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your mind, and ask yourself this question; whether, if upon an emergency you are required to die for your country, and to redeem your fellow-citizens at the expence of your own life, you would stretch out your neck to the fword, not only with a patient but a willing mind? If you can do this, there is no other good: you poftpone all things to this. See how great is the force of virtue. You will die for the good of the commonweal, though it be not at present required of you, yet whenever it shall fo happen. In the mean while, from a good and beautiful action, great joy may be received in a short space of time; and though no benefit from the faid action were to accrue to the perfon defunct, and taken from the world, yet the very contemplation of the good intended gives delight; and the brave and just man, when he hath in view the price and confequence of his death, suppose, the liberty of his country, and the welfare of all those for whom he lays down his life, is in the highest glee, and enjoys his peril. Nay, even he that is deprived of the joy, which the execution of fo great an affair would give him, as the greatest and last pleasure of his life, will yet brook no delay, but will rush upon death, well satisfied with doing what is right and fit, fuppofing it right and fit fo to do.
Oppose to this however all that can be objected against it: tell him, the favour will foon be loft, and buried in oblivion: that the citizens will not make him any return of grateful efteem. He will readily anfwer, all these things concern not my action: I confider it in itself: I know it to be right and fit; therefore wherever it leads or invites me, I come. This then is the one good, which not only a perfect mind, but a generous and good difpofition is fenfible of. All other things are light and changeable: therefore they are poffeffed with anxiety, though kind fortune heaped them all upon one man: they become a heavy burden to the owners, they always opprefs them, and fometimes weigh them down. Not one of those whom you fee arrayed in purple, is happy; any more than those whom you fee dreffed up for kings on the stage: they strut in their buskins, and look big during the time of action; but having made their exit, they are difrobed, and fhrink again to their own ftature. Not one of those whom wealth and honours have fet on
high is a great man.
How comes it then that he feems fo? Because measure him bafe and all. A dwarf is still little though you fet him upon a mountain; and a Coloffus will maintain his bulk though he stands in a well. This then is the error we labour under: thus it is we impose upon ourselves: we esteem no one according to what he really is in himself; but we add to him all external advantages: but in order to make a true estimate of man, and to know what he really is, view him in himself: let him lay aside his patrimony, his honours, and all the lying ornaments of fortune. Nay, let him throw off the body; inspect the mind alone; examine what, and how great it is, and whether great in itself, or from fome foreign good. If with a steady eye he can look upon the drawn fword; if he knows that it is of little concern, whether the foul depart from him naturally, or forcibly from a wound, call him happy. If he is threatened with excruciating torture of the body, either fuch as is cafual or inflicted by the injurious treatment of those in power; if, of chains and banishment, and all the terrors that affright the mind of man, he hears without anxiety, and faith (with Eneas in Virg. 6. 103)
Non ulla laborum,
O virgo, nova mi facies inopinave furgit.
Omnia præcepi, atque animo mecum ipfe peregi.
No frightful face of danger can be new.
Innur'd to fuffer, and refolv'd to dare,
The Fates, without my pow'r, shall be without my care.
You but now threaten me with thefe things, but I always threatened myself with them; being a man, I was always prepared against whatever man is fubject to; call him happy. The stroke of an evil preconceived, comes eafy: but to fools and such as trust in fortune, every change seems new, and comes upon them with furprize; and the greatest part of evil, to, the unexperienced and unprepared, is the novelty of it. This you may learn from their bearing patiently fuch things as they have been accustomed to. Therefore a wife man makes himself acquainted with evils ere they happen, and fuch as others make light by long fuffering,
he makes cafy by due reflexion. We often hear the unfkilful crying out, I could not imagine that this would ever be my lot. But the wife man knows that all things are incident to him, and therefore whatever happens he faith, It is what I expected (0).
(a) Troffuli] See Ep. 87. Lipf. Elect. ii. 1. Perf. Sat. i. 81. ubi in N.-Troffulus, vel a Troffulo Tufcorum oppido: vel qu. Torofulus dim. a Torofus, ut notentur homines delicatuli. Unde iftud dedecus in quo
Troffulus exultat tibi per fubfellia lævis?
Whence that difgrace, when the affemblies meet,
To see a coxcomb skip from feat to feat?
(b) In hac Senescamus, hanc ut juvenes fequamur. Lipfius doubts this expreffion, fcholam fequi.-But Gronovius proves it juft, from Cicero, when fequi is used in the fame fenfe with petere; and adds from Virgil, Italiam fequimur.-However, he is not fatisfied with the reading, as all the MSS. want the demonftrative pronoun banc; and therefore propofeth the conjecture of Schrevelius, In hanc Senescamus, ut juvenes fequantur.-Let us old men go thither, that the young men may follow us.
(c) According to that in Plate (in amator) Tí v isti piλoofpñσαi; x. T. λ. what is it to philoSophize? what, but as Solon faith,
Γηράσκω δ' ἀεὶ πολλὰ διδασκομενος ;
I ftill learn fomewhat as I grow in years.
Live and learn, fays the English proverb. Non fi finifce mai d' imparare. Ital.-And very properly, as Hippocrates begins his aphorifms with, Ars longa, vita brevis. Raj, p. 170. Lipf. Manud. i. 1. (d) According to the proverb in Cicero, (de Orat. ii.) Difcum audire malunt quam philofophum. They will rather hear the found of a Coit than a philofopher. Which Erasmus (i. v. 2. 19) thinks may be transferred to (difcus efcarius) the rattling of plates for dinner.
(e) This is according to the Stoical maxim; Velis effe bonus, eris. If you have an inclination ta be good, you will be fo.
(f) So Phocylides.
&c. Nictorias Genes. i.
Οπλον έκαστῳ νεῖμε θεὸς, φυσιν ἠεράφοιτον,
On every animal hath Nature's God
Its proper useful implement beftow'd.
To all the feather'd choir fwiftnefs of wing,
To bulls their sprouting horns, to bees their fting.
To man alone, the richest gift of heav'n. M.
Statum noftrum fupra pecudes---Ratiocinatio animæ intellectualis evexit,
Unumquodque fuo donavit munere largus
Armavitque manu, cornu, pede, dente, veneno, &c.
Bochius. iii. 8. Jam verò qui bona præ fe corporis ferunt, quàm exiguâ, quàm fragili poffeffione! VOL. II.
nituntur! Nam etiam elephantes mole, tauros robere fuperare poteritis? Num tigres velocitate præibitis, &c. Now is it wel yfeene, how litel and how brytel possession they coveten, that putten the goodes of the bodie above her own reafon. For mayft thou furmounten these olifaunts in greatnesse, or in weight of bodie? or mayft thou be stronger than the bull? mayft thou be fwifter than the tyger? &c. Chaucer.
Cic. de Nat. Deor. ii. de Fin. v. Sen. Ep. ult.
(g) Deos fequitur] Inferieur a un feul Dieu. Vet. Gall.
Puteanus reads it, Diis æquatur. He is equal to the gods, according to the infolence of the Stoics. See Epp. 31, 92.
(b) Navis tutela] Gr. News Tepianov, Lat. Infigne. The image, from whence the fhip generally had its name.Tutelæque Deum fluitant. Sil.
-Et pictos verberat unda Deos
Navis tutelam-Ov. de Trift. i.
Visa coronatæ fulgens tutela carinæ. Val. Flacc. i. Vid. Broda, Misc. i. 10. Turn. Adv. xix. 2.
(i) See an ingenious modern treatife, called The Analyfis of Beauty, by Mr. Hogarth, p. 72. * For according to the Stoics their wife man is ever fixed on good.
(k) As Mutius Scævola, Ep. 24.
(1) As the fervant who in revenge of his master killed Afdrubal.
(m) This is one of those paffages, wherein Seneca speaks in a clear and noble manner of the happinefs of fouls after death, when freed from the incumbrance of the body, and received into the place or region of departed fouls. Vid. Confol. ad Polyb. c. 28. Conf. ad Marc. c. 25. But efpecially Epift. 102, where he has fome fublime thoughts on this fubject, and among the reft-Dies ifte quem tanquam extremum reformidas, æterni natalis eft. The day which you dread as the laft of life, is to be regarded as the birth-day of an eternal one-though it must be owned he speaks of this elsewhere with doubt and uncertainty. See Leland ii. p. 287.
(0) Dixit, fciebam.] As fome of the editions want fciebam, I was thinking that if we might transfer the three letters S. V. B. which begin the next Epistle, and instead of Si Vales, Bene eft, they might be allowed to stand for Si Vult (Deus) Bene eft, this would make a proper ejaculation not enly for a wife heathen, but a good Chriftian; God's will be done.
Against the Fear of Death.
I (Hope you are well; (a) and) beg leave to inform you, Lucilius, that, this day, fomewhat unexpectedly appeared in fight the Alexandrian Jhips (b), which are usually fent before to announce the approach of
the whole fleet; they are called packet boats. Very grateful was the fight of them to all Campania: The people were standing on the mole of Puteoli, and could easily diftinguish the Alexandrian from the reft of the numerous fleet by their fails; forafmuch as thefe veffels alone have the privilege of spreading their top-fails, which the other never hoyfe, but when out at fea: as nothing contributes more to fwift failing, than the top-fail by which the veffel is chiefly carried along; therefore when the wind arifeth, and blows too smart a gale; the topyard is generally ftruck, whereby the wind hath lefs force on the body of the ship. Now when they have enter'd between Caprea and the promontory, from whence
Alta procellofo fpeculatur vertice Pallas *,
Pallas looks down upon the foamy deep.
The rest are oblig'd to be contented with the main fail, and the topfail (c) is left as a mark of diftinction to the Alexandrian. In this great concourse of people, that were flocking to the shore, I enjoyed some satisfaction in walking at my leisure, forasmuch as tho' I expected letters from my correfpondents; I was in no fuch great hurry to know their contents, and how my affairs stood at Alexandria; having long fince been indifferent either to lofs or gain. Was I not fo old as I am, I should still have thought the fame; but much more now, when, however small my stock, I have far more provifion left, than way to travel (d), especially too, when on a journey, which there is no neceffity I should completely finish. A journey cannot be faid to be finished if you stop in the midway, or before you have reached the destin'd place; but the journey of life is fuch, that it is at all times complete, provided it be just and honorable. Whenever you finish it, if finished well, it will be entire: nay it may fometimes be finished courageoufly even upon the flighteft caufe; for in truth there are no other that detain us here.
Tullius Marcellinus, whom you knew very well, a fweet-temper'd youth, but of a crazy conftitution, was furprised by a disease, not perhaps incurable, but fuch as was tedious, and very troublefome, and which obliged him to fuffer much; he therefore was deliberating