Therefore we see that few things altogetherLuxury is of no use for body are necessary for the bodily nature, only such in each case as take pain away,a and can also spread for our use many delights; nor does nature herself ever crave anything more pleasurable, if there be no golden images of youths about the house, upholding fiery torches in their right hands that light may be provided for nightly revellings,b if the hall does not shine with silver and glitter with gold, if no crossbeams panelled and gilded echo the lyre, when all the samec stretched forth in groups upon the soft grass beside a rill of water under the branches of a tall tree men merrily refresh themselves at no great cost, especially when the weather smiles, and the season of the year besprinkles the green herbage with flowers.d And no quicker do hot fevers fly away from your body, if you have pictured tapestry and blushing purple to toss upon, than if you must lie sick under the poor man’s blanket.37
Therefore, since treasures profit nothing for our body, nor noble birth nor the glory of royalty, we must further think that for the mind also they areor mind; unprofitable; unless by any chance, when you behold your legions seething over the spacious Plaine as they evoke war in mimicry, established firm with
- aAccording to Epicurus, pleasure is limited, and the limit of pleasure for the body is reached when the natural and necessary desires are satisfied and the pain caused by want is removed. Cf. e.g. Epicurus, Ep. ad Men. 130-131, Sent. 3, 18, Cicero, Fin. 1.11.38.
- b24-26 are in imitation of Homer, Od. 7.100-102.
- cThat is, despite the lack of the luxuries listed in 24-28. The desire for such luxuries is neither natural nor necessary, and therefore must be banished. For Epicurus’ classification of desires, see Ep. ad Men. 127, Sent. 29, Cicero, Fin. 1.13.45.
- d29-33 are repeated, with minor alterations, in 5.1392-1396. For the significance of the repetition, see B. Farrington in Hermathena 81 (1953) 59-62.
- ecampi (40) probably refers to the Campus Martius at Rome. Cf. 323-332.