Let us therefore, when we are alone, question with
ourselves concerning the things that have befallen us, considering them as heavy loads. The body, we know, is
under pressure by a burden lying upon it; but the soul
oft-times adds a further weight of her own to things. A
stone is hard and ice is cold by nature, not by any thing
from without happening to make such qualities and impressions upon them. But as for banishment and disgraces and
loss of honors (and so for their contraries, crowns, chief
rule, and precedency of place), our opinion prescribing the
measure of our joys or sorrows and not the nature of the
things themselves, every man makes them to himself light
or heavy, easy to be borne or grievous. You may hear
Polynices's answer to this question,
JOCAST. But say, is't so deplorable a case
To live in exile from one's native place?
POLYN. It's sad indeed; and whatsoe'er you guess,
'Tis worse to endure than any can express.
But you may hear Alcman in quite another strain, as
the epigrammatist has brought him in saying:
Sardis, my ancient fatherland,
Hadst thou, by Fate's supreme command,
My helpless childhood nourished,
I must have begg'd my daily bread,
Or else, a beardless priest become,
Have toss'd Cybele frantic down.
Now Alcman I am call'd—a name
Inscribed in Sparta's lists of fame,
Whose many tripods record bear
Of solemn wreaths and tripods rare,
Achieved in worship at the shrine
Of Heliconian maids divine,
By whose great aid I'm mounted higher
Than Gyges or his wealthy sire.
Thus one man's opinion makes the same thing commodious, like current money, and another man's unserviceable