considered as things of no value the body and the
possessions of the body? Wait then, do not depart
without a reason.
Something like this ought to be said by the teacher to
ingenuous youths. But now what happens? The teacher
is a lifeless body, and you are lifeless bodies. When you
have been well filled to-day, you sit down and lament
about the morrow, how you shall get something to eat.
Wretch, if you have it, you will have it; if you have it
not, you will depart from life. The door is open.Upton has referred to the passages of Epictetus in which this
expression is used, i. 24, 20; i. 25, 18; ii. 1, 19, and others; to Seneca,
De Provid. c. 6, Ep. 91; to Cicero, De Fin. iii. 18, where there is this
conclusion: e quo apparet et sapientis esse aliquando officium excedere e vita, quum beatus sit; et stulti manere in vita quum sit
Compare Matthew vi. 31: Therefore take no thought, saying,
What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall
we be clothed? (For after al
orgot all, and ever after has added one piece of business to another. I wish that I were now by his side to
remind him of what he said when he was passing this way,
and to tell him how much better a seer I am than he is.
Well then do I say that man is an animal made for
doing nothing?The Stoics taught that man is adapted by his nature for action.
He ought not therefore to withdraw from human affairs, and indulge
in a lazy life, not even a life of contemplation and religious observances
only. Upton refers to Antoninus, v. 1, viii. 19, and Cicero, De Fin.
V. 20. Certainly not. But why are we not
active?Schweighaeuser proposes a small alteration in the Greek text, but
I do not think it necessary. When Epictetus says, Why are we not
active? He means, Why do some say that we are not active? And
he intends to say that We are active, but not in the way in which
some people are active. I have therefore added in ( ) what is necessary to make the text intelligible.(We are active.) For example,
, v. 33. Ought we not when we are digging and
ploughing and eating to sing this hymn to God? Great
is God, who has given us such implements with which we
shall cultivate the earth: great is God who has given us
hands, the power of swallowing, a stomach, imperceptible
growth, and the power of breathing while we sleep. This
is what we ought to sing on every occasion, and to sing the
greatest and most divine hymn for giving us the faculty
of comprehending these things and using a proper way.See Upton's note on o(dw=|.
Well then, since most of you have become blind, ought there
not to be some man to fill this office, and on behalf of all to
singa)/|donta is Schweighaeuser's probable emendation. the hymn to God? For what else can I do, a lame
old man, than sing hymns to God? If then I was a nightingale, I would do the part of a nightingale. if I were
a swan, I would do like a swan. But now I am a rational
creature, and I ought to praise God: this is my work; I
do it, nor will I desert this
n? To-morrow, I said, you
will find an earthen lamp: for a man only loses that which
he has. I have lost my garment. The reason is that you
had a garment. I have pain in my head. Have you any
pain in your horns? Why then are you troubled? for we
only lose those things, we have only pains about those
things which we possess.The conclusion explains what precedes. A man can have no
pain in his horns, because he has none. A man cannot be vexed
about the loss of a thing if he does not possess it. Upton says that
Epictetus alludes to the foolish quibble: If you have not lost a thing,
you have it: but you have not lost horns; therefore you have horns
(Seneca, Ep. 45). Epictetus says, You do not lose a thing when you
have it not. See Schweig.'s note.
But the tyrant will chain—what? the leg. He will
take away—what? the neck. What then will he not
chain and not take away? the will. This is why the
antients taught the maxim, Know thyself.Compare what is said in Xenophon, Mem. iv. 2, 24,
on the e
ou as a man?
Show me. Who wishes to become like you? Who
imitates you, as he imitates Socrates?—But I can cut off
your head.—You say right. I had forgotten that I must
have regard to you, as I would to a feverFebris, fever, was a goddess at Rome. Upton refers to an inscrip-
tion in Gruter 97, which begins Febri Divae. Compare Lactantius,
De falsa religione, c. 20. and the bile,
and raise an altar to you, as there is at Rome an altar
What is it then that disturbs and terrifies the mult of the pride of the nomenclator (the
announcer of the name), of the arrogance of the bedchamber man.
Even the clerk of the close-stool was an important person. Slaves
used to carry this useful domestic vessel on a journey. Horat. Sat. i. 6, 109 (Upton). How
is it that the man becomes all at once wise, when Caesar
has made him superintendent of the close stool? How is
it that we say immediately, Felicion spoke sensibly to
me. I wish he were ejected from the bedchamber, that
he might again appea
annot help me; and further, what is he to me if he
allows me to be in the condition in which I am? I now
begin to hate him. Why then do we build temples, why
set up statues to Zeus, as well as to evil daemons, such
as to Fever;See i. 19. 6, note 2. and how is Zeus the Saviour, and how the
giver of rain, and the giver of fruits? And in truth if we
place the nature of Good in any such things, all this
What should we do then? This is the inquiry of the
true philosopher who is in labour.Upton refers to a passage in the Theaetetus (p. 150, Steph.),
where Socrates professes that it is his art to discover whether a young
man's mind is giving birth to an idol (an unreality) and a falsity, or to
something productive and true; and he says (p. 151) that those who
associate with him are like women in child-birth, for they are in labour
and full of trouble nights and days much more than women, and his art has the power of stirring up and putting to rest this labour of
s; but the falsity seemed to him to be
true. Well, in acts what have we of the like kind as we
have here truth or falsehood? We have the fit and the
not fit (duty and not duty), the profitable and the unprofitable, that which is suitable to a person and that which is
not, and whatever is like these. Can then a man think
that a thing is useful to him and not choose it? He cannot. How says Medea?The Medea of Euripides, 1079, where, instead of dra=n me/llw of
Epictetus, the reading is tolmh/sw (Upton). tolmh/sw (Kirchoff),
with the best MSS., for dra=n me/llw, which, however is the reading
sited by several antient authors. Paley's Euripides, note.—
'Tis true I know what evil I shall do,
But passion overpowers the better counsel.
She thought that to indulge her passion and take vengeance on her husband was more profitable than to spare
her children. It was so; but she was deceived. Show her
plainly that she is deceived, and she will not do it; but so
long as you do not show it, what can
ant shall obtain its own good or evil.
How shall it obtain the good. If it does not admireThis is the maxim of Horace, Epp. i. 6; and Macleane's note,—
Nil admirari prope res est una, Numici,
Solaque quae possit facere et servare beatum.
on which Upton remarks that this maxim is explained very philosophically and learnedly by Lord Shaftesbury (the author of the
Characteristics), vol. iii. p. 202. Compare M. Antoninus, xii. 1,
Seneca, De Vita Beata, c. 3, writes, Aliarum rerum quae vitam
instruu he comes without these things, bring
Caesar to me and you will see how firm I am.The word is eu)staqw=. The corresponding noun is eu)sta/qeia, which
is the title of this chapter. But when
he shall come with these things, thundering and lightning,Upton supposes that Epictetus is alluding to the verse of Aristo-
phanes (Acharn. 531), where it is said of Pericles:
He flashed, he thundered, and confounded Hellas.
and when I am afraid of them, what do I do then except to
recognize my master like t
en who being free from perturbationsThe word is u(po\ a)taraci/as. Mrs. Carter thinks that the true
reading is u(po\ a)praci/as, 'through idleness' or 'having nothing to do';
and she remarks that 'freedom from perturbations' is the very thing
that Epictetus had been recommending through the whole chapter and
is the subject of the next chapter, and therefore cannot be well supposed
to be the true reading in a place where it is mentioned with contempt.
It is probable that Mrs. Carter is right. Upton thinks that Epictetus
is alluding to the Sophists, and that we should understand him as
speaking ironically: and this may also be right. Schweighaeuser attempts to explain the passage by taking 'free from perturbations' in
the ordinary simple sense; but I doubt if he has succeeded. have
leisure, or to such as are too foolish to reckon con.
And will you now, when the opportunity invites, go
and display those things which you possess, and recite
them, and make an idle show,e)mperpe
ll a man
preserve firmness and tranquillity, and at the same time
be careful and neither rash nor negligent? If he imitates
those who play at dice. The counters are indifferent; the
dice are indifferent. How do I know what the cast will
be? But to use carefully and dexterously the cast of the
dice, this is my business.Terence says (Adelphi, iv. 7)—
Si illud, quod est maxime opus, jactu non cadit,
Illud quod cecidit forte, id arte ut corrigas.
'Dexterously' is arte,' texnikw=s in Epictetus.—Upton. Thus then in life also the chief
business is this: distinguish and separate things, and say,
Externals are not in my power: will is in my power.
Where shall I seek the good and the bad? Within, in the
things which are my own. But in what does not belong
to you call nothing either good or bad, or profit or damage
or any thing of the kind.
What then? Should we use such things carelessly?
In no way: for this on the other hand is bad for the
faculty of the will, and consequently against nature;