Why, though there is a Providence, some Misfortunes befall Good Men. You have asked me, Lucilius, why, if a Providence rules the world, it still happens that many evils befall good men. This would be more fittingly answered in a coherent work designed to prove that a Providence does preside a separate peace essay on friendship the universe, and that God concerns himself with us. 1 tionately larger or smaller volume according as they are attracted by the star we call the moon, at whose bidding the ocean surges.
But let such matters be kept for their fitting time, – all the more so, indeed, because you do not lack faith in Providence, but complain of it. I shall reconcile you with the gods, who are ever best to those who are best. 1-2 the things that seem to be evils are not really so. 5-7 Is Mucius unfortunate because he grasps the flames of the enemy with his right hand and forces himself to pay the penalty of his mistake? Tell me, then, would he be happier if he were warming his hand in his mistress’s bosom?
Is Fabricius unfortunate because, whenever he has leisure from affairs of state, he tills his fields? It is a hardship to lay hand upon oneself then let him do it. And what shall I gain thereby that all may know that these things of which I have deemed Cato worthy are not real ills. The raw recruit turns pale at the thought of a wound, but the veteran looks undaunted upon his own gore, knowing that blood has often been the price of his victory. Flee luxury, flee enfeebling good fortune, from which men’s minds grow sodden, and if nothing intervenes to remind them of the common lot, they sink, as it were, into the stupor of unending drunkenness.
What then, is the part of a good man? One unchangeable course bears along the affairs of men and gods alike. Although the great creator and ruler of the universe himself wrote the decrees of Fate, yet he follows them. Much that is hard, much that is rough will befall him, but he himself will soften the one, and make the other smooth.
Fire tests gold, misfortune brave men. See to what a height virtue must climb! The way is steep at first, and the coursers strain To climb it, fresh in the early morn. And of my heart will beat in panic fear. That Tethys, stretching out her waves below, Will often, while she welcomes, be affright To see me speeding downward from the height. I fall, it will be worth while to travel through such sights. Yet through the Bull’s fierce horns, the Centaur’s bow And raging Lion’s jaws you still must go.