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Therefore in such accidents, it is but reasonable that they who are in their right senses should avoid both extremes, of being without any passion at all and of having too much; for as the one argues a mind that is obstinate and fierce, so the other doth one that is soft and effeminate.

[p. 301] He therefore hath cast up his accounts the best, who, confining himself within due bounds, hath such ascendant over his temper, as to bear prosperous and adverse fortune with the same equality, whichsoever it is that happens to him in this life. He puts on those resolutions as if he were in a popular government where magistracy is decided by lot; if it luckily falls to his share, he obeys his fortune, but if it passeth him, he doth not repine at it. So we must submit to the dispensation of human affairs, without being uneasy and querulous. Those who cannot do this want prudence and steadiness of mind to bear more happy circumstances; for amongst other things which are prettily said, this is one remarkable precept of Euripides:—

If Fortune prove extravagantly kind,
Above its temper do not raise thy mind;
If she disclaims thee like a jilting dame,
Be not dejected, but be still the same,
Like gold unchanged amidst the hottest flame.

For it is the part of a wise and well-educated man, not to be transported beyond himself with any prosperous events, and so, when the scene of fortune changeth, to observe still the comeliness and decency of his morals. For it is the business of a man that lives by rule, either to prevent an evil that threatens him, or, when it is come, to qualify its malignity and make it as little as he can, or put on a masculine brave spirit and so resolve to endure it. For there are four ways that prudence concerns herself about any thing that is good; she is either industrious to acquire or careful to preserve, she either augments or useth it well. These are the measures of prudence, and consequently those of all other virtues, by which we ought to square ourselves in either fortune.

For no man lives who always happy is.1

And, by Jove, you should not hinder what ought to be done,— [p. 302]

Those things which in their nature ought to be.2

1 From the Stheneboea of Euripides, Frag. 632.

2 From Euripides.

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