And yet some people say that the desire of pleasure is a natural desire, as may be proved by all animals becoming enslaved by it; as if cowardice, and fear, and all sorts of other passions were not also common to all animals, and yet these are rejected by all who use their reason. Accordingly, to be very eager in the pursuit of pleasure is to go hunting for pain. On which account Homer, wishing to represent pleasure in an odious light, says that the greatest of the gods receive no advantage from their power, but are even much injured by it, if they will allow themselves to be hurried away by the pursuit of pleasure. For all the anxiety which Jupiter, when awake, lavished on the Trojans, was lost in open day, when he abandoned himself to pleasure. And Mars, who was a most valiant deity, was put in chains by Vulcan, who was very powerless, and incurred great disgrace and punishment, when he had given himself up to irrational love; and therefore he says to the Gods, when they came to see him in fetters—
Behold, on wrongBut no one ever calls the life of Aristides a life of pleasure (ἡδὺς), but that is an epithet they apply to Smindyrides the Sybarite, and to Sardanapalus, though as far as glory went, as Theophrastus says in his book on Pleasure, it was a far more splendid one; but Aristides never devoted himself to luxury as those other men did. Nor would any one call the life of Agesilaus the king of the Lacedæmonians ἡδύς; but this name they would apply rather to the life of Ananis, a man who, as far as real glory is concerned, is totally unknown. Nor would one call the life of the heroes who fought [p. 820] against Troy ἡδύς; but they would speak in that way much more of the men of the present time; and naturally enough. For the lives of those men were destitute of any luxurious preparation, and, as I might almost say, had no seasoning to them, inasmuch as at that time there was no commercial intercourse between nations, nor were the arts of refinement carried to any degree of accuracy; but the life of men of the present day is planned with entire reference to laziness, and enjoyment, and to all sorts of pastimes.
Swift vengeance waits, and art subdues the strong.
Dwells there a god on all th' Olympian brow
More swift than Mars, and more than Vulcan slow?
Yet Vulcan conquers, and the God of arms
Must pay the penalty for lawless charms.1