previous next
When Zeno was told that the only ship he had remaining was cast away at sea with all her lading, he replied: Well done Fortune, that hast reduced me to the habit and life of a philosopher. And, indeed, a man that is not puffed up with conceit nor madly in love with a crowd will not, I suppose, have any reason to accuse Fortune for constraining him to live in an island, but will rather commend her for removing so much anxiety and agitation of his mind, for putting a stop to his rambles in foreign countries, to his dangers at sea, and the noise and tumult of the exchange, and for giving him a fixed, vacant, undisturbed life, such a life as he may truly call his own, describing as it were a circle about him, in which is contained the use of all things necessary. For what island is there that has not a horse, a walk, and a bath in it; that has not fishes and hares for such as delight in hunting and angling and such like sports? But the chiefest of all is, that the quiet which others thirst so much after thou commonly mayst have here without seeking. For those that are gamesters at dice, shutting up themselves at home, there are sycophants and busy spies that hunt them out, and prosecute them from their houses of pleasure and [p. 26] gardens in the suburbs, and hale them by violence before the judges or the court. But none sails to an island to give a man any disturbance, no petitioner, no borrower, no urger to suretyship, no one that comes to beg his voice when he stands candidate for an office; only the best friends and familiars, out of good-will and desire to see him, may come over thither; and the rest of his life is safe and inviolable to him, if he has the will and the skill to live at case. But he that cries up the happiness of those that run about in other countries, or spend the most of their life in inns and passage-boats, is no wiser than he is that thinks the planets in a better estate than the fixed stars. And yet every planet rolling about in its proper sphere, as in an island, keeps its order. For the sun never transgresses its limited measures, as Heraclitus says; if it did do so, the Furies, which are the attendants of Justice, would find it out and punish it.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Gregorius N. Bernardakis, 1891)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: