we have once changed our calling in life, we must
take all possible care to make it clear that we have
done so with good reason.
But whereas I said a moment ago that we have to
follow in the steps of our fathers, let me make the
following exceptions: first, we need not imitate
their faults; second, we need not imitate certain
other things, if our nature does not permit such
imitation; for example, the son of the elder Africanus (that Scipio who adopted the younger Africanus,
the son of Paulus) could not on account of ill-health.
be so much like his father as Africanus had been
like his. If, then, a man is unable to conduct cases
at the bar or to hold the people spell-bound with
his eloquence or to conduct wars, still it will be his
duty to practise these other virtues, which are within
his reach—justice, good faith, generosity, temperance, self-control—
that his deficiencies in other respects may be less conspicuous. The noblest heritage,
however, that is handed down from fathers to children,
And one more precious than any inherited wealth, is
a reputation for virtue and worthy deeds; and to dishonour this must be branded as a sin and a shame.