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Titel: Complete Works of Plutarch — Volume 3: Essays and Miscellanies
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Alle Rechte vorbehalten.
Es ist ohne vorherige schriftliche Erlaubnis nicht gestattet, dieses Werk im Ganzen oder in Teilen zu vervielfältigen oder zu veröffentlichen.
THAT A PHILOSOPHER OUGHT CHIEFLY TO CONVERSE WITH GREAT MEN.
SENTIMENTS CONCERNING NATURE WITH WHICH PHILOSOPHERS WERE DELIGHTED
CHAPTER I. WHAT IS NATURE?
CHAPTER II. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PRINCIPLE AND AN ELEMENT?
CHAPTER III. WHAT ARE PRINCIPLES?
CHAPTER IV. HOW WAS THIS WORLD COMPOSED IN THAT ORDER AND AFTER THAT MANNER IT IS?
CHAPTER V. WHETHER THE UNIVERSE IS ONE SINGLE THING.
CHAPTER VI. WHENCE DID MEN OBTAIN THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE EXISTENCE AND ESSENCE OF A DEITY?
CHAPTER VII. WHAT IS GOD?
CHAPTER VIII. OF THOSE THAT ARE CALLED GENIUSES AND HEROES
CHAPTER IX. OF MATTER.
CHAPTER X. OF IDEAS.
CHAPTER XI. OF CAUSES.
CHAPTER XII. OF BODIES.
CHAPTER XIII. OF THOSE THINGS THAT ARE LEAST IN NATURE.
CHAPTER XIV. OF FIGURES.
CHAPTER XV. OF COLORS.
CHAPTER XVI. OF THE DIVISION OF BODIES.
CHAPTER XVII. HOW BODIES ARE MIXED AND CONTEMPERATED ONE WITH ANOTHER.
CHAPTER XVIII. OF A VACUUM.
CHAPTER XIX. OF PLACE.
CHAPTER XX. OF SPACE.
CHAPTER XXI. OF TIME.
CHAPTER XXII. OF THE SUBSTANCE AND NATURE OF TIME.
CHAPTER XXIII. OF MOTION.
CHAPTER XXIV. OF GENERATION AND CORRUPTION.
CHAPTER XXV. OF NECESSITY.
CHAPTER XXVI. OF THE NATURE OF NECESSITY.
CHAPTER XXVII. OF DESTINY OR FATE.
CHAPTER XXVIII. OF THE NATURE OF FATE.
CHAPTER XXIX. OF FORTUNE.
CHAPTER XXX. OF NATURE.
CHAPTER I. OF THE WORLD.
CHAPTER II. OF THE FIGURE OF THE WORLD.
CHAPTER III. WHETHER THE WORLD BE AN ANIMAL.
CHAPTER IV. WHETHER THE WORLD IS ETERNAL AND INCORRUPTIBLE.
CHAPTER V. WHENCE DOES THE WORLD RECEIVE ITS NUTRIMENT?
CHAPTER VI. FROM WHAT ELEMENT GOD DID BEGIN TO RAISE THE FABRIC OF THE WORLD.
CHAPTER VII. IN WHAT FORM AND ORDER THE WORLD WAS COMPOSED.
CHAPTER VIII. WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF THE WORLD'S INCLINATION.
CHAPTER IX. OF THAT THING WHICH IS BEYOND THE WORLD, AND WHETHER IT BE A VACUUM OR NOT.
CHAPTER X. WHAT PARTS OF THE WORLD ARE ON THE RIGHT HAND, AND WHAT ON THE LEFT.
CHAPTER XI. OF HEAVEN, WHAT IS ITS NATURE AND ESSENCE.
CHAPTER XII. INTO HOW MANY CIRCLES IS THE HEAVEN DISTINGUISHED; OR, OF THE DIVISION OF HEAVEN.
CHAPTER XIII. WHAT IS THE ESSENCE OF THE STARS, AND HOW THEY ARE COMPOSED.
CHAPTER XIV. OF WHAT FIGURE THE STARS ARE.
CHAPTER XV. OF THE ORDER AND PLACE OF THE STARS.
CHAPTER XVI. OF THE MOTION AND CIRCULATION OF THE STARS.
CHAPTER XVII. WHENCE DO THE STARS RECEIVE THEIR LIGHT?
CHAPTER XVIII. WHAT ARE THOSE STARS WHICH ARE CALLED THE DIOSCURI, THE TWINS, OR CASTOR AND POLLUX?
CHAPTER XIX. HOW STARS PROGNOSTICATE, AND WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF WINTER AND SUMMER.
CHAPTER XX. OF THE ESSENCE OF THE SUN.
CHAPTER XXI. OF THE MAGNITUDE OF THE SUN.
CHAPTER XXII. WHAT IS THE FIGURE OR SHAPE OF THE SUN.
CHAPTER XXIII. OF THE TURNING AND RETURNING OF THE STARS, OR THE SUMMER AND WINTER SOLSTICE.
CHAPTER XXIV. OF THE ECLIPSE OF THE SUN.
CHAPTER XXV. OF THE ESSENCE OF THE MOON.
CHAPTER XXVI. OF THE SIZE OF THE MOON.
CHAPTER XXVII. OF THE FIGURE OF THE MOON.
CHAPTER XXVIII. FROM WHENCE IS IT THAT THE MOON RECEIVES HER LIGHT?
CHAPTER XXIX. OF THE ECLIPSE OF THE MOON.
CHAPTER XXX. OF THE PHASES OF THE MOON, OR THE LUNAR ASPECTS; OR HOW IT COMES TO PASS THAT THE MOON APPEARS TO US TERRESTRIAL.
CHAPTER XXXI. HOW FAR THE MOON IS REMOVED FROM THE SUN.
CHAPTER XXXII. OF THE YEAR, AND HOW MANY CIRCULATIONS MAKE UP THE GREAT YEAR OF EVERY PLANET.
CHAPTER I. OF THE GALAXY, OR THE MILKY WAY.
CHAPTER II. OF COMETS AND SHOOTING FIRES, AND THOSE WHICH RESEMBLE BEAMS.
CHAPTER III. OF VIOLENT ERUPTION OF FIRE OUT OF THE CLOUDS. OF LIGHTNING. OF THUNDER. OF HURRICANES. OF WHIRLWINDS.
CHAPTER IV. OF CLOUDS, RAIN, SNOW, AND HAIL.
CHAPTER V. OF THE RAINBOW.
CHAPTER VI. OF METEORS WHICH RESEMBLE RODS, OR OF RODS.
CHAPTER VII. OF WINDS.
CHAPTER VIII. OF WINTER AND SUMMER.
CHAPTER IX. OF THE EARTH, WHAT IS ITS NATURE AND MAGNITUDE.
CHAPTER X. OF THE FIGURE OF THE EARTH.
CHAPTER XI. OF THE SITE AND POSITION OF THE EARTH.
CHAPTER XII. OF THE INCLINATION OF THE EARTH.
CHAPTER XIII. OF THE MOTION OF THE EARTH.
CHAPTER XIV. INTO HOW MANY ZONES IS THE EARTH DIVIDED?
CHAPTER XV. OF EARTHQUAKES.
CHAPTER XVI. OF THE SEA, AND HOW IT IS COMPOSED, AND HOW IT BECOMES TO THE TASTE BITTER.
CHAPTER XVII. OF TIDES, OR OF THE EBBING AND FLOWING OF THE SEA.
CHAPTER XVIII. OF THE AUREA, OR A CIRCLE ABOUT A STAR.
CHAPTER I. OF THE OVERFLOWING OF THE NILE.
CHAPTER II. OF THE SOUL.
CHAPTER III. WHETHER THE SOUL BE A BODY, AND WHAT IS THE NATURE AND ESSENCE OF IT.
CHAPTER IV. OF THE PARTS OF THE SOUL.
CHAPTER V. WHAT IS THE PRINCIPAL PART OF THE SOUL, AND IN WHAT PART OF THE BODY IT RESIDES.
CHAPTER VI. OF THE MOTION OF THE SOUL.
CHAPTER VII. OF THE SOUL'S IMMORTALITY.
CHAPTER VIII. OF THE SENSES, AND OF THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE OBJECTS OF THE SENSES,
CHAPTER IX. WHETHER WHAT APPEARS TO OUR SENSES AND IMAGINATIONS BE TRUE OR NOT.
CHAPTER X. HOW MANY SENSES ARE THERE?
CHAPTER XI. HOW THE ACTIONS OF THE SENSES, THE CONCEPTIONS OF OUR MINDS, AND THE HABIT OF OUR REASON ARE FORMED.
CHAPTER XII. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN IMAGINATION [GREEK OMITTED], THE IMAGINABLE [GREEK OMITTED], FANCY [GREEK OMITTED], AND PHANTOM [GREEK
CHAPTER XIII. OF OUR SIGHT, AND BY WHAT MEANS WE SEE.
CHAPTER XIV. OF THOSE IMAGES WHICH ARE PRESENTED TO OUR EYES IN MIRRORS.
CHAPTER XV. WHETHER DARKNESS CAN BE VISIBLE TO US.
CHAPTER XVI. OF HEARING.
CHAPTER XVII. OF SMELLING.
CHAPTER XVIII. OF TASTE.
CHAPTER XIX. OF THE VOICE.
CHAPTER XX. WHETHER THE VOICE IS INCORPOREAL. WHAT IS IT THAT THE GIVES ECHO?
CHAPTER XXI. BY WHAT MEANS THE SOUL IS SENSIBLE, AND WHAT IS THE PRINCIPAL AND COMMANDING PART OF IT.
CHAPTER XXII. OF RESPIRATION OR BREATHING.
CHAPTER XXIII. OF THE PASSIONS OF THE BODY, AND WHETHER THE SOUL HATH A SYMPATHETICAL CONDOLENCY WITH IT.
CHAPTER I. OF DIVINATION.
CHAPTER II. WHENCE DREAMS DO ARISE.
CHAPTER III. OF THE NATURE OF GENERATIVE SEED.
CHAPTER IV. WHETHER THE SPERM BE A BODY.
CHAPTER V. WHETHER WOMEN DO GIVE A SPERMATIC EMISSION AS MEN DO.
CHAPTER VI. HOW IT IS THAT CONCEPTIONS ARE MADE.
CHAPTER VII. AFTER WHAT MANNER MALES AND FEMALES ARE GENERATED.
CHAPTER VIII. BY WHAT MEANS IT IS THAT MONSTROUS BIRTHS ARE EFFECTED.
CHAPTER IX. HOW IT COMES TO PASS THAT A WOMAN'S TOO FREQUENT CONVERSATION WITH A MAN HINDERS CONCEPTION.
CHAPTER X. WHENCE IT IS THAT ONE BIRTH GIVES TWO OR THREE CHILDREN.
CHAPTER XI. WHENCE IT IS THAT CHILDREN REPRESENT THEIR PARENTS AND PROGENITORS.
CHAPTER XII. HOW IT COMES TO PASS THAT CHILDREN HAVE A GREATER SIMILITUDE WITH STRANGERS THAN WITH THEIR PARENTS.
CHAPTER XIII. WHENCE ARISETH BARRENNESS IN WOMEN, AND IMPOTENCY IN MEN?
CHAPTER XIV. HOW IT ARISES THAT MULES ARE BARREN.
CHAPTER XV. WHETHER THE INFANT IN THE MOTHER'S WOMB BE AN ANIMAL.
CHAPTER XVI. HOW EMBRYOS ARE NOURISHED, OR HOW THE INFANT IN THE BELLY RECEIVES ITS ALIMENT.
CHAPTER XVII. WHAT PART OF THE BODY IS FIRST FORMED IN THE WOMB.
CHAPTER XVIII. WHENCE IS IT THAT INFANTS BORN IN THE SEVENTH MONTH ARE BORN ALIVE.
CHAPTER XIX. OF THE GENERATION OF ANIMALS, HOW ANIMALS ARE BEGOTTEN, AND WHETHER THEY ARE OBNOXIOUS TO CORRUPTION.
CHAPTER XX. HOW MANY SPECIES OF ANIMALS THERE ARE, AND WHETHER ALL ANIMALS HAVE THE ENDOWMENTS OF SENSE AND REASON.
CHAPTER XXI. WHAT TIME IS REQUIRED TO SHAPE THE PARTS OF ANIMALS IN THE WOMB.
CHAPTER XXII. OF WHAT ELEMENTS EACH OF THE MEMBERS OF US MEN IS COMPOSED.
CHAPTER XXIII. WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF SLEEP AND DEATH?
CHAPTER XXIV. WHEN AND FROM WHENCE THE PERFECTION OF A MAN COMMENCES.
CHAPTER XXV. WHETHER SLEEP OR DEATH APPERTAINS TO THE SOUL OR BODY.
CHAPTER XXVI. HOW PLANTS INCREASE.
CHAPTER XXVII. OF NUTRITION AND GROWTH.
CHAPTER XXVIII. WHENCE IT IS THAT IN ANIMALS THERE ARE APPETITES AND PLEASURES.
CHAPTER XXIX. WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF A FEVER, OR WHETHER IT IS AN AFFECTION OF THE BODY ANNEXED TO A PRIMARY PASSION
CHAPTER XXX. OF HEALTH, SICKNESS, AND OLD AGE.
ABSTRACT OF A DISCOURSE SHOWING THAT THE STOICS SPEAK GREATER IMPROBABILITIES THAN THE POETS.
COMMON CONCEPTIONS AGAINST THE STOICS.
CONTRADICTIONS OF THE STOICS.
THE EATING OF FLESH.
AGAINST COLOTES, THE DISCIPLE AND FAVORITE OF EPICURUS.
THE BANQUET OF THE SEVEN WISE MEN.
ABSTRACT OF A COMPARISON BETWEEN ARISTOPHANE AND MENANDER
THE MALICE OF HERODOTUS.
Epicurus's great confidant and familiar, Colotes, set forth a book with this title to it, that according to the tenets of the other philosophers it is impossible to live. Now what occurred to me then to say against him, in the defence of those philosophers, hath been already put into writing by me. But since upon breaking up of our lecture several things have happened to be spoken afterwards in the walks in further opposition to his party, I thought it not amiss to recollect them also, if for no other reason, yet for this one, that those who will needs be contradicting other men may see that they ought not to run cursorily over the discourses and writings of those they would disprove, nor by tearing out one word here and another there, or by falling foul upon particular passages without the books, to impose upon the ignorant and unlearned.
Now as we were leaving the school to take a walk (as our manner is) in the gymnasium, Zeuxippus began to us: In my opinion, said he, the debate was managed on our side with more softness and less freedom than was fitting. I am sure, Heraclides went away disgusted with us, for handling Epicurus and Aletrodorus more roughly than they deserved. Yet you may remember, replied Theon, how you told them that Colotes himself, compared with the rhetoric of those two gentlemen, would appear the complaisantest man alive; for when they have raked together the lewdest terms of ignominy the tongue of man ever used, as buffooneries, trollings, arrogancies, whorings, assassinations, whining counterfeits, black-guards, and blockheads, they faintly throw them in the faces of Aristotle, Socrates, Pythagoras, Protagoras, Theophrastus, Heraclides, Hipparchus, and which not, even of the best and most celebrated authorities. So that, should they pass for very knowing men upon all other accounts, yet their very calumnies and reviling language would bespeak them at the greatest distance from philosophy imaginable. For emulation can never enter that godlike consort, nor such fretfulness as wants resolution to conceal its own resentments. Aristodemus then subjoined: Heraclides, you know, is a great philologist; and that may be the reason why he made Epicurus those amends for the poetic din (so, that party style poetry) and for the fooleries of Homer; or else, it may be, it was because Metrodorus had libelled that poet in so many books. But let us let these gentlemen pass at present, Zeuxippus, and rather return to what was charged upon the philosophers in the beginning of our discourse, that it is impossible to live according to their tenets. And I see not why we two may not despatch this affair betwixt us, with the good assistance of Theon; for I find this gentleman (meaning me) is already tired. Then Theon said to him,
therefore, if you please,
We will even prosecute them at the suit of the philosophers, in the following form: We'll prove, if we can, that it is impossible to live a pleasurable life according to their tenets. Bless me! said I to him, smiling, you seem to me to level your foot at the very bellies of the men, and to design to enter the list with them for their lives, whilst you go about to rob them thus of their pleasure, and they cry out to you,
no, nor good pleaders, nor good senators, nor good magistrates either;
and to excite such tender and delicate motions in our bodies as may chafe our imaginations to some jolly delight or gayety." And therefore you seem to me not so much to take off (as I may say) the pleasurable part, as to deprive the men of their very lives, while you will not leave them to live pleasurably. Nay then, said Theon, if you approve so highly of this subject, why do you not set in hand to it? By all means, said I, I am for this, and shall not only hear but answer you too, if you shall insist. But I must leave it to you to take the lead.
Then, after Theon had spoken something to excuse himself, Aristodemus said: When we had so short and fair a cut to our design, how have you blocked up the way before us, by preventing us from joining issue with the faction at the very first upon the single point of propriety! For you must grant, it can be no easy matter to drive men already possessed that pleasure is their utmost good yet to believe a life of pleasure impossible to be attained. But now the truth is, that when they failed of living becomingly they failed also of living pleasurably; for to live pleasurably without living becomingly is even by themselves allowed inconsistent.
Theon then said: We may probably resume the consideration of that in the process of our discourse; in the interim we will make use of their concessions. Now they suppose their last good to lie about the belly and such other conveyances of the body as let in pleasure and not pain; and are of opinion, that all the brave and ingenious inventions that ever have been were contrived at first for the pleasure of the belly, or the good hope of compassing such pleasure,—as the sage Metrodorus informs us. By which, my good friend, it is very plain, they found their pleasure in a poor, rotten, and unsure thing, and one that is equally perforated for pains, by the very passages they receive their pleasures by; or rather indeed, that admits pleasure but by a few, but pain by all its parts. For the whole of pleasure is in a manner in the joints, nerves, feet, and hands; and these are oft the seats of very grievous and lamentable distempers, as gouts, corroding rheums, gangrenes, and putrid ulcers. And if you apply to yourself the exquisitest of perfumes or gusts, you will find but some one small part of your body is finely and delicately touched, while the rest are many times filled with anguish and complaints. Besides, there is no part of us proof against fire, sword, teeth, or scourges, or insensible of dolors and aches; yea, heats, colds, and fevers sink into all our parts alike. But pleasures, like gales of soft wind, move simpering, one towards one extreme of the body and another towards another, and then go off in a vapor. Nor are they of any long durance, but, as so many glancing meteors, they are no sooner kindled in the body than they are quenched by it. As to pain, Aeschylus's Philoctetes affords us a sufficient testimony:—
For pain will not troll off as pleasure doth, nor imitate it in its pleasing and tickling touches. But as the clover twists its perplexed and winding roots into the earth, and through its coarseness abides there a long time; so pain disperses and entangles its hooks and roots in the body, and continues there, not for a day or a night, but for several seasons of years, if not for some revolutions of Olympiads, nor scarce ever departs unless struck out by other pains, as by stronger nails. For who ever drank so long as those that are in a fever are a-dry? Or who was ever so long eating as those that are besieged suffer hunger? Or where are there any that are so long solaced with the conversation of friends as tyrants are racking and tormenting? Now all this is owing to the baseness of the body and its natural incapacity for a pleasurable life; for it bears pains better than it doth pleasures, and with respect to those is firm and hardy, but with respect to these is feeble and soon palled. To which add, that if we are minded to discourse on a life of pleasure, these men won't give us leave to go on, but will presently confess themselves that the pleasures of the body are but short, or rather indeed but of a moment's continuance; if they do not design to banter us or else speak out of vanity, when Metrodorus tells us, We many times spit at the pleasures of the body, and Epicurus saith, A wise man, when he is sick, many times laughs in the very extremity of his distemper.
Neither can the joys of our poor bodies be smooth and equal; but on the contrary they must be coarse and harsh, and immixed with much that is displeasing and inflamed.
Zeuxippus then said: And do you not think then they take the right course to begin at the body, where they observe pleasure to have its first rise, and thence to pass to the mind as the more stable and sure part, there to complete and crown the whole?
They do, by Jove, I said; and if, after removing thither they have indeed found something more consummate than before, a course too as well agreeing with nature as becoming men adorned with both contemplative and civil knowledge. But if after all this you still hear them cry out, and protest that the mind of man can receive no satisfaction or tranquillity from anything under Heaven but the pleasures of the body either in possession or expectance, and that these are its proper and only good, can you forbear thinking they make use of the soul but as a funnel for the body, while they mellow their pleasure by shifting it from one vessel to another, as they rack wine out of an old and leaky vessel into a new one and there let it grow old, and then imagine they have performed some extraordinary and very fine thing? True indeed, a fresh pipe may both keep and recover wine that hath thus been drawn off; but the mind, receiving but the remembrance only of past pleasure, like a kind of scent, retains that and no more. For as soon as it hath given one hiss in the body, it immediately expires, and that little of it that stays behind in the memory is but flat and like a queasy fume: as if a man should lay up and treasure in his fancy what he either ate or drank yesterday, that he may have recourse to that when he wants fresh fare. See now how much more temperate the Cyrenaics are, who, though they have drunk out of the same bottle with Epicurus, yet will not allow men so much as to practise their amours by candlelight, but only under the covert of the dark, for fear seeing should fasten too quick an impression of the images of such actions upon the fancy and thereby too frequently inflame the desire. But these gentlemen account it the highest accomplishment of a philosopher to have a clear and retentive memory of all the various figures, passions, and touches of past pleasure. We will not now say, they present us with nothing worthy the name of philosophy, while they leave the refuse of pleasure in their wise man's mind, as if it could be a lodging for bodies; but that it is impossible such things as these should make a man live pleasurably, I think is abundantly manifest from hence.
For it will not perhaps seem strange if I assert, that the memory of pleasure past brings no pleasure with it if it appeared but little in the very enjoyment, or to men of such abstinence as to account it for their benefit to retire from its first approaches; when even the most amazed and sensual admirers of corporeal delights remain no longer in their gaudy and pleasant humor than their pleasure lasts them. What remains is but an empty shadow and dream of that pleasure that hath now taken wing and is fled from them, and that serves but for fuel to foment their untamed desires. Like as in those that dream they are a-dry or in love, their unaccomplished pleasures and enjoyments do but excite the inclination to a greater keenness. Nor indeed can the remembrance of past enjoyments afford them any real contentment at all, but must serve only, with the help of a quick desire, to raise up very much of outrage and stinging pain out of the remains of a feeble and befooling pleasure. Neither doth it befit men of continence and sobriety to exercise their thoughts about such poor things, or to do what one twitted Carneades with, to reckon, as out of a diurnal, how oft they have lain with Hedia or Leontion, or where they last drank Thasian wine, or at what twentieth-day feast they had a costly supper. For such transport and captivatedness of the mind to its own remembrances as this is would show a detestable and bestial restlessness and raving towards the present and hoped-for acts of pleasure. And therefore I cannot but look upon the sense of these inconveniences as the true cause of their retiring at last to a freedom from pain and a firm state of body; as if living pleasurably could lie in bare imagining this either past or future to some persons. True indeed it is, "that a sound state of body and a good assurance of its continuing must needs afford a most transcending and solid satisfaction to all men capable of reasoning."
But yet look first what work they make, while they course this same thing—whether it be pleasure, exemption from pain, or good health—up and down, first from the body to the mind, and then back again from the mind to the body, being compelled to return it to its first origin, lest it should run out and so give them the slip. Thus they place the pleasure of the body (as Epicurus says) upon the complacent joy in the mind, and yet conclude again with the good hopes that complacent joy hath in bodily pleasure. Indeed what wonder is it if, when the foundation shakes, the superstructure totter? Or that there should be no sure hope nor unshaken joy in a matter that suffers so great concussion and changes as continually attend a body exposed to so many violences and strokes from without, and having within it the origins of such evils as human reason cannot avert? For if it could, no understanding man would ever fall under stranguries, gripes, consumptions, or dropsies; with some of which Epicurus himself did conflict and Polyaenus with others, while others of them were the deaths of Neocles and Agathobulus. And this we mention not to disparage them, knowing very well that Pherecydes and Heraclitus, both very excellent persons, labored under very uncouth and calamitous distempers. We only beg of them, if they will own their own diseases and not by noisy rants and popular harangues incur the imputation of false bravery, either not to take the health of the whole body for the ground of their content, or else not to say that men under the extremities of dolors and diseases can yet rally and be pleasant. For a sound and hale constitution of body is indeed a thing that often happens, but a firm and steadfast assurance of its continuance can never befall an intelligent mind. But as at sea (according to Aeschylus)
and so will a calm too, for no man knows what will be,—so likewise is it impossible for a soul that dwells in a healthful body, and that places her good in the hopes she hath of that body, to perfect her voyage here without frights or waves. For man's mind hath not, like the sea, its tempests and storms only from without it, but it also raises up from within far more and greater disturbances. And a man may with more reason look for constant fair weather in the midst of winter than for perpetual exemption from afflictions in his body. For what else hath given the poets occasion to term us ephemeral creatures, uncertain and unfixed, and to liken our lives to leaves that both spring and fall in the lapse of a summer, but the unhappy, calamitous, and sickly condition of the body, whose very utmost good we are warned to dread and prevent? For an exquisite habit, Hippocrates saith, is slippery and hazardous. And
as it is in Euripides. And it is a vulgar persuasion, that very handsome persons, when looked upon, oft suffer damage by envy and an evil eye; for a body at its utmost vigor will through delicacy very soon admit of changes.
But now that these men are miserably unprovided for an undisturbed life, you may discern even from what they themselves advance against others. For they say that those who commit wickedness and incur the displeasure of the laws live in constant misery and fear, for, though they may perhaps attain to privacy, yet it is impossible they should ever be well assured of that privacy; whence the ever impending fear of the future will not permit them to have either complacency or assurance in their present circumstances. But they consider not how they speak all this against themselves. For a sound and healthy state of body they may indeed oftentimes possess, but that they should ever be well assured of its continuance is impossible; and they must of necessity be in constant disquiet and pain for the body with respect to futurity, never being able to reach that firm and steadfast assurance which they expect. But to do no wickedness will contribute nothing to our assurance; for it is not suffering unjustly but suffering in itself that is dismaying. Nor can it be a matter of trouble to be engaged in villanies one's self, and not afflictive to suffer by the villanies of others. Neither can it be said that the tyranny of Lachares was less, if it was not more, calamitous to the Athenians, and that of Dionysius to the Syracusans, than they were to the tyrants themselves; for it was disturbing that made them be disturbed; and their first oppressing and pestering of others gave them occasion to expect to suffer ill themselves. Why should a man recount the outrages of rabbles, the barbarities of thieves, or the villanies of inheritors, or yet the contagions of airs and the concursions of seas, by which Epicurus (as himself writeth) was in his voyage to Lampsacus within very little of drowning? The very composition of the body—it containing in it the matter of all diseases, and (to use a pleasantry of the vulgar) cutting thongs for the beast out of its own hide, I mean pains out of the body—is sufficient to make life perilous and uneasy, and that to the good as well as to the bad, if they have learned to set their complacence and assurance in the body and the hopes they have of it, and in nothing else; as Epicurus hath written, as well in many other of his discourses as in that of Man's End.
They therefore assign not only a treacherous and unsure ground of their pleasurable living, but also one in all respects despicable and little, if the escaping of evils be the matter of their complacence and last good. But now they tell us, nothing else can be so much as imagined, and nature hath no other place to bestow her good in but only that out of which her evil hath been driven; as Metrodorus speaks in his book against the Sophists. So that this single thing, to escape evil, he says, is the supreme good; for there is no room to lodge this good in where no more of what is painful and afflicting goes out. Like unto this is that of Epicurus, where he saith: The very essence of good arises from the escaping of bad, and a man's recollecting, considering, and rejoicing within himself that this hath befallen him. For what occasions transcending joy (he saith) is some great impending evil escaped; and in this lies the very nature and essence of good, if a man consider it aright, and contain himself when he hath done, and not ramble and prate idly about it. Oh, the rare satisfaction and felicity these men enjoy, that can thus rejoice for having undergone no evil and endured neither sorrow nor pain! Have they not reason, think you, to value themselves for such things as these, and to speak as they are wont when they style themselves immortals and equals to gods?—and when, through the excessiveness and transcendency of the blessed things they enjoy, they rave even to the degree of whooping and hollowing for very satisfaction that, to the shame of all mortals, they have been the only men that could find out this celestial and divine good that lies in an exemption from all evil? So that their beatitude differs little from that of swine and sheep, while they place it in a mere tolerable and contented state, either of the body, or of the mind upon the body's account. For even the more prudent and more ingenious sort of brutes do not esteem escaping of evil their last end; but when they have taken their repast, they are disposed next by fullness to singing, and they divert themselves with swimming and flying; and their gayety and sprightliness prompt them to entertain themselves with attempting to counterfeit all sorts of voices and notes; and then they make their caresses to one another, by skipping and dancing one towards another; nature inciting them, after they have escaped evil, to look after some good, or rather to shake off what they find uneasy and disagreeing, as an impediment to their pursuit of something better and more congenial.
For what we cannot be without deserves not the name of good; but that which claims our desire and preference must be something beyond a bare escape from evil. And so, by Jove, must that be too that is either agreeing or congenial to us, according to Plato, who will not allow us to give the name of pleasures to the bare departures of sorrows and pains, but would have us look upon them rather as obscure draughts and mixtures of agreeing and disagreeing, as of black and white, while the extremes would advance themselves to a middle temperament. But oftentimes unskilfulness and ignorance of the true nature of extreme occasions some to mistake the middle temperament for the extreme and outmost part. Thus do Epicurus and Metrodorus, while they make avoiding of evil to be the very essence and consummation of good, and so receive but as it were the satisfaction of slaves or of rogues newly discharged the jail, who are well enough contented if they may but wash and supple their sores and the stripes they received by whipping, but never in their lives had one taste or sight of a generous, clean, unmixed and unulcerated joy. For it follows not that, if it be vexatious to have one's body itch or one's eyes to run, it must be therefore a blessing to scratch one's self, and to wipe one's eye with a rag; nor that, if it be bad to be dejected or dismayed at divine matters or to be discomposed with the relations of hell, therefore the bare avoiding of all this must be some happy and amiable thing. The truth is, these men's opinion, though it pretends so far to outgo that of the vulgar, allows their joy but a straight and narrow compass to toss and tumble in, while it extends it but to an exemption from the fear of hell, and so makes that the top of acquired wisdom which is doubtless natural to the brutes. For if freedom from bodily pain be still the same, whether it come by endeavor or by nature, neither then is an undisturbed state of mind the greater for being attained to by industry than if it came by nature. Though a man may with good reason maintain that to be the more confirmed habit of the mind which naturally admits of no disorder, than that which by application and judgment eschews it.
But let us suppose them both equal; they will yet appear not one jot superior to the beasts for being unconcerned at the stories of hell and the legends of the gods, and for not expecting endless sorrows and everlasting torments hereafter. For it is Epicurus himself that tells us that, had our surmises about heavenly phenomena and our foolish apprehensions of death and the pains that ensue it given us no disquiet, we had not then needed to contemplate nature for our relief. For neither have the brutes any weak surmises of the gods or fond opinion about things after death to disorder themselves with; nor have they as much as imagination or notion that there is anything in these to be dreaded. I confess, had they left us the benign providence of God as a presumption, wise men might then seem, by reason of their good hopes from thence, to have something towards a pleasurable life that beasts have not. But now, since they have made it the scope of all their discourses of God that they may not fear him, but may be eased of all concern about him, I much question whether those that never thought at all of him have not this in a more confirmed degree than they that have learned to think he can do no harm. For if they were never freed from superstition, they never fell into it; and if they never laid aside a disturbing conceit of God, they never took one up. The like may be said as to hell and the future state. For though neither the Epicurean nor the brute can hope for any good thence; yet such as have no forethought of death at all cannot but be less amused and scared with what comes after it than they that betake themselves to the principle that death is nothing to us. But something to them it must be, at least so far as they concern themselves to reason about it and contemplate it; but the beasts are wholly exempted from thinking of what appertains not to them; and if they fly from blows, wounds, and slaughters, they fear no more in death than is dismaying to the Epicurean himself.
Such then are the things they boast to have attained by their philosophy. Let us now see what those are they deprive themselves of and chase away from them. For those diffusions of the mind that arise from the body, and the pleasing condition of the body, if they be but moderate, appear to have nothing in them that is either great or considerable; but if they be excessive, besides their being vain and uncertain, they are also importune and petulant; nor should a man term them either mental satisfactions or gayeties, but rather corporeal gratifications, they being at best but the simperings and effeminacies of the mind. But now such as justly deserve the names of complacencies and joys are wholly refined from their contraries, and are immixed with neither vexation, remorse, nor repentance; and their good is congenial to the mind and truly mental and genuine, and not superinduced. Nor is it devoid of reason, but most rational, as springing either from that in the mind that is contemplative and inquiring, or else from that part of it that is active and heroic. How many and how great satisfactions either of these affords us, no one can ever relate. But to hint briefly at some of them. We have the historians before us, which, though they find us many and delightful exercises, still leave our desire after truth insatiate and uncloyed with pleasure, through which even lies are not without their grace. Yea, tales and poetic fictions, while they cannot gain upon our belief, have something in them that is charming to us.
For do but think with yourself, with what a sting we read Plato's "Atlantic" and the conclusion of the "Iliad," and how we hanker and gape after the rest of the tale, as when some beautiful temple or theatre is shut up. But now the informing of ourselves with the truth herself is a thing so delectable and lovely as if our very life and being were for the sake of knowing. And the darkest and grimmest things in death are its oblivion, ignorance, and obscurity. Whence, by Jove, it is that almost all mankind encounter with those that would destroy the sense of the departed, as placing the very whole of their life, being, and satisfaction solely in the sensible and knowing part of the mind. For even the things that grieve and afflict us yet afford us a sort of pleasure in the hearing. And it is often seen that those that are disordered by what is told them, even to the degree of weeping, notwithstanding require the telling of it. So he in the tragedy who is told,
But this may seem perhaps a sort of intemperateness of delight in knowing everything, and as it were a stream violently bearing down the reasoning faculty. But now, when a story that hath in it nothing that is troubling and afflictive treats of great and heroic enterprises with a potency and grace of style such as we find in Herodotus's Grecian and in Xenophon's Persian history, or in what,
or in the Travels of Euxodus, the Foundations and Republics of Aristotle, and the Lives of Famous Men compiled by Aristoxenus; these will not only bring us exceeding much and great contentment, but such also as is clean and secure from repentance. And who could take greater satisfaction either in eating when a-hungry or drinking when a-dry amongst the Phaeacians, than in going over Ulysses's relation of his own voyage and rambles? And what man could be better pleased with the embraces of the most exquisite beauty, than with sitting up all night to read over what Xenophon hath written of Panthea, or Aristobulus of Timoclea, or Theopompus of Thebe?
But now these appertain all solely to the mind. But they chase away from them the delights that accrue from the mathematics also. Though the satisfactions we receive from history have in them something simple and equal; but those that come from geometry, astronomy, and music inveigle and allure us with a sort of nimbleness and variety, and want nothing that is tempting and engaging; their figures attracting us as so many charms, whereof whoever hath once tasted, if he be but competently skilled, will run about chanting that in Sophocles,
Nor doth Thamyras break out into poetic raptures upon any other score; nor, by Jove, Euxodus, Aristarchus, or Archimedes. And when the lovers of the art of painting are so enamoured with the charmingness of their own performances, that Nicias, as he was drawing the Evocation of Ghosts in Homer, often asked his servants whether he had dined or no, and when King Ptolemy had sent him threescore talents for his piece, after it was finished, he neither would accept the money nor part with his work; what and how great satisfactions may we then suppose to have been reaped from geometry and astronomy by Euclid when he wrote his Dioptrics, by Philippus when he had perfected his demonstration of the figure of the moon, by Archimedes when with the help of a certain angle he had found the sun's diameter to make the same part of the largest circle that that angle made of four right angles, and by Apollonius and Aristarchus who were the inventors of some other things of the like nature? The bare contemplating and comprehending of all these now engender in the learners both unspeakable delights and a marvellous height of spirit. And it doth in no wise beseem me, by comparing with these the fulsome debauchees of victualling-houses and stews, to contaminate Helicon and the Muses,—
But these are the verdant and untrampled pastures of ingenious bees; but those are more like the mange of lecherous boars and he-goats. And though a voluptuous temper of mind be naturally erratic and precipitate, yet never any yet sacrificed an ox for joy that he had gained his will of his mistress; nor did any ever wish to die immediately, might he but once satiate himself with the costly dishes and comfits at the table of his prince. But now Eudoxus wished he might stand by the sun, and inform himself of the figure, magnitude, and beauty of that luminary, though he were, like Phaethon, consumed by it. And Pythagoras offered an ox in sacrifice for having completed the lines of a certain geometric diagram; as Apollodotus tells us,
Whether it was that by which he showed that the line that regards the right angle in a triangle is equivalent to the two lines that contain that angle, or the problem about the area of the parabolic section of a cone. And Archimedes's servants were forced to hale him away from his draughts, to be anointed in the bath; but he notwithstanding drew the lines upon his belly with his strigil. And when, as he was washing (as the story goes of him), he thought of a manner of computing the proportion of gold in King Hiero's crown by seeing the water flowing over the bathing-stool, he leaped up as one possessed or inspired, crying, "I have found it;" which after he had several times repeated, he went his way. But we never yet heard of a glutton that exclaimed with such vehemence, "I have eaten," or of an amorous gallant that ever cried, "I have kissed," among the many millions of dissolute debauchees that both this and preceding ages have produced. Yea, we abominate those that make mention of their great suppers with too luscious a gust, as men overmuch taken with mean and abject delights. But we find ourselves in one and the same ecstasy with Eudoxus, Archimedes, and Hipparchus; and we readily give assent to Plato when he saith of the mathematics, that while ignorance and unskilledness make men despise them, they still thrive notwithstanding by reason of their charmingness, in despite of contempt.
These then so great and so many pleasures, that run like perpetual springs and rills, these men decline and avoid; nor will they permit those that put in among them so much as to take a taste of them, but bid them hoist up the little sails of their paltry cock-boats and fly from them. Nay, they all, both he and she philosophers, beg and entreat Pythocles, for dear Epicurus's sake, not to affect or make such account of the sciences called liberal. And when they cry up and defend one Apelles, they write of him that he kept himself clean by refraining himself all along from the mathematics. But as to history—to pass over their aversedness to other kinds of compositions—I shall only present you with the words of Metrodorus, who in his treatise of the Poets writes thus: Wherefore let it never disturb you, if you know not either what side Hector was of, or the first verses in Homer's Poem, or again what is in its middle. But that the pleasures of the body spend themselves like the winds called Etesian or Anniversary, and utterly determine when once age is past its vigor, Epicurus himself was not insensible; and therefore he makes it a problematic question, whether a sage philosopher, when he is an old man and disabled for enjoyment, may not still be recreated with having handsome girls to feel and grope him, being not, it seems, of the mind of old Sophocles, who thanked God he had at length escaped from this kind of pleasure, as from an untamed and furious master. But, in my opinion, it would be more advisable for these sensual lechers, when they see that age will dry up so many of their pleasures, and that, as Euripides saith,
in the first place to collect and lay up in store, as against a siege, these other pleasures, as a sort of provision that will not impair and decay; that then, after they have celebrated the venereal festivals of life, they may spend a cleanly after-feast in reading over the historians and poets, or else in problems of music and geometry. For it would never have come into their minds so much as to think of these purblind and toothless gropings and spurtings of lechery, had they but learned, if nothing more, to write comments upon Homer or Euripides, as Aristotle, Heraclides, and Dicaerchus did. But I verily persuade myself that their neglecting to take care for such provisions as these, and finding all the other things they employed themselves in (as they use to say of virtue) but insipid and dry, and being wholly set upon pleasure, and the body no longer supplying them with it, give them occasion to stoop to do things both mean and shameful in themselves and unbecoming their age; as well when they refresh their memories with their former pleasures and serve themselves of old ones (as it were) long since dead and laid up in pickle for the purpose, when they cannot have fresh ones, as when again they offer violence to nature by suscitating and inflaming in their decayed bodies, as in cold embers, other new ones equally senseless, they having not, it seems, their minds stored with any congenial pleasure that is worth the rejoicing at.
As to the other delights of the mind, we have already treated of them, as they occurred to us. But their aversedness and dislike to music, that affords us so great delights and such charming satisfactions, a man could not forget if he would, by reason of the inconsistency of what Epicurus saith, when he pronounceth in his book called his Doubts that his wise man ought to be a lover of public spectacles and to delight above any other man in the music and shows of the Bacchanals; and yet he will not admit of music problems or of the critical inquiries of philologists, no, not so much as at a compotation. Yea, he advises such princes as are lovers of the Muses rather to entertain themselves at their feasts either with some narration of military adventures or with the importune scurrilities of drolls and buffoons, than to engage in disputes about music or in questions of poetry. For this very thing he had the face to write in his treatise of Monarchy, as if he were writing to Sardanapalus, or to Nanarus ruler of Babylon. For neither would a Hiero nor an Attalus nor an Archelaus be persuaded to make a Euripides, a Simonides, a Melanippides, a Crates, or a Diodotus rise up from their tables, and to place such scaramuchios in their rooms as a Cardax, an Agrias, or a Callias, or fellows like Thrasonides and Thrasyleon, to make people disorder the house with hollowing and clapping. Had the great Ptolemy, who was the first that formed a consort of musicians, but met with these excellent and royal admonitions, would he not, think you, have thus addressed himself to the Samians:—
For certainly it can never belong to any Athenian to be in such enmity and hostility with the Muses. But
What sayest thou now, Epicurus? Wilt thou get thee up betimes in the morning, and go to the theatre to hear the harpers and flutists play? But if a Theophrastus discourse at the table of Concords, or an Aristoxenus of Varieties, or if an Aristophanes play the critic upon Homer, wilt thou presently, for very dislike and abhorrence, clap both thy hands upon thy ears? And do they not hereby make the Scythian king Ateas more musical than this comes to, who, when he heard that admirable flutist Ismenias, detained then by him as a prisoner of war, playing upon the flute at a compotation, swore he had rather hear his own horse neigh? And do they not also profess themselves to stand at an implacable and irreconcilable defiance with whatever is generous and becoming? And indeed what do they ever embrace or affect that is either genteel or regardable, when it hath nothing of pleasure to accompany it? And would it not far less affect a pleasurable way of living, to abhor perfumes and odors, like beetles and vultures, than to shun and abhor the conversation of learned, critics and musicians? For what flute or harp ready tuned for a lesson, or
ever gave Epicurus and Metrodorus such content as the disputes and precepts about concerts gave Aristotle, Theophrastus, Hieronymus, and Dicaerchus? And also the problems about flutes, rhythms, and harmonies; as, for instance, why the longer of two flutes of the same longitude should speak flatter?—why, if you raise the pipe, will all its notes be sharp; and flat again, if you depress it?—and why, when clapped to another, will it sound flatter; and sharper again, when taken from it?—why also, if you scatter chaff or dust about the orchestra of a theatre, will the sound be deadened?—and why, when one would have set up a bronze Alexander for a frontispiece to a stage at Pella, did the architect advise to the contrary, because it would spoil the actors' voices? and why, of the several kinds of music, will the chromatic diffuse and the harmonic compose the mind? But now the several humors of poets, their differing turns and forms of style, and the solutions of their difficult places, have conjoined with a sort of dignity and politeness somewhat also that is extremely agreeable and charming; insomuch that to me they seem to do what was once said by Xenophon, to make a man even forget the joys of love, so powerful and overcoming is the pleasure they bring us.
In this investigation these gentlemen have not the least share, nor do they so much as pretend or desire to have any. But while they are sinking and depressing their contemplative part into the body, and dragging it down by their sensual and intemperate appetites, as by so many weights of lead, they make themselves appear little better than hostlers or graziers that still ply their cattle with hay, straw, or grass, looking upon such provender as the properest and meetest food for them. And is it not even thus they would swill the mind with the pleasures of the body, as hogherds do their swine, while they will not allow it can be gay any longer than it is hoping, experiencing, or remembering something that refers to the body; but will not have it either to receive or seek for any congenial joy or satisfaction from within itself? Though what can be more absurd and unreasonable than—when there are two things that go to make up the man, a body and a soul, and the soul besides hath the perogative of governing—that the body should have its peculiar, natural, and proper good, and the soul none at all, but must sit gazing at the body and simper at its passions, as if she were pleased and affected with them, though indeed she be all the while wholly untouched and unconcerned, as having nothing of her own to choose, desire, or take delight in? For they should either pull off the vizor quite, and say plainly that man is all body (as some of them do, that take away all mental being), or, if they will allow us to have two distinct natures, they should then leave to each its proper good and evil, agreeable and disagreeable; as we find it to be with our senses, each of which is peculiarly adapted to its own sensible, though they all very strangely intercommune one with another. Now the intellect is the proper sense of the mind; and therefore that it should have no congenial speculation, movement, or affection of its own, the attaining to which should be matter of complacency to it, is the most irrational thing in the world, if I have not, by Jove, unwittingly done the men wrong, and been myself imposed upon by some that may perhaps have calumniated them.
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