The Life of Petrarch: Collected from Memoires Pour la Vie de Petrarch, Volume 2

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Page 184 - When I consider the instability of human affairs, and the variations of fortune, I find nothing more uncertain or restless than the life of man. Nature has given to animals an excellent remedy under disasters, which is the ignorance of them. We seem better treated in intelligence, foresight, and memory. No doubt these are admirable presents ; but they often annoy more than they assist us. A prey to unuseful or distressing cares, we are tormented by the present, the past, and the future ; and, as...
Page 184 - ... or restless than the life of man. Nature has given to animals an excellent remedy under disasters, which is the ignorance of them. We seem better treated in intelligence, foresight, and memory. No doubt these are admirable presents ; but they often annoy more than they assist us. A prey to unuseful or distressing cares, we are tormented by the present, the past, and the future ; and, as if we feared we should not be miserable enough, we join, to the evil we suffer the remembrance of a former...
Page 185 - Fortune : we quit her standard, and the combat is no longer equal. Fortune mocks us ; she turns us on her wheel ; she raises and abases us at her pleasure, but her power is founded on our weakness This is an old-rooted evil, but it is not incurable : there is nothing a firm and elevated mind cannot accomplish. The discourse of the wise and the study of good books are the best remedies...
Page 188 - Nothing of this is new to me; I have foreseen, and am prepared for it all." I am sensible that, in the disorders of the mind, as well as those of the body, discourses are not thought the most efficacious remedies; but I am persuaded also that the malady of the soul...
Page 186 - Experience has taught me this, not books or arguments. I have seen many persons sustain great losses, poverty, exile, tortures, death, and even disorders that were worse than death, with courage ; but I have seen none whose heads have not been turned by power, riches, and honours. How often have we beheld those overthrown by good fortune, who could never be shaken by bad ! This made me wish to learn how to support a great fortune. You know the short time this work has taken. I have been less attentive...
Page 184 - ... the latter part in grief and remorse, and the whole in error : nor do we suffer ourselves to possess one bright day without a cloud. Let us examine this matter with sincerity, and we shall agree that our distresses chiefly arise from ourselves. It is virtue alone which can render us superior to Fortune : we quit her standard, and the combat is no longer equal. Fortune mocks us ; she turns us on her wheel ; she raises and abases us at her pleasure, but her power is founded on our weakness This...
Page 186 - ... read, it may be useful to furnish your mind with some maxims that may best serve to arm you against the assaults of misfortune. The vulgar, and even philosophers, have decided that adverse fortune was most difficult to sustain. For my own part I am of a different opinion, and believe it more easy to support adversity than prosperity; and that fortune is more treacherous and dangerous when she caresses than when she dismays. Experience has taught me this, not books or arguments. I have seen many...
Page 105 - I rise at midnight ; I go out at break of day ; I study in the fields as in my library ; I read, I write, I dream ; I struggle against indolence, luxury, and pleasure. I wander all day among the arid mountains, the fresh valleys, and the deep caverns. I walk much on the banks of the Sorgue, where I meet no one to distract me. I recall the past, I deliberate on the future ; and...
Page 188 - I am sensible that in the disorders of the mind, as well as those of the body, discourses are not thought the most efficacious remedies : but I am persuaded also that the malady of the soul ought to be cured by spiritual applications.
Page 185 - The discourse of the wise, and the study of good books, are the best remedies 1 know of; but to these we must join the consent of the soul, without which the best advice will be useless. What gratitude do we not owe to those great men who, though dead many ages before us, live with us by their works, discourse with us, are our masters and guides, and serve us as pilots in the navigation of life, where our vessel is agitated without ceasing by the storms of our passions! It is here that true philosophy...

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