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Athens (Greece) (search for this): book 1, poem 1
than what is just delights. But he who desires only so much as is sufficient, neither drinks water fouled with the mud, nor loses his life in the waves. But a great majority of mankind, misled by a wrong desire, cry, "No sum is enough; because you are esteemed in proportion to what you possess." What can one do to such a tribe as this? Why, bid them be wretched, since their inclination prompts them to it. As a certain person is recorded [to have lived] at Athens, covetous and rich, who was wont to despise the talk of the people in this manner: "The crowd hiss me; but I applaud myself at home, as soon as I contemplate my money in my chest." The thirsty Tantalus catches at the streams, which elude his lips. Why do you laugh? The name changed, the tale is told of you. You sleep upon your bags, heaped up on every side, gaping over them, and are obliged to abstain from them, as if they were consecrated things, or to amuse yourself
Aufidus (Italy) (search for this): book 1, poem 1
nature, whether he plow a hundred or a thousand acres? "But it is still delightful to take out of a great hoard." While you leave us to take as much out of a moderate store why should you extol your granaries, more than our cornbaskets? As if you had occasion for no more than a pitcher or glass of water, and should say, "I had rather draw [so much] from a great river, than the very same quantity from this little fountain." Hence it comes to pass, that the rapid Aufidus carries away, together with the bank, such men as an abundance more copious than what is just delights. But he who desires only so much as is sufficient, neither drinks water fouled with the mud, nor loses his life in the waves. But a great majority of mankind, misled by a wrong desire, cry, "No sum is enough; because you are esteemed in proportion to what you possess." What can one do to such a tribe as this? Why, bid them be wretched, since their inclin
Tanais (Russia) (search for this): book 1, poem 1
nner as a Nomentanus?" You are going [now] to make things tally, that are contradictory in their natures. Pugnantia frontibus adversis means what we express by "diametrically opposite." The allusion in frontibus adversis is to a fight between bulls or rams, who butt each other with their heads. When I bid you not be a miser, I do not order you to become a debauchee or a prodigal. There is some difference between the case of Tanais and his son-in-law Visellius: there is a mean in things; finally, there are certain boundaries, on either side of which moral rectitude can not exist. I return now whence I digressed. Does no one, after the miser's example, like his own station, but rather praise those who have different pursuits; and pines, because his neighbor's she-goat bears a more distended udder; nor considers himself in relation to the greater multitude of poor; but labors to surpass, first
Jupiter (Canada) (search for this): book 1, poem 1
that sect. not to keep you in suspense, hear to what an issue I will bring the matter. If any god should say, "Lo! I will effect what you desire: you, that were just now a soldier, shall be a merchant; you, lately a lawyer [shall be] a farmer. Do ye depart one way, and ye another, having exchanged the parts you are to act in life. How now! Why do you stand?" They are unwilling; and yet it is in their power to be happy. What reason can be assigned, but that Jupiter should deservedly distend both his cheeks in indignation, and declare that for the future he will not be so indulgent as to lend an ear to their prayers? But further, that I may not run over this in a laughing manner, like those [who treat] on ludicrous subjects (though what hinders one being merry, while telling the truth? as good-natured teachers at first give cakes to their boys, that they may be willing to learn their first rudiments: raillery, however, ap