The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 214 pages of information about The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates.

Socrates answered him in the following manner:—­“You think, Antiphon, I live so poorly that I believe you would rather die than live like me.  But what is it you find so strange and difficult in my way of living?  You blame me for not taking money; is it because they who take money are obliged to do what they promise, and that I, who take none, entertain myself only with whom I think fit?  You despise my eating and drinking; is it because my diet is not so good nor so nourishing as yours, or because it is more scarce and dearer, or lastly, because your fare seems to you to be better?  Know that a man who likes what he eats needs no other ragout, and that he who finds one sort of drink pleasant wishes for no other.  As to your objection of my clothes, you appear to me, Antiphon, to judge quite amiss of the matter; for, do you not know that we dress ourselves differently only because of the hot or cold weather, and if we wear shoes it is because we would walk the easier?  But, tell me, did you ever observe that the cold hath hindered me from going abroad?  Have you ever seen me choose the cool and fresh shades in hot weather?  And, though I go barefoot, do not you see that I go wherever I will?  Do you not know that there are some persons of a very tender constitution, who, by constant exercise, surmount the weakness of their nature, and at length endure fatigues better than they who are naturally more robust, but have not taken pains to exercise and harden themselves like the others?  Thus, therefore, do not you believe that I, who have all my life accustomed myself to bear patiently all manner of fatigues, cannot now more easily submit to this than you, who have never thought of the matter?  If I have no keen desire after dainties, if I sleep little, if I abandon not myself to any infamous amour, the reason is because I spend my time more delightfully in things whose pleasure ends not in the moment of enjoyment, and that make me hope besides to receive an everlasting reward.  Besides, you know very well, that when a man sees that his affairs go ill he is not generally very gay; and that, on the contrary, they who think to succeed in their designs, whether in agriculture, traffic, or any other undertaking, are very contented in their minds.  Now, do you think that from anything whatsoever there can proceed a satisfaction equal to the inward consciousness of improving daily in virtue, and acquiring the acquaintance and friendship of the best of men?  And if we were to serve our friends or our country, would not a man who lives like me be more capable of it than one that should follow that course of life which you take to be so charming?  If it were necessary to carry arms, which of the two would be the best soldier, he who must always fare deliciously, or he who is satisfied with what he finds?  If they were to undergo a siege who would hold out longest, he who cannot live without delicacies, or he who requires nothing but what may easily be had?  One would think,

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The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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