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On Fortune
by [?]

Sec. VI. So wisdom is neither gold, nor silver, nor fame, nor wealth, nor health, nor strength, nor beauty. What is it then? It is what can use all these well, and that by means of which each of these things becomes pleasant and esteemed and useful, and without which they are useless; and unprofitable and injurious, and a burden and disgrace to their possessor. So Hesiod’s Prometheus gives very good advice to Epimetheus, “not to receive gifts from Olympian Zeus but to send them back,”[956] meaning external things and things of fortune. For as if he urged one who knew nothing of music not to play on the pipe, or one who knew nothing of letters not to read, or one who was not used to horses not to ride, so he advised him not to take office if he were foolish, nor to grow rich if he were illiberal, nor to marry if likely to be ruled by his wife. For success beyond their merit is to foolish persons a cause of folly, as Demosthenes said,[957] and good fortune beyond their merit is to those who are not sensible a cause of misfortune.[958]


[946] A line from Chaeremon.

[947] Better known as Paris.

[948] “Oedipus Tyrannus,” 110, 111. Wyttenbach compares Terence, “Heauton Timorumenos,” 675. “Nil tam difficilest, quin quaerende investigari possiet.”

[949] Soph., Frag. 723.

[950] AEschylus, Fragm. 180. Reading [Greek: antidoula] with Reiske and the MSS.

[951] Euripides, “AEolus,” Fragm. 27.

[952] Homer, “Odyssey,” viii. 246, 247.

[953] Soph., Frag. 724.

[954] “The Worker.” Generally a title of Athene, as Pausanias, i. 24; iii. 17; v. 14; vi. 26; viii. 32; ix. 26. Gataker thinks [Greek: kai ten] should be expunged. Hercher omits [Greek: kai ten ‘Athenan] altogether.

[955] So Hercher after Madvig. See Pliny, “Hist. Nat.,” XXXV. 36, 20.

[956] Hesiod, “Works and Days,” 86, 87.

[957] “Olynth.,” i. 23.

[958] The whole of this essay reminds one of the well-known lines of Juvenal, twice repeated–namely, x. 365, 366; and xiv. 315, 316:–

“Nullum numen habes, si sit prudentia; nos te,
Nos facimus, Fortuna, deam caeloque locamus.”