In the beginning Nature seems to have made great account of our bodies, having placed in plain sight our frame and such parts of our structure as have a comely appearance, while she has covered and concealed those parts of the body bestowed for the needs of nature, which might have an unshapely and ugly aspect. Now, the poets will determine from the type of the character in hand, what befits each character. In these matters there are two extremes to be especially shunned, — on the one hand, effeminacy or daintiness, on the other, coarseness or rusticity. On the other hand, it is under all circumstances to be shunned, and it is desirable that those who preside over the state should be like the laws, which are led to inflict punishment, not by anger, but by justice. I think that I have sufficiently expounded the way in which specific duties are derived under the several divisions of the right. "Marcus Tullius Cicero, On Duties I Quotes." one, the taking of unknown things for known, and giving our assent to them too hastily, which fault he who wishes to escape (and all ought so to wish) will give time and diligence to reflect on the subjects proposed for his consideration.
I am surprised that Panaetius should not have done this; for the rational treatment of any subject ought to take its start from definition, that readers may understand what the author is writing about. 9. If any one endeavors to obtain more for himself, he will violate the law of human society. Yet reference must be had to the persons present; for we are not all interested in the same things, at all times, and in a similar degree. 7. But in every form of injustice it makes a very essential difference whether the wrong be committed in some disturbance of mind, which is generally brief and temporary, or whether it be done advisedly, and with premeditation. They are 13. Preferring not the people’s praise to safety, 28. Under other circumstances a very large house is apt to bring discredit to its owner if it have the air of loneliness, especially if under some former owner it used to be thronged. and … It is of these that I am going to treat in the present work. Thus, not long ago, Marcus Crassus1 pronounced no property sufficient for one who meant to hold a foremost place in the republic, unless its income would enable him to support an army. Yet some, whether by happy fortune, or by goodness of nature, or by parental discipline, enter upon the right way of living. Here it may be well to trace back the social relations of men to their principles in nature. Again, who does not perceive that promises extorted by fear, or obtained by fraud, are not to be kept? Nor is it true, as some say, that it is on account of the necessities of life — because we could not obtain and accomplish what nature demands without the aid of others — that fellowship and society were initiated among men, but that if everything appertaining to subsistence and comfortable living were supplied for us, so to speak, as by a magic wand, every person of excelling genius, giving up all other concerns, would occupy himself wholly in knowledge and science. 8. Moreover, this first constituent of greatness consists in two things, in accounting the right alone as good, and in freedom from all disturbing passions: for to hold in light esteem, and on fixed and firm principles to despise, objects which to most persons seem excellent and splendid, is the token of a brave and great soul; and to bear those reputedly bitter experiences which are so many and various in human life and fortunes, in such a way as to depart in no wise from the deportment that is natural to you, in no wise from the dignity befitting a wise man, is the index of a strong mind and of great steadfastness of character. Although these four are connected and intertwined with one another, yet duties of certain kinds proceed from each of them; as from the division first named, including wisdom and prudence, proceed the investigation and discovery of truth, as the peculiar office of that virtue. Thus theft, fraud, and adultery are shameful in fact, but it is not obscene to call them by their names; while to perpetuate one’s family is right in fact, yet obscene in name. both as to public speaking and as to philosophical discussion. Nor ought any one to be led into the error of supposing that, if Socrates or Aristippus2 did or said anything contrary to custom and to legal usage, he may regard the like as lawful for himself. Still further, it is not irrelevant to treat of the duties of magistrates and of those in private life, of citizens1 and of foreigners.
Thus no other animal feels the beauty, elegance, symmetry, of the things that he sees; while by nature and reason, man, transferring these qualities from the eyes to the mind, considers that much more, even, are beauty, consistency, and order to be preserved in purposes and acts, and takes heed that he do nothing indecorous or effeminate, and still more, that in all his thoughts and deeds he neither do nor think anything lascivious. Men are sometimes unwilling to incur the enmity, or the labor, or the cost involved in such defence; or by mere carelessness, indolence, sloth, or engrossment in pursuits or employments of their own, they are so retarded in their movements as to leave undefended those whom they ought to protect. In what way the right and the becoming differ is more easily felt than told; for whatever it is that constitutes becomingness, it makes its appearance when the right has gone before; and thus the becoming is not confined to the division of the right now under discussion, but is equally manifest in the three other divisions. Since the same duties are not assigned to different periods of life, some belonging to the young, others to those more advanced in years, this distinction needs to be spoken of. Most of all, however, large numbers of persons are led to lose sight of justice by the craving for military commands, civic honors, and fame.
For there is no topic omitted by them that could relate to laws, to morals, to the government of the state; so that they seem to have bestowed their leisure on our business.1 Thus the very men who are devoted to the pursuit of learning and wisdom employ their intelligence and practical discretion chiefly for the benefit of mankind. Our field1 for athletic exercises, and the amusement of the chase, furnish proper examples of sport. Posidonius1 has brought together a great many of these things, some of them so foul, so indecent, that it would be offensive even to name them.
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