Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

LCL 58: 96-97

Go To Section
Go To Section

Marcus Aurelius

εἶναι, μεγαλόψυχον, σώφρονα, ἔμφρονα, ἀπρόπτωτον, ἀδιάψευστον, αἰδήμονα, ἐλεύθερον, τἄλλα, ὧν παρόντων ἡ φύσις ἡ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἀπέχει τὰ ἴδια; μέμνησο λοιπὸν ἐπὶ παντὸς τοῦ εἰς λύπην σε προαγομένου, τούτῳ χρῆσθαι τῷ δόγματι· “Οὐχ ὅτι τοῦτο ἀτύχημα, ἀλλὰ τὸ φέρειν αὐτὸ γενναίως εὐτύχημα.”

ν΄. Ἰδιωτικὸν μέν, ὅμως δὲ ἀνυστικὸν βοήθημα πρὸς θανάτου καταφρόνησιν ἡ ἀναπόλησις τῶν γλίσχρως ἐνδιατριψάντων τῷ ζῆν. τί οὖν αὐτοῖς πλέον ἢ τοῖς ἀώροις; πάντως πού ποτε κεῖνται, Καδικιανός, Φάβιος, Ἰουλιανός, Λέπιδος, ἢ εἴ τις τοιοῦτος, οἳ πολλοὺς ἐξήνεγκαν, εἶτα ἐξηνέχθησαν· ὅλον, μικρόν ἐστι τὸ διάστημα, καὶ τοῦτο δι᾿ ὅσων καὶ μεθ᾿ οἵων ἐξαντλούμενον καὶ ἐν οἵῳ σωματίῳ; μὴ οὖν ὡς πρᾶγμα. βλέπε γὰρ ὀπίσω τὸ ἀχανὲς τοῦ αἰῶνος, καὶ τὸ πρόσω ἄλλο ἄπειρον. ἐν δὴ τούτῳ, τί διαφέρει ὁ τριήμερος τοῦ τριγερηνίου;

να΄. Ἐπὶ τὴν σύντομον ἀεὶ τρέχε· σύντομος δὲ ἡ κατὰ φύσιν, ὥστε κατὰ τὸ ὑγιέστατον πᾶν λέγειν καὶ πράσσειν. ἀπαλλάσσει γὰρ ἡ τοιαύτη πρόθεσις κόπων καὶ στρατείας,1 καὶ πάσης οἰκονομίας καὶ κομψείας.


Book IV

high-minded, chaste, sensible, deliberate, straightforward, modest, free, and from possessing all the other qualities, the presence of which enables a man’s nature to come fully into its own? Forget not in future, when anything would lead thee to feel hurt, to take thy stand upon this axiom: This is no misfortune, but to bear it nobly is good fortune.

50. An unphilosophical but none the less an effective help to the contemning of death is to tell over the names of those who have clung long and tenaciously to life. How are they better off than those who were cut off before their time? After all, they lie buried somewhere at last, Cadicianus, Fabius, Julianus, Lepidus, and any others like them, who after carrying many to their graves were at last carried to their own.1 Small, in any point of view, is the difference2 in length, and that too lived out to the dregs amid what great cares and with what sort of companions and in what kind of a body! Count it then of no consequence. For look at the yawning gulf of Time behind thee, and before thee at another Infinity to come. In this Eternity the life of a baby of three days and the life of a Nestor of three centuries3 are as one.4

51. Run ever the short way; and the short way is the way of Nature, that leads to all that is most sound in speech and act. For a resolve such as this is a release from troubles and strife, from all mental reservation5 and affectation.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.marcus_aurelius-meditations.1916