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[24arg] Remarks of Marcus Cato, who declared that he lacked many things, yet desired nothing.

MARCUS CATO, ex-consul and ex-censor, says that when the State and private individuals were abounding in wealth, his country-seats were plain and [p. 487] unadorned, and not even whitewashed, up to the seventieth year of his age. And later he uses these words on the subject: 1 “I have no building, utensil or garment bought with a great price, no costly slave or maidservant. If I have anything to use,” he says, “I use it; if not, I do without. So far as I am concerned, everyone may use and enjoy what he has.” Then he goes on to say: “They find fault with me, because I lack many things; but I with them, because they cannot do without them.” This simple frankness of the man of Tusculum, who says that he lacks many things, yet desires nothing, truly has more effect in inducing thrift and contentment with small means than the Greek sophistries of those who profess to be philosophers and invent vain shadows of words, declaring that they have nothing and yet lack nothing and desire nothing, while all the time they are fevered with having, with lacking, and with desiring.

1 O.R.F., p. 146, Meyer2.

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