The good and bad cannot be kept apart,Wherefore this very ancient opinion comes dowTn from writers on religion and from lawgivers to poets and philosophers ; it can be traced to no source, but it carried a strong and almost indelible conviction, and is in circulation in many places among barbarians and Greeks alike, not only in story and tradition but also [p. 111] in rites and sacrifices, to the effect that the Universe is not of itself suspended aloft without sense or reason or guidance, nor is there one Reason which rules and guides it by rudders, as it were, or by controlling reins,5 but, inasmuch as Nature brings, in this life of ours, many experiences in which both evil and good are commingled, or better, to put it very simply, Nature brings nothing which is not combined with something else, we may assert that it is not one keeper of two great vases6 who, after the manner of a barmaid, deals out to us our failures and successes in mixture, but it has come about, as the result of two opposed principles and two antagonistic forces, one of which guides us along a straight course to the right, while the other turns us aside and backward, that our life is complex, and so also is the universe ; and if this is not true of the whole of it, yet it is true that this terrestrial universe, including its moon as well, is irregular and variable and subject to all manner of changes. For if it is the law of Nature that nothing comes into being without a cause, and if the good cannot provide a cause for evil, then it follows that Nature must have in herself the source and origin of evil, just as she contains the source and origin of good.
But there is some commingling, which is well.
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1 Cf. 364 a, supra, and 376 f, infra.
2 Cf. von Arnim, Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta, ii. p. 1108, and Diogenes Laertius, vii. 134.
3 Cf. Diels, Frag. der Vorsokratiker, i. p. 87, no. b 51. Plutarch quotes this again in Moralia, 473 f and 1026 b.
4 Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag., Euripides, no. 21, from the Aeolus; quoted again in Moralia, 25 c and 474 a.
5 The language is reminiscent of a fragment of Sophocles quoted by Plutarch in Moralia, 767 e, and Life of Alexander, chap. vii. (668 b). Cf. Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag., Sophocles, no. 785. ‘A task for many reins and rudders too’ (πολλῶν χαλινῶν ἔργον οἰάκων θ᾽ ἅμα).
6 The reference is to Homer, Il. xxiv. 527-528, as misquoted in Plato, Republic, 379 d. Cf. also Moralia, 24 a (and the note), 105 c (and the ntoe), and 473 b. Moralia, 600 c, is helpful in understanding the present passage.