consolations, the causing of suffering to others.

You, however, need make no change in your habits, since, indeed, you have taught yourself to love those studies which most fittingly exalt prosperity and most easily lessen calamity, and are at the same time both the greatest adornments and the greatest comforts for man. Now, therefore, bury yourself more deeply in your studies, now encircle yourself with them as bulwarks for your mind in order that sorrow may find no point that will give entrance to you. And, too, prolong the remembrance of your brother by some memorial in your writings; for among human achievements this is the only work that no storm can harm nor length of time destroy. All others, those that are formed by piling up stones and masses of marble, or rearing on high huge mounds of earth, do not secure a long remembrance, for they themselves will also perish; but the fame of genius is immortal. Do you lavish such upon your brother, in such embalm his name. It will be better for you to immortalize him by your genius that will live forever than mourn for him with a sorrow that is futile.

So far as concerns Fortune herself, even if it is impossible just now to plead her case before you - for everything that she has given us is hateful to you merely for the reason that she has snatched one thing from you - yet there will be need to plead her case as soon as lapse of time shall have made you a more impartial judge; for then you will be able to restore her to favour. For she has provided many things to offset this injustice; she will still give you many things to make atonement for it; indeed this very thing that she has now withdrawn she had herself given. Refuse, therefore, to employ your talent against yourself, refuse to give support to your sorrow. For it is possible for your eloquence to make hiings that are really small seem important, and, on the other hand, to minimize important things and reduce them to merest trifles; but let it keep the former kind of power for another occasion - just now let it direct all its effort toward giving you comfort. And yet consider whether even this be not by this time superfluous; for Nature requires from us some sorrow, while more than this is the result of vanity. But never will I demand of you that you should not grieve at all. And I well know that some men are to be found whose wisdom is harsh rather than brave, who deny that the wise man will ever grieve. But these, it seems to me, can never have fallen upon this sort of mishap; if they had, Fortune would have knocked their proud philosophy out of them, and, even against their will, have forced them to admit the truth. Reason will have accomplished enough if only she removes from grief whatever is excessive and superfluous; it is not for anyone to hope or to desire that she should suffer us to feel no sorrow at all. Rather let her maintain a mean which will copy neither indifference nor madness, and will keep us in the state that is the mark of an affectionate, and not an unbalanced, mind. Let your tears flow, but let them also cease, let deepest sighs be drawn from your breast, but let them also find an end; so rule your mind that you may win approval both from wise men and from brothers. Make yourself willing to encounter oft the memory of your brother, both to speak of him frequently in your conversation, and to picture him to yourself by constant remembrance, all of which you will be able to accomplish only if you make the thought of him more pleasant than tearful; for it is only natural that the mind should always shrink from a subject to which it reverts with sadness. Think of his modesty, think of his alertness in the activities of life, of his diligence in performing them, of his stead- fastness to promises. Set forth all his words and deeds to others and do you yourself recall them to mind. Think what he was, and what he might have been expected to become. For what guarantee could not have been safely given concerning such a brother?

I have put these things together, as best I could, with a mind now weakened and dulled by long rusting. If they shall seem to you to be ill suited to your intelligence, or to ill supply the healing of your sorrow, reflect how he who is held fast in the grip of his own misfortunes is not at leisure to comfort others, and how Latin words do not suggest themselves readily to one in whose ears the uncouth jargon of barbarians is ever ringing, distressing even to the more civilized barbarians.


OFTEN, my best of mothers, I have felt the impulse to send you consolation, and as often I have cheeked it. The motives that urged me to be so bold were many. In the first place, I thought that I should lay aside all my troubles when, even though I could not stop your weeping, I had meanwhile at least wiped away your tears; again, I felt sure that I should have more power to raise you up, if I had first arisen from my own grief; besides, I was afraid that Fortune, though vanquished by me, might still vanquish someone dear to me. And so, placing my hand over my own gash, I was trying as best I could to creep forward to bind up your wounds. On the other hand, there were reasons which made me delay as regards my purpose. I knew that I ought not to intrude upon your grief while its violence was fresh, lest my very condolences should irritate and inflame it; for in bodily ills also nothing is more harmful than an untimely use of medicine. I was waiting, therefore, until your grief should of itself subdue its violence, and its soreness, soothed by time to tolerate remedies, should submit to being touched and handled.

Moreover, although I unrolled all the works "that the most famous writers had composed for the purpose of repressing and controlling sorrow, not one instance did I find of a man who had offered consolation to his dear ones when he himself was bewailed by them; thus, in a novel situation I faltered, and I feared that my words might supply, not consolation, but an aggravation. And besides, a man who was lifting his head from the very bier to comfort his dear ones - what need he would have of words that were new and not drawn from the common and everyday forms of condolence! But the very greatness of every grief that passes bounds must necessarily snatch away the power of choosing words, since often it chokes even the voice itself. Yet I shall try as best I can, not because I have confidence in my eloquence, but because the mere fact that I myself am able to act as comforter may amount to most effective comfort. You who could refuse me nothing, will surely not, I hope, refuse me - although all sorrow is stubborn -your consent to my setting bounds to your grieving.

See how great a thing I have promised to myself from your indulgence. I do not doubt that I shall have more power over you than your grief, though there is nothing that has more power over the wretched. And so, that I may not join battle with it immediately, I shall first uphold it, and be lavish with what will encourage it; I shall expose and tear open all the wounds that have already closed over. But someone will say: "What sort of consolation is this, to recall ills that are blotted out and to set the mind, when it is scarcely able to bear one sorrow, in full view of all its sorrows? "But let him reflect that whenever diseases become so malignant that they grow strong in spite of treatment they are then commonly treated by opposite methods. And so to the stricken mind I shall exhibit all its distresses, all its garbs of woe; my purpose will be not to heal by gentle measures, but to cauterize and cut. And what shall I gain? I shall cause a heart that has been victorious over so many afflictions to be ashamed to bewail one wound the more upon a body so marked with scars. Let those, therefore, whose pampered minds have been weakened by long happiness, weep and moan continuously, and faint away at the threat of the slightest injury; but let those whose years have all been passed in a succession of calamities endure even the heaviest blows with strong and unwavering resolution. Constant misfortune brings this one blessing, that those whom it always assails, it at last fortifies.

To you Fortune has never given any respite from the heaviest woes; she did not except even the day of your birth. You lost your mother as soon as you had been born, nay, while you were being born, and entering life you became, as it were, an outcast. You grew up under a stepmother, but by your complete obedience and devotion as great as can be seen even in a daughter you forced her to become a true mother; nevertheless every child has paid a great price even for a good stepmother. My most loving uncle, an excellent and very brave man, you lost just when you were awaiting his arrival, and, lest Fortune by dividing her cruelty should make it lighter, within thirty days you buried your dearest husband, who had made you the proud mother of three children. This blow was announced when you were already mourning, when, too, all of your children were absent, just as if your misfortunes had been concentrated into that period purposely in order that your grief might find nothing to rest upon. I pass over the countless dangers, the countless fears which you have endured, though they assailed you without cessation. But lately into the self-same lap from which you had let three grandchildren go, you took back the bones of three grandchildren. Less than twenty days after you had buried my son, who died in your arms and amid your kisses, you heard that I had been snatched from you. This misfortune you had still lacked - to mourn the living. Of all the wounds that have ever gone deep into your body, this latest one, I admit, is the most serious; it has not merely torn the outer skin, but pierced your very breast and vitals. But just as raw recruits cry out even when they are slightly wounded, and shudder more at the hands of surgeon's than they do at the sword, while veterans, though deeply wounded, submit patiently and without a groan to the cleansing of their festered bodies just as if these were not their own, so now you ought to offer yourself bravely to be healed. But away with lamentations and outcries and the other demonstrations by means of which women+ usually vent their noisy grief; for you have missed the lesson of so many ills if you have not yet learned how to be wretched. Do I seem to have dealt with you now without fear? Not a single one of your misfortunes have I hidden away; I have placed them all before you in a heap.

In a heroic spirit have I done this; for I have determined to conquer your grief, not to dupe it. And too I shall conquer it, I think, if, in the first place, I show that there is nothing in my condition that could cause anyone to call me wretched, still less cause those also to whom I am related to be wretched on my account; and, secondly, if I turn next to you, and prove that your fortune also, which depends wholly upon mine, is not a painful one.

First of all, I shall proceed to prove what your love {pietas+} is eager to hear - that I am suffering no ill. If I can, I shall make it clear that those very circumstances, which your love fancies weigh me down, are not intolerable;, but if it will be impossible for you to believe this, I, at any rate, shall be better pleased with myself if I show that I am happy under circumstances that usually make others wretched. You are not asked to believe the report of others about me; that you may not be at all disturbed by ungrounded suppositions, I myself inform you that I am not unhappy. That you may be the more assured, I will add, too, that I cannot even be made unhappy.

We are born under conditions that would be favourable if only we did not abandon them. Nature intended that we should need no great equipment for living happily; each one of us is able to make his own happiness. External things are of slight importance, and can have no great influence in either direction. Prosperity does not exalt the wise man, nor does adversity cast him down; for he has always endeavoured to rely entirely upon himself, {self_reliance+} to derive all of his joy from himself. What, then? Do I say that I am a wise man? By no means; for if I could make that claim, I should thereby not only deny that I am unhappy, but should also declare that I am the most fortunate of all men and had been brought into nearness with God. As it is, fleeing to that which is able to lighten all sorrows, I have surrendered myself to wise men and, not yet being strong enough to give aid to myself, I have taken refuge in the camp of others - of those, clearly, who can easily defend themselves and their followers. They have ordered me to stand ever watching, like a soldier placed on guard, and to anticipate all the attempts and all the assaults of Fortune long before she strikes. Her attack falls heavy only when it is sudden; he easily withstands her who always expects her. For the arrival too of the enemy lays low only those whom it catches off guard; but those who have made ready for the coming war before it arrives, fully formed and ready armed, easily sustain the first impact, which is always the most violent. Never have I trusted Fortune, even when she seemed to be offering peace; the blessings she most fondly bestowed upon me - money, office, and influence - I stored all of them in a place from which she could take them back without disturbing me. Between them and me I have kept a wide space; and so she has merely taken them, not torn them, from me. No man is crushed by hostile Fortune+ who is not first deceived by her smiles. Those who love her gifts is if they were their very own and lasting, who desire to be esteemed on account of them, grovel and mourn when the false and fickle delights forsake their empty, childish minds, that are ignorant of every stable pleasure; but he who is not puffed up by happy fortune does not collapse when it is reversed. The man of long-tested constancy, when faced with either condition, keeps his mind unconquered; for in the very midst of prosperity he proves his strength to meet adversity. Consequently, I have always be- lieved that there was no real good in the things that most men pray for; besides, I have always found that they were empty and, though painted over with showy and deceptive colours, have nothing within to match theiroutward_show+. Even now in the midst of these so-called evils I find nothing so fearful and harsh as the fancy of everyone foreboded. The very name of exile, by reason of a sort of persuasion and general consent, falls by now upon the ears very harshly, and strikes the hearer as something gloomy and accursed. For so the people have decreed, but decrees of the people wise men in large measure annul. Therefore, putting aside the verdict of the majority who are swept away by the first appearance of things, no matter what ground they have to trust it, let us see what exile is. It is a change of place. That l may not seem to narrow its force and to subtract the worst it holds, I will admit that this changing of place is attended by disadvantages - by poverty, disgrace, and scorn. These matters I shall cope with later meanwhile, the first question that I wish to consider is what unpleasantness the mere changing of place brings with it. "To be deprived of one's country is intolerable," you say. But come now, behold this concourse of men, for whom the houses of huge Rome scarcely suffice; most of this throng are now deprived of their country. From their towns and colonies, from the whole world, in fact, hither have they flocked. Some have been brought by ambition, some by the obligation of a public trust, some by an envoy's duty having been laid upon them, some, seeking a convenient and rich field for vice, by luxury, some by a desire for the higher studies, some by the public spectacles; some have been drawn by friendship, some, seeing the ample opportunity for displaying energy, by the chance to work; some have presented their beauty for sale, some their eloquence for sale - every class of person has swarmed into the city that offers high prizes for both virtues and vices. Have all of them summoned by name and ask of each - "Whence do you hail?"? You will find that there are more than half who have left their homes and come to this city, which is truly a very great and a very beautiful one, but not their own. Then leave this city, which in a sense may be said to belong to all, and travel from one city to another; everyone will have a large proportion of foreign population. Pass from the cities that entice very many by their delightful situation and an advantageous position; survey the desert places and the, rockiest islands -Sciathus and Seriphus, Gyarus and Cossura; you will find no place of exile where someone does not linger of his own desire. What can be found so barren, what so precipitous on every side as this rock? If its resources are viewed, what is more starved? if its people, what is more uncivilized? if the very topography of the place, what is more rugged? if the character of its climate, what is more intemperate? Yet here reside more foreigners than natives. So far, therefore, is the mere changing of places from being a hardship that even this place has tempted some from their native land. I find some who say that nature has planted in the hurnan breast a certain restlessness that makes man seek to change his abode and find a new home; for to him has been given a mind that is fickle and restless, it lingers nowhere; it ranges to and fro, and sends forth its thoughts to all places, known and unknown - a rover, impatient of repose and happiest in the midst of new scenes. And this will not make you wonder if you consider its earliest origin. It was not formed from heavy and terrestrial matter, it came down from yonder spirit in the sky; but celestial things by their very nature are always in motion, they ever flee and are driven on in swiftest course. Behold the planets that light the world; no one of them stands still. The sun glides onward ceaselessly and changes from place to place, and although it revolves with the universe, it moves none the less in a direction contrary to that of the world itself, it runs through all the signs of the zodiac and never halts; its movement is incessant and it shifts from one position to another. All the planets are ever whirling on and passing by; as the inviolable law of Nature has decreed, they are swept from one position to another; when in the course of fixed periods of years they have rounded out their circuits, they will enter again upon the paths by which they came. What folly, then, to think that the human mind, which has been formed from the self-same elements as these divine beings, is troubled by journeying and changing its home, while God's nature finds delight or, if you will, its preservation in continuous and most speedy movement!

Come now, turn your attention from things divine to the affairs of men; you will see that whole tribes and nations have changed their abodes. Why do we find Greek cities in the very heart of barbarian countries? why the Macedonian tongue among the Indians and the Persians? Scythia and all that great stretch which is peopled with fierce and unconquered tribes show Achaean towns planted on the shores of the Pontic Sea; not by the fierceness of eternal winter, not by the temper of the inhabitants, as savage as their climate, were men deterred from seeking there new homes. A host of Athenians dwell in Asia; Miletus has poured forth in divers directions enough people to fill seventy-five cities; the whole coast of Italy which is washed by the Lower Sea became a greater Greece; Asia claims the Tuscans as her own; Tyrians live in Africa, Carthaginians in Spain; the Greeks thrust themselves into Gaul, the Gauls into Greece; the Pyreness did not stay the passage of the Germans - through pathless, through unknown regions restless man has made his way. Wives and children and elders burdened with age trailed along. Some have not settled upon a place from choice, but, tossed about in long wandering, from very weariness have seized upon the nearest; others have established their right in a foreign land by the sword; some tribes, seeking unknown regions, were swallowed up by the sea; some settled in the spot in which a lack of supplies had stranded them. And not all have had the same reason for leaving their country and seeking a new one. Some, having escaped the destruction of their cities by the forces of the enemy, have been thrust into strange lands when stripped of their own; some have been cast out by civil discord; some have gone forth in order to relieve the pressure from over-crowding caused by an excess of population; some have been driven out by pestilence or repeated earthquakes or certain unbearable defects of an unproductive soil; some have been beguiled by the fame of a fertile shore that was too highly praised. Different peoples have been impelled by different reasons to leave their homes. But at least this is clear - none has stayed in the place where it was born. The human race is constantly rushing to and fro; in this vast world some change takes place every day. The foundations of new cities are laid, the names of new nations arise, while former ones are blotted out or lost by annexation with a stronger. But all these transmigrations of peoples - what are they but wholesale banishments? Why should I drag you through the whole long circle? What need to cite Antenor, founder of Patavium, and Evander, who planted the authority of the Arcadians on the banks of the Tiber? Why mention Diomedes and the others, victors and vanquished alike, who were scattered throughout strange lands by the Trojan War? The Roman Empire itself, in fact, looks back to an exile as its founder - a refugee from his captured city, who, taking along a small remnant of his people and driven by fear of the victor to seek a distant land, was brought by destiny into Italy. This people, in turn how many colonies has it sent to every province! Wherever the Roman conquers, there he dwells. With a view to this change of country, volunteers would gladly give in their names, and the old man, leaving his altars, would follow the colonists overseas. The matter does not require a listing of more instances; yet I shall add one which thrusts itself before the eyes. This very island has ofttimes changed its dwellers. To say nothing of older matters, which antiquity has veiled, the Greeks who now inhabit Marseilles, after leaving Phocis, first settled on this island, and it is doubtful what drove them from it -whether the harshness of the climate, or the near sight of all-powerful Italy, or the harbourless character of the sea; for that the fierceness of the natives was not the cause is clear from the fact that they established themselves in the midst of what were then the most savage and uncivilized peoples of Gaul. Later the Ligurians crossed into the island, and the Spaniards also came, as the similarity of customs shows; for the islanders wear the same head-coverings and the same kind of foot-gear as the Cantabrians, and certain of their words are the same; but only a few, for from intercourse with the Greeks and Ligurians their language as a whole has lost its native character. Still later two colonies of Roman citizens were transported to the island, one by Marius, the other by Sulla; so many times has the population of this barren and thorny rock been changed! In short, you will scarcely find any land in which there dwells to this day a native population; everywhere the inhabitants are of mongrel and ingrafted stock. One people has followed upon another; what one scorned, the other coveted; one that drove another from its land, has been in turn expelled. Thus Fate has decreed that nothing should stand always upon the same plane of fortune. Varro, the most learned of the Romans, holds that, barring all the other ills of exile, the mere changing of place is offset by this ample compensation -the fact that wherever we come, we must still find there the same order of Nature. Marcus Brutus thinks that this is enough - the fact that those who go into exile may take along with them their virtues. Even though one may decide that these considerations taken singly do not suffice to give full consolation to the exile, yet he will admit that they are all-powerful when they are combined. For how little it is that we have lost! Wherever we betake ourselves, two things that are most admirable will go with us -universal Nature and our own virtue. Believe me, this was the intention of the great creator of the universe, whoever he may be, whether an all-powerful God, or incorporeal Reason contriving vast works, or divine Spirit pervading all things from the smallest to the greatest with uniform energy, or Fate and an unalterable sequence of causes clinging one to the other - this, I say, was his intention, that only the most worthless of our possessions should fall under the control of another. All that is best for a man lies beyond the power of other men, who can neither give it nor take it away. This firmament, than which Nature has created naught greater and more beautiful, and the most glorious part of it, the human mind that surveys and wonders at the firmament, are our own everlasting possessions, destined to remain with us so long as we ourselves shall remain. Eager, therefore, and erect, let us hasten with dauntless step wherever circumstance directs, let us traverse any lands whatsoever. Inside the world there can be found no place of exile; for nothing that is inside the world is foreign to mankind. No matter where you lift your gaze from earth to heaven, the realms of God and man are separated by an unalterable distance. Accordingly, so long as my eves are not deprived of that spectacle with which they are never sated, so long as I may behold the sun and the moon, so long as I may fix my gaze upon the other planets, so long as I may trace out their risings and settings, their periods, and the reasons for the swiftness or the slowness of their wandering, behold the countless stars that gleam throughout the night - some at rest, while others do not enter upon a great course, but circle around within their own field, some suddenly shooting forth, some blinding the eyes with scattered fire as if they were falling, or flying by with a long trail of lingering light - so long as I may be with these, and, in so far as it is permitted to a man, commune with celestial beings, so long as I may keep my mind directed ever to the sight of kindred things on high, what difference does it make to me what soil I tread upon?

But," you say, "this land yields no fruitful or pleasing trees; it is watered by the channels of no great or navigable rivers; it produces nothing that other nations desire, it scarcely bears enough to support its own inhabitants; no costly marble is quarried here, no veins of gold and silver are unearthed." But it is a narrow mind that finds its pleasure in earthly things; it should turn from these to those above, which everywhere appear just the same, everywhere are just as bright. This, too, we must bear in mind, that earthly things because of false and wrongly accepted values cut off the sight of these true goods. The longer the rich man extends his colonnades, the higher he lifts his towers, the wider he stretches out his mansions, the deeper he digs his caverns for summer, the huger loom the roofs of the banquet-halls he rears, so much the more there will be to hide heaven from his sight. Has misfortune cast you into a country where the most sumptuous shelter is a hut? Truly you show a paltry spirit and take to yourself mean comfort if you bear this bravely only because you know the hut of Romulus. Say, rather, this: "This lowly hovel, I suppose, gives entrance to the virtues+? When justice, when temperance, when wisdom and righteousness and understanding of the proper apportionment of all duties and the knowledge of God and man are seen therein, it will straightway become more stately than any temple. No place that can hold this concourse of such great virtues is narrow; no exile can be irksome to which one may go in such company as this."

Brutus, in the book he wrote on virtue, says that he saw Marcellus in exile at Mytilene, living as happily as the limitations of human nature permit, and that he had never been more interested in liberal studies+ than he was at that time. And so he adds that, when he was about to return to Rome without him, he felt that he himself was going into exile instead of leaving him behind in exile. How much more favoured was Marcellus at that time when as an exile he won the approval of Brutus than when as consul he won the approval of the state! What a man he must have been to have made any one feel that he himself was an exile because he was parting from an exile! What a man he must have been to have drawn to himself the admiration of one whom Cato, his kinsman, had to admire! Brutus says, too, that Gaius Caesar had sailed past Mytilene because he could not bear to see a hero in disgrace. The senate did indeed by public petitions secure his recall, being meanwhile so anxious and sad that all its members on that day seemed to feel as Brutus did and to be pleading, not for Marcellus, but for themselves, lest they should be exiles if they should be left without him; but he attained far more on that day when Brutus could not bear to leave him, and Caesar to see him as an exile! For he was so fortunate as to have testimony from both - Brutus grieved to return without Marcellus, but Caesar blushed! Can you doubt that Marcellus, great hero that he was, often encouraged himself by such thoughts as these to bear his exile with patience? "The mere loss of your country is not unhappiness. You have so steeped yourself in studies as to know that to the wise man every place is his country. And, besides, the very man who drove you forth - was be not absent from his country through ten successive years? His reason was, it is true, the extension of the empire, but for all that he was away from his country. See! now he is drawn toward Africa, which is rife with menace as war again lifts up its head; he is drawn toward Spain, which is nursing back the strength of crushed and shattered forces; he is drawn toward faithless Egypt - in short, toward the whole world, waiting for a chance to strike the stricken empire. Which matter shall he cope with first? Toward what quarter set his face? Throughout all lands shall he be driven, a victim of his own victory. Him let the nations reverence and worship, but do you live content to have Brutus an admirer!"

Nobly, then, did Marcellus endure his exile, and his change of place made no change at all in his mind, although poverty went with him. But everyone who has not yet attained to insanity of greed and luxury, which upset everything, knows that there is no calamity in that. For how small a sum is needed to support a man! And who can fail to have this little if he possesses any merit whatsoever? So far as concerns myself, I know that I have lost, not wealth, but my "engrossments." The wants of the body are trifling. It requires protection from the cold and the quenching of hunger and thirst by food and drink; if we covet anything beyond, we toil to serve, not our needs, but our vices. We have no need to scour the depths of every sea, to load the belly with the carnage of dumb creatures, to wrest shell-fish from the distant shore of farthest sea - curses of gods and goddesses upon the wretches whose luxury overleaps the bounds of an empire that already stirs too much envy! They want game that is caught beyond the Phasis to supply their pretentious kitchens, and from the Parthians, from whom Rome has not yet got vengeance, they do not blush to get - birds! From every quarter they gather together every known and unknown thing to tickle a fastidious palate; the food which their stomachs, weakened by indulgence, can scarcely retain is fetched from farthest ocean; they vomit that they may eat, they eat that they may vomit, and they do not deign even to digest the feasts for which they ransack the whole world. If a man despises such things, what harm can poverty do him? If a man covets them, poverty becomes even a benefit to him,, for he is made whole in spite of himself, and, if even under compulsion he will not take his medicine, for a time at least, while he cannot get them, he is as though he did not want them. Gaius Caesar, whom, as it seems to me, Nature produced merely to show how far supreme vice, when combined with supreme power, could go, dined one day at a cost of ten million sesterces; and though everybody used their ingenuity to help him, yet he could hardly discover how to spend the tribute-money from three provinces on one dinner! How unhappy those whose appetite is stirred at the sight of none but costly foods! And it is not their choice flavour or some delight to the palate that makes them costly, but their rarity and the difficulty of getting them . Otherwise, if men should be willing to return to sanity of mind, what is the need of so many arts that minister to the belly? What need of commerce? What need of ravaging the forests? What need of ransacking the deep? The foods which Nature has placed in every region lie all about us, but men, just as if blind, pass these by and roam through every region, they cross the seas and at great cost excite their hunger when at little cost they might allay it. One would like to say: "Why do you launch your ships? Why do you arm your bands both against man and against wild beasts? Why do you rush to and fro in such wild confusion? Why do you pile riches on riches? You really should remember how small your bodies are! Is it not madness and the wildest lunacy to desire so much when you can hold so little?

And so you may swell your incomes, and extend your boundaries; yet you will never enlarge the capacity of your bellies. Though your business may prosper, though warfare may profit you much, though you may bring together foods hunted from every quarter, yet you will have no place in which to store your hoards. Why do you search for so many things? Our ancestors, of course, were unhappy -they whose virtue even to this day props up our vices, who by their own hands provided themselves with food, whose couch was the earth, whose ceilings did not yet glitter with gold, whose temples were not yet shining with precious stones. And so in those days they would solemnly take oath by gods of clay, and those who had invoked them would go back to the enemy, preferring to die rather than break faith. And our dictator, he who, while he gave audience to the envoys of the Samnites, was busy at his hearth, cooking with his own hand the cheapest sort of food, with that hand that had often smitten the enemy before and had placed a laurel wreath upon the lap of Capitoline Jove - this man, of course, was living less happily than did Apicius within our own memory, who in this very city, which at one time the philosophers were ordered to ave/c, as being 'corruptors of youth,' as a professor of the science (if the cook-shop defiled the age with his teaching." It is worth our while to learn his end, After he had squandered a hundred million sesterces upon his kitchen, after he had drunk up at every one of his revels the equivalent of the many largesses of the emperors and the huge revenue of the Capitol, then for the first time, when overwhelmed with debt and actually forced, he began to examine his accounts. He calculated that he would have ten million sesterces left, and considering that he would be living in extreme starvation if he lived on ten million sesterces, he ended his life by poison. But how great was his luxury if ten millions counted as poverty! What folly then to think that it is the amount of money and not the state of mind that matters! Ten million sesterces made one man shudder, and a sum that others seek by prayer he escaped from by poison! For a man so perverted in desire, his last draught was really the most wholesome. When he not only enjoyed, but boasted of his enormous banquets, when he flaunted his vices, when he attracted the attention of the community to his wantonness, when he enticed the young to imitate his own course, Who even without bad examples are quick enough to learn of themselves, it was then that be was eating and drinking poisons. Such are the pitfalls of those who measure riches, not by the standard of reason, which has its bounds fixed, but by the standard of a mode of living that is vicious, and yet has boundless and illimitable desire. Nothing will satisfy greed, but even scant measure is enough for Nature's need. Therefore the poverty of an exile holds no hardship; for no place of exile is so barren as not to yield ample support for a man. "But," you say, "the exile is likely to miss his raiment and his house." Will he desire these also merely to the extent of his need? Then he will lack neither shelter nor covering; for it takes just as little to shield as to feed the body. Nature has made nothing difficult which at the same time she made necessary for man. But if he desires cloth of purple steeped in rich dye, threaded with gold, and damasked with various colours and patterns, it is not Nature's fault but his own if he is poor. Even if you restore to him whatever he has lost, it will do no good; for he who will need to be restored/a Will still lack more of all that he covets than as an exile he lacked of all that he once had. But if he desires tables that gleam with vessels of gold, and silver plate that boasts the names of ancient artists, bronze /b made costly by the crazy fad of a few, and a throng of slaves that would hamper a house however large, beasts of burden with bodies over-stuffed and forced to grow fat, and the marbles of every nation - though he should amass all these, they will no more be able to satisfy his insatiable soul than any amount of drink will ever suffice to quench the thirst of a man whose desire arises, not from need, but from the fire that burns in his vitals; for this is not thirst, but disease. {lust+} Nor is this true only in respect to money or food. Every want that springs, not from any need, but from vice is of a like character; however much you gather for it will serve, not to end, but to advance desire. He, therefore, who keeps himself within the bounds of nature will not feel poverty; but he who exceeds the bounds of nature will be pursued by poverty even though he has unbounded wealth. Even places of exile will provide necessaries, but not even kingdoms superfluities. It is the mind that makes us rich; this goes with us into exile, and in the wildest wilderness, having found there all that the body needs for its sustenance, it itself overflows in the enjoyment of its own goods. The mind has no concern with money - no whit more than have the immortal gods. Those things that men's untutored hearts revere, sunk in the bondage of their bodies - jewels, gold, silver, and polished tables, huge and round - all these are earthly dross, for which the untainted spirit, conscious of its own nature, can have no love, sinee it is itself light and uncumbered, waiting only to be released from the body before it soars to highest heaven. Meanwhile, hampered by mortal limbs and encompassed by the heavy burden of the flesh+, it surveys, as best it can, the things of heaven in swift and winged thought. And so the mind can never suffer exile, since it is free, kindred to the gods, and at home in every world and every age; for its thought ranges over all heaven and projects itself into all past and future time. This poor body, the prison and fetter of the soul, is tossed hither and thither upon it punishments, upon it robberies, upon it diseases work their will. But the soul itself is sacred and eternal, and upon it no hand can be laid. But, that you may not think that I am using merely the precepts of philosophers for the purpose of belittling the ills of poverty, which no man feels to be burdensome unless he thinks it so, consider, in the first place, how much larger is the proportion of poor+ men, and yet you will observe that they are not a whit sadder or more anxious than the rich; nay, I am inclined to think that they are happier because they have fewer things to harass their minds. Let us pass over the wealth that is almost poverty, let us come to the really rich. How many are the occasions on which they are just like the poor! If they go abroad, they must cut down their baggage, and whenever the pressure of the journey requires haste, they dismiss their train of attendants. And those who are in the army - how small a part of their possessions do they have with them since camp discipline prohihits every luxury! And not only does the necessity of certain times and places put them on a level with the poor in actual want, but, when a weariness of riches happens to seize them, they even choose certain days on which to dine on the ground and use earthen vessels, refraining from gold and silver plate. Madmen! - this state which they always dread, they sometimes even covet. O what darkness of mind, what ignorance of truth blinds those who, harassed by the fear of poverty+, for pleasure's sake simulate poverty! As for myself, whenever I look back upon the great examples of antiquity, I am ashamed to seek any consolations for poverty, since in these times luxury has reached such a pitch that the allowance of exiles is larger than the inheritance of the chief men of old. It is well known that Homer had one slave, Plato three, that Zeno, the founder of the strict and virile school of Stoic philosophy, had none. Will any one say, therefore, that these men lived poorly without seeming from his very words to be the poorest wretch alive? Menenius Agrippa, who acting as mediator between the patricians and plebeians brought harmony to the state, was buried by public subscription. Atilius Regulus, when he was engaged in routing the Carthaginians in Africa, wrote to the senate that his hired- hand had absconded and left the farm abandoned; whereupon the senate decreed that, as long as Regulus was away, his farm was to be managed by the state. Was it not worth his while to have no slave in order that the Roman people might become his labourer? Scipio's daughters received their dowry from the public treasury because their father had left them nothing. Heaven knows! it was only fair for the Roman people to bestow tribute on Scipio just once since he was always exacting it from Carthage. O happy the maidens' husbands in having the Roman people as their father-in– law! Think you that those whose daughters dance upon the stage and wed with a dowry of a million sesterces are happier than Scipio, whose children had the senate as their guardian and received from it a weight of copper a for their dowry? Can any one scorn Poverty when she has a pedigree so illustrious? Can an exile chafe at suffering any need when Scipio had need of a dowry, Regulus of a hireling, Menenius of a funeral? when in the case of all of these what they needed was supplied to their greater honour for the very reason that they had had the need? With such defenders, therefore, as these the cause of poverty becomes not only safe, but greatly favoured.

To this one may reply: "Why do you artfully divide things which, if taken separately, can be endured; if combined, cannot? Change of place is tolerable if you change merely your place; poverty is tolerable if it be without disgrace, which even alone is wont to crush the spirit." In reply to this man, the one who tries to frighten me with an aggregation of ills, I shall have to use such words as these: "If you have enough strength to cope with any one phase of fortune, you will have enough to cope with all, When virtue has once steeled your mind, it guarantees to make it invulnerable from every quarter. If greed+, the mightiest curse of the human race, has relaxed its hold, ambition will not detain you; if you regard the end of your days, not as a punishment, but as an ordinance of nature, when once you have cast from your breast the fear of death, the fear of no other thing will dare to enter in; if you consider sexual desire+ to have been given to man, not for the gratification of pleasure, but for the continuance of the human race, when once you have escaped the violence of this secret destruction implanted in your very vitals, every other desire will pass you by unharmed. Reason lays low the vices not one by one, but all together; the victory is gained once for all." Think you that any wise man can be moved by disgrace - a man who relies wholly upon himself, who draws aloof from the opinions of the common herd+? Worse even than disgrace is a disgraceful death. And yet Socrates, wearing the same aspect wherewith he had once all alone put the Thirty Tyrants in their place,/a entered prison, and so was to rob even prison of all disgrace; for no place that held Socrates could possibly seem a prison. Who has become so blind to the perception of truth as to think that the twofold defeat of Marcus Cato in his candidacy for the praetorship and the consulship was to him a disgrace. It was the praetorship and the consulship, on which Cato was conferring honour, that suffered the disgrace. No one is despised by another unless he is first despised by himself. An abject and grovelling mind may be liable to such insult; but a man who rises up to face the most cruel of misfortunes and overthrows the evils by which others are crushed this man's very sorrows crown him, as it were, with a halo, since we are so constituted that nothing stirs our admiration so much as a man who is brave in adversity.

At Athens, when Aristides/b was being led to death, everyone who met him would cast down his eyes and groan, feeling that it was not merely a just man, but Justice herself who was being doomed to die; yet one man was found who spat into his face. He might have resented this for the simple reason that he knew well that no clean-mouthed man would have dared to do it. But he wiped his face and smiled, saying to the officer that attended him: "Remind that fellow not to open his mouth so offensively another time." This was to put insult/c upon insult itself. I know that there are some who say that nothing is harder to bear than scorn, that death itself seems more desirable to them. To these I will reply that even exile is often free from any mark of scorn. If a great man falls, though prostrate, he is still great - men no more scorn him, I say, than they tread upon the fallen walls of a temple, which the devout still revere as deeply as when they were standing.

Since you have no reason, my dearest mother, to be forced to endless tears on my own account, it follows that you are goaded to them by reasons of your own. Now there are two possibilities. For what moves you is either the thought that you have lost some protection, or the mere longing for me is more than you can endure. The first consideration I must touch upon very lightly; for I well know that your heart values nothing in your dear ones except themselves. Let other mothers look to that - the mothers who make use of a son's power with a woman+'s lack of selfcontrol, who, because they cannot hold office, seek power through their sons, who both spend their sons' inheritances and hope to be their heirs, who wear out their eloquence in lending it to others. But you have always had the greatest joy in the blessings of your children, yet you have used them not at all; you have always set bounds to our generosity, though you set none to your own; you, though a daughter in your father's household, actually made presents to your wealthy sons; you managed our inheritances with such care that they might have been your own, with such scrupulousness that they might have been a stranger's; you were as sparing in the use of our influence as if you were using a stranger's property, and from our elections to office nothing accrued to you except your pleasure and the expense. Never did your fondness look to self-interest. You cannot, therefore, in the loss of a son miss what you never considered your own concern while he was still safe. So I must direct all my effort at consolation upon the second point - the true source of the power of a mother's grief. "I am deprived," you say, "of the embraces of my dearest son; I may no longer enjoy the pleasure of seeing him, the pleasure of his conversation! Where is he the very sight of whom would smooth my troubled brow, upon whom I unloaded all my anxieties? Where are the talks, of which I could never have enough? Where are the studies, which I shared with more than a woman+'s pleasure, with more than a mother's intimacy? Where the fond meeting? Where the boyish glee that was always stirred by the sight of his mother?" You add to all this the actual scenes of our rejoicings and intercourse and the reminders of our recent association, which are, necessarily, the most potent causes of mental distress. For Fortune cruelly contrived to deal you even this blow - she willed that you should part from me only two days before I was struck down, and you had no reason for concern nor any fear of such a disaster. It is well that we had been separated before by a great distance, it is well that an absence of several years had prepared you for this misfortune. By returning to Rome, you failed to gain the pleasure of seeing your son, and lost the habit of doing without him. Had you been absent long before, you could have borne my misfortune more bravely, since separation itself lessens our longing; had you not gone away, you would have at least gained the final pleasure of seeing your son two days longer. As it was, cruel Fate contrived that you should neither be with me in the midst of disaster, nor have grown accustomed to my absence. But the harder these circumstances are, the more courage must you summon, and you must engage with For- tune the more fiercely, as with an enemy well known and often conquered before. It is not from an unscathed body that your blood has now flowed; you have been struck in the very scars of old wounds.

It is not for you to avail yourself of the excuse of being a woman, who, in a way, has been granted the right to inordinate, yet not unlimited, tears. And so our ancestors, seeking to compromise with the stubbornness of a woman's grief by a public ordinance, granted the space of ten months as the limit of mourning for a husband. They did not forbid their mourning, but limited it; for when you lose one who is most dear, to be filled with endless sorrow is foolish fondness, and to feel none is inhuman hardness. The best course is the mean between affection and reason - both to have a sense of loss and to crush it. There is no need for you to regard certain women, whose sorrow once assumed ended only with their death - some you know, who, having put on mourning for sons they had lost, never laid the garb aside. From you life, that was sterner from the start, requires more; the excuse of being a woman can be of no avail to one who has always lacked all the weaknesses of a woman.

Unchastity, the greatest evil of our time, has never classed you with the great majority of women; jewels have not moved you, nor pearls; to your eyes the glitter of riches has not seemed the greatest boon of the human race; you, who were soundly trained in an old-fashioned and strict household, have not been perverted by the imitation of worse women that leads even the virtuous into pitfalls; you have never blushed for the number of your children, as if it taunted you with your years, never have you, in the manner of other women whose only recommendation lies in their beauty, tried to conceal your pregnancy as if an unseemly burden, nor have you ever crushed the hope of children that were being nurtured in your body; you have not defiled your face with paints and cosmetics; never have you fancied the kind of dress/a that exposed no greater nakedness by being removed. In you has been seen that peerless ornament, that fairest beauty on which time lays no hand, that chiefest glory which is modesty.

You cannot, therefore, allege your womanhood as an excuse for persistent grief, for your very virtues set you apart; you must be as far removed from woman+'s tears as from her vices. But even women will not allow you to pine away from your wound, but will bid you finish quickly with necessary sorrow, and then rise with lighter heart I mean, if you are willing to turn your gaze upon the women whose conspicuous bravery has placed them in the rank of mighty heroes.

Cornelia bore twelve children, but Fortune had reduced their number to two; if you wished to count Cornelia's losses, she had lost ten, if to appraise them, she had lost the two Gracchi. Nevertheless, when her friends were weeping around her and cursing her fate, she forbade them to make any indictment against Fortune, since it was Fortune who had allowed the Gracchi to be her sons. Such a woman had right to be the mother of him who exclaimed in the public assembly: "Do you dare to revile the mother who gave birth to me?" But to me his mother's utterances seems more spirited by far; the son set great value on the birthdays of the Gracchi, but the mother on their funerals as well. Rutilia followed her son Cotta/a into exile, and was so wrapped up in her love for him that she preferred exile to losing him; and only her son's return brought her back to her native land. But when, after he had been restored and now had risen to honour in the state, he died, she let him go just as bravely as she had clung to him; and after her son was buried no one saw her shed any tears. When he was exiled, she showed courage, when she lost him, wisdom; for in the one case she did not desist from her devotion, and in the other did not persist in useless and foolish sorrow. In the number of such women as these I wish you to be counted. In your effort to restrain and suppress your sorrow your best course will be to follow the example of those women whose life you have always copied.

I know well that this is a matter that is not in our own power, and that no emotion is submissive, least of all that which is born from sorrow; for it is wild and stubbornly resists every remedy. Sometimes we will to crush it and to swallow down our cries, yet tears pour down our faces even when we have framed the countenance to deceive. Sometimes we occupy the mind with public games or the bouts of gladiators, but amid the very spectacles that divert the mind it is crushed by some slight reminder of its loss. Therefore it is better to subdue our sorrow than to cheat it; for when it has withdrawn and has been beguiled by pleasures or engrossments, it rises up again, and from its very rest gathers new strength for its fury. But the grief that has submitted to reason is allayed for ever. And so I am not going to point you to the expedients that I know many have used, suggesting that you distract or cheer your mind by travel, whether to distant or pleasant places, that you employ much time in diligent examination of your accounts and in the management of your estate, that you should always be involved in some new tasks. All such things avail for a brief space only, and are not the remedies but the hindrances of sorrow; but I would rather end it than beguile it. And so I guide you to that in which all who fly from Fortune must take refuge to philosophic studies. They will heal your wound, they will uproot all your sadness. Even if you had not been acquainted with them before, you would need to use them now; but, so far as the old-fashioned strictness of my father permitted you, though you have not indeed fully grasped the liberal arts, still you have had some dealings with them. Would that my father, truly the best of men, had surrendered less to the practice of his forefathers, and had been willing to have you acquire a thorough knowledge of the teachings of philosophy instead of a mere smattering! In that case you would now have, not to devise, but merely to display, your protection against Fortune. But he did not suffer you to pursue your studies because of those women+ who do not employ learning as a means to wisdom, but equip themselves with it for the purpose of display. Yet, thanks to your acquiring mind, you imbibed more than might have been expected in the time you had; the foundations of all systematic knowledge have been laid. Do you return now to these studies; they will render you safe. They will comfort you, they will cheer you; if in earnest they gain entrance to your mind, nevermore will sorrow enter there, nevermore anxiety, nevermore the use- less distress of futile suffering. To none of these will your heart be open; for to all other weaknesses it has long been closed. Philosophy is your most unfailing safeguard, and she alone can rescue you from the power of Fortune. But because you have need of something to lean upon until you can reach that haven which philosophy promises to you, I wish meanwhile to point out the consolations you still have. Turn your eyes upon my brothers; while they live, you have no right to complain of Fortune. Different as their merits are, you have reason to rejoice in both. The one by his energy has attained public honours; the other with wisdom has scorned them. Find comfort in the prestige of one son, in the retirement of the other - in the devotion of both! The secret motives of my brothers I well know.

The one fosters his prestige for the real purpose of shedding lustre upon you; the other retired to a life of tranquillity and repose for the real purpose of using his leisure for you. It was kind of Fortune so to arrange the lives of your children that they would bring help and pleasure to you; you can both be protected by the position of the one, and enjoy the leisure of the other. They will vie in their services to you, and the blank that one has caused will be filled by the devotion of two. I can make a confidant promise - you will lack nothing except the full number. From these turn your eyes, too, upon your grandchildren - to Marcus,/a a most winsome lad, the sight of whom no sorrow can possibly withstand; no one's heart can hold a sorrow so great or so fresh that his embrace will not soothe it. Whose tears would his merriment not stay? Whose heart contracted by pain will his lively prattle not release? Whom will his playfulness not provoke to mirth? Whom intent upon his own thoughts will he not attract to himself and divert by the chatter that no one will weary of? I pray the gods that we may have the good fortune to die before he does! May all the cruelty of Fate be exhausted and stop at me; whatever grief you are doomed to suffer as a mother, whatever as a grandmother - may it all be shifted to me! May all the rest of my band be blest with no change in their lot. I make no complaint of my childlessness, none of my present fortune; only let me be a scapegoat for the family, and know that it will have no more sorrow.

Hold to your bosom Novatilla, who so soon will present you with great-grandchildren, whom I had so transferred to myself, had so adopted as my own, that in losing me she may well seem to be an orphan although her father is still living; do you cherish her for me also! Fortune recently snatched from her her mother, but you by your affection can see to it that she shall but mourn, and not really know, her mother's loss. Now is the time to order her character, now is the time to shape it; instruction that is stamped upon the plastic years leaves a deeper mark. Let her become accustomed to your conversation, let her be moulded to your pleasure; you will give her much even if you give her nothing but your example. Such a sacred duty as this will bring to you relief; for only philosophy or an honourable occupation can turn from its distress the heart that sorrows from affection.

Among your great comforts I would count your father also, were he not now absent. As it is, never- theless, let your love for him make you think of what his is for you, and you will understand how much more just it is that you should be preserved for him than sacrificed for me. Whenever excessive grief assails you with its power and bids you submit, do you think of your father! It is true that, by giving to him so many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, you have saved yourself from being his sole treasure; nevertheless the crowning pleasure of his happy life depends on yon. While he lives, it is wrong to complain because you have lived. Of your greatest source of comfort I have thus far said nothing - your sister,/a that heart most loyal to you, upon which without reserve you unload all your cares, who for all of us has the feeling of a mother. With her tears you have mingled yours, and in her arms you first learned to breathe again. While she closely shares all your feelings, yet in my case it is not for your sake only that she grieves. It was in her arms that I was carried to Rome, it was by her devoted and motherly nursing that I recovered from a lengthened illness; she it was who, when I was standing for the quaestorship, gave me generous support - she, who lacked the courage even for conversation or a loud greeting, in order to help me, conquered her shyness by her love. Neither her retired mode of life, nor her modesty, so old-fashioned amid the great boldness of present women, nor her quietness, nor her habits of seclusion and devotion to leisure prevented her at all from becoming even ambitious in order to help me. She, my dearest mother, is the source of comfort from which you will gain new strength. To her attach yourself as closely as you can, in her embraces enfold yourself most closely. Those who are in grief are prone to avoid the ones they love most dearly, and to seek liberty for the indulgence of their sorrow. Do you, however, share with her your every thought; whether you wish to retain or to lay aside your mood, you will find in her either the end of your sorrow or a comrade in it. But if I know rightly the wisdom of this most perfect woman, she wilt not suffer you to be consumed by a grief that will profit you nothing, and she will recount to you an experience of her own, which I myself also witnessed.

In the very midst of a voyage she lost her dearly beloved husband, my uncle, whom she had married when a maiden; nevertheless, she bore up bravely, enduring at the same time both grief and fear, and, overmastering the storm, bore his body safe to land amid the shipwreck. O how many noble deeds of women are unknown to fame! If she had had the good fortune to live in the days of old when men were frank in admiration of heroic deeds, with what rivalry of genius would her praise be sung - a wife who forgetful of her own weakness, forgetful of the sea, which even the stoutest hearts must dread, exposed her own life to peril to give another burial, and, while she planned her husband's funeral, had no fear at all about her own! She/a who gave herself to death in place of her husband has fame from the songs of all poets. But for a wife to seek burial for her husband at the risk of her own life is far more; for she who, enduring equal danger, has smaller recompense shows greater love.

After this no one can be surprised that throughout the sixteen years during which her husband was governor of Egypt she was never seen in public, never admitted a native to her house, sought no favour from her husband, nor suffered any to be sought from herself. And so a province that was gossipy and ingenious in devising insults for its rulers, one in which even those who shunned wrongdoing did not escape ill fame, respected her as a singular example of blamelessness, restrained altogether the licence of their tongues - a most difficult thing for a people who take pleasure in even dangerous witticisms - and today ever hopes, although it never expects, to see one like her, It would be much to her credit if she had won the approval of the province for sixteen years; that she escaped its notice is still more. I do not cite these things for the purpose of recounting her praises - for to list them so scantily is to do them injustice - but in order that you may understand the highmindedness of a woman who has submitted neither to the love of power nor to the love of money - those attendants and curses of all authority - who, with ship disabled and now viewing her own shipwreck, was not deterred by the fear of death from clinging to her lifeless husband and seeking, not how she might escape from the ship, but how she might take him with her. You must show a courage to match hers, must recall your mind from grief, and strive that no one may think that you regret your motherhood. But because, though you have done everything, your thoughts must necessarily revert at times to me, and it must be that under the circumstances no one of your children engages your mind so often - not that the others are less dear, but that it is natural to lay the hand more often on the part that hurts - hear now how you must think of me. I am as happy and cheerful as when circumstances were best. Indeed, they are now best, since my mind, free from all other engrossment, has leisure for its own tasks, and now finds joy in lighter studies, now, being eager for the truth, mounts to the consideration of its own nature and the nature of the universe. It seeks knowledge, first, of the lands and where they be, then of the laws that govern the encompassing sea with its alternations of ebb and flow. Then it takes ken of all the expanse, charged with terrors, that lies between heaven and earth -this nearer space, disturbed by thunder, lightning, blasts of winds, and the downfall of rain and snow and hail. Finally, having traversed the lower spaces, it bursts through to the heights above, and there enjoys the noblest spectacle of things divine, and, mindful of its own immortality, it proceeds to all that has been and will ever be throughout the ages of all time.