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[72] 20. But old age has no certain term, and there is good cause for an old man living so long as he can fulfil and support his proper duties and hold death of no account. By this means old age actually becomes more spirited and more courageous than youth. This explains the answer which Solon gave to the [p. 85] tyrant Pisistratus who asked, “Pray, what do you rely upon in opposing me so boldly?” and Solon replied, “Old age.” But the most desirable end of life is that which comes while the mind is clear and the faculties are unimpaired, when Nature herself takes apart the work which she has put together. As the builder most readily destroys the ship or the house which he has built, so Nature is the agent best fitted to give dissolution to her creature, man. Now every structure when newly built is hard to pull apart, but the old and weather-beaten house comes easily down.

Hence, it follows that old men ought neither to cling too fondly to their little remnant of life, nor give it up without a cause.

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