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From Plutarch to Parcius,1 health and prosperity.

It was only very recently that I received your letter in which you urged me to write you something on tranquillity of mind, and also something on those subjects in the Timaeus 2 which require more careful elucidation. And at the same time it chanced that our friend Eros3 was obliged to sail at once for Rome, since he had received from the excellent Fundanus4 a letter, which, in his usual style, urged haste. But since I neither had the time I might have desired to meet your wishes nor could I bring myself to let the friend who carne from me be seen arriving at your home with hands quite empty, I gathered together from my note-books those observations on tranquillity of mind which I happened to have made for my own use, believing that you on your part requested this discourse, not for the sake of hearing a work which would aim at elegance of style, but for the practical use in living it might afford ; and I congratulate you because, though you have commanders as your friends and a reputation second to none of the forensic [p. 169] speakers of our day, your experience has not been that of Merops in the play, and because it cannot be said of you, as of him, that

The plaudits of the mob have driven you5
from those emotions given us by nature ; but you continue to remember what you have often heard, that an aristocratic shoe does not rid us of the gout, nor an expensive ring of a hangnail, nor a diadem of a headache. For what power is there in money or fame or influence at court to help us to gain ease of soul or an untroubled life, if it is not true that the use of them is pleasant to us when we have them and that we never miss them when we have them not?6 And how else can this be achieved except through reason, which has been carefully trained quickly to hold back the passionate and irrational part of the soul when it breaks bounds, as it often does, and not to allow it to flow away and be swept downstream because it does not have what it wants? Therefore, just as Xenophon7 advised that in prosperity we should be particularly mindful of the gods and should honour them, so that, when some need comes upon us, we may invoke them with the confidence that they are already well-disposed and friendly ; so also with such reasonings as give help in controlling the passions : wise men should give heed to them before the passions arise in order that, being prepared far in advance, their help may be more efficacious. For as savage dogs become excited at every strange cry and are soothed by the familiar voice only, so also the passions of the soul, when they are raging wild, are not easily [p. 171] allayed, unless customary and familiar arguments are at hand to curb the excited passions.

1 All that is known of Paccius is inferred from the present essay.

2 We possess a work of Plutarch entitled De Animae Procreatione in Timaeo, but it is addressed by the writer to his sons, Autobulus and Plutarch (Moralia, 1012 a ff.).

3 See 453 c, supra.

4 The principal speaker of De Cohibenda Ira, 452 f, supra.

5 Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag. 2, p. 606, Euripides, Frag. 778.

6 Cf. Frag. Contra Divitias, 2 (Bernardakis, vol. vii. p. 123); Lucretius, iii. 957: semper avet quod abest.

7 Cyropaedia, i. 6. 3.

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