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Such contentment and change of view toward every kind of life is created by reason when it has been engendered within us. Alexander wept when he heard Anaxarchus1 discourse about an infinite number of worlds, and when his friends inquired what ailed him, ‘Is it not worthy of tears,’ he said, ‘that, when the number of worlds is infinite,2 we have not [p. 179] yet become lords of a single one?’ But Crates, though he had but a wallet and a threadbare cloak, passed his whole life jesting and laughing as though at a festival. It was, indeed, burdensome to Agamemnon to be lord of many men :
Agamemnon you shall know, King Atreus' son,
Whom, beyond all, Zeus cast into a mesh
Of never-ending cares3;
but Diogenes, when he was being sold at auction,4 lay down on the ground and kept mocking the auctioneer; when this official bade him arise, he would not, but joked and ridiculed the man, saying, ‘Suppose you were selling a fish?’ And Socrates,5 though in prison, discoursed on philosophic themes to his friends; but Phaethon, when he had mounted up to heaven, wept because no one would deliver to him his father's horses and chariot.

So, just as the shoe is turned with the foot, and not the contrary, so do men's dispositions make their lives like themselves. For it is not, as someone6 has said, habituation which makes the best life sweet to those who have chosen it, but wisdom which makes the same life at once both best and sweetest. Therefore let us cleanse the fountain of tranquillity that is in our own selves, in order that external things also, as if our very own and friendly, may agree with us when we make no harsh use of them : [p. 181]

It does no good to rage at circumstance ;
Events will take their course with no regard
For us. But he who makes the best of those
Events he lights upon will not fare ill.7

1 Diels, Frag. d. Vorsokratiker 5, ii. p. 238, A 11; this Anaxarchus accompanied Alexander to India (Diogenes Laertius, ix. 61).

2 Cf. F. M. Cornford, Cl. Quart., xxviii. (1934), 1 ff. on ‘Innumerable Worlds in Presocratic Philosophy.’

3 Homer, Il., x. 88-89.

4 Cf. Diogenes Laertius, vi. 29.

5 Cf. Moralia, 607 f.

6 A Pythagorean precept, cf. Moralia, 602 b, 47 b-c, 123 c; probably not Democritus, as Hirzel (Hermes, xiv. 367) suggests, or Seneca, as Apelt in his translation of Plutarch supposes.

7 Euripides, Bellerophon, Frag. 287 (Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag. 2, p. 446); quoted also in De Vita et Poesi Homeri, 153 (Bernardakis, vol. vii. p. 424).

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