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Translated by Richard M. The Loeb Classical Library. Before using any portion of this text in any theme, essay, research paper, thesis, or dissertation, please read the disclaimer.
Page numbers in angle brackets refer to the edition cited as the source.
The Latin text, which appears on even-numbered pages, is not included here. Words or phrases singled out for indexing are marked by plus signs.
In the index, numbers in parentheses indicate how many times the item appears. A slash followed by a small letter or a number indicates a footnote at the bottom of the page.
Only notes of historical, philosophical, or literary interest to a general reader have been included. I have allowed Greek passages to stand as the scanner read them, in unintelligible strings of characters.
You need not wait for me to add that he is an old man; but I assure you that I found him hale in spirit and sturdy, although he is wresthng with a frail and feeble body. For Nature acted unfairly when she gave him a poor domicile for so rare a soul; or perhaps it was because she wished to prove to us that an absolutely strong and happy mind can lie hidden under any exterior.
Be that as it may, Claranus overcomes all these hindrances, and by despising his own body has arrived at a stage where he can despise other things also. For virtue needs nothing to set it off; it is its own great glory, and it hallows the body in which it dwells. At any rate, I have begun to regard Claranus in a different light; he seems to me handsome, and as well-setup in body as in mind.
A great man can spring from a hovel; so can a beautiful and great soul from an ugly and insignificant body. For this reason Nature seems to a Vergil, Aeneid, v. Had it been possible for her to produce souls by themselves and naked, she would have done so; as it is, Nature does a still greater thing, for she produces certain men who, though hampered in their bodies, none the less break through the obstruction.
I think Claranus has been produced as a pattern, that we might be enabled to understand that the soul is not disfigured by the ugliness of the body, but rather the opposite, that the body is beautified by the comeliness of the soul.
Now, though Claranus and I have spent very few days together, we have nevertheless had many conversations, which I will at once pour forth and pass on to you. The first day we investigated this problem: Others are of the second order, moulded in an unhappy material, such as the endurance of suffering, and self-control during severe illness.
We shall pray outright for the goods of the first class; for the second class we shall pray only if the need shall arise. There is still a third variety.
Now how can these things be equal when we compare them, if you grant that we ought to pray for the one and avoid the other? If we would make distinetions among them, we had better return to the First Good, and consider what its nature is: There you have its outward appearance, if it should ever come under a single view and show itself once in all its completeness.
But there are many aspects of it. They unfold themselves according as life varies and as actions differ; but virtue itself does not become less or greater. Whatever it has touched it brings into likeness with itself, and dyes with its own colour, It adorns our actions, our friendships, and sometimes entire households which it has entered and set in order.
Whatever it has handled it forthwith makes lovable, notable, admirable. Therefore the power and the greatness of virtue cannot rise to greater heights, because increase is denied to that which is superlatively great.
You will find nothing straighter than the straight, nothing truer than the truth, and nothing more temperate than that which is temperate. Constancy cannot advance further, any more than fidelity, or truthfulness, or loyalty.
What can be added to that which is perfect? Nothin; otherwise that was not perfect to which something has been added.
Nor can anything be added to virtue, either, for if anything can be added thereto, it must have contained a defect. Do you think that propriety, justice, lawfulness, do not also helong to the same type, and that they are kept within fixed limits?Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide.
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