The Stoics Library
Essays Volume 3
On Benefits Book V
by Seneca
Translated by John W. Basore

I thought that I had finished my task in the preceding books, having discussed there how a benefit ought to be given, and how it ought to be received; for these two points are the boundary marks of this particular service. In any further inquiry, I shall be, not serving, but indulging, my subject, the only demand of which is that I follow whither it leads, not whither it allures; for now and then a suggestion will be born that challenges the mind by a certain charm, yet remains, if not a useless, an unnecessary addition. Since, however, such is your wish, having finished with the matters that bound the subject, let us continue to examine further those that, if I must tell the truth, are associated with it, yet are not actually connected; whoever examines these carefully will neither be repaid for his pains nor yet wholly waste his pains.

To you, however, Aebutius Liberalis, who are naturally the best of men and prone to benefits, no laudation of them seems to be adequate. Never have I seen anyone who was so generous in his estimate of even the most trivial services; your goodness has reached such a degree that, when any man is given a benefit, you count it as given to yourself; in order that no one may regret the bestowal of a benefit, you are ready to pay the debts of the ungrateful. So far removed are you yourself from all boasting, so eager at once to free those whom you place under obligation from the burden of it, that, in making a gift to anyone, you wish to appear, not to be bestowing, but to be returning, one; and so all that is given in this manner will be returned to you in richer measure. For benefits usually pursue the man who asks no return, and just as glory is more apt to pursue those who flee from it, so those who are willing to allow men to be ungrateful reap a more grateful return for the benefits they have given them. Truly, so far as you are concerned, there is nothing to prevent those who have received benefits from boldly repeating their request, nor will you refuse to confer others, and to add more and greater benefits to those that have been covert and concealed - excellent man that you are and a truly great soul, your aim is to bear with an ungrateful man so long that he will in the end become grateful. Nor will your method deceive you; vices will yield to virtue if you do not hasten too quickly to hate them. In any case the precept that it is disgraceful to be outdone in bestowing benefits+ gives you unique pleasure as being a glorious utterance. Whether this is true or not is often rightly questioned, and the case is quite different from what you imagine. For it is never disgraceful to be worsted in a struggle for something honourable, provided that you do not throw down your arms, and that, even when conquered, you still wish to conquer. Not all bring the same strength to the accomplishment of a good purpose, nor the same resources, nor the same favour of Fortune, which modifies at all events the issues of even the best plans; praise should be awarded to the very desire that strives in the right direction even though another by his swifter pace outstrips it. It is not as in the contests provided as a public spectacle, where the palm declares which is the better contestant, although even in these chance often gives the preference to the poorer man. When the object of the struggle is a service which both on their part are eager to make as great as possible, if one of the two has had greater power, and has had at hand ample resources to accomplish his purpose, if Fortune permits him to attain all that he has attempted, while the other matches him only in desire - even if the latter has returned smaller gifts than he received, or, has not returned all, but wishes to make return, and strives with his whole soul to do so, he is no more conquered than is the soldier who dies in arms, whom the enemy could more easily kill than turn from his purpose. You are counting it a disgrace to be conquered, but that cannot possibly happen to a good man. For he will never surrender, he will never give up; to the last day of his life he will stand prepared, and in that posture will die, proud of having received great gifts and of having desired to repay them.

The Lacedaemonians forbid their young men to contend in the pancratium or with the caestus, where the weaker contestant is shown by his own admission that he has been conquered. A runner wins by being the first to reach the chalk-line; he surpasses his opponent, not in pluck but in speed. A wrestler who has been thrown three times, though he does not surrender the palm, loses it. Since the Lacedaemonians thought it highly important to have their citizens invincible, they kept them out of those contests in which the victor is determined, not by a judge, or purely by the outcome itself, but by the cry of the vanquished proclaiming surrender., This quality of never being conquered, which the Lacedaemonians safeguard for their citizens, is bestowed on all men by virtue and virtuous desire, since the spirit is unconquered even in the midst of defeat. For this reason no one speaks of the three hundred Fabii as conquered, but slaughtered; and Regulus was captured by the Carthaginians, not conquered, nor is any other man who, though overwhelmed by the strength and weight of angry Fortune, does not yield in spirit. The same is true of benefits. A man may have received more than he gave, greater ones, more frequent ones, yet, for all that, he has not been conquered. If you reckon those that you have given over against those that you have received, it is true, perhaps, that benefits are surpassed by benefits; but, if you match the giver against the recipient, taking into consideration, as you must, their intentions in themselves, the palm will belong to neither. For, even when one combatant has been pierced by many wounds, while the other has been but slightly wounded, it is customary to say that they left the arena evenly matched, although it is evident that one of them is the weaker man. xxx No one, therefore, can be outdone in benefits if he knows how to owe a debt, if he desires to make return - if he matches his benefactor in spirit, even though he cannot match him in deeds. So long as he continues in this state of mind, so long as he holds the desire to give proof of a grateful heart, what difference does it make on which side the greater number of gifts is reckoned? You are able to give much, and I am able only to receive; on your side stands good fortune, on my side good desire; yet I am as much your peer as naked or lightly armed soldiers are the peers of the many who are fully armed. No one, therefore, is outdone in benefits because each man's gratitude is to be measured by his desire. For, if it is disgraceful to be outdone in benefits it is not right to accept a benefit from most powerful men whose kindness you are unable to return - I mean princes and kings, who have been placed by Fortune in a position that enables them to bestow many gifts, and are likely to receive very few and very inadequate returns for what they have given. I have spoken of kings and princes, to whom, nevertheless, it is possible for us to render assistance, and whose preeminent power rests upon the consent and service of their inferiors. But there are some men who, withdrawn beyond.the reach of every lust, are scarcely touched at all by any human desires; upon whom Fortune herself has nothing that she can bestow. In benefits I must of necessity be outdone by Socrates, of necessity by Diogenes, who marchea naked through the midst of the treasures of the Macedonians, treading under foot the wealth of kings. O! in very truth, how rightly did he seem then, both to himself and to all others who had not been rendered blind to the perception of truth, to tower above the man beneath whose feet lay the whole world! Far more powerful, far richer was he than Alexander, who then was master of the whole world; for what Diogenes refused to receive was even more than Alexander was able to give. {poorisrich+}

It is not disgraceful to be outdone by such as these for it is not proved that I am the less brave if you pit me against an enemy that is invulnerable, nor that fire is the less able to burn if it falls upon a substance that flames cannot harm, nor that iron has lost its power of cutting if it attempts to cleave stone that is solid, impervious to a blow, and by its very nature invincible to hard instruments. In regard to the grateful man I would answer you in the same way. He is not disgracefully outdone in benefits if he has become indebted to those whose exalted station or exceeding merit blocks the approach to any benefits that might return to them. Our parents almost always outdo us. For, so long as we count them severe, so long as we fail to understand the benefits they give us, we have them with us. When at last with age we have acquired some wisdom, and it begins to be evident that we ought to love them for the very things that kept us from loving them - their admonitions, their strictness, and their careful watch over our heedless youth - they are snatched from us. Few reach the age when they can reap some true reward from their children; the rest are aware of their sons by their burden. Yet there is no disgrace in being outdone in benefits by a parent; how should there be, seeing that there is no disgrace in being outdone by anyone? For there are some men to whom we are both equal and unequal - equal in intention, which is all that they require, unequal in fortune, and, if it is this that prevents anyone from repaying a favour, he has no need to blush on the ground that he has been outdone. It is no disgrace to fail to attain provided you keep striving. Very often it is necessary to ask for new benefits before we have returned older ones, and yet we do not fail to ask for them or feel any disgrace because we shall be indebted for them with no prospect of returning them, for, if we are prevented from showing ourselves most grateful, it will be the fault, not of ourselves, but of something from without that intervenes and deters us. Yet in intention we shall not be outdone, nor shall we be disgraced if we are overpowered by things that are beyond our control. Alexander, king of the Macedonians, used to boast that no one had outdone him in benefits. But there is no reason why, in the excess of his pride, he should look up to the Macedonians and the Greeks and the Carians and the Persians and the other nations who were enrolled in his army, nor suppose that it was their benefit that had bestowed upon him a kingdom that extended from a corner of Thrace to the shore of the unknown sea! Socrates could have had the same reason to boast, and Diogenes the same reason, by whom, in any case, he was outdone. Why was he not outdone on that day when, puffed up as he was beyond the limits of human pride, he saw someone to whom he could give nothing, from whom he could take nothing away?

King Archelaus once invited Socrates to come to him. But Socrates is said to have replied that he was not willing to go to him in order that he might receive benefits from him, since he would be unable to make adequate return for them. Yet, in the first place, he was at liberty to refuse to accept them; in the second place, he would have anticipated him in bestowing a benefit, for he would have come because he was invited, and would, at any rate, have given something for which Archelaus could have made no return to Socrates. Furthermore, if Archelaus was going to give to him gold and silver, and was going to receive in return only a scorn for gold and silver, could not Socrates have repaid Archelaus with his thanks? And what could he have received that would have had the value of what he gave if he had revealed to Archelaus a man who was skilled in the knowledge of life and of death, and comprehended the ends of both? If he had admitted into the secrets of Nature one who even in broad daylight had lost his way - a king, so ignorant of her ways that one day, when there was an eclipse of the sun, he shut up his palace, and, as is customary in times of grief and disaster, sheared his son's hair? How great a benefit it would have been if Socrates had dragged the frightened king from his hiding-place, and bidden him be of good cheer, saying: "This does not mean the disappearance of the sun, but that two heavenly bodies are in conjunction by reason of the fact that the moon, which travels by a lower path has placed her disk exactly beneath the sun itself, and has hidden it by interposing her own body. Sometimes, if she just grazes the sun in passing, she veils only a small portion of it; sometimes, if she thrusts the greater part of her body in front of it, she conceals a larger portion; sometimes, if, being between the earth and the sun, she reaches a point where the three bodies are in a straight line, she shuts off completely the sight of the sun. But soon their own speed will draw these heavenly bodies apart, one to this position, the other to that; soon the earth will recover the light of day. And this order Will continue throughout the ages. and has its appointed days, that are known beforehand, on which the sun is prevented from sending forth all his rays because of the intervention of the moon. Wait just a little while; soon he will emerge, soon he will leave behind this seeming cloud, soon he will be rid of all obstructions, and will freely send forth his light." Could not Socrates have made adequate return to Archelaus for his favour if he had forbidden him to be king? Assuredly the benefit he received from Socrates would have been too small if it had been possible for him to bestow any benefit on Socrates! Why, then, did Socrates says this? Being a clever person, who was given to talking in parables, a mocker of all, especially of the great, he preferred to couch his refusal in irony rather than in stubbornness or pride; he said that he was not willing to receive benefits from one to whom he could not make adequate return. Perhaps he feared that he might be forced to accept gifts that he did not wish, that he might be forced to accept something unworthy of Socrates. Someone will say: "He could have refused it if he wished." But he would have made an enemy of the king, who was arrogant, and wished all his favours to be highly valued. Whether you are unwilling to give something to a king, or to accept something from a king is of no consequence; both alike are in his eyes a rebuff, and to be treated with scorn is more bitter to a proud spirit than not to be feared. Would you like to know what Socrates really meant? He meant that the man whose freedom of speech even a free state could not endure declined to enter into voluntary servitude!

But I think that we have sufficiently discussed this topic of whether it is disgraceful to be outdone in benefits. Whoever raises the question must know that men are not in the habit of bestowing benefits upon themselves; for it would have been evident that there is no disgrace in a man's being outdone by himself. Yet among certain Stoics it is even debated whether it is possible for a man to bestow a benefit on himself, whether it is his duty to return gratitude to himself. The reason why it seemed necessary to raise the question was our habitual use of such expressions as: "I am thankful to myself," "I can blame no one but myself," "I am angry with myself," "I shall exact punishment from myself," "I hate myself" and, many others of the same sort in which one speaks of oneself as if another person. "If," they say, "I am able to injure myself, why should I not be able, also to bestow a benefit on myself? Moreover, why should not things that would be called benefits if I had bestowed them on another still be benefits if I have bestowed them on myself? Why should not something that would have placed me in debt if I had received it from another still place me in debt if I have given it to myself? Why should I be ungrateful to myself, which is just as disgraceful as to be niggardly to oneself and harsh and cruel to oneself and neglectful of oneself? The reputation of a pimp is equally bad whether he prostitutes himself or another. The flatterer, the man who subscribes to the words of another, and is ready to applaud falsehoods, is of course open to censure; and not less so is the man who is pleased with himself, who, so to speak, looks up to himself, and is his own flatterer. The vices are hateful, not only when they are outwardly expressed, but when they are turned in upon themselves. Whom will you more admire than the man who governs himself, who has himself under control? It is easier to rule savage nations, impatient as they are of the authority of others, than to restrain one's own spirit and submit to selfcontrol. Plato, say they, was grateful to Socrates be- cause he learned from him; why should not Socrates be grateful to himself because he taught himself? Marcus Cato says: 'Borrow from yourself whatever you lack.' If I am able to lend to myself, why should I not be able to give to myself? The instances in which habit leads us to divide ourselves into two persons are countless; we are prone to say: 'Let me converse with myself,' and, 'I will give my ear a twitch.' If there is any truth in these expressions, just as a man ought to be angry with himself, so he ought to render thanks to himself; as he ought to reprove himself, so also he ought to praise himself; as he can cause himself loss, so also he can bring himself gain. Injury and benefit are the converse of each other; if we say of anyone: 'He has done himself an injury,' we may also say: 'He has bestowed upon himself a benefit.'" Nature's rule is that a man should first become a debtor, and then should return gratitude; there cannot be a debtor without a creditor any more than there can be a husband without a wife, - or a father without a son; someone must give in order that someone may receive. To transfer something from the left hand to the right hand is neither to give nor to receive. Just as no one carries himself although he moves and transports his body, as no one, although he has spoken in his own defence, is said to have appeared as his own advocate, or erects a statue to himself as his own patron, as no sick man, when he has regained health by treating himself, demands from himself a fee, so in transactions of every sort - even though he may have done something that has been to his advantage, yet he will be under no obligation to return gratitude to himself because he will not find any person to whom he can return it. Though I grant that a man may bestow a benefit on himself, yet at the same time that he gives it, he also receives a return; though I grant that a man may receive a benefit from himself, yet at the same time that he receives it, he returns it. "You borrow," as they say, "from your own pocket," and, just as if it were a game, the item immediately shifts to the other side; for the giver and the receiver are not to be differentiated, but are one and the same person. The word "owe" has no place unless two persons are involved; how, then, will it apply to one person, who, in the act of incurring a debt, frees himself from it? In a disk or a sphere there is no bottom, no top, no end, no beginning, because as the object is moved, the relations change, and the part that was behind now precedes, and the part that was going down now comes up, yet all, in whatever direction they may move, come back to the same position. Imagine that the same principle applies in the case of a man; though you may transform him into many different characters, he remains a simple human being. He strikes himself - there is no one whom he may charge with doing him an injury. He binds himself and locks himself up - he is not held for damages. He bestows a benefit on himself - he has forthwith made return to the giver.

In the realm of Nature, it is said, there is never any loss, for whatever is taken out of it, returns to it, and nothing is able to perish, because there is no place into which it can escape, but everything returns to whence it came. "What is the bearing," you ask, "of this illustration on the question that is before us?" I will tell you. Suppose that you are un- grateful - the benefit is not lost, for the one who bestowed it still has it, Suppose that you are unwilling to receive a return - it is already in your possession before it is returned. You are not able to lose anything, because what is withdrawn from you is none the less acquired by you. The operation proceeds in a circle within yourself - in receiving you give, in giving you receive.

"One ought," you say, "to bestow benefit on oneself; therefore one ought also to return gratitude to oneself." But the first proposition, on which the conclusion depends, is false; for no one bestows benefit on himself, but a man simply obeys a natural instinct that disposes him to show affection for himself, and it is this that causes him to take the utmost pains to avoid what is hurtful, and to seek what is beneficial. Consequently, the man who gives to himself is not generous, nor is he who pardons himself merciful, nor he who is touched by his own misfortunes pitiful. For generosity, mercy, and pity contribute to others; natural instinct contributes to oneself. A benefit is a voluntary act, but self-interest is a law of nature. The more benefits a man bestows, the more beneficent he becomes; but who was ever praised for having been of service to himself? for having rescued himself from brigands? No one any more bestows a benefit upon himself than he does hospitality; no one any more gives to himself than he lends to himself.

If every man does bestow benefits on himself, if he is always bestowing them, and bestows them without cessation, it will be impossible for him to reckon the number of his benefits. When, then, will he be able to return gratitude, since, by the act of returning gratitude, he will be giving a benefit? For how will you be able to tell whether he is giving, or returning, a benefit to himself, since the transactions take place within one and the same man? I have freed myself from peril - I have, then, bestowed a benefit upon myself. I free myself from peril a second time - am I, then, giving, or returning, a benefit to myself?

Again, although I should grant the first proposition, that we do bestow benefit upon ourselves, I shall not grant the conclusion that is drawn from it; for even if we give, we owe nothing. Why? because we immediately receive a return. I ought, properly, to receive a benefit, then be indebted, then repay; but there is no opportunity here to be indebted, for we receive a return without any delay. No one really gives except to another, no one owes except to another, no one return's except to another. An act that so often requires two persons cannot be performed within the limits of one.

A benefit is the contribution of something useful but "contribution" implies the existence of others. If a man says that he has sold something to himself, will he not be thought mad? For selling means alienation, the transferring of one's property and one's right in it to another. Yet, just as is the case in selling, giving implies the relinquishment of something, the surrendering of something that you have held to the possession of another. And if this is so, no one has ever bestowed a benefit upon himself because no one can "give" to himself; otherwise two opposites are combined in one act, so that giving and receiving are the same thing. Yet there is a great difference between giving and receiving; why should there not be, since these words are applied to exactly opposite actions? Yet, if anyone can give a benefit to himself, there is no difference between giving and receiving. I said a little while ago that certain words imply the existence of other persons, and are of such fashion that their whole meaning is directed away from ourselves. I am a brother, but of another, for no one can be his own brother; I am an equal, but of someone else, for can any man be the equal of himself? Unless there are two objects, comparison is unintelligible; unless there are two objects, there can be no coupling; so also, unless there are two persons, there can be no giving, and, unless there are two persons, there can be no benefaction. This is clear from the very expression, "to do good to," by which the act is defined; but no one any more does good to himself than he befriends himself, or belongs to his own party. I might pursue this theme further, and multiply examples. Of course, since benefaction must be included among those acts that require a second person. Certain actions, though honourable, admirable, and highly virtuous, find a field only in the person of another. Fidelity is praised, and honoured as one of the greatest blessings of the human race, yet is it ever said that anyone for that reason has kept his promise to himself?

I come now to the last part of the subject. He who returns gratitude ought to expend something, just as he who pays a debt expends money; but he who returns gratitude to himself expends nothing, just as surely as he who has received a benefit from himself gains nothing. A benefit and the repayment of gratitude must pass from one to the other; no interchange is possible if only one person is involved. He who returns gratitude does good in his turn to the one from whom he obtained something. But he who returns gratitude to himself - to whom does he do good? Only to himself. And who does not think of the repayment of gratitude as one act, and the bestowal of a benefit as another? He who returns gratitude to himself does good to himself. And what ingrate was ever unwilling to do this? Nay, rather, who was ever an ingrate except that he might do this? "If," you say, "we ought to render thanks to ourselves, we ought also to return gratitude; yet we say: 'I am thankful to myself that I refused to marry that woman,' and 'that I did not conclude a partnership with that man.' "But when we say this, we are lauding ourselves, and, in order to show approval of our act, we misapply the language of those who render thanks. A benefit is something which, when given, May, or may not, be returned. Now he who gives a benefit to himself cannot help having what he has given returned; therefore this is not a benefit. A benefit is received at one time, is returned at another. A benefit, too, possesses this commendable, this most praiseworthy, quality, that a man forgets for the time being his own interest in order that he may give help to another, that he is ready to deprive himself of what he gives to another. But he who gives a benefit to himself does not do this. The giving of a benefit is a social act, it wins the goodwill of someone, it lays someone under obligation; giving to oneself is not a social act, it wins no one's goodwill, it lays no one under obligation, it raises no man's hopes, or leads him to say: "I must cultivate this man; he has given a benefit to So-and-so, he will give one to me also." A benefit is something that a man gives, not for his own sake, but for the sake of the one to whom he is giving. But he who gives a benefit to himself gives for his own sake; this, then, is not a benefit.

I seem to you now to have been false to the claim that I made at the beginning. For you say that I am far from doing anything worth while nay, that, in honest truth, I am wasting all my trouble. But wait, and you will soon say this with more truth after I have led you into such obscurities that, even when you have found your way out, you will have accomplished nothing more than escape from difficulties into which you need never have plunged. For what is the good of laboriously untying knots which you yourself have made in order that you might untie them? But, just as it provides amusement and sport when certain objects are knotted up in such a way that an unskilled person has difficulty in unloosing them, while they yield without any trouble to the one who tied the knots because he knows the loops and the snarls, and nevertheless the problem affords some pleasure, for it tests sharpness of wits and provokes mental effort, so these matters, which seem cunning and tricky, banish indifference and sloth from our minds, which, at one time, should find a level field in which to wander, and, at another, should encounter a dark and uneven stretch, through which we must merely creep, and place every footstep with care. Some argue that no man is ungrateful, and support the statement as follows: "a benefit is that which does good; but, according to you Stoics, no one is able to do good to a bad man; therefore a bad man does not receive a benefit, is ungrateful. xxx"Furthermore, you say, a benefit is an honourable and commendable act; but no honourable and commendable act has place in a bad man, therefore neither has a benefit; and, if he cannot receive one, neither ought he to return one, and, therefore, he does not become ungrateful.

"Furthermore, according to you, a good man always acts rightly; but, if he always acts rightly, he cannot be ungrateful. No one is able to give a benefit to a bad man. A good man returns a benefit, a bad man does not receive one; and, if this is so, neither is any good man, nor any bad man, ungrateful. So in the whole realm of Nature, there is no such thing as an ungrateful man, and the term is an empty one."

According to us Stoics there is only one sort of good, the honourable. {honestum+} A bad man cannot possibly attain this; for he will cease to be bad if virtue has entered into him; but, so long as he is bad, no one is able to give him a benefit, because evils and goods are opposites, and cannot unite. Therefore, no one can do good to him, for whatever good reaches him is vitiated by his wrong use of it. Just as the stomach, when it is impaired by discase, gathers bile, and, changing all the food that it receives, turns every sort of sustenance into a source of pain, so, in the case of the perverse mind, whatever you entrust to it becomes to it a burden and a source of disaster and wretchedness. And so those who are most prosperous and wealthy are beset with most trouble, and the more property they have to cause them unrest, the less they find themselves. Nothing, therefore, which would be to their good can possibly come to bad men - nay, nothing which would not do them harm. For whatever good falls to their lot they change into their own evil nature, and seemingly attractive gifts that would be beneficial if they were given to a better man become baneful to them. Nor, therefore, are they able to give a benefit, since no one is able to give what he does not have; such a man lacks the desire to benefit,

But, though this is so, still even a bad man is able to receive certain things that resemble benefits, and he will be ungrateful if he does not return them. There are goods of the mind, goods of the body, and goods of fortune. The fool and the bad man are debarred from the goods of the mind; but he is admitted to the others - these he can receive and ought to return, and, if he does not return them, he is ungrateful. And ours is not the only school that holds this doctrine. The Peripatetics also, who widely extend the bounds of human happiness, say that trifling benefits come even to the bad, and that he who does not return such is ungrateful. We, therefore, do not agree that things that will not make the mind better are benefits; nevertheless we do not deny that those things are advantageous and desirable. These things a bad man is able both to give to a good man and to receive from him, such as money and clothing and public office and life; and, if he does not return them, he will fall into the class of the ungrateful. xxx "But," you retort, "how can you call a man ungrateful if he fails to return something which you will not admit to be a benefit?" Certain things, on account of their similarity, are designated by the same term even at the expense of some inaccuracy. Thus we speak of a silver and a golden "pyxis"; thus, too, we call a man "illiterate," though he may be not utterly untutored but only not acquainted with the higher branches of learning; thus, too, one who has seen a man wretchedly clad and in rags says that the man he saw was "naked." The things that we mean are not really benefits, but have the appearance of benefits. "Then," you retort, "just as these things are quasi-benefits, so also the man is, not an ingrate, but a quasi-ingrate." No, not so, because both the giver and the recipient of these things call them benefits. So, he who fails to return the semblance of a true benefit is just as much an ingrate as he is a poisoner who, when he thought that he was concocting poison, concocted a sleeping-draught!

The words of Cleanthes are even stronger. "Granted," he says, "that what the man received was not a benefit, yet he himself is an ingrate because, even if he had received a benefit, he would not have returned it." So, a man becomes a brigand even before he stains his hands with blood, because he has armed himself to kill, and possesses the desire to murder and rob; he practises and manifests wickedness in action, but it does not begin there. Men are punished for sacrilege, but no man's hands can actually reach the gods. "How," it is asked, "can anyone be ungrateful to a bad man, since a bad man is unable to give a benefit?" For the reason, of course, that, while the gift that was received was not a benefit, it was called one. If anyone receives from a bad man any of these things that the ignorant possess, of which even the bad have a store, it will be his duty to be grateful with a like offering, and, no matter what may be the nature of the gifts, to return them as true goods since he received them as true goods. A man is said to be in debt whether he owes pieces of gold or pieces of leather stamped with the seal of the state, such as the Lacedaemonians used, which serve the purpose of coined money. Discharge your indebtedness in that kind by which you incurred it. What benefits are, whether so great and noble a term should be degraded by being applied to such mean and vulgar matter, does not concern you; your search for truth is to the detriment of others. Do you adjust your minds to the semblance of truth, and, while you are learning true virtue, honour whatever vaunts the name of virtue.

"As, according to you," I someone retorts, "no man is ungrateful, so, on the other hand, all men are ungrateful." Yes, for, as we say, all fools are bad; moreover, he who has one vice has them all; but all men are foolish and bad; all men, therefore, are ungrateful. What, then? Are they not? Is it not an indictment that is everywhere brought against the human race? Is it not a universal complaint that benefits are thrown away, that there are only a very few who do not requite those who have treated them kindly with the greatest unkindness? Nor need you suppose that I am merely voicing the grumbling of the Stoics, who count every act as most evil and wrong that falls short of the standard of righteousness. Hear the voice of one who cries out condemnation upon all nations and peoples, a voice that issues, not from the home of philosophy, but from the midst of the crowd!

No guest from host is safe, nor daughter's sire

From daughter's spouse; e'en brothers' love is rare.

The husband doth his wife, she him, ensnare.

This goes even further - here crime takes the place of benefits, and the blood of those for whom blood ought to be shed is not spared; we requite benefits with the sword and poison. To lay hands upon the fatherland itself and crush it with its own fasces is to gain rank and power. Whoever does not stand above the commonweal thinks that he stands in a position that is low and degraded. The armies that she has given are turned against herself, and the general now harangues his men with: "Fight against your wives, fight against your children! Assail with arms your altars, hearths, and household gods!" Yes, you who had no right to enter the city without the permission of the senate even in order to triumph, who, when bringing back a victorious army, should have been given an audience outside the walls, now, after slaughtering your own countrymen, and stained with the blood of kinsmen, enter into the city with flying flags. Amidst the ensigns of soldiers let Liberty be dumb, and, now that all war has been banished afar, all terror suppressed, let that people who conquered and pacified the nations of the earth be beleaguered within its own walls, and shudder at the sight of its own eagles.

Ungrateful is Coriolanus, who became dutiful too late, and after penitence for crime; he laid down his arms, but he laid them down in the midst of unholy war.

Ungrateful is Catiline; he is not satisfied with seizing his fatherland -he must overturn it, he must let loose against it the cohorts of the Allobroges, he must summon an enemy from beyond the Alps to satiate its old and inborn hatred, and pay with the lives of Roman leaders the sacrifices long owed to Gallic tombs. Ungrateful is Gaius Marius {Coriolanus?+}, who, though raised from the rank of a common soldier to repeated consulships, will feel that the change in his fortune has been too slight, and that he would sink to his former position did he not match the slaughter of the Cimbrians with a sacrifice of Roman lives, did he not; not merely give, but himself become, the signal for the destruction and butchery of his countrymen.

Ungrateful is Lucius Sulla, who healed his fatherland by remedies that were harsher than her ills, who, having marched through human blood all the way from the citadel of Praeneste to the Colline Gate, staged other battles, other murders inside the city; two legions that had been crowded into a corner he butchered; O! the cruelty of it, after he had won the victory, O! the wickedness of it, after he had promised them quarter; and he devised proscription, great gods! in order that anyone who had killed a Roman citizen might claim impunity, money, all but a civic crown!

Ungrateful is Gnaeus Pompeius, who in return for three consulships, in return for three triumphs, in return for the many public offices into most of which he had thrust himself before the legal age, showed such gratitude to the commonwealth that he induced others also to lay hands upon her - as if he could render his own power less odious by giving several others the right to do what no man ought to have had the right to do! While he coveted extraordinary commands, while he distributed the provinces to suit his own choice, while he divided the commonwealth in such a way, that though a third person had a share, two-thirds of it remained in his own family,a he reduced the Roman people to such a plight that only by the acceptance of slavery were they able to survive. The foe and conqueror of Pompeius was himself ungrateful. From Gaul and Germany he whirled war to Rome, and that friend of the people, that democrat, pitched his camp in the Circus Flaminius, even nearer to the city than Porsina's had been. It is true that he used the cruel privileges of victory with moderation; the promise that he was fond of making he kept - he killed no man who was not in arms. But what of it? The others used their arms more cruelly, yet, once glutted, flung them aside; he quickly sheathed his sword, but never laid it down.

Ungrateful was Antony to his dictator, who he declared was rightly slain, and whose murderers he allowed to depart to their commands in the provinces. His country, torn as it had been by proscriptions, invasions, and wars, after all her ills, he wished to make subject to kings, who were not even Roman, in order that a city that had restored sovereign rights, autonomy, and immunity to the Achaeans, the Rhodians, and many famous cities, might herself pay tribute to eunuchs!

The day will fail me to enumerate those whose ingratitude resulted in the ruin of their country. Equally endless will be the task if I attempt a survey of how ungrateful the commonwealth herself has been to its best and most devoted servants, and how it has sinned not less often than it has been sinned against. Camillus it sent into exile, Scipio went with its con- ——– a An allusion to the Egyptian court and Antony+'s surrender to the charms of Cleopatra. sent; it exiled Cicero, even after the conspiracy of Catiline, destroyed his home, plundered his property, did everything that a victorious Catiline would have done; Rutilius found his blamelessness rewarded with a hiding-place in Asia; to Cato the Roman people refused the praetorship, and persisted in refusing the consulship.

We are universally ungrateful. Let each one question himself - everyone will find someone to complain of for being ungrateful. But it is impossible that all men should complain, unless all men gave cause for complaint - all men, therefore, are ungrateful. Are they ungrateful only? They are also covetous and spiteful and cowardly - especially those who appear to be bold. Besides, all are self-seeking, all are ungodly. But you have no need to be angry with them; pardon them - they are all mad. {Lear+} To refer you to uncertain instances is not my desire, so I say: "See how ungrateful is youth! What young man does not long for his father's last day though his hands are clean? Does not look forward to it though he curbs his desire? Does not ponder it though he is dutiful? How few there are who dread so much the death of their best of wives that they do not even calculate the probabilities? What litigant, I ask you, after he has been defended, retains the memory of so great a benefit beyond the hour it happened?"

And all agree in asking who dies without complaint! Who on his last day ventures to say:

I've lived; my destined course I now have run.

Who does not shrink from departure? Who does not mourn it? Yet not to be satisfied with the time one has had is to be ungrateful. Your days will always seem few if you stop to count them. Reflect that your greatest blessing does not lie in mere length of time; make the best of it however short it may be. Though the day of your death should be postponed, your happiness is in no whit enhanced, since life becomes, not more blissful, but merely longer, by the delay. How much better it is to be grateful for the pleasures that have been enjoyed, not to reckon up the years of others, but to set a generous value on one's own, and to score them down as gain! "God deemed me worthy of this, this is enough; he might have given more, but even this is a benefit." Let us be grateful to the gods, grateful to mankind, grateful to those who have bestowed anvthing, upon ourselves, grateful also to those who have bestowed anything upon our dear ones. "You render me liable," you retort, "to infinite obligation when you say 'also upon our dear ones'; so do set some limit. According to you, he who gives a benefit to a son, gives it also to his father. This is the first question I raise. Secondly, I should like particularly to have this point settled. If the benefit is given also to your friend's father, is it given also to his brother? Also to his uncle? Also to his grandfather? Also to his wife? Also to his father-in-law? Tell me, where must I stop, how far am I to pursue the list of relatives?" If I cultivate your field, I shall give you a benefit; if your house is on fire and I shall put it out, or if I keep it from tumbling down, I shall give you a benefit; if I heal your slave, I shall charge the service to you; if I save the life of your son, will you not have a benefit from me? xxx"The instances you offer are of a different colour, for he who cultivates my field, gives a benefit, not to the field, but to me; and he who props up my house - to keep it from falling, bestows a benefit on me, for the house itself is without feeling; because it has none, he makes me his debtor; and he who cultivates my field, wishes to do a service, not to it, but to me. I should say the same of the slave, he is a chattel of mine, it is to my advantage to have his life saved; therefore the debt is mine instead of his. But my son is himself capable of receiving a benefit; he, therefore, receives it, while I merely rejoice, and, though I am nearly concerned, I am not placed under obligation by it."

Nevertheless I should like you, who suppose that you are under no obligation, to answer me this. A father is concerned in the good health, the happiness, the inheritance of his son; he is going to be made more happy if he keeps his son alive, more unhappy if he has lost him. What, then? If anyone is made happier by me, if he is freed from the danger of the greatest unhappiness, does he not receive a benefit?

"No," you answer, "for there are some things that, though they are conferred upon others, pass on to us; but, in each case, the thing ought to be required of the one upon whom it was conferred, just as, in the case of a loan, money is sought from the one to whom it was lent, although it may by some means have come into my hands. There is no benefit whose advantage does not extend to those who are nearest to the recipient, sometimes even to those who are far removed; the question is, not whither did the benefit pass from the one to whom it was given, but where was it first placed. You must be repaid by the real debtor, the one who first received it." What, then? I beg of you, do you not say to me: "You have given me the life of my son, and, if he had perished, I could not have survived him"? Do you not owe a benefit in return for the life of one whose safety you value above your own? Besides, when I have saved your son's life, you fall upon your knees, you pay vows to the gods just as if your own life had been saved; your lips utter these words: "Whether you have saved my own life is to me of no concern; you have saved both our lives - nay, rather, mine." Why do vou say this if you do not receive a benefit?

"Because, also, if my son were to obtain a loan of money, I should pay his creditor, yet should not for that reason be indebted to him; because also, if my son should be caught in adultery, I should blush, yet should not for that reason become an adulterer. I say that I am indebted to you for my son's life, not because I really am, but because I wish to constitute myself your debtor of my own free will. But his safety has brought to me the greatest possible pleasure, the greatest possible advantage, and I have escaped the heaviest of all blows, the loss of a child. The question is now, not whether you have been of service to me, but whether you have given me a benefit; for a dumb animal, or a stone, or a plant, can be of service, and yet they cannot give a benefit, for a benefit is never given without an act of the will. But you wish to give, not to the father, but to the son, and sometimes you do not even know the father. Therefore, when you have said: 'Have I not, then, given a benefit to the father by saving the life of his son?' you must raise the counter-question: 'Have I, then, given a benefit to the father, whom I do not know, of whom I had no thought?' And what if, as will sometimes happen, you hate the father, yet save the life of his son? Will you be considered to have given a benefit to one to whom, at the very time that you gave it, you had the greatest hostility?" But, to lay aside the bickering of dialogue, and to reply, as it were, judicially, I should say that the purpose of the giver must be considered; he gave the benefit to the one to whom he wished it to be given. If he did it as a compliment to the father, then the father received the benefit; if, as a service to the son, the father is placed under no obligation by the benefit conferred upon the son, even if he is pleased by it. If, however, he gets the opportunity, he will himself wish to bestow something, not that he feels the necessity of repaying, but that he finds an excuse for offering a service. Repayment of the benefit must not be sought from the father; if he does a generous act because of it, he is, not grateful, but just. For there can be no end to it - if I am giving a benefit to my friend's father, I am giving it also to his mother, his grandfather, his uncle, his children, his relatives, his friends, his slaves, his country. Where, then, does a benefit begin to stop? For there enters in the endless sorites, to which it is difficult to set any limit, for it grows little by little, and never stops growing. This, too, is a common question: "If two brothers are at variance, and I save the life of one, do I give a benefit to the, other who will probably regret that the brother he hated did not die?" There can be no doubt that to render a service to a man even against his will is a benefit, just as he who has rendered a service against his will has not given a benefit. "Do you," you ask, "call that which vexes him, which torments him a benefit?" Yes, many benefits are, on their face, stern and harsh, such as the cures wrought by surgery and cautery and confinement in chains. The point to consider is, not whether anyone is made unhappy, but whether he ought to be made happy, by receiving a benefit; a coin is not necessarily a bad one because a barbarian who does not know the government stamp has rejected it. A man both hates, and yet accepts, a benefit provided that it does him good, provided that the giver gave it in order that it might do him good. It makes no difference whether anyone accepts a good thing with a bad spirit or not. Come, consider the converse case. A man hates his brother, but it is to his advantage to keep him; if I have killed the brother, I do not do him a benefit, although he may say that it is, and be glad of it. It is a very artful enemy who gets thanked for the injury he has done!

"I understand; a thing that does good is a benefit, a thing that does harm is not a benefit. But see here, I will give you an instance where neither good nor harm is done, and yet the act will be a benefit. Suppose I have found the corpse of someone's father in a lonely place, and bury it. I have done no good either to the man himself (for what difference would it make to him in what fashion he rotted?), or to the son (for what advantage does he gain by the act?)."

I will tell you what he has gained. Using me as his instrument, he has performed a customary and necessary duty; I supplied to his father what he would have wished, what it would also have been his duty, to supply himself. Yet such an act becomes a benefit only if I performed it, not out of the sense of pity and humanity that would lead me to hide away anybody's corpse, but because I recognized the body, and supposed that I was rendering a service to the son. But, if I have thrown earth over an unknown dead man, I have by the act made no one my debtor for this service - I am just generally humane. But some one will say: "Why do vou take so much trouble to discover to whom you should give a benefit as though you intended to ask repayment some day? There are some who think that repayment ought never to be asked, and the reasons they adduce are these. An unworthy person will not make return even when he is asked to do so, and the worthy man will repay of his own accord. Moreover, if you have given to a good man, be patient; do not do him an injustice by dunning him, as though he would not have made return of his own accord. If you have given to a bad man, you must blame yourself; but do not spoil a benefit by making it a loan. Besides, the law, by not bidding you to ask repayment, forbids you." These are mere words. So long as I have no pressing need, so long as I am not foreed by fortune, I would rather lose a benefit than ask for repayment. If, however, the safety of my children is at stake, if my wife is threatened with danger, if the safety of my country and my liberty impel me to a course that I should prefer not to take, I shall conquer my scruples, and bear witness that I have done everything to avoid needing the help of an ungrateful person; the necessity of receiving a return of my benefit will at last overcome my reluctance to ask a return. Again, when I give a benefit to a good man, I do so with the intention of never asking a return unless it should be necessary. xxx"But," you say, "the law, by not authorizing, forbids the exaction." There are many things that do not come under the law or into court, and in these the conventions of human life, that are more binding than anylaw+, show us the way. No law forbids us to divulge the secrets of friends; no law bids us keep faith even with an enemy. What law binds us to keep a promise that we have made to anyone? There is none. Yet I shall have a grievance against a person who has not kept the secret I told him, and I shall be indignant with one who, after giving a promise, has not kept it.

"But," you say, "you are turning a benefit into a loan." By no means; for I do not demand, but request, and I do not even request, but simply remind. Shall even the most pressing necessity ever force me to go to one with whom there would be need for me to have a long struggle? If anyone is so ungrateful that a simple reminder will not suffice, I shall pass him by, and judge him unworthy of being compelled to be grateful. As a money-lender makes no demand of certain debtors who he knows have become bankrupt, and, to their shame, have nothing left but what is already lost, so I shall pass over certain men who are openly and obstinately ungrateful, and I shall ask a benefit to be repaid by no one from whom I could not hope, not to extort, but to receive, a return. There are many who do not know how either to disavow or to repay what they have received, who are neither good enough to be grateful, nor bad enough to be ungrateful - slow and dilatory people, backward debtors, but not defaulters. Of these I shall make no demand, but shall admonish them and turn them back from other interests to their duty. They will promptly reply to me: "Pardon me; upon my word, I did not know that you missed the money, or I would have offered it of my own accord; I beg you not to think me ungrateful; I am mindful of your favour to me." Why should I hesitate to make such as these better men both in their own eyes and in mine? If can keep anyone from doing, wrong, I shall; much more a friend - both from doing wrong and, most of all, from doing wrong to me. I bestow a second benefit upon him by, not permitting him to be ungrateful; nor will I reproach him harshly with what I had bestowed, but as gently as I can. In order to give him an opportunity to show his gratitude, I shall refresh his memory, and ask for a benefit; he will himself understand that I am asking repayment. Sometimes if l have hope of being able to correct his fault, I shall use harsher words; yet, if he is beyond hope, I shall not exasperate him as well, for fear that I may turn an ingrate into an enemy. But if we spare ungrateful men even the affront of an admonition, we shall make them more dilatory in returning benefits. Some, indeed, who are curable, if conscience pricks them, and might become good men will be left to go to ruin if we withhold the admonition by which a father at times reclaims his son, by which a wife brings back to her arms an erring husband, and a friend stimulates the flagging loyalty of a friend. In order to awaken some men, it is necessary only to shake, not to strike, them; in the same way, in the case of some men, their sense of honour about returning gratitude is, not extinct, but only asleep. {Bassanio+} Let us arouse it. "Do not," they might say, "turn your gift into an injury; for injury it will be if you fail to ask repayment for the express purpose of leaving me ungrateful. What if I do not know what you desire? What if I have not watched for an opportunity because I was distracted by business+ and occupied with other interests? Show me what I can do, what you wish me to do. Why do you lose faith before you put me to the test? Why are you in a hurry to lose both your benefit and a friend? How do you know whether I am unwilling, or merely unaware - whether I am lacking in opportunity, or intention? Give me a chance!" I shall, therefore, remind him of my benefit, not bitterly, not publicly, not with reproaches, but in such a way that he will think that, instead of being brought back, he himself has come back, to the recollection of it.

One of his veterans, being greatly incensed against his neighbours, was once pleading his case before the deified Julius, and the case was going against him. "Do you remember, general" he said, "the time in Spain when you sprained your ankle near the river Sucro?" When Caesar replied that he remembered it, he continued: "Do you remember, too, when, because of the powerful heat of the sun, you wanted to rest under a certain tree that cast very little shade, that one of your fellow-soldiers spread out his cloak for you because the ground, in which that solitary tree had sprung up among the sharp stones, was very rough?" When Caesar replied: "Of course I do; and, too, when I was perishing with thirst, and wanted to crawl to a nearby spring because, crippled as I was, I could not walk, unless my companion, who was a strong and active man, had brought me some water in his helmet - " "Could you, then, general," interrupted the veteran, "recognize that man, or that helmet?" Caesar replied that he could not recognize the helmet, but that he could the man, perfectly, and, irritated I suppose because he allowed himself to revert to the old incident in the midst of a trial, added: "You, at any rate, are not the one." "You have good reason, Caesar," he replied, "not to recognize me; for, when this happened, I was a whole man; later, during the battle of Munda, one of my eyes was torn out, and some bones were taken from my skull. And you would not recognize that helmet if you saw it; for it was split by a Spanish sword." Caesar gave orders that the man was not to be troubled, and presented his old soldier with the bit of ground which, because his neighbours made a path through it, had been the cause of the quarrel and the suit.

What, then? Because his commander's memory of a benefit he received had been dimmed by a multitude of happenings, and his position as the organizer of vast armies did not permit him to meet individual soldiers, should the veteran not have asked him to return the benefit he had conferred? This is, not so much asking for the repayment of a benefit, as taking repayment when it lies waiting in a convenient place, although one must stretch forth one's hand in order to take it. I shall, therefore, ask for repayment, when either the pressure of great necessity, or the best interest of him from whom I am asking it shall urge me to do so.

Tiberius Caesar, when a certain man started to say "You remember - ," interrupted him before he could reveal more evidence of an old intimacy with: "I do not remember what I was." Why should he not have been asked to repay a benefit? He had a reason for desiring forgetfulness; he was repudiating the acquaintance of all friends and comrades, and wished men to behold only the high position he then filled, to think and to talk only of that. He regarded an old friend as an accuser! xxx It is even more needful to choose the right time for requesting the return of a benefit than for requesting its bestowal. We must be temperate in our language, so that the grateful man may not take offence, nor the ungrateful pretend to do so. If we lived among wise men, it would have been our duty to keep silence and wait; and yet it would have been better to indicate even to wise men what the condition of our affairs demanded. We petition even the gods, whose knowledge nothing escapes, and, although our prayers do not prevail upon them, they remind them of us. Homer's priest, I say, recounts even to the gods his services and his pious care of their altars. The second best form of virtue is to be willing and able to take advice. The horse that is docile and obedient can easily be turned hither and thither by a gentle movement of the reins. Few men follow reason as their best guide; next best are those who return to the right path when they are admonished; these must not be deprived of their guide. The eyes, even when they are closed, still have the power of sight, but do not use it; but the light of day, when it has been admitted to them, summons their power of sight into service. Tools lie idle unless the workman uses them to perform his task. Our minds all the while possess the virtuous desire, but it lies torpid, now from their softness and disuse, now from their ignorance of duty. We ought to render this desire useful, and, instead of abandoning it in vexation to its weakness, we should bear with it as patiently as schoolmasters bear with the blunders of young pupils when their memory fails; and, just as one or two words of prompting will bring back to their memory the context of the speech they must deliver, so the virtuous desire needs some reminder to recall it to the repayment of gratitude.


THERE are some matters, my most excellent Liberalis, that are investigated simply for the sake of exercising the intellect, and lie altogether outside of life; others that are a source of pleasure while the investigation is in progress, and of profit when it is finished. I shall lay the whole store of them before you; do you, as you may feel inclined, order me either to discuss them at length, or merely to present them in order to show the programme of the entertainment. But something will be gained even from those which you may order to be at once dismissed: for there is some advantage in discovering even what is not worth learning, I shall, therefore, watch the expression of your face, and, according as it guides me, deal with some questions at greater length, and pitch others headlong out of court.

The question has been raised whether it is possible to take away a benefit. Some say that it is not possible, for a benefit is, not a thing, but an act. As a gift is one thing, the act of giving another, as a sailor is one thing, the act of sailing another, and, as a sick man and his disease are not the same thing although a sick man is not without discase, so a benefit is one thing, and that which anyone receives by means of the benefit another, the benefit is incorporeal, and is never rendered invalid; the matter of it is passed from hand to hand, and changes its owner. And so, when you take this away, even Nature herself is not able to recall what she has once given. She may break off her benefits, she cannot annul them; he who dies has nevertheless lived; he who has lost his eyes has nevertheless seen. Blessings that we have received can cease to be ours, but they can never cease from having been ours; what has been, too, is part of a benefit, and, indeed, its surest part. Sometimes we are kept from very long enjoyment of a benefit, but the benefit itself is not obliterated. Nature is not allowed to reverse her acts, though she should summon all her powers to the task. A man's house, his money, his property, everything that passes under the name of a benefit, may be taken away from him, but the benefit itself remains fixed and unmoved; no power can efface the fact that this man has given, and that one received.

Those seem to me noble words, which in the poet Rabirius are ascribed to Mark Antony+, when, seeing his fortune deserting him, and nothing left him but the privilege of dying, and even that on the condition of his seizing it promptly, he is made to exclaim:

Whatever I have given+, that I still possess {Akumal+}

O! how much he might have possessed if he had wished! These are the riches that will abide, and remain steadfast amid all the fickleness of our human lot; and, the greater they become, the less envy they will arouse. Why do vou share your wealth as though it were your own? You are but a steward. {trustee+} All these possessions that force you to swell with pride, and, exalting you above mortals, cause you to forget your own frailty; all these that you guard with iron bars and watch under arms; stolen from others at the cost of their blood, you defend at the cost of your own; these for which you launch fleets to dye the sea with blood; these for which you shatter cities to destruction, uncomncsious of how many arrows of Fortune you may be preparing for you behind your back; these for which you have so many times violated the ties of kinship, and of partnership, while the whole world lies crushed amid the rivalry of two contestants - all these are not your own. They are committed to your safe keeping. and at any moment may find another guardian; your enemy will seize upon them, or the heir who accounts you an enemy. Do you ask how you can make them your own? By bestowing them as gifts! Do you therefore, make the best of your possessions, and, by making therm, not only safer, but more honourable, render your own claim to them assured and inviolable. The wealth that you esteem, that, as you think, makes you rich and powerful, is buried under an inglorious name so long as you keep it. It is but house, or slave, or money; when you have given it away, it is a benefit.

"You admit," says someone, "that there are times when we are under no obligation to the man from whom we have received a benefit; it has, therefore, been taken away." There are many things that might cause us to cease to feel indebted for a benefit, not because it has been removed, but because it has been ruined. Suppose a man defends me in a lawsuit, but has forced my wife to commit adultery; he has not removed his benefit, but has freed me from indebtedness by matching his benefit with an equally great wrong, and, if he has injured me more than he had previously benefited me, he not only extinguishes my gratitude, but leaves me free to protest and avenge myself whenever, in balancing the two, the wrong outweighs the benefit; thus the benefit is not withdrawn, but is surpassed. Tell me, are not some fathers so harsh and so wicked that it is right and proper to turn away from them and disown them? Have they, then, withdrawn the benefits that they had given? By no means, but their unfeeling conduct in later years has removed the favour that they had won from all their earlier service. It is not the benefit, but gratitude for the benefit, that is removed, and the result is, not that I do not possess it, but that I am under no obligation for it. It is just as if someone should lend me money, and then set fire to my house. The loan has been balanced by my loss; I have made him no return, and yet I owe him nothing. In the same way, too, a man who has acted kindly and generously toward me, yet later has shown himself in many ways haughty, insulting, and cruel, places me in the position of being just as free from any obligation to him as if I had never received anything; he has murdered his benefits. Though the lease remains in force, a landlord has no claim against his tenant if he tramples upon his crops, if he cuts down his orchard; not because he received the payment agreed upon, but because he has made it impossible to receive it. So, too, a creditor is often adjudged to his debtor, when on some other account he has robbed him of more than he claims on account of the loan. It is not merely the creditor and debtor who have a judge to sit between them, and say: "You lent the man money. Very well, then! But you drove off his flock, you killed his slave, you have in your possession silver that you did not buy; having calculated the value of these, you who came into court as a creditor, must leave it as a debtor." So, too, a balance is struck between benefits and injuries. Often, I say, the benefit endures, and yet imposes no obligation. If the giver repents of his gift, if he says that he is sorry that he gave it, if he sighs, or makes a wry face when he gives it, if he thinks that he is, not bestowing, but throwing away, his gift, if he gave it to please himself, or, at any rate, not to please me, if he persists in being offensive, in boasting of his gift, in bragging of it everywhere, and in making it painful to me, the benefit endures, although it imposes no obligation, just as certain sums of money to which a creditor can establish no legal right may be owed to him though he cannot demand them. You have bestowed a benefit upon me, yet afterwards you did me an injury; the reward of a benefit should be gratitude, of an injury punishment; but I do not owe you gratitude, nor do you owe me my revenge - the one is absolved by the other. When we say: "I have returned to him his benefit," we mean that we have returned, not the actual gift that we had received, but something else in its place. For to return is to give one thing in return for another; evidently so, since in every act of repayment we return, not the same object, but the same value. For we are said to have returned money even though we count out gold coins for silver, and, even though no money passes between us, payment may be effected by the assignment of a debt and orally. xxx I think I hear you saying: "You are wasting your time; for what is the use of my knowing whether the benefit that imposes no obligation remains a benefit. This is like the clever stupidities of lawyers, who declare that one can take possession, not of an inheritance, but only of the objects that are included in the inheritance, just as if there were any difference between an inheritance and the objects that are included in an inheritance. Do you, instead, make clear for me this point, which may be of some practical use. When the same man has bestowed on me a benefit, and has afterwards done me an injury, ought I to return to him the benefit, and nevertheless to avenge myself upon him, and to make reply, as it were, on two distinct scores, or ought I to combine the two into one, and take no action at all, leaving the benefit to be wiped out by the injury, and the injury be the benefit? For this is what I see is the practice of our courts; you Stoics should know what the law is in your school. In the courts the processes are kept separate, and the case that I have against another and the case that another has against me are not merged under one formula. If anyone deposits a sum of money in my safekeeping, and the same man afterwards steals something from me, I shall proceed against him for theft, and he will proceed against me for the money deposited."

The instances that you have set forth, Liberalis, come under fixed laws, which we are bound to follow. One law does not merge into another law; each proceeds along its own way. A particular action deals with a deposit, and just as clearly another deals with theft. But a benefit is subject to no law, it makes me the judge. I have the right to compare the amount of good or the amount of harm anyone may have done me, and then to decide whether he is more indebted to me, or I to him. In legal actions we ourselves have no power, we must follow the path by which we are led; in the case of a benefit I have all the power, I render judgement. And so I make no separation or distinction between benefits and injuries, but commit them both to the same judge. Otherwise, you force me to love and to hate, and to complain and to give thanks, at the same time; but this is contrary to nature. Instead, after making a comparison of benefit and injury, I shall discover whether there is still any balance in my favour. As, if anyone imprints other lines of writing upon my manuscript, he conceals, though he does not remove, the letters that were there before, so an injury that comes on top of a benefit does not allow the benefit to be seen.

Your face, by which I agreed to be guided, is now puckered and frowning, as though I were straying too far afield. You seem to me to be saying:

Whither so far to the right? Port your helm

Hug the shore.

I cannot more closely. So now, if you think that I have exhausted this question, let me pass to the next one - whether anyone who does us a service without wishing to, imposes any obligation upon us. I might have expressed this more clearly, but the proposition had to be stated somewhat obscurely in order that it might be shown by the distinction immediately following that two questions are involved - both whether we are under any obligation to a man who does us a service against his will, and whether we are under obligation to one who does us a service without knowing it. For why a man does not place us under obligation if he has done us some favour because he was foreed to is so clear that no words need to be devoted to it. Both this question and any similar one that can be raised will be easily settled if in every case we direct our attention to the thought that a benefit is always something that is conveyed to us, in the first place, by some intent, in the second place, by some intent that is kind and friendly. Consequently we do not expend our thanks upon rivers even though they may bear large ships, flow in copious and unfailing stream for the conveyance of merchandise, or wind beauteously and full of fish through the rich farm-lands. And no one conceives of himself as being indebted for a benefit to the Nile, any more than he would owe it a grudge if it overflowed its banks immoderately, and was slow in retiring; the wind does not bestow a benefit, even though its blast is gentle and friendly, nor does wholesome and serviceable food. For he who would give me a benefit must not only do, but wish to do, me a service. We, therefore, become indebted neither to dumb animals - and yet how many men have been rescued from peril by the speed of a horse! nor to trees -and yet how many toilers have been sheltered from the summer's heat by the shade of their boughs! But what difference does it make whether I have received a service from someone who did not know, or from someone who was not able to know, that he was doing it if in both cases the desire to do it was lacking? What difference is there between expecting me to feel indebted for a benefit to a ship or to a carriage or to a spear, and expecting me to feel indebted to a man who had just as little intention as they of performing a good act, yet chanced to do me a service?

Anyone can receive, but no one can bestow, a benefit without knowing it. Many sick persons are cured by chance happenings that are not for that reason to be counted remedies, and a man's falling into a river in very cold weather has restored him to health; some have had a quartan fever broken by a flogging, and the dangerous hours passed unnoticed because their sudden fear diverted their attention to another trouble, and yet none of these things are for that reason to be counted salutary, even if they have restored health. In like manner, certain persons do us service while they are unwilling, nay, because they are unwilling; and yet they do not for that reason make us indebted for a benefit, because it was Fortune that turned their harmful designs into good. Do you think that I am under any obligation to a man whose hand struck my enemy when it was aimed at me, who, unless he had blundered, would have done me an injury? Often a witness, by openly perjuring himself, causes even truthful witnesses to be disbelieved, and yet arouses compassion for the man under accusation because he seems to be beset by a conspiracy. Some men have been saved by the very power that was exerted to crush them, and judges, who were about to convict a man on the score of his case have refused to convict him on the score of influence. Yet, although the great men did him a service, it was not a benefit that they bestowed upon the accused, because it is a question of, not what the dart hits, but what it was aimed at, and it is, not the result, but the intention,that distinguishes a benefit from an injury. My opponent, by contradicting the judge, by offending him by his arrogance, and by rashly reducing his case to one witness, advanced my cause; I do not consider whether his mistake helped me - he meant to do me harm.

Of course, in order to show gratitude to benefactor, I must wish to do the same thing that he must have wished in order to give a benefit to me. Can anything be more unjust than to hate a person who has trodden upon your foot in a crowd, or splashed you, or shoved you where you did not wish to go? Yet, since he actually does us an injury, what besides the fact that he did not know what he was doing exempts him from blame? The same reason keeps this man from having given us a benefit, and that one from having done us an injury; it is the intention that makes both the friend and the enemy. How many have escaped military service because of sickness! Some have escaped from sharing the destruction of their house by being forced by an enemy to appear in court, some have escaped falling into the hands of pirates by having met with shipwreck; yet such happenings do not impose the obligation of a benefit, because chance has no sense of the service rendered, nor does an enemy, whose lawsuit, while it harassed and detained us, saved our lives. Nothing can be a benefit that does not proceed from goodwill, that is not recognized as such by the one who gives it. Someone did me a service without knowing it - I am under no obligation to him. Someone did me a service when he wished to injure me - I will imitate him!

Let us revert to the first type. Would you have me do something in order to show my gratitude? But he himself did nothing in order to give me a benefit! Passing to the second type, do you wish me to show gratitude to such a man - of my own will to return what I received from him against his will? And what shall I say of the third type, the man who stumbled into doing a benefit in trying to do an injury? To render me indebted to you for a benefit, it is not enough that you wished to give; but, to keep me from being indebted to you, it is enough that you did not wish to give. For a benefit is not accomplished by a mere wish; but, because the best and most copious wish would not be a benefit if good fortune had been lacking, just as truly good fortune is not a benefit unless the good wish has preceded the good fortune. For in order to place me under obligation to you, you must not merely have done me a service, but have done it intentionally.

Cleanthes makes use of the following example. "I sent," he says, "two lads to look for Plato and bring him to me from the Academy. One of them searched through the whole colonnade, and also hunted through other places in which he thought that he might be found, but returned home alike weary and unsuccessful; the other sat down to watch a mountebank near by, and, while amusing himself in company with other slaves, the careless vagabond found Plato without looking for him, as he happened to pass by. The first lad, he says, will have our praise, for, to the best of his ability, he did what he had been ordered; the fortunate idler we shall flog."

It is the desire that, according to us, establishes the service; and consider what the terms are if you would place me under obligation. It is not enough for a man to have the wish without having done a service; it is not enough to have done a service without having had the wish. For suppose that someone wished to make a gift, but did not make it; I have, it is true, the intention, but I do not have the benefit, for its consummation requires both an object and an intention. Just as I owe nothing to a man who wished to lend me money, but did not supply it, so, if a man wished to give me a benefit, but was not able to do so, though I shall remain a friend, I shall be under no obligation to him; and I shall wish to bestow something upon him (for he wished to bestow something on me), but, if, having enjoyed better fortune than he, I shall have succeeded in bestowing it, I shall not be returning gratitude, but shall be giving him a benefit. What he will owe me will be the repayment of gratitude; the favour will begin with me, it will be counted from me.

I already know what you wish to ask; there is no need for you to say anything; your countenance speaks for you. "If anyone has done us a service for his own sake, are we," you ask, "under any obligation to him? For I often hear you complain that there are some things that men bestow upon themselves, but charge them up to others." I will tell you, Liberalis; but first let me break up that question, and separate what is fair from what is unfair. For it makes a great difference whether anyone gives us a benefit for his own sake, or for his own sake and ours. He who looks wholly to his own interest, and does us a service only because he could not otherwise do himself a service, seems to me to be in a class with the man who provides food for his flock summer and winter; in a class with the man who, in order that he may sell his captives to greater advantage, feeds them, stuffs them as fat as oxen, and rubs them down; in a class with the fencing-master who takes the greatest pains in training and equipping his troop of gladiators. There is a great difference, as Cleanthes says, between benefaction and trade.

On the other hand, I am not so unjust as to feel under no obligation to a man who, when he was profitable to me, was also profitable to himself. For I do not require that he should consult my interests without any regard to his own, nay, I am also desirous that a benefit given to me should be even more advantageous to the giver, provided that, when he gave it, he was considering us both, and meant to divide it between himself and me. Though he should possess the larger part of it, provided that he allowed me to share in it, provided that he considered both of us, I am, not merely unjust, I am ungrateful, if I do not rejoice that, while he has benefited me, he has also benefited himself. It is supreme niggardliness to say that nothing can be a benefit that does not inflict some hardship upon the giver of it.

To one of the other type, the man who gives a benefit for his own sake only, I shall reply: "Having made use of me, why have you any more right to say that you have been of service to me, than I have to you?" "Suppose," he retorts," that the only way in which I can obtain a magistracy is to ransom ten out of a great number of captive citizens; will you owe me nothing when I have freed you from bondage and chains? Yet I shall do that for my own sake only." To this I reply: "In this case vou are acting partly for your own sake, partly for mine - for your own, in paying the ransom, for mine, in paying a ransom for me. For you would have served your own interests sufficiently by ransoming any you chose. I am, therefore, indebted to you, not because you ransom me, but because you choose me; for you might have attained the same thing by ransoming someone else instead of me. You divide the advantage of your act with me, and you permit me to share in a benefit that will be of profit to both of us. You prefer me to others; all this you do for my sake only. if, therefore, you would be made praetor by ransoming ten captives, and there were only ten of us in captivity, no one of us would owe you anything, for you would have nothing apart from your own advantage which you could charge up to anyone of us. I do not regard a benefit jealously, nor desire that the whole of it should be given to me, but,I desire a part."

"That, then," he replies, "if I had committed your names to a choice by lot, and your name had appeared among those to be ransomed, would you owe nothing to me?" Yes, I should owe something, but very little; just how much, I will tell you. In that case you do something for my sake, in that you admit me to the chance of being ransomed. I owe it to Fortune that my name was drawn; I owe it to you that my name could be drawn. You gave me the opportunity to share in your benefit, for the greater part of which I am indebted to Fortune; but I am indebted to you for the fact that I was able to become indebted to Fortune. I shall wholly omit notice of those who make benefaction mercenary, for he who gives in this spirit takes count of, not to whom, but on what terms, he will give a benefit that is wholly directed to his own interest. Someone sells me grain; I cannot live unless I buy it; yet I do not owe my life to him because I bought it. And I consider, not how necessary the thing was without which I could not have lived, but how little gratitude I owe for something that I should not have had unless I had bought it, in the transportation of which the trader thought, not of how much help he would bring to me, but of how much gain he would bring to himself. What I have paid for entails no obligation.

"According to that," you say, "you would claim that you are under no obligation to your physician beyond his paltry fee, nor to your teacher, because you have paid him some money. Yet for all these we have great affection, great respect." The answer to this is that the price paid for some things does not represent their value. You pay a physician for what is invaluable, life and good health, a teacher of the liberal sciences for the training of a gentleman and cultivation of the mind. Consequently the money paid to these is the price, not of their gift, but of their devotion in serving us, in putting aside their own interests and giving their time to us; they get paid, not for their worth, but for their trouble. Yet I might more truly make another statement, which I shall at once present, having first pointed out how your quibble can be refuted. "If," you say, "the value of some things is greater than the price they cost, then, although you have paid for them, you still owe me something besides." But, in the first place, what difference does it make what they are really worth, since the seller and the buyer have agreed upon their price? In the second place, I bought the thing, not at its own value, but at your price. "It is," you retort, "worth more than it costs." Yes, but it could not have been sold for more. Besides, the price of everything varies with circumstances; though vou have well praised your wares, they are worth only the highest price at which they can be sold; a man, therefore, who buys them cheap, owes nothing more to the seller. Again, even if they are worth more, nevertheless the fact that their price is determined, not by their utility or efficacy, but by the customary rate of the market, does not imply that there is any gift on your part. At what would you value the service of the man who crosses the seas, and, when he has lost sight of the land, traces an unerring course through the midst of the waves, who forecasts coming storms, and suddenly orders the crew, when they have no sense of danger, to furl the sails, to lower the tackle, and to stand ready to meet the assault and sudden fury of the storm? Yet this man's reward for such great service is paid by the passenger's fare! What value do you set on finding lodging in a wilderness, a shelter in rain, a warm bath or a fire in cold weather? Yet I know at what price I can obtain these things when I enter an inn! How great a service does he do us who props up our tottering house, and with unbelievable skill keeps erect a group of buildings that are showing cracks at the bottom! Yet a contract for underpinning is made at a fixed and cheap rate. The city wall provides us protection from the enemy and from the sudden attacks of brigands; yet it is well known how much a workman is paid each day for erecting the towers provided with parapets to assure the public safety.

My task would be endless if I tried to collect more instances to prove that valuable things are sold at a low price. What, then? Why is it that I owe something more to my physician and my teacher, and yet do not complete the payment of what is due to them? Because from being physician and teacher they pass into friends, and we are under obligation to them, not because of their skill, which they sell, but because of their kindly and friendly goodwill. If, therefore, a physician does nothing more than feel my pulse, and put me on the list of those whom he visits in his rounds, instructing me what to do or to avoid without any personal feeling, I owe him nothing more than his fee, because he views me, not as a friend, but as a commander. Nor is there any reason why I should venerate a teacher if he has considered me merely one of his many pupils, and has not deemed me worthy of any particular and special consideration, if he has not directed his attention to me, but has allowed me, not so much to learn from him, as to pick up any knowledge that he spilled into our midst. What reason, then, do we have for being much indebted to them? It is, not that what they have sold is worth more than we paid for it, but that they have contributed something to us personally. Suppose a physician gave me more attention than was professionally necessary; that it was, not for his professional reputation, but for me, that he feared; that he was not content to indicate remedies, but also applied them; that he sat at my bedside among my anxious friends, that he hurried to me at the crises of my illness; that no service was too burdensome, none too distasteful for him to perform; that he was not indifferent when he heard my moans; that, though a host of others called for him, I was always his chief concern; that he took time for others only when my illness had permitted him - such a man has placed me under obligation, not as a physician, but as a friend. Suppose, again, that the other endured labour and weariness in teaching me; that, besides the ordinary sayings of teachers, there are things which he has transmitted and instilled into me; that by his encouragement he aroused the best that was in me, at one time inspirited me by his praise, at another warned me to put aside sloth; that, laying hand, so to speak, on my mental powers that then were hidden and inert, he drew them forth into the light; that, instead of doling out his knowledge grudgingly in order that there might be the longer need of his service, he was eager, if he could, to pour the whole of it into me - if I do not owe to such a man all the love that I give to those to whom I am bound by the most grateful ties, I am indeed ungrateful.

If the hawkers of even the meanest forms of service seem to us to have put forth unusual effort, we give them something besides what we have agreed upon; we dispense gratuities to a pilot, to a man who works with the commonest material, and to one who hires out his services by the day. Surely, in the case of the noblest professions that either maintain or beautify life, a man is ungrateful if he thinks that he owes no more than he bargained for. Add, too, that in the transmission of such knowledge mind is fused with mind; therefore, when this happens, to the teacher, and to the physician as well, is paid the price of his service, but the price of his mind is still owed. Once when Plato had been put across a river in a boat, and found that the ferryman asked for no pay, thinking that he had been shown a special compliment, said that the ferryman had placed Plato under obligation to him. But a little later, when he saw him just as zealously convey one after another across without any charge, he denied that the ferryman had placed Plato under any obligation to him. For, if you wish me to feel indebted for something that you bestow, you must bestow it, not merely upon me, but because of me; you cannot dun any man for the dole that you fling to the crowd. What, then? Will no one owe you anything in return for it? No one as an individual; the debt that I owe in company with all I shall pay in company with all. "Do you say," you ask, "that a man who has carried me across the river Po in a boat without charge gives me no benefit?" I do. He does me a good turn, but he does not give me a benefit; for he does it for his own sake, or, at any rate, not for mine. In short, even the man himself does not suppose that he is giving a benefit to me, but he bestows it for the sake of the state, or of the neighbourhood, or of his own ambition, and in return for it he expects some sort of advantage quite different from that which he might receive from individual passengers. "What, then," you say, "if the emperor should grant citizenship to all the Gauls, and exemption from taxes to all the Spaniards, would the individual on account of that owe him nothing?" Of course he would owe something, but he would owe it, not because of a personal benefit, but because of his share in a public benefit. "The emperor," he says, "had no thought of me at the time when he benefited us all; he did not desire to give citizenship to me personally, nor did he direct his attention to me; so why should I feel indebted to one who did not put me before himself when he was thinking of doing what he did?" In the first place, when he planned to benefit all the Gauls, he planned to benefit me also; for I was a Gaul, and under my national, even if not under my personal, designation he included me. In the second place, I shall, in like manner, be indebted to him as having received, not a personal, but a general, gift; being one of the people, I shall not pay the debt as one incurred by myself, but shall contribute to it as one incurred by my country. If anyone should lend money to my country, I should not call myself his debtor, nor should I declare this as my debt when a candidate for office or a defendant in a suit; yet I will pay my share toward quashing the indebtedness. So I deny that a gift which is given to an entire people makes me a debtor, because, while it was given to me, it was not given because of me, and, while it was given to me, the giver was not aware that he was giving to me; nevertheless I shall be aware that I must pay something for the gift, because after a roundabout course it arrived also at me. An act that lays me under obligation must have been done because of me.

"According to that," you say, "you are under no obligation to the sun or to the moon; for they do not perform their movements solely because of you." But, since the purpose of their movements is to preserve the universe, they perform their movements for my sake also; for I am a part of the universe. And besides, our position is different from theirs; for he who does me a service in order that by means of me he may do himself a service, has not given a benefit, because he has made me an instrument for his own advantage. But in the case of the sun and the moon, even if they do us a service for their own sake, yet their purpose in doing the service is not that by means of us they may do themselves a service; for what is there that we can possibly bestow on them?

"I should be sure," you say, "that the sun and the moon really wish to do us a service if it was possible for them to be unwilling; but they cannot help being in motion. In short, let them halt and discontinue their work." But see in how many ways this argument may be refuted. It is not true that a man who is unable to refuse is for that reason the less willing to do; nay, the greatest proof of a fixed desire is the impossibility of its being altered. {duty+} A good man is unable to fail to do what he does; for unless he did it, he would not be a good man. And, therefore, a good man gives a benefit, not because he does what he ought to do, but because,it is not possible for him not to do what he ought to do. Besides, it makes a great difference whether you say: "It is not possible for him not to do this," because he is forced to do it, or "It is not possible for him to be unwilling." For, if he is compelled to do it, I owe my benefit, not to him, but to the one who forces him; if he is compelled to wish to do it for the reason that he finds nothing better that he wishes to do, it is a case of the man forcing himself; so, while, in the one case, I should not be indebted to him on the ground that he was forced, in the other, I am indebted to him on the ground that he forces himself.

"Let them cease wishing," you say. At this point the following question should occur to you. Who is so crazy as to deny that an impulse that is in no danger of ceasing and being changed into the exact opposite can be a desire, when, on the contrary, no one must appear more surely to have desire than one whose desire is so completely fixed as to be everlasting? Or, if even he who is able at any moment to change his desire may be said to have desire, shall not he whose nature does not admit his changing a desire appear to have desire?

"Very well! let them stop moving if they can," you say. But you really mean this: {OdetoDuty+} "Let all the heavenly 'bodies, separated as they are by vast distances and appointed to the task of guarding the universe, leave their posts; let sudden confusion arise, let stars clash with stars, let the harmony of the world be destroyed, and the divine creations totter to destruction; let the heavenly mechanism, movin as it does with the swiftest speed, abandon in the midst of its course the progressions that had been promised for so many ages, and let the heavenly bodies that now, as they alternately advance and retreat, by a timely balancing keep the world at an equable temperature be suddenly consumed by flames, and, with their infinite variations broken up, let them all pass into one condition; let fire claim all things, then let sluggish darkness take its place, and let these many gods be swallowed up in the bottomless abyss." Is it worth while to cause all this destruction in order to convince you? They do you a service even against your will, and for your sake they follow their courses even if these result from some earlier and more important cause.

Remark, too, at this point, that the gods are constrained by no external force, but that their own will is a law to them for all time. {duty+} What they have determined upon, they do not change, and, consequently, it is impossible that they should appear likely to do something although it is against their will, since they have willed to persist in doing whatever it is impossible for them to cease from doing, and the gods never repent of their original decision. Undoubtedly, it is not in their power to halt and to desert to an opposite position, but it is for no other reason than that their own resolution holds them to their purpose; and they continue in it, not from weakness, but because they have no desire to stray from the best course, and it was decreed that this is the path for them to follow. Moreover, when, at the time of the original creation, they set in order the universe, they had regard also for our interests, and took account of man; it cannot be thought, therefore, that they follow their courses and display their work merely for their own sake, for we also are a part of that work. We are indebted, therefore, to the sun and the moon and the rest of the heavenly host for a benefit, because, even though the purposes for which they rise are in their eyes more important, nevertheless in their progress toward these greater things they do assist us. Besides, too, they assist us in accordance with a set purpose, and, therefore, we are placed under obligation to them, because we do not stumble upon a benefit from those who are unaware of their gift, but they knew that we should receive the gifts that we do; and, although they may have a greater purpose, and greater reward for their effort than the mere preservation of mortal creatures, yet from the beginning of things their thought has been directed also to our interests, and from the order bestowed upon, the world it becomes clear that they did not regard their interest in us as a matter of very small concern. We owe filial duty to our parents, and yet many at the time of their union had no thought of begetting us. But it is not possible for us to suppose that the gods did not know what they would accomplish when they promptly supplied to all men food and support, nor were those for whom they produced so many blessings begotten without purpose.

Nature took thought of us before she created us, nor are we such a trifling creation that we could merely have dropped from her hand. {Nature+} See how great privilege she has bestowed upon us, how the terms of man's empire do not restrict him to mankind; see how widely she allows our bodies to roam, she has not confined them within the limits of the land, but has dispatched them into every part of her domain; see how great is the audacity of our minds, how they alone either know, or seek, the gods, and, by directing their thought on high, commune with powers divine. You will discover that man is not a hasty and purposeless creation. Among the greatest of her works Nature has none of which she can more boast, or, surely, no other to which she can boast. What madness it is to quarrel with the gods over their gift! How shall a man show gratitude to those to whom he cannot return gratitude without expenditure, if he denies that he has received anything from beings from whom he has received most of all, from those who are always ready to give and will never expect return? And how blind men are not to feel indebted to someone for the very reason that he is generous even to one who denies his gift, and to call the very continuance and succession of his benefits a proof that he is forced to give, them! Put in the lips of these such words as: "I don't want it!", "Let him keep it!", "Who asks him for it?" and all the other utterances of insolent minds. Yet it is not true that you are under less obligation to one whose bounty extends to you even while you deny it, whose benefits include even this the greatest of all - a readiness to give to you even while you complain.

Do you not see how parents force their children in the stage of tender infancy to submit to wholesome measures? Though the infants struggle and cry, they tend their bodies with loving care, and, fearing that their limbs may become crooked from too early liberty, they swathe them in order that they may grow to be straight, and later they force them to take a liberal education, and, if they are unwilling, resort to the incentive of fear; finally, upon the recklessness of youth they inculcate thrift, decency, and good habits and use force if it is too unheedful. As they grow up, too, and are now their own masters, if from fear or from insubordination they refuse needed remedies, sternness and force are applied. And so the greatest of all benefits are those that, while we are either unaware or unwilling, we receive from our parents. Like those who are ungrateful and repudiate benefits, not because they do not wish them, but in order to escape obligation, are those who at the other extreme are too grateful, who pray that some trouble or some misfortune may befall those who have placed them under obligation, in order that they may have a chance to prove how gratefully they remember the benefit they have received. It is debated whether they are right in doing this, and act from a dutiful desire. They are very much in the same state of mind as those who are inflamed with abnormal love, who long for their mistress to be exiled in order that they may accompany her in her loneliness and flight, who long that she may be poor in order that she may have more need of their gifts, who long that she may be ill in order that they may sit at her bedside, who, though her lovers, pray for all that an enemy might long for her to have. And so the results of hatred and insane love are almost the same. Somewhat similar is the case of those who long for their friends to have troubles in order that they may remove them, and arrive at beneficence by doing an injury, though it would be better for them to do nothing than by a crime to seek an opportunity for doing a duty. What should we think if a pilot should pray to the gods for fierce tempests and storms in order that danger might cause more esteem for his skill? What, if a general should beg that a vast force of the enemy might surround his camp, fill the trenches by a sudden charge, tear down the rampart around his panic-stricken army, and plant its hostile standards in the very gates all in order that he might have greater glory in coming to the rescue of his drooping and shattered fortunes? All those who ask the gods to injure those whom they themselves intend to help use odious means to bring them benefits, and wish them to be laid low before they raise them up. To desire to injure one whom you cannot in all honour fail to help is a sense of gratitude cruelly distorted.

"My prayer," you say, "does him no harm, because at the same time that I wish for his danger I wish for his relief." What you mean is, not that you do no wrong, but that you do less than if you were to wish for his danger without wishing for his relief. But it is wicked to submerge a man in water in order that you may pull him out, to throw him down in order that you may raise him up, to imprison him in order that you may release him. To end an injury is not a benefit, and there is never any merit in removing a burden which the one who removes it had himself imposed. I would rather have you not wound me than cure my wound. You may gain my gratitude, not by wounding me in order that you may have a chance to cure me, but by curing me because I have been wounded. There is never any pleasure in a scar except in comparison with a wound, for, while we are glad that this has healed, we would rather not have had it. If you wished this to be the fortune of one from whom you received a benefit, your desire would be cruel; how much more cruel to wish it for one to whom you are indebted for a benefit!

"I pray at the same time," you say,"that I may bring him aid." In the first place - to stop you in the middle of your prayer - you at once show yourself ungrateful; what you wish to bestow upon him I have not yet heard, what you wish him to suffer I now know. You pray that anxiety and fear and even some greater evil may befall him. You hope that he may need help - this is to his disadvantage. You hope that he may need help from you - this is for your advantage. You wish, not to aid him, but to pay him; but one who shows such eagerness wishes, not to pay, but to be freed from debt. So the only part of your prayer that might have seemed to be honourable is itself the base and ungrateful feeling of unwillingness to remain under obligation; for you hope, not that vou may have an opportunity of returning gratitude, but that he may be under the necessity of imploring your help. You make yourself the superior, and force one who has done you a service to grovel at your feet, which is wrong. How much better would it be to remain indebted with an honourable intention than to be released by evil means! You would be less guilty if you were to repudiate what you had received; for his only loss would be what he had given. But as it is, you wish him to become subservient to you, by loss of his property and change of social position to be reduced to the state of being in a worse plight than his own benefits relieved. Shall I count you grateful? Make your prayer in the hearing of the man whom you wish to help! Do you call that a prayer, in which a grateful friend and an enemy might equally share, and which, if the last part were unuttered, you would not doubt that an adversary and foe had made? Even the enemy will sometimes hope to capture certain cities in order to spare them, and to conquer certain men in order to pardon them, yet these will not for that reason fail to be hostile desires, in which a very great kindness is preceded by cruelty. Finally, what sort of prayers do you suppose those can be which no one will desire so little to see fulfilled as he in whose behalf they are made? You treat a man very badly in wishing him to be injured by the gods, and you treat the gods themselves unfairly in wishing him to be rescued by yourself; for you assign a most cruel role to them, and a kindly one to yourself. The gods must do him an injury in order that you may do him a service. If you suborned someone to be his accuser, and then withdrew him, if you entangled him in a lawsuit, and then suddenly quashed it, no one would be in doubt about your baseness. What difference does it make whether you try. to accomplish your purpose by chicancry. or by prayer, except that by prayer you summon against him adversaries that are more powerful? You have no right to say: "What harm, pray, do I do him?" Your prayer is either futile or harmful, nay, harmful even if it is in vain. God is responsible for all that you fail to accomplish, but all that you pray for is injury. Wishing is enough we ought to be just as angry with you as if your wish were fulfilled. "If my prayers," you say, "had had any power, they would also have had power to bring you safety." In the first place, you desire for me certain danger that is subject to uncertain succour. Again, suppose you consider both certain, the injury comes first. Besides, while you know the terns of your prayer, I have been caught in a storm, and am doubtful of gaining the protection of a harbour. Do you think what torture it was to have needed help even if I received it? To have been panic- stricken even if I was saved? To have pleaded my cause even if I was acquitted? No matter how welcome the end of any fear may be, firm and unshaken security is even more welcome. Pray that it may be in your power to repay my benefit when I shall need it, not that I may need it. If it were in your power, you would yourself have done what you pray for. How much more righteous would have been this prayer! "I pray that he may be in a position always to dispense benefits, and never to need them; that he may be attended by the means which he uses so generously in giving bounty and help to others; that he may never have lack of benefits to bestow {Timon+} nor regret for those bestowed; may his nature that of itself is inclined to pity, kindness, and mercy find stimulus and encouragement from a host of grateful persons, and may he be fortunate enough to find them without the necessity of testing them; may none find him implacable, and may he have need to placate none; may Fortune continue to bestow on him such unbroken favour that it will be impossible for anyone to show gratitude to him except by feeling it." How much more proper are such prayers as these, which do not make you wait for an opportunity, but show your gratitude at once! For what is there to prevent your returning gratitude to a benefactor while his affairs are prosperous? How many ways there are by which we may repay whatever we owe even to the well-to-do! - loyal advice, {Kent+} constant intercourse, polite conversation {Castiglione+} that pleases without flattery+, attentive ears if he should wish to ask counsel, safe ears if he should wish to be confidential, and friendly intimacy. Good fortune has set no one so high that he does not the more feel the want of a friend because he wants for nothing. This waiting for an opportunity is sorry business the thought is to be banished and utterly rejected from every prayer. Must the gods show their anger before you can show gratitude? Do you not understand that you are doing wrong from the very fact that they treat better the one to whom you are ungrateful? Set before your mind the dungeon, chains, disgrace, slavery, war, poverty -these are the opportunities for which you pray. If anyone has had dealings with you, it is through these that he gets his discharge! Why do you not wish, instead, that the man to whom you owe most may be powerful and happy? For, as I have said, what prevents your returning gratitude even to those who are endowed with the utmost good fortune? The opportunities for doing this, you will find, are ample and varied. What! do you not know that one can pay a debt even to a rich man? Nor shall I censure vou if you are unwilling. Yet, granted that a man's wealth and success may shut you off from all gifts, I will show you what the highest in the land stand in need of, what the man who possesses everything lacks - someone, assuredly who will tell him the truth, who will deliver from the constant cant and falsehood that so bewilder him with lies that the very habit of listening to flatteries instead of facts has brought him to the point of not knowing what truth really is. Do you not see how such persons are driven to destruction by the absence of frankness and the substitution of cringing obsequiousness for loyalty? No one is sincere in expressing approval or disapproval, but one person vies with another in flattery, and, while all the man's friends have only one object, a common aim to see who can deceive him most charmingly, he himself remains ignorant of his own powers, and, believing himself to be as great as he hears he is, he brings on wars that are useless and will imperil the world, breaks up a useful and necessary peace, and, led on by a madness that no one checks, sheds the blood of numerous persons, destined at last to spill his own. While without investigation such men claim the undetermined as assured, and think that it is as disgraceful to be diverted from their purpose as to be defeated, and believe that what has already reached its highest development, and is even then tottering, will last for ever, they cause vast kingdoms to come crashing down upon themselves and their followers. And, living in that gorgeous show of unreal and swiftly passing blessings, they failed to grasp that from the moment when it was impossible for them to hear a word of truth they ought to have expected nothing but misfortune. {Learwholeplot+}

When Xerxes declared war on Greece, everyone encouraged his puffed-up mind that had forgotten what slender reasons he had for confidence. One would say that the Greeks could not even endure the announcement of war, and would take to flight at the first rumour of his arrival; another, that there was not the slightest doubt that with that vast force Greece could be, not only conquered, but crushed; that there was more need to fear that his army would find the cities abandoned and empty, and that the headlong flight of the enemy would leave but a vast wilderness in which his forces would have no chance to display their strength. Another would say that the world was scarcely big enough to contain him, that the seas were too narrow for his fleets, the camps for his soldiers, the plains for the manoeuvres of his cavalry forces, and that the sky was scarcely wide enough to allow every man to hurl his darts at once. While much boasting of this sort was going on around him, exciting the man, who had already too high opinion of himself, to a frantic pitch, Demaratus, the Lacedaemonian, alone told him that that very multitude, on which he congratulated himself, disorganized and unwieldy as it was, was in itself a danger to its leader, for that it had, not strength, but mere weight; that forces that were too large could never be controlled, and that an army that could not be controlled did not last long. "The Lacedaemonians," he said, "will meet you on the first mountain, and immediately give you a foretaste of their quality. These countless thousands of various nations will be held in check by three hundred men"; they will stand.firmly at their post, they will defend the pass entrusted to them with their arms, and block the way with their bodies; all Asia will not drive them from their position; pitifully few as they are, they will stop all this threatened invasion and the wild onrush of almost the whole human race. When Nature, changing her laws, has allowed you to traverse the sea, you will be held up on a footpath, and will be able to estimate your later losses when you have reckoned the price the pass of Thermopylae cost you; when you have learned that you can be checked, you will know that you can be routed. The Greeks will retreat before you in many places as if swept away bv some mountain torrent that in the first onrush descends with great terror; then from this side and that they will rise against you, and crush you by the might of your own forces. What is commonly said is true - your preparations for war are too great to find room in the country that you mean to attack, but this fact is to our disadvantage. Greece will conquer you, for the very reason that she has no room for you; you cannot use the whole of you. Besides, and in this lies your only hope of victory, you will not be able to rush forward at the first attack, and bear aid to your men if they yield, or to support and strengthen their wavering ranks; you will have lost the victory long before you know that you have been conquered. However, you may well suppose that your army will be able to hold out for the reason that not even its leader knows its numbers; but there is nothing so large that it cannot perish, and, though there may be no other agents, its very size gives birth to the cause of its destruction." It all happened as Demaratus had predicted. And to him who assailed the works of man and God, and removed whatever blocked his path, three hundred men cried, "Halt," and, when everywhere throughout the whole of Greece the Persian had been laid low, he understood how great a difference there was betwee n a mob and an army! And so Xerxes, made more unhappy by his shame than by his loss, expressed his thanks to Demaratus because he had been the only one to tell him the truth, and permitted him to ask any reward he pleased. That he asked was that he should be allowed to enter Sardis, the largest city of Asia, riding in a chariot and wearing a tiara erect upon his head, a privilege that was accorded only to kings. He had earned his reward before he asked for it, but how pitiable the nation in which the only man who told the king the truth was one who did not tell it to himself!

The deified Augustus banished his daughter who was shameless beyond the indictment of shamelessness, and made public the scandals of the imperial house - that she had been accessible to scores of paramours, that in nocturnal revels she had roamed about the city, that the very forum and the rostrum, from which her father had proposed a law against adultery, had been chosen by the daughter for her debaucheries, that she had daily resorted to the statue of Marsyas, and, laying aside the role of adulteress, there sold her favours, and sought the right to every indulgence with even an unknown paramour.

Carried away by his anger, he divulged all these crimes, which, as emperor, he ought to have punished, and equally to have kept secret, because the foulness of some deeds recoils upon him who punishes them. Afterwards, when with the lapse of time shame took the place of anger, he lamented that he had not veiled with silence matters that he had not known until it was disgraceful to mention them, and often exclaimed: "If either Agrippa or Maecenas had lived, none of this would have happened to me!" So difficult was it for one who had so many thousands of men to repair the loss of two! When his legions were slaughtered, others were at once enrolled; when his fleet was wrecked, within a few days a new one was afloat; when public buildings were swept away by fire, finer ones than those destroyed rose in their place. But the place of Agrippa and Maecenas remained empty all the rest of his life. What! Am I to suppose that there were no more like them who could take their place, or that it was the fault of Augustus himself, because he chose rather to sorrow than to search for others? There is no reason for us to suppose that Agrippa and Maecenas were in the habit of speaking the truth to him; they would have been among the dissemblers if they had lived. It is a characteristic of the kingly mind to praise what has been lost to the detriment of what is present, and to credit those with the virtue of telling the truth from whom there is no longer any danger of hearing it. But, to return to my subject, you see how easy it is to return gratitude to the prosperous and those who have beep placed at the summit of human power. Tell them, not what they wish to hear, but what they will wish they had always heard; sometimes let a truthful voice penetrate ears that are filled with flatteries; give them useful advice. {Kent+} Do you ask what you can bestow on a fortunate man? Teach him not to trust his felicity, let him know that it must be sustained by hands that are many and faithful. Will you not have conferred enough upon him if you rob him of the foolish belief that his power will endure for ever, and teach him that the gifts of chance soon pass, and depart with greater speed than they come; that the descent from the summit of fortune is not made by the same stages by which it was reached, but that often it is only a step from the height of good fortune to ruin?{Lear+} You do not know how great is the value of friendship if you do not understand that you will give much to the man to whom you have given a friend, something rare not only in great houses, but in the ages, something of which there is nowhere a greater dearth than where it is supposed most of all to abound. What! Do you think that those lists, which a nomenclator a can scarcely hold either in his memory or in his hand, are the lists of friends? Your friends are not those who, in a long line, knock at your door, whom you distribute into the two classes of those to be admitted first, and those to be second!

It is an old trick of kings and those who imitate kings to divide the company of their friends into classes, and but a part of their arrogance to count crossing, even touching, their threshold a great privilege, and as an honour to grant you permission to sit nearer the front door, and to be the first to set foot inside the house, in which, in turn,, there are any other doors that will shut out even those who have gained admittance. With us, Gaius Gracchus and, a little later, Livius Drusus were the first to set the fashion of classifying their followers, and of receiving some in privacy, some in company with others, and others en masse. These men, consequently, had chief friends, ordinary friends, never true friends. Do you call a man who must stand in line to receive your greeting a friend? Or can anyone possibly reveal loyalty to you who, through doors that are opened grudgingly, does not so much enter as sneak in? Can anyone reach the point of even approaching to frankness when he must take his turn simply to say "How do you do?", the ordinary and common term of greeting universally used by strangers? And so, whenever you go to wait upon any of the men whose receptions upset the whole city, even though you find the streets beset with a huge throng of people, and the ways jammed with the crowds of those passing in both directions, yet you may be sure that you are going to a place full of people, but void of friends. We must look for a friend, not in a reception hall, but in the heart; there must he be admitted, there retained, and enshrined in affection. Teach a man this - and you show gratitude! You have a poor opinion of yourself if you are useful to a friend only when he is in distress, if you are unnecessary when fortune smiles. As you conduct yourself wisely in doubtful, in adverse, and in happy circumstances by exercising prudence in case of doubt, bravery in adversity, and restraint in good fortune, so under all circumstances you can make yourself useful to a friend. In adversity do not abandon him, {Kent+} but do not wish him misfortune; none the less, without your wishing it, in the many and varied incidents of human life, many things will befall him that will provide you with an opportunity of displaying your lovalty. As he who prays that another may have riches in the hope that he may get a share of them, has an eye to his own interests although he offers his prayer ostensibly for the benefit of the other, so he who prays that a friend may have some dire need from which he may rescue him by his help and loyalty, which is really the wish of an ingrate, sets himself before his friend, and deems it worth while that his friend should be wretched in order that he may show himself grateful, for this very reason proves himself ungrateful; for he wishes to get rid of a burden, and to free himself from a heavy load. It makes a great difference whether you hasten to return gratitude in order that you may repay a benefit, or in order that you may not be under obligation. He who wishes to repay a benefit will adjust himself to the convenience of his friend, and will hope for the arrival of a suitable opportunity; he who only wishes to get rid of a burden will be eager to accomplish this by any means whatever, which is the worst sort of wish: "This haste," you say, "shows that one is exceedingly grateful!" I cannot express the matter more clearly than by repeating what I have said. You wish, not to return, but to escape from, a benefit. You seem to say: "When shall I be rid of it? I must strive in every possible way to avoid being indebted to him." If you wished to pay a debt to him with money from his own pocket, you would appear to be very far from being grateful. This which you do desire is even more unjust; for you invoke curses upon him, and call down terrible imprecations upon the head of one whom you hold sacred. No one, I suppose, would have any doubt about the cruelty of your. intention if you openly invoked upon him poverty, or captivity, or hunger and fear. But what difference does it make whether that is an uttered or a silent prayer? For someone of these things you do desire. But go now and suppose that it is gratitude to do what not even an ungrateful man would do, provided he confined himself to repudiation of the benefit, and stopped short of hatred!

Who will say that Aeneas is righteous if he wished his native city to be captured in order that he might rescue his father from captivity? Who will point to the Sicilian youths as good models for children if they had prayed that Aetna, all aglow and afire, might hurl forth a huge volume of flame with unusual violence in order to give them an opportunity of showing their devotion their parents by rescuing them from the midst of the conflagration? Rome owes nothing to Scipio if he fostered the Carthaginian War in order that he might end it. She owes nothing to the Decii for saving their city by dying if they prayed beforehand that they might find in some desperate need of the state an opportunity to show their heroic devotion. It is a burning disgrace for a physician to try to make practice. Many who have aggravated and augmented an illness in order that they may win greater fame by curing it have not been able to banish it, or have conquered it at the cost of great suffering on the part of their victims.

It is said (at any rate Hecaton tells this story) that, when Callistratus was going into exile, forced into it along with many others by his factious and outrageously lawless country, and heard someone express the hope that dire necessity might force the Athenians to recall the exiles, he cried God forbid such a return!" xxx Our countryman Rutilius a showed even more spirit. When someone tried to console him by saying that civil war was threatening, and that in a short time all exiles would be brought back, he replied: "What sin have I committed that you should wish me a more unhappy return than departure? I should much prefer to have my country blush for my exile than weep at my return!" The exile that causes no one less shame than the victim is not exile at all. But as these men maintained their duty as good citizens in being unwilling to be restored to their homes at the cost of a public disaster, because it was better that two should suffer from undeserved misfortune than that all should suffer from universal misfortune, so, in like manner, he does not maintain the character of a grateful man who wishes that another, who has done him a service, may be loaded with troubles in order that he himself may remove them, because, even if his purpose is good, his desire is evil. To put out a fire that you yourself have caused does not excuse you - still less do you credit. In some states an unholy prayer was treated as a crime. At any rate, at Athens Demades won a suit against a man who sold funeral requirements, by proving that he had prayed for great gain, and that he could not have been successful unless many persons had died. Yet the question is often raised whether he was rightly convicted. Perhaps he prayed, not that he might sell to many, but that he might sell at a good profit - that what he would naturally sell might be bought cheaply. Since his business consisted in buying and selling why do you restrict his prayer to one side of the transaction when there was gain in both? Besides, you might convict everyone who followed that business; for they all wish, that is, secretly pray for, the same thing. You will have to convict, too, a great part of the human race, for who does not derive, gain from another's distress? The soldier, if he wants glory, prays for war; the farmer is cheered by the high price of grain; a number of lawsuits raise the price of eloquence; the doctor makes money from an unhealthy season; the vender of sybaritic wares is enriched by the corruption of youth; if no houses should be damaged by storm or fire, the builder's trade will suffer. One man's prayer was detected, but, all make a similar prayer. Or do you suppose that Arruntius and Haterius, and all the rest who have followed the profession of hunting legacies, do not put up the same prayers that funeral directors and undertakers make. Yet these do not know whose death it is that they are praying for, while the former long for the death of their most intimate friends, from whom on account of friendship they have most hope of a legacy. No one's living causes the latter any loss, while the former are worn out if a victim is slow in dying; they pray, therefore, not only that they may receive what they have earned by base servitude, but also that they may be released from the burdensome tribute. There is no doubt, therefore, that these pray more earnestly for that which convicted the Athenian, for whoever is likely to profit them by dying injures them by living. Yet the prayers of all these men, while well known, are unpunished. Lastly, let every man examine himself let him retire into the secrecy of his heart, and discover what it is that he has silently prayed for. How many prayers there are which he blushes to acknowledge, even to himself! How few that we could make in the hearing of a witness!

But not everything that is blameworthy is to be considered also a crime, as, for instance, this prayer of a friend, which we are considering, for, while his purpose was good, his method was evil, and he fell into the very fault he was trying to avoid. For he is ungrateful while he hurries - to show his gratitude. He prays aloud: "May he fall into my power, may he need my influence, may it not be possible for him to find safety, honour, or security without me, may he be so unhappy that whatever I return to him will count as a benefit." What the ears of the gods hear is: "May he be beset by domestic intrigues which I alone shall be able to crush, may he be assailed by a powerful and bitter enemy, by a hostile mob supplied with arms, may he be hard pressed by a creditor, or by an informer." See how just you are! You would not have prayed for any of these things if he had not given to you a benefit. To say nothing of your other more serious sin in returning the worst for the best, you are certainly at fault in not waiting for the fitting time for each particular action, for it is as wrong to anticipate this as to fall behind it. As a benefit ought not always to be accepted, so it ought not in every case to be returned. If you were to make return to me though I did not need it, you would be ungrateful; how much more ungrateful you are if you force me to need it! Wait a while! Why are you unwilling to allow my gift to linger in your hands? Why do you resent being under obligation? Why, as though you were dealing with a sharp usurer, are you in such a hurry to square and close your account? Why do you want to make trouble for me? Why do you turn the gods against me? If this is your way of making repayment, what would you do if you were exacting repayment?

Above all, therefore, Liberalis, let us learn this - to rest easy under the obligation from benefits, and to watch for opportunities of returning them, not to manufacture them. Let us remember that this very eagerness to set oneself free at the first possible moment marks one as ungrateful; for a man is not glad to repay a benefit that he is unwilling to owe, and one that he is not willing to keep he counts, not a gift, but a burden. How much better and more seemly it is for a man to keep in view the services of friends, and to offer, not to obtrude, his own, and not to count himself a mere debtor; for a benefit is a common bond and binds two persons together. Say: "I make no delay in returning what is yours; I hope you will gladly accept it. If a cruel fortune threatens either of us, and some fate decrees either that you must accept return of your benefit, or that I must accept a second one, let him give by preference who is used to giving. I am ready:

'Tis not for Turiius to delay.

This is the spirit I shall show whenever the time comes; meanwhile the gods are my witnesses."

I have often observed in you, Liberalis, and, as it were, "laid hand on" a feeling of nervous fear that you might be remiss in the performance of any duty. Anxiety ill becomes the grateful heart, which, on the contrary; should show the utmost self-confidence and that all worry has been banished because of the consciousness of true love. To say "Take back" casts as much reproach as to say "You owe." Let this be the first rule in giving a benefit, that the right to choose the time of having it returned is the giver's. But you say: "I am afraid that men will talk about me later." If a man is grateful, not because of his conscience, but because of his reputation, his motive is wrong. You have in this matter two judges - your benefactor, whom you ought not to fear, and yourself, whom you cannot fear. "What, then," you say, "if no opportunity comes? Shall I always remain in debt?" You will remain in debt, but openly in debt, gladly in debt - you will view with great pleasure what has been left in your hands. A man who is irked at not having returned a benefit is sorry that he received it. Why, if you thought a man was worthy to make you his debtor, do you think that he is unworthy of your remaining long in debt?

Those who think that to proffer and to bestow and to fill many men's pockets and houses with their gifts are proof of a great soul make a great mistake, since sometimes these are due, not so much to a large soul, as to a large fortune; {Timon+} they do not know how much greater and more difficult it is at times to take, than to lavish, gifts. For, although I would not disparage either act, since both are of equal value when Virtue directs them, to become indebted for a benefit requires no smaller spirit than to give it; of the two, the former, in fact, is the more laborious, as greater effort is expended in guarding, than in giving, the objects that are received. Therefore we ought not to be worried over how soon we can repay, nor should we rush to do so at an unseemly time, for he who hastens to return gratitude at the wrong time is as much at fault as he who is remiss in returning it at the proper time. He has placed his gift in my hands; I have no fear on his account or on my own. He has good security; he cannot lose his benefit unless he loses me, nay, not even if he loses me. I have paid him my thanks - that is, I have made return. He who thinks too much about returning a benefit must suppose that the other thinks too much about having it returned. One should lend himself to both points of view. If a man wishes his benefit to be returned, let us repay and return it cheerfully; if he prefers that it should remain in our custody, why do we dig up his treasure? Why do we refuse to guard it? He deserves to be allowed to do whichever he pleases, As for rumour and reputation, let us consider them as matters that must, not guide, but follow, our actions.


BE of good cheer, Liberalis

The land is close - I will not keep you long

By rambling outbursts of a long-drawn song.

This book gathers up the remnants, and, after the subject has been exhausted, I am casting about to discover, not what I shall say, but what I have not said. If there is anything in it that could be omitted, you will take it in good part, since it was for your sake that I did not omit it.

If I had wished to curry favour for myself, I ought to have let my work grow gradually in interest, and to have reserved for the last a part that any reader would be eager for even if he were surfeited. But all that is most essential I have massed together at the beginning; now I am merely recovering whatever escaped me. Nor, seriously, if you ask me, do I think that, after stating the rules that govern conduct, there is very much point in my pursuing the other questions that have been raised, not to further the health of the mind, but to provide exercise for the intellect.

For Demetrius the Cynic, a great man, in my opinion, even if compared with the greatest, is fond of stating very admirably that it is far better for us to possess only a few maxims of philosophy that are nevertheless always at our command and in use, than to acquire vast knowledge, that notwithstanding serves no practical purpose. "Just as," he says, "the best wrestler is not one who is thoroughly acquainted with all the postures and grips of the art, which he will seldom use against an adversary, but he who has well and carefully trained himself in one or two of them, and waits eagerly for the opportunity to use them - for it makes no difference how much he knows if he knows, enough to give him the victory - , so in this effort of ours there are many points that are interesting, few that are decisive. Though you may not know what principle causes the ebb and flow of the ocean tides, why every seventh year leaves its mark on the life of a man, why the width of a colonnade, when you look at it from a distance, does not keep its true proportion, but towards the end grows narrower, and at last the spaces between the columns disappear, why it is that twins are conceived separately, but are born together, whether in coition one act gives birth to two, or each is born from a separate act, why those who are born together have different destinies, and, though their births were very close together, are very far apart in the differences of their experiences it will not do you much harm to pass over matters which it is neither possible nor advantageous for you to know. {Prospero+} Truth lurks in deep hiding and is wrapped in mystery. Nor can we complain that Nature is grudgingly disposed towards us, for there is nothing that is hard to discover except that which, when discovered, brings no other reward than the fact of discovery; all that tends to make us better and happier has been placed either in plain sight or nearby. The soul that can scorn all the accidents of fortune, that can rise superior to fears, that does not greedily covet boundless wealth, but has learned to seek its riches from itself; the soul that can cast out all dread of men and gods, and knows that it has not much to fear from man and nothing from God; that, despising all those things which, while they enrich, harass life, can rise to the height of seeing that death is not the source of any evil, but the end of many; the soul that can dedicate itself to Virtue, and think that every path to which she calls, is smooth; that, social creature that it is and born for the common good, views the world as the universal home of mankind, that can bare its conscience to the gods, and, respecting itself more than all others, always live as if in the sight of men - such a soul, remote from storms, stands on the solid ground beneath a blue sky, and has attained to perfect knowledge of what is useful and essential. All other matters are but the diversions of a leisure hour; for when the soul has once found this safe retreat, it may also make excursions into things that bring polish, not strength, to its powers. {Stoicism_basic+}

These are the things that my friend Demetrius says the tiro in philosophy must grasp with both hands, these are the precepts that he must never let go, nay, must cling fast to, and make a part of himself, and by daily meditation reach the point where these wholesome maxims occur to him of their own accord, and are promptly at hand whenever they are desired, and the great distinction between base and honourable action presents itself without any delay. Let him know that there is no evil except what is base, and no good except what is honourable. Let him apply this rule to all the deeds of life; in accordance with this law let him both order and weigh all his actions, and those who are given over to gluttony and lust, whose minds are deadened by sluggish inaction, let him judge to be the most wretched of mortals, no matter how great the splendour of their wealth may be. Let him say to himself: "Pleasure is frail, shortlived, and prone to pall; the more eagerly it is indulged, the more swiftly it changes into the opposite, it forces us straightway either to repentance or to shame, it has in it nothing of nobility, nothing worthy of the nature of man, second as he is to the gods, a lowly thing, produced by subservience to the parts of our body that are either base or vile, and in the end repulsive.{Lear_disgust+} True pleasure, worthy either of man or hero, comes, not from filling and gorging the body and from exciting the lusts that are safest when they are quiet, but from freedom from all mental disturbance, both that which is aroused by the ambition of men struggling with one another, and that which comes, insufferably, from on high when we give credence to the stories of the gods, and estimate them by the standard of our own vices." This is the pleasure, constant, serene, always uncloyed, that is experienced by the man we were just now delineating, one skilled, so to speak, in the laws of gods and men. Such a man rejoices in the present, and puts no faith in the future; for he who leans upon uncertainties can have no sure support. Free, therefore, from the great anxieties that rack the mind, there is nothing which he hopes for or covets, and, content with what he has, he does not plunge into what is doubtful. {Foresight+}

And do not suppose that he is content with a little - all things are his, and not in the sense in which they were Alexander's, who, although he stood upon the shore of the Indian Ocean, had need of more territory than that he had passed through. Nor did he own even the kingdoms that he was holding or had conquered, while Onesicritus, who had been sent ahead to discover new ones, was wandering about the ocean and stirring up war on unknown seas. Was it not quite clear that it was a man in need who pushed his arms beyond the bounds of Nature, who, driven on by reckless greed, plunged headlong into an unexplored and boundless sea? What difference does it make how many kingdoms he seized, how many he bestowed, how many lands submitted to tribute? He still had need of as much as he still coveted.

Nor was this the vice of Alexander alone, whose successful audacity led him to follow in the footsteps of Liber and Hercules, but of all those whom Fortune has goaded on by rich gifts. Consider Cyrus and Cambyses and all the royal line of Persia. Will you find any among them who was satisfied with the bounds of his empire, who did not end his life in some plan of advancing farther? Nor need we wonder; for whatever is gained by covetousness is simply swallowed up and buried, nor does it make any difference how much you pour into a vessel that can never be filled.

It is only the wise man who has all things, and has no difficulty in retaining them. He has no need to send legates across the seas, nor to measure out camps on hostile shores, nor to place garrisons in strategic forts - he has no need of a legion or squadrons of cavalry. Like the immortal gods who govern their realm without recourse to arms, and still from their serene and lofty heights safeguard their own, so the wise man performs his duties, however far reaching they may be, without any turmoil, and, being the most powerful and best of mankind, sees the whole human race beneath him. Smile though you may, yet if you survey the East and the West with your thought, which can penetrate even to lands that are far removed and shut off by vast wastes, if you behold all creatures of earth, all the bounteous store, which Nature so richly pours forth, it is the claim of no mean spirit to be able to utter these words of God: "All these things are mine!"{Wdswth+} {Satan+} Thus it comes that he covets nothing because there is nothing outside of the all.

"This," you say, "is the very thing I wanted; I have caught you! I want to see how you will release yourself from this trap into which you have fallen of your own accord. Tell me this. If the wise man possesses everything, how can anyone possibly give anything to a wise man? For even what one gives to him is already his. It is impossible, therefore, to bestow a benefit on a wise man, for whatever is given to him is given out of his own store; yet you Stoics say that it is possible to give to a wise man. Know, too, that I raise the same question also with reference to friends. You say that they have all things in common; {Friend+ no one, consequently can give anything to a friend; for he gives to him what is common property.

There is nothing to prevent a thing's belonging both to the wise man and to him who actually possesses it as something that was granted and assigned to him. According to civil law everything belongs to the king, and yet property, to which the king lays claim by his universal right, is parcelled out to individual owners, and each separate thing is someone's personal possession. And so we are able to give to a king a house, or a slave, or money, and are not said to be bestowing upon him a gift of his own property; for the right of ownership of all things belongs to the king, the actual ownership to the individual citizen,

We speak of the territories of the Athenians and the Campanians, which, in turn, the dwellers divide among themselves by private agreements; and while the whole land is undoubtedly the property of any commonwealth, each part of it in turn is reckoned as the possession of its owner; and we are able, therefore, to present our lands to the state, although they are said to belong to the state, because, in one way, they are the state's, in another, mine. Can there be any doubt that a slave, along with his private savings, belongs to his master? Yet he can give a present to his master. For it is not true that a slave owns nothing for the mere reason that he will not be able to own it if his master should be unwilling for him to own it, nor is it true that he does not give a present, when he gives it willingly, for the mere reason that it could have been seized from him even if he had been unwilling, How can we prove everything? For we are now both agreed that the wise man possesses all things; the question that we must settle is how there can remain any means of showing generosity to one to whom we have granted all things belong. All things that are in the hands of his children belong to the father; yet who does not know that even a son can make a gift to his father? All things belong to the gods; yet we both offer gifts to the gods, and throw them alms. It is not necessarily true that what I have is not mine if what is mine is also yours; for it is possible that the same thing may be both mine and yours.

"He to whom courtesans belong," you say, "is a pimp; but all things belong to a wise man, and all things must also include courtesans; therefore courtesans belong to a wise man. But he to whom courtesans belong is a pimp; therefore a wise man is a pimp." In the same way they forbid him to buy anything, for they say: "No one buys his own property; but all things belong to the wise man; therefore the wise man buys nothing." In the same way they forbid him to take a loan, because no one is going to pay interest for the use of his own money. They raise endless quibbles, although they perfectly well understand what we mean. For I mean that, while all things belong to the wise man, each person, nevertheless, has the ownership of his own property, just as under the best sort of king everything belongs to the king by his right of authority, and to his subjects by their individual rights of ownership. The time will come for proving this statement; meanwhile the question in hand will be sufficiently answered if I say that it is possible for me to give to the wise man something that, in one way, belongs to the wise man, and, in another way, belongs to me. Nor is it surprising that it is possible to give something to one who possesses all there is. Suppose I have rented a house from you; you still have some "right" in it, and I have some right - the property is yours, the use of the property is mine. Nor, likewise, will you touch crops, although, they may be growing on your own estate, if your tenant objects; and if the price of corn becomes too dear, or you are starving, you will

Alas! in vain another's mighty store behold,

grown upon your own land, lying upon your own land, and about to be stored in your own granary. Nor, although you are the owner, will you set foot on what I have rented, nor will you take away a slave of yours, now a hireling of mine; and if I have hired a carriage from you, you will be receiving a benefit if I permit you to sit in your own vehicle. You see, therefore, that it becomes possible for someone to receive a present by receiving what is his own. In all these cases that I have just cited there are two owners of one and the same thing. How is it possible? Because one is the owner of the thing, the other of the use of the thing. We say that certain books are Cicero's; Dorus, the bookseller, calls these same books his own, and both statements are true. The one claims them, because he wrote them, the other because he bought them; and it is correct to say that they belong to both, for they do belong to both, but not in the same way. So it is possible for Titus Livius to receive his own books as a present, or to buy them from Dorus. Although all things belong to a wise man, yet I am able to give to him what is individually mine; for, although he is conscious of possessing all things in the manner of a king, yet the ownership of the several things is divided among individuals, and it is possible for him to receive a present and to be indebted and to buy and to hire. Everything belongs to Caesar, yet the only private and personal property he has is the imperial treasury; all things are his by right of his authority, but his personal property is acquired by right of inheritance. The question may be raised as to what is his, and what is not his, without assailing his authority; for even that which the court may decide belongs to another, from another point view belongs to him. So in his mind the wise man possesses all things, by actual right and ownership only his own things.

Bion at one time proves by argument that all men are sacrilegious, at another, that no one is. When he is disposed to hurl all men from the Tarpeian Rock, he says: "Whoever abstracts and consumes and appropriates to his own use what belongs to the gods, commits sacrilege; but all things belong to the gods; that which anyone abstracts, therefore, he abstracts from the gods, to whom all things belong; consequently, whoever abstracts anything commits sacrilege." Again, when he bids men to break into temples and to pillage the Capitol without fear of punishment, he says that no one commits sacrilege, because whatever is abstracted from one place that belongs to the gods is transferred to another place that belongs to the gods.

The answer to this is that, while it is true that all things belong to the gods, all things are not consecrated to the gods, and that only in the case of the things that religion has assigned to a divinity is it possible to discover sacrilege. That thus, also, the whole world is the temple of the gods, and, indeed, the only one worthy of their majesty and grandeur, and yet that there is a distinction between things sacred and profane; that not all things which it is lawful to do under the open sky and in the sight of the stars are lawful to do in the nook to which has been assigned the name of a sanctuary. The sacrilegious man is not able, indeed, to do any injury to God, whose own divinity has placed him beyond the reach of harm, yet he is punished because he aimed an injury at God - he is subjected to punishment by our feeling and his own. As, therefore, he who carries off something sacred seems to have cornmitted a sacrilege, even if the place to which he has transferred what he had stolen is within the limits of the world, so it is possible for a theft to be committed upon even a wise man, for he will be robbed of something, taken, not from that universe which he possesses, but from the things of which he is the registered owner, and which are at his individual service. He will claim his ownership of the former, ownership of the latter he will be unwilling to have even if he is able, and will give voice to the famous words that a Roman general uttered when, as a reward for his prowess and his good service to the state, he was being awarded as much land as he could have covered in one day's ploughing; "You have no need," said he, "of a citizen who needs to have more than is necessary for one citizen." How much more a hero will you think him for having rejected this gift than for having deserved it! For many have removed the boundary lines of other men's lands, no one has set limits to his own! When, therefore, we behold the mind of the wise man, master as it is of all things and a ranger of the universe, we say that all things belong to him, although, according to our every-day law, his only assessment, it may be, will be a head-tax. It makes a great difference whether his holdings are estimated by the censor's register, or by the greatness of his mind. He will pray to be delivered from the ownership of all the things of which you speak.

I shall not remind you of Socrates, of Chrysippus, of Zeno, and the others, truly great men - in fact, too great, because envy sets no bounds to our praise of the ancients. But a little while ago I reminded you of Demetrius, whom, it seems to me, Nature produced in these times of ours in order to prove that he could not be corrupted even by us, and that we could not be reproved even by him - a man of consummate wisdom, though he himself disclaimed it, of steadfast firmness in all his purposes, of an eloquence fitted to deal with the mightiest subjects, not given to graces, nor finical about words, but proceeding to its theme with great spirit, as impulse inspired it. {PlainDealer+} I doubt not that this man was endowed by divine providence with such a life, with such power of speech in order that our age might not lack either a model or a reproach. If some god should wish to commit all our wealth to the hands of Demetrius on the fixed condition that he should not be allowed to give it away, I am ready to assert that he would refuse it, and say: "Really, I cannot be bound down by this inextricable burden, nor, unhampered as I now am, do I mean to be dragged down to the dregs of existence. Why do you offer to me what is the bane of all peoples? I would not accept it even if I intended to give it away, for I see many things that are not fit for me to bestow. I wish to set clearly before myself the things that blind the eyes of nations and kings, I wish to behold the recompenses for your life-blood and your lives. Array before me first the trophies of Luxury, spreading them out in a row, if you wish, or, as is better, piling them into one heap. I see there the shell of the tortoise, a most ugly and sluggish creature, bought for huge sums and embellished with elaborate markings, and the very variety of their colours, which is their chief attraction, is accentuated by the application of dyes that resemble the natural tint. I see there tables of wood, valued at the price of a senatorial fortune, and the more knotted the contortions of the unhappy tree, the more precious it is. I see there objects of crystal, whose very fragility enhances their price; for to the ignorant mind, the pleasure of all things is increased by the very risk that ought to drive pleasure away. I see there murrine cups - men, forsooth, would pay too little for their luxury unless, when they toasted each other, they had precious stones to hold the wine they will vomit up! I see pearls - not single ones designed for each ear, but clusters of them, for the ears have now been trained to carry their load; they are joined together in pairs, and above each pair still others are fastened; feminine folly could not sufficiently have overwhelmed men unless two or three fortunes had hung in each ear! I see there raiments of silk - if that can be called raiment, which provides nothing that could possibly afford protection for the body, or indeed modesty, so that, when a woman wears it, she can scarcely, with a clear conscience, swear that she is not naked. These are imported at vast expense from nations unknown even to trade, in order that our married women may not be able to show more of their persons, even to their paramours, in a bedroom than they do on the street. And how, O Avarice, dost thou fare? How many are the things that in costliness have surpassed thy gold! All those that I have mentioned are more honoured and valued. Now I wish to review thy wealth, the plates of gold and silver, for which our greed gropes in darkness. Yet in very truth, the earth, which has revealed everything that was likely to be of use to us, has hidden these things, and buried them deep, and weighted them down with all her mass, regarding them as harmful substances, destined to be a curse to the nations if brought forth into the light. I see that iron has been brought forth from the same dark depths that yielded gold and silver in order that we might not lack either the instrument or the reward for slaughtering one another. And yet the forms of thy wealth, so far, have some actual substance; but there is another in which the mind and the eye alike can be deceived. I see there allotments, bonds, and securities - the empty phantoms of ownership, the secret haunts of Avarice devising some means by which she may deceive the mind that delights in empty fancies. For what are these things, what are interest and the account-book and usury, but the names devised for unnatural forms of human greed? {Shylock+}

"I might make complaint against Nature because she did not hide gold and silver more deeply, because she did not lay a weight upon them too heavy to be removed - but these bills of thine, what are they? what the computations and the sale of time and the blood-thirsty twelve per cent? Evils that we will, that originate from our own character, that have in them nothing which can be put before the eyes, nothing that can be held in the hand - the mere dreams of empty Avarice! Wretched, indeed, is he who can take delight in the huge record of his estate, in his vast tracts of land that need to be tilled by men in chains, in huge herds and flocks that need whole provinces and kingdoms to provide them with pasture, and in private palaces that cover more ground than great cities! When he has carefully reviewed all his wealth, in what it is invested and on what it is squandered, and is puffed up with pride, let him compare all that he has with what he still covets, and he is a poor man! Let me go - restore me to the riches that are mine. I know the kingdom of wisdom, a mighty, a secure kingdom - I possess all in the sense that all things belong to all!" And so, when Gaius Caesar wanted to give Demetrius two hundred thousand, he laughingly refused it, not even deeming it a sum the refusal of which was worth boasting about! Ye gods and goddesses, what a petty mind Gaius showed in trying either to compliment or to corrupt him! I must here render testimony to the distinction of the man. I heard him say a fine thing when be expressed surprise at the madness of Gaius in supposing that he could have been influenced by such an amount. "If he meant to tempt me," said he, "he ought to have tested me by offering me his whole kingdom." xxx It is possible, consequently, to bestow a gift on a wise man even if all things belong to the wise man. And, just as truly, there is nothing to prevent my making a gift to a friend, although we say that friends have all things in common. For I have all things in common with my friend, not as I would with a partner, when one share would belong to me, and another to him, but as children are the common possession of their father and mother, who, if they have two, do not each claim one, but they each claim two.

First of all, I shall now proceed to show that every man who invites me to enter into partnership with him, knows well that he possesses nothing in common with me. And why ? Because this community of goods {common_property+} can exist between wise men only, who alone are capable of knowing friendship; the rest are just as little friends as they are partners.

In the second place, there are many ways of owning things in common. The seats reserved for the knights belong to all the Roman knights - yet of these the seat that I have occupied becomes my own property, and, if I surrender it to anyone, I am supposed to have given him something although I have only surrendered to him what was common property. Certain things belong to certain persons under particular conditions. I have a seat among the knights, not to sell, not to let, not to dwell in, but to use only for the purpose of viewing the spectacle. Therefore I am not speaking an untruth when I say that I have a seat in the equestrian rows. But, if the equestrian rows are full when I enter the theatre, I both have a right to a seat there, because I have the privilege of sitting there, and have not a right, because the seat is occupied by those who have with me a common right to the space. Consider that the same relation exists between friends. Whatever our friend possesses is common to us, but it is the property of the one who holds it; I cannot use the things against his will. "You are making fun of me," you say; "if what belongs to my friend is mine, I have a right to sell it." Not so; for you have no right to sell the equestrians' seats, and yet they belong to you in common with the other knights. The fact that you cannot sell something, or consume it, or alter it for the better or worse is, in itself, no proof that it does not belong to you; for something that is yours under particular conditions is nevertheless yours. . . . I have received, but at any rate not less. Not to prolong the discussion, a benefit cannot be more than a benefit; but the means employed to convey a benefit may be both greater and more numerous - the things in which, in short, one's benevolence runs riot, and indulges itself as lovers are wont to do, for these by their more numerous kisses and closer embraces do not increase their love, but give it play.

This other question, which now comes up, has been exhausted in the earlier books, and will, therefore, be touched upon briefly; for the arguments that have been given for other cases may be transferred to this. The question is, whether anyone who has done everything in his power to return a benefit has returned it. "You may be sure," you say, "that he has not returned it, for he did everything in his power to return it; it is evident, therefore, that he did not accomplish his purpose if he failed to find opportunity for its accomplishment. And a man does not discharge his debt to a creditor if he searches everywhere for money in order to be able to discharge it, and yet has not found it." Some efforts are of such a character that they are bound to achieve their end; in the case of others, to have tried in every way to achieve an end takes the place of achievement. If a physician has made every effort to effect a cure, he has performed his part; the pleader, if he has used all the power of his eloquence, fulfils his duty even if his client is convicted; praise for his generalship is bestowed even upon a vanquished commander if he has performed his duties with prudence, with diligence, and with bravery. A man has made every effort to return your benefit, but your good fortune stood in his way; no hardship befell you which could put his true friendship to the test; he could not give to you when you were rich, nor sit at your bedside when you were not sick, nor succour you when you had no misfortune - this man has repaid gratitude even if you have not received the return of your benefit. Moreover, he who is always intent upon this, is on the watch for an opportunity of doing it, and expends upon it much thought and much anxiety, has taken more trouble than one who has had the good fortune to repay his gratitude quickly. Quite different is the case of the debtor, for it is not enough for him to have sought for the money unless he pays it; for in his case a harsh creditor stands over him, who suffers not a single day to pass without charging him interest; in your case there is a very generous friend, who, if he saw you rushing about and troubled and anxious, would say:

"This trouble from thy breast expel; cease to cause yourself concern. I have all that I want from you; you do me an injustice if you suppose that I desire from you anything further; your intention has reached me most fully."

"Tell me," you say: "if he had returned the benefit, you would say that he has shown gratitude; are both, therefore, in the same position the one who did not retyrn it?"

On the other hand, consider this. If he had forgotten the benefit he had received, if he had not even tried to be grateful, you would say that he had not shown gratitude. Yet this other man has worn himself out night and day, and, neglecting all his other duties, has concentrated on this single one, and has taken pains not to let any opportunity escape him. Will, therefore, he who has put aside all concern about showing gratitude and he who has never ceased to be concerned be considered in the same class? You are unjust if you require me to pay in fact when you see that I have not failed in intention. In short, suppose, when you had been taken captive, that I, having borrowed money, and having made over my property to my creditor as security, set sail along shores infested with pirates in the midst of winter with all its fierceness, and traversed all the perils that even a peaceful sea can offer; that, having wandered, through all wildernesses, in search of men from whom every one else was fleeing, I at last reached the pirates, and found that someone else had ransomed you - will you say that I have not repaid gratitude? Even if, during that voyage, I was shipwrecked, and lost the money that I had raised to rescue you, even if I myself have fallen into the chains which I hoped to remove from you, will you say that I have not repaid gratitude? No, by the gods! - the Athenians call Harmodius and Aristogiton "tyrannicides," and the hand that Mucius left on the enemy's altar was as glorious as if it had killed Porsina, and the valour that struggles against fortune always wins lustre even if it fails to accomplish the task set before it. He who pursues opportunities that elude him, and clutches at them one after another in order that he may be able to have the means of showing his gratitude, renders far more than he who without strenuous effort proves himself grateful at the first opportunity.

" But," you say, "your benefactor bestowed on you two things, his property and his goodwill; you, likewise, owe him two." You might say this very properly to one who returns to you goodwill without further effort, but you cannot say it to one who both wishes and makes effort, and leaves nothing untried; for, so far as it is in his power, he bestows on you both. Again, it is not always desirable to pit number against number; sometimes one thing has the value of two; and so such ardent and eager desire to repay takes the place of repayment. And, if the intention without a material offering has no value in repaying gratitude, no one shows himself grateful to the gods, to whom the only contribution that we make is goodwill. "We cannot," you say, " bestow anything else on the gods." But, if I am also unable to bestow anything else on a man to whom I ought to return gratitude, why is it that the only means that I have of showing my gratitude to the gods does not permit me to show myself grateful to a man?

If, however, you ask me what I think, and wish me to set my seal on the reply, I should say that the one should consider that he has received the return of his benefit, while the other should know that he has not returned it; the one should release the other, while the other should feel himself bound; the one should say, "I have received," the other, "I still owe." In the case of every question, let us keep before us the public good; the door must be closed to all excuses, to keep the ungrateful from taking refuge in them and using them to cover their repudiation of the debt. "I have done all in my power," says he. Well, keep on doing so. Tell me, do you suppose that our forefathers were so foolish as not to understand that it was most unjust to consider a man who wasted in debauchery or gambling the money he had received from a creditor to be in the same class with one who lost the borrowed property along with his own in a fire, or by robbery, or some other major mishap? Yet they accepted no excuses in order to teach men that a promise must be kept at all costs; in their eyes it was better that a few should not find even a good excuse accepted than that all should resort to excuse. You have done everything in order to make return; this should be enough for your benefactor, it should not be enough for you. For, just as he is unworthy of being repaid with gratitude if he permits all your earnest and diligent effort to pass as nothing, so, if anyone accepts your goodwill as full payment, you are ungrateful if you are not all the more eager to acknowledge your indebtedness because he has released you. Do not snatch up your releaser nor demand witnesses; no whit the less should you seek opportunities for making full return. Return to one because he demands repayment, to another because he releases you from the debt; to the former, because he is bad, to the latter, because he is good.

There is, consequently, no reason why you should suppose that you have any concern with the question of whether a man ought to return the benefit that he has received from a wise man if he has ceased to be wise and has turned into a bad man. For you would return a deposit that you had received from a wise man even if he had become bad, you would return a loan. What reason is there why you should not return a benefit also? Because he has changed, should he change you? Tell me, if you had received anything from a man when he was well, would you not return it to him if he were sick, seeing that a friend's weakness always increases our obligation to him? This other also is sick - but in his mind; we should help him, and bear with him. The mind's illness is folly.

In order that the matter may become more intelligible, I think that here I ought to make a distinction. Benefits are of two kinds - one, the perfect and true benefit, which only a wise man can give to none but a wise man; the other, the everyday, common sort, in which we ignorant men have dealings with each other. With regard to the latter, there is no doubt that I ought to make return to the giver, no matter what sort of a man he may be, whether he has turned out to be a murderer or a thief or an adulterer. Crimes have their appointed laws; let such men be reformed rather by a judge than by the ingrate. {judge_not+} Let no man make you bad because he is. To a good man I shall hand back his benefit, to a bad one I shall fling it back; to the former, because I am indebted to him, to the latter, in order that I may no longer be indebted to him. With regard to the other kind of benefit, a question arises, for, if I could not have received the benefit unless I had been a wise man, neither can I return it to the giver unless he is a wise man. For you say : "Suppose that I do return it - he is not able to take it have returned; I owe protection to a benefit that has been received, not to one that has been returned. While it is in my hands, it must be kept safe; but I must give it back when he demands it even if it escapes from his hands as he takes it. To a good man I shall make return when it is convenient; to a bad man, when he asks for it.

"You cannot," you say, "return to him the same sort of benefit that you received; for you received it from a wise man, you are returning it to a fool." No; I am returning to him the sort that he is now able to receive, and it is not my fault if that which I shall return is inferior to what I received, but the fault lies with him, and if he is restored to wisdom, I shall return the sort that I received; while he lingers in evil, I shall return the sort that he is able to receive.

"Tell me," you say, "if he has become, not only bad, but savage, even ferocious, like Apollodorus or Phalaris, will you return even to such a man a benefit that you had received?" {Timon+} Nature does not permit a wise man to suffer so great a change. A man does not fall from the best state into the worst; even a bad man must necessarily retain some traces of good; virtue is never so wholly extinguished as not to leave upon the mind indelible imprints that no change can ever erase. Wild beasts that have been bred in captivity, if they escape into the forests, retain something of their earlier tameness, and are as far removed from the most peaceful beasts as they are from those that have always been wild and have never submitted to the hand of man. No one who has ever adhered to wisdom can fall into the depths of wickedness; its colour is too deeply fixed to be able to fade altogether from his mind and to take on the hue of evil.

In the second place, I ask you whether the man you are thinking of is ferocious in spirit only, or whether he bursts forth into acts of public violence? You have cited the cases of Phalaris and another tyrant, but if, while an evil man possesses their nature, he keeps it concealed, why should I not return to him his benefit in order that there may be no further bond between him and me? If, however, he not only delights in human blood, but feeds upon it; if also he exercises his insatiable cruelty in the torture of persons of all ages, and his frenzy is the result, not of anger, but of a certain delight in cruelty; if he butchers children before the eyes of their parents; if, not content with simply killing his victims, he tortures them, and not only burns, but roasts, them to death; if his castle is always wet with freshly shed blood -then not to return a benefit to him is too small a thing! For whatever the tie that bound him to me, it has been severed by his breach of the common bond of humanity. {common_bond+} If he had bestowed something upon me, and yet bore arms against my country, he would have lost all claim upon me, and it would be considered a crime to repay him with gratitude. If he does not assail my country, but is the bane of his own, and, while he keeps aloof from my own people, harrows and rends his own, nevertheless, even if such depravity does not make him my personal enemy, it makes him hateful to me, and regard for the duty that I owe to the whole human race is, in my eyes, more primary and more pressing than the duty I owe to a single man. {common_bond+}

But, although this be so -, although I am free to act as I please toward him, from the moment when by violating all law he put himself beyond the pale of the law, I shall think that I ought to observe moderation, as follows. If my benefit to him is likely neither to increase his powers to work general harm, nor to strengthen what he already has, if, too, it shall be of such a character that it can be returned to him without being disastrous to the state, then I shall return it. I shall be willing to save the life of his infant son - for what harm can this benefit do to any of those whom he tortures with his cruelty? - but I shall not supply him with money to maintain his bodyguard. If he desires marbles and raiments, these trappings of his luxury will do nobody any harm; but I shall not furnish him with soldiers and arms. If, as a great boon, he asks for stage-players and prostitutes and things that will soften {Paris+} his fierce nature, I shall gladly present them. I would not send to him triremes and bronze-beaked ships, but I should send pleasure- boats and yachts and the other playthings of kings who indulge in sport on the sea. And if his sanity should be despaired of, with the hand that returns a benefit to him, I shall bestow one on all men; since for such characters the only remedy is death, and, if a man will probably never return to his senses, it is best for him to depart. But so rare is such a degree of wickedness that it is always regarded as a portent - as much so as the yawning of the earth and the bursting forth of fires from the caverns of the sea. So let us leave it, and talk of vices that we can detest without shuddering.

As for the type of bad man that I can find in any market- place, who is feared, but only by individuals, I shall return to him the benefit that I have received. It is not right that I should profit by his wickedness; let me return what is not mine to its owner. What difference does it make whether he is good or bad? But I would sift out that matter most carefully if I were giving, not returning, a benefit. This point calls up a story. A certain Pythagorean once bought some white shoes from a cobbler, a fine pair, without paying for them in cash. Some days later he returned to the shop in order to make payment, and, after he had been knocking for a long time at the closed door, someone appeared, and said: "Why do you waste your time? The Cobbler you are looking for passed away, and has been cremated; this is, perhaps, a grief to us, who believe that we lose our friends for ever, but not to you, who know that they will be reborn," jeering at the Pythagorean. But our philosopher, not unwillingly, carried his three or four denarii back home, shaking them now and then in his hand. Later, after blaming himself for the secret pleasure he had had from not paying the money, and perceiving that he had derived satisfaction from his trifling gain, he returned to the same shop, saying to himself: "For you the man is alive, pay him what you owe." Thereupon, he dropped the four coins into the shop, thrusting them through the closed door by means of a crack in the joining, and exacted punishment of himself for his unconscionable greed in order that he might not form the habit of being in debt.

Try to find someone to whom you can pay what you owe, and, if no one demands it, do you dun yourself. It is no concern of yours whether the man is good or bad; first pay, then accuse. You have forgotten how your several duties have been divided - for him forgetfulness is enjoined, for you we have decreed remembrance. Yet it is a mistake to suppose that, when we say that the man who has given a benefit ought to forget, we would rob him of all memory of his act, especially if it was a very honourable one. We overstate some rules in order that in the end they may reach their true value. When we say: "He must not remember," we really mean: "He must not babble, nor boast+, nor give offence." For some men in all gatherings tell of a benefit that they have given; talk of it when they are sober, make no secret of it when they are drunk, force it upon strangers, confide it to friends. It is to quell this excessive and reprehensible consciousness of it that we have said that the man who gives must forget, and, by ordering something more than he is able to accomplish, have commended to him silence.

Whenever you lack confidence in those to whom you are giving orders, you should demand of them more than is necessary in order that they may perform all that is necessary. The set purpose of all hyperbole is to arrive at the truth by falsehood. And so when the poet said:

Whose whiteness shamed the snow, their speed the winds,

he stated what could not possibly be true in order to give credence to all that could be true. And the other who said:

Firmer than a rock, more headlong than the stream,

did not suppose that he could convince anyone by this that any person was as immovable as a rock. Hyperbole never expects to attain all that it ventures, but asserts the incredible in order to arrive at the credible. When we say: "Let him who gives a benefit forget it," we mean: "Let him seem to have forgotten it; let not his memory of it appear or obtrude." When we say that we ought not to demand the repayment of a benefit, we do not banish every demand for repayment; for bad men often need to be dunned, even good men to be reminded. What, then? Am I not to point out an opportunity to one who is not aware of it? Am I not to reveal my own wants? Why should anyone have the chance to deny or be sorry that he did not know of them? Sometimes we may venture to remind, but modestly, with no air of making a demand or of claiming a legal right.

Socrates once said in the hearing of his friends: "I would have bought a cloak, if I had had the money." He asked from no one, he reminded all. Rivalry sprang up as to who should be allowed to give it to him. Why should there not have been? For how small a thing it was that Socrates was receiving! But to have been the one from whom Socrates received was a great thing. Could he have upbraided them more gently? "I would have bought a cloak," he said, "if I had had the money." After this, whoever made haste to give, gave too late; he had already failed in duty to Socrates. Because some men are harsh in demanding repayment, we forbid it, not in order that the demand may never be made, but that it may be made sparingly.

Once when Aristippus was enjoying the odour of a perfume, he cried: "Curses upon these effeminate fellows who have cast discredit on so nice a thing!" So, too, we should exclaim: "Curses upon these un conscionable and importunate magnifiers of their benefits who have banished so nice a thing as the right of one friend to remind another!" I, however, shall make use of this privilege of friendship, and I shall ask the return of a benefit from anyone from whom I would have asked a benefit, who will be ready to accept as a second benefit the opportunity of returning the first. Not even when complaining of him would I ever say

Needy I found him, a wretch, cast up on the shore

And, cool, the half of my kingdom I made his store.

This is not to remind, but to reproach; this is to make a benefit hateful, this is to give a man either the right, or the pleasure, of being ungrateful. It would be enough, and more than enough, to refresh his memory with the gentle and friendly words:

If I to you by aught have help or pleasure brought

and he, in turn, would say: "Brought me help? 'Needy you found me, a wretch, cast up on the shore!'"

"But," you say, "if we gain nothing; if he dissembles if he forgets - what ought I to do?" You now bring up the very pressing question, which will fittingly complete our subject, of how we are to deal with the ungrateful. I answer, deal calmly, gently, magnanimously. Never let anyone's discourtesy, forgetfulness, and ingratitude offend you so much that you will not, after all, be glad that you gave; never let the injustice of it drive vou into saying "I wish that I had not done it." You should find pleasure even in the mischance of your benefit; the ingrate will always regret it if you do not even now egret it! There is no reason why you should be exasperated as if something strange had happened; you ought rather to have been surprised if it had not happened. One balks at the trouble, another at the expense, another at the danger, another is deterred by false shame, since returning the benefit would be an admission that he had received it, another by ignorance of his duty, another by laziness, another by the engrossments of business. See how greedy are men's desires and always asking for more! You need not wonder that no one makes return in a world where no one is satisfied. Who of men is of so firm and dependable a mind that you can safely deposit your benefits with him? {motives_list+} One is crazed by lust, another is the slave of his belly; another is wholly engrossed with gain and considers, not the means, but the amount, of it; another struggles with envy, another with blind ambition that drives him to the sword. Consider, too, mental sluggishness and senility, and opposed to them, the perpetual turmoil and commotion of the restless heart. Consider, too, excessive self-esteem and swollen pride in the things for which a man should be despised. And what shall I say of the obstinate persistence in wrongdoing, what of the fickleness that is always leaping from one thing to another? Add to these the headlong rashness, the fear that is never ready to give faithful counsel, and the thousand errors in which we are entangled the audacity of the greatest of cowards, the discord of the greatest of friends, and the universal evil of trusting in everything that is most uncertain, and of disdaining the possessions that once we had no hope of ever being able to attain. In the company of the most restless passions do you hope to find that calmest of qualities, good faith+?

If a true picture of our life should be flashed before your mind, you would think that you were seeing the representation of a city that had just been stormed, in which all regard for decency and right had been abandoned and only force holds sway, as if the word had gone out to cause universal confusion. Fire is not idle, the sword is not idle; all crime is free from the law; not even religion, which has protected its suppliants in the midst of a hostile invasion, affords any check upon those rushing to seize plunder. This one strips a private house, this one a public building, this one a sacred place, this one a place profane; this one breaks down, this one leaps over; this one, not content with a narrow path, overthrows the very walls that block his way, and reaches his booty over ruins; one ravages without murdering, another bears his spoils in a hand stained with blood; everyone carries off something that belongs to another.

O! you have too easily forgotten the common lot, if, in this greed of the human race, you seek to find among these plunderers even one who brings back! If you are indignant that men are ungrateful, be indignant that they are sybaritic, indignant that they are greedy, indignant that they are shameless, indignant that the sick are unsightly, that the old are pale! This is, indeed, a heinous vice, it is intolerable - one that sets men at variance, that rends and destroys the harmony {social_glue+} which props our human weakness, but it is so common {nobody's_perfect+} that not even he who complains of it escapes it. Ask your secret soul whether you have always repaid gratitude to those to whom you owed it, whether no one's kindness has ever been wasted on you, whether the memory of all your benefits lives ever in you. You will find that those you received as a boy slipped from your memory before you were a youth, those that were bestowed in your early manhood have not survived into old age. Some we have lost, some we have thrown away, some have gradually slipped from our sight, from some we have turned away our eyes. In order to excuse your weakness, I might say that the memory is a very frail vessel, and is not strong enough to hold a mass of things; it must necessarily lose to the extent that it receives, and the newest impressions crowd out the oldest. Thus it is that your nurse has least influence over you because the passing years have left her benefit in the long ago; thus it is that you have no longer any veneration for your teacher; so it happens that now, when you are occupied with your election to the consulship or your candidature for the priesthood, you have lost all memory of the voter who gave you the quaestorship. Perhaps, if you search carefully, you will find in your own bosom the vice of which you complain. {Common_Humanity+} It is unfair for you to be angry with a universal failing, foolish to be angry with your own - you must pardon if you would win pardon. {judge_not+} You will make a man better by bearing with him, certainly worse by reproaching him. There is no reason why you should harden him in effrontery; let him keep what little shame he has. Too loud reproaches often hurry wavering probity to its fall. No man shrinks from being what he appears to be; he loses his sense of shame by being found out. "I have wasted my benefit," you say. Can we ever say that we have wasted the things that we have hallowed? But a benefit that has been well bestowed, even if we have ill return for it, is one of the hallowed things. He is not the kind of man we hoped he was; unlike him, let us be the kind we have always been. Your loss did not occur at the time of his ingratitude - it then simply became evident. A man is not revealed as ungrateful without bringing shame on us, since, in fact, to complain of the loss of a benefit is proof that it was not well bestowed. As far as we can, we ought to plead his case before our own bar: "Perhaps he was not able, perhaps he was unaware, perhaps he will still do so." Some accounts have been made good by a long-suffering and wise creditor who has kept them alive and nursed them by waiting. We ought to do the same; let us strengthen a weak sense of good faith. "I have wasted my benefit," you say. You fool, you do not understand when your loss took place! You wasted it, but at the time you gave it; {no_strings+} the fact has only now been revealed. Even in the case of those which seem to have been wasted, forbearance is often most valuable; the cankers of the mind, as of the body, must be handled tenderly. The string that might have been untied by patience is often snapped by a violent pull. What need is there of abuse? Of complaints? Of reproaches? Why do you free him from obligation? Why do you let him go? Even if he is ungrateful, he owes you nothing after this. What sense is there in exasperating one upon whom you have bestowed great favours, with the result that from being a doubtful friend he will become an undoubted enemy, and will seek to protect himself by defaming you, nor will gossip fail to say: "I do not know why he could not put up with one to whom he owed so much; there is something at the bottom of it"? Any man, even if he does not stain, asperses the reputation of a superior by complaining of him; and no one is content to trump up light accusations, since he seeks to win belief by the very magnitude of his lie.

How much better the course that will preserve a semblance of friendship with him, and, if he returns to his senses, even friendship! Persistent goodness wins over bad men, and no one of them is so hard-hearted and hostile to kindly treatment as not to love a good man even while they wrong him, when even the fact that they can fail to pay with impunity is made an additional source of indebtedness to him. {forgive+} And so let your thoughts follow this trend: "He has not repaid me with gratitude; what shall I do? Do as the gods, those glorious authors of all things, do; they begin to give benefits to him who knows them not, and persist in giving them to those who are ungrateful. Some reproach them with indifference to us, others with injustice; some place them outside of their world, and abandon them to sloth and languor, leaving them without light, without any task; others call the sun, to whom we owe the division of our hours of work and rest, and our escape from being plunged into darkness and the chaos of eternal night, who by his course regulates the seasons, nourishes our bodies, calls forth the crops, and ripens the fruits, merely a mass of stone or a fortuitous collection of fiery particles - anything rather than a god. Yet, none the less, like the best of parents, who only smile at the spiteful words of their children, the gods do not cease to heap their benefits upon those who are doubtful about the source of benefits, but distribute their blessings, among the nations and peoples with unbroken uniformity. Possessing only the power of doing good, they sprinkle the lands with timely rains, they stir the seas with their blasts, they mark off the seasons by the course of the stars, they modify the extremes of summer and winter by interposing periods of milder temperature, and, ever gentle and kindly, bear with the errors of our feeble spirits. {Nature+} Let us imitate them; let us give, even if many of our gifts have been given in vain; none the less, let us give to still others, nay, even to those at whose hands we have suffered loss. The destruction of one house deters no one from erecting another, and, when fire has swept away our household gods, we lay new foundations while the ground is still hot, and over and over we entrust new cities to the same spot that has swallowed up others; so persistently does the mind foster fair hopes+. Men would cease their operations on land and sea unless they had been willing to renew the attempts that had failed. xxx"If a man is ungrateful, he has done, not me, but himself, an injury; I had the fruit of my benefit when I gave it. {give_freely+} And the experience will make me, not slower to give, but more careful in giving; what I have lost in the case of one man, I shall recover from others. But even to him I shall give a second benefit, and, even as a good farmer overcomes the sterility of his ground by care and cultivation, I shall be victor; my benefit is lost to me, he is lost to mankind. It is no proof of a fine spirit to give a benefit and lose it; the proof of a fine spirit is to lose and still to give!"