Books One to Four

Online Text Page from The Wisdom of the Stoics: Selections from Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius

BOOK ONE

1
What, then, is to be done? To make the best of what is in our power, and take the rest as it natural­ly happens.

Epistles

Online Text Page from The Wisdom of the Stoics: Selections from Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius

EPISTLES

Of Writing and Speaking

No man takes satisfaction in a flux of words without choice, where the noise is more than the value. Nay, let a man have words never so much at will, he will no more speak fast than he will run, for fear his tongue should get before his wit.

The speech of a philosopher should be, like his life, composed, without pressing or stumbling, which is fitter for a mountebank than a man of sobriety and business.

Of Benefits

Online Text Page from The Wisdom of the Stoics: Selections from Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius

OF BENEFITS

A benefit is a good office, done with intention and judgment; that is to say, with a due regard to all the circumstances of what, how, why, when, where, to whom, how much, and the like. Or, otherwise, it is a voluntary and benevolent action, that delights the giver in the comfort it brings to the receiver. The very meditation of it breeds good blood and generous thoughts, and instructs us in all the parts of honor, humanity, friendship, piety, gratitude, prudence and justice.

Of a Happy Life

Online Text Page from The Wisdom of the Stoics: Selections from Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius

OF A HAPPY LIVE

There is not anything in this world, perhaps, that is more talked of, and less understood, than the business of a happy life. It is every man's wish and design; and yet not one of a thousand that knows wherein that happiness consists. We live, however, in a blind and eager pursuit of it; and the more haste we make in a wrong way, the further we are from our journey's end.

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