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Sams. Brethren, farewell; your company along I will not wish, lest it perhaps offend them

To see me girt with friends; and how the sight
Of me, as of a common enemy,

So dreaded once, may now exasperate them
I know not: lords are lordliest in their wine;
And the well-feasted priest then soonest fired
With zeal, if aught religion seem concern'd;
No less the people, on their holy-days,
Impetuous, insolent, unquenchable :
Happen what may, of me expect to hear
Nothing dishonourable, impure, unworthy
Our God, our law, my nation, or myself;
The last of me or no, I cannot warrant.

ΣΑΜ. ὦ συγγενεῖς μοι χαίρετ', οὐ γὰρ ἀξιῶ
ὑμᾶς ἔπεσθαι, μή με δυσφορῶσί πως
ὁρῶντες οὕτω τοῖς φίλοις πεφραγμένον·

νῦν δ' εἰ τὸ λεύσσειν μ' ἐχθρὸν ὡς κοινὸν πόλει,
τὸ πρὶν φόβημα πᾶσιν, ὀξυνεῖ κέαρ,
οὐκ οἶδ' ἔγωγε· δεσπόται δ' ὠνωμένοι
μάλισθ' ὕβρει ζέουσι, καὶ δαιτὸς πλέως
ἱερεὺς μάλιστα τηνικαῦτ ̓ ἤδη φιλεῖ
ὀργῇ φλέγεσθαι, θεῶν ὕπερ θυμούμενος·
τρίτος δ' ὁ δῆμος, βουθύτοις ἐν ἡμέραις,
ὑπέρκοτος λυσσᾷ τότ' ἀσβέστῳ μένει.
*χρὴ δ ̓ οὖν παθόντος οὐδὲν ἐλπίσαι κλύειν
οὔτ ̓ αἰσχρὸν, οὔτ ̓ ἄτιμον, οὔτε τοῦ Θεοῦ,
νόμων, πολίτων, τῆσδ ̓ ἀνάξιον χερός,
πότερα τελευτήσαντος, οὐκ ἔχω φράσαι.

Soph. O.C., 740



Lib. 1, 39-43.

47--ad finem.

"Felix morte tua neque in hunc servata dolorem."

Virg. Ovid, xi.

THEN let me hear no more of such mere old wives' fables as that a man is to be pitied who dies before his time. Before what time? The time allotted by nature? But she gave him life as a loan of money, for whose repayment no day is fixed. What ground, then, have you for complaint if she recalls it at her pleasure? for it was on those terms that you received it. Yet these complainers, if a little boy die, bid us bear the loss with equanimity, if a babe in the cradle forbid us even to complain. Yet surely in its case nature demanded back her gift with the harsher impatience. But it had not yet, they tell us, tasted the sweets of life; while the boy was already forming high hopes, and was beginning to enter on their accomplishment. But let me ask you, is it not considered better in other matters to gain a great part of an object than none at all; and why should it be different when life is concerned? Though there is truth

in the remark of Callimachus, that Priam shed many more tears than Troilus; still men praise the good fortune of those who have attained to a ripe age when they die.

But surely without reason, for I suppose there is no class of persons with whom a lengthening of life would be attended by a greater increase of happiness than with these. It may be true that there is no greater pleasure than the sense of experience, which age, whatever else it takes away, certainly bestows. But what do we mean by long life? What of all human things is long? What, in fact, in aught that is human is long? Are we not all

"A boy to-day—a man to-morrow—

Bowed down, ere long, by age and sorrow." Yet this being our farthest point, we call it long. For your long or short are after all but relative terms, dependent on the duration of the being to whom they are applied. On the banks of the Hypanis, which flows into the Euxine on its European shore, there exists, as Aristotle tells us, a certain tiny creature which lives but a single day; so that if one of them lives till the eighth hour, he dies at an advanced period of life; if he survives till sunset, he sinks in all the decrepitude of age; still more so, if it be on the longest day of the year. Compare our longest life with eternity, and is it much less ephemeral than that of these tiny creatures?

We see, then, that these absurdities—and I can find no lighter name for what is so utterly frivolous-merit only contempt; and that the very essence of a worthy life lies in strength and loftiness of soul; in the power of disregarding and surveying from a higher level all human affairs; and in the exercise of every virtue. For as we now live, we allow the most unworthy thoughts to unman us; and if death visits us before our horoscope is fulfilled, think that we are entitled to consider ourselues gulled and deluded, and robbed of some great advantage.

But if suspense and expectation make our life one of vexation and torture, gracious heaven, how delightful then should that journey be at the end of which there will be no care, no anxiety! How refreshing is it to turn to Thera

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