Tuesday

May 21

FREEDOM is the name of virtue ; and slavery, of vice.

EPICTETUS. FRAGMENTS. 7.

NO one is free, who doth not command himself.

E. F. 109.

WHAT is wickedness? It is that which many times and often thou hast already seen and known in the world. And so oft as anything doth happen that might otherwise trouble thee, let this memento presently come to thy mind, that it is that which thou hast already often seen and known. Generally, above and below, thou shalt find but the same things. The very same things whereof ancient stories, middle-age stories, and fresh stories are full: whereof towns are full, and houses full. There is nothing that is new. All things that are, are both usual and of little continuance.

MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book ii. I.

Monday

May 20

CEASE to make yourselves slaves, first of things, and then upon their account, of the men who have the power either to bestow or take them away. Is there any advantage then to be gained from these men? From all, even from a reviler. What advantage doth a wrestler gain from him with whom he exercises himself, before the combat? The greatest. Why, just in the same manner I exercise myself with this man. He exercises me in patience, in gentleness, in meekness. Is my neighbour a bad one? He is so to himself; but a good one to me. He exercises my good temper, my moderation. Is my father bad? To himself, but not to me. "This is the rod of Hermes. Touch with it whatever you please, and it will become gold." No; but bring whatever you please, and I will turn it into good. Bring sickness, death, want, reproach, capital trial. All these, by the rod of Hermes, shall turn to advantage.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book iii. 20, 1.

Sunday

May 19

WE will allow those creatures only to be free who do not endure captivity; but, as soon as they are taken, die, and escape. Thus Diogenes somewhere says, that the only way to freedom is to die with ease. And he writes to the Persian king, “You can no more enslave the Athenians than you can fish." — "How? What, shall not I take them?" — "If you do take them," says he, " they will leave you, and be gone like fish. For take a fish, and it dies. And, if the Athenians too die as soon as you have taken them, of what use are your warlike preparations?” This is the voice of a free man, who had examined the matter in earnest, and, as it might be expected, found it out. But, if you seek it where it is not, what wonder if you never find it?

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book iv. I, 6.

Saturday

May 18

DIOGENES used to say, "Ever since Antisthenes made me free, I have ceased to be a slave." How did he make him free? Hear what he says. “He taught me what was my own, and what not. An estate is not my own. Kindred, domestics, friends, reputation, familiar places, manner of life, all belong to another."

"What is your own, then?"

"The use of the appearances of things. He showed me that I have this, not subject to restraint or compulsion; no one can hinder or force me to use them any otherwise than I please. Who, then, after this, hath any power over me? Philip, or Alexander, or Perdiccas, or the Persian king? Whence should they have it? For he that is to be subdued by man must, long before, be subdued by things. He, therefore, of whom neither pleasure nor pain, nor fame nor riches, can get the better, and who is able, whenever he thinks fit, to throw away his whole body with contempt, and depart, whose slave can he ever be?"

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book iii. 23, 4.

Friday

May 17

PRISCUS HELVIDIUS, when Vespasian had sent to forbid his going to the senate, answered, "It is in your power to prevent my continuing a senator; but while I am one, I must go." "Well then, at least be silent there."—" Do not ask my opinion, and I will be silent."—"But I must ask it."—" And I must speak what appears to me to be right."—"But if you do, I will put you to death."—" Did I ever tell you that I was immortal? You will do your part, and I mine: It is yours to kill, and mine to die intrepid; yours to banish me, mine to depart untroubled."
What good, then, did Priscus do, who was but a single person? Why what good does the purple do to the garment? What but the being a shining character in himself, and setting a good example to others? Another, perhaps, if in such circumstances Caesar had forbidden his going to the senate, would have answered, “I am obliged to you for excusing me." But such a one he would not have forbidden to go, well knowing that he would either sit like a statue, or, if he spoke, he would say what he knew to be agreeable to Caesar, and would overdo it by adding still more.
EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book i. 2, 4, 5.

Thursday

May 16

I WOULD be the purple, that small and shining thing, which gives a lustre and beauty to the rest.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book i. 2, 3.

FOR as for him who is the Administrator of all, he will make good use of thee whether thou wilt or no, and make thee (as a part and member of the whole) so to co-operate with him, that whatsoever thou doest, shall turn to the furtherance of his own counsels, and resolutions. But be not thou for shame such a part of the whole, as that vile and ridiculous verse (which Chrysippus in a place doth mention) is a part of the Comedy.

MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book vi. 37.

PAY in, before you are called upon, what is due to the public, and you will never be asked for what is not due.

EPICTETUS. FRAGMENTS. 72.

Wednesday

May 15

IS freedom anything else than the power of living as we like?

Nothing else.

Well tell me, then, do you like to live in error?

We do not. No one, sure, that lives in error is free.

Do you like to live in fear? Do you like to live in sorrow? Do you like to live in perturbation?

By no means.

No one, therefore, in a state of fear, or sorrow, or perturbation, is free; but whoever is delivered from sorrow, fear, and perturbation, by the same means is delivered likewise from slavery.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book ii. §I, ¶4.