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
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.