Now the fruit of old age, as I have often said, is the
memory of abundant blessings previously acquired.
Moreover, whatever befalls in accordance with
Nature should be accounted good; and indeed,
what is more consonant with Nature than for the
old to die? But the same fate befalls the young,
though Nature in their case struggles and rebels.
Therefore, when the young die I am reminded
of a strong flame extinguished by a torrent;
but when old men die it is as if a fire had gone out
without the use of force and of its own accord, after
the fuel had been consumed; and, just as apples
when they are green are with difficulty plucked
from the tree, but when ripe and mellow fall of
themselves, so, with the young, death comes as a
result of force, while with the old it is the result
of ripeness. To me, indeed, the thought of this
“ripeness” for death is so pleasant, that the nearer
I approach death the more I feel like one who is in
sight of land at last and is about to anchor in his
home port after a long voyage.