Seneca's Morals


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Side xx - The rule is, we are to give, as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.
Side 43 - True joy is a serene and sober motion ; and they are miserably out that take laughing for rejoicing ; the seat of it is within, and there is no cheerfulness like the resolution of a brave mind, that has fortune under its feet.
Side 42 - The great blessings of mankind are within us, and within our reach ; but we shut our eyes, and like people in the dark, we fall foul upon the very thing we search for, without finding it. Tranquillity is a certain equality of mind, which no condition of fortune can either exalt or depress.
Side 69 - We have also discoursed the helps of philosophy and precept towards a happy life ; the blessing of a good conscience ; that a good man can never be miserable, nor a wicked man happy ; nor any man unfortunate that cheerfully submits to Providence. We shall now examine, how it comes to pass that, when the certain way to happiness lies so fair before us, men will yet steer their course on the other side, which as manifestly leads to ruin. There are some that live without any design at all, and only...
Side 57 - He that places a man in the possession of himself does a great thing, for wisdom does not show itself so much in precept as in life, in a firmness of mind, and a mastery of appetite ; it teaches us to do as well as to talk, and to make our words and actions all of a colour.
Side xv - ... the misplacing of a benefit is worse than the not receiving of ^t ; for the one is another man's fault; but the other is mine. The error of the giver does oft-times excuse the ingratitude of the receiver : for a favor ill-placed is rather a profusion than a benefit. It is the most shameful of losses, an inconsiderate bounty.
Side xii - There needs no great subtlety to prove, that both benefits and injuries receive their value from the intention, when even brutes themselves are able to decide this question. Tread upon a dog by chance, or put him to pain upon the dressing of a wound ; the one he passes by as an accident ; and the other, in his fashion, he acknowledges as a kindness: but, offer to strike at him, though you do him no hurt at all, he flies yet in the face of you, even for the mischief that you barely meant him.
Side 43 - ... it is the knowledge both of others and itself, it is an invincible greatness of mind, not to be elevated or dejected with good or ill fortune. It is sociable and gentle, free, steady and fearless, content within itself, full of inexhaustible delights, and it is valued for itself. One may be a good physician, a good governor, a good grammarian, without being a good man ; so that all things from without are only accessories, for the seat of it is a pure and holy mind.
Side 49 - Socrates places all philosophy in morals ; and wisdom in the distinguishing of good and evil. It is the art and law of life, and it teaches us what to do in all cases, and, like good marksmen, to hit the white at any distance.
Side 52 - What does it concern us, which was the elder of the two, Homer or Hesiod ; or which was the taller, Helen or Hecuba ? We take a great deal of pains to trace Ulysses in his wanderings, but, were it not time as well spent to look to ourselves, that we may not wander at all ? are not we ourselves tossed with tempestuous passions; and both assaulted by terrible monsters on the one hand, and tempted by Syrens on the other ? Teach me my duty to my country, to my father, to my wife, to mankind.

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