It is indeed hard for a man to become truly good, foursquare in hand and feet and mind, fashioned without reproach.

Nor do I consider the words of Pittacus to be correct, although they were said by a wise man, he said that it was hard to be good.

Man's strength is but little, and futile his concerns, his lifespan short, filled with trouble on trouble; and over it death, inescapable, uniform, looms, to be dispensed in equal shares to high and low alike. 520

As you are mortal, don’t ever affirm what tomorrow will bring, or how long the man that you see in good fortune will keep it: not even the wing-spreading house-fly changes perch so fast. 521

For all things come to the same Charybdis and are flushed away, all great distinction and wealth. 522

Not even those of former times, hero sons of the lords of heaven, lived lives free of toil and danger and death unto old age.

But then death overtakes even the man who flees from the fight. 524

None wins distinction without the gods, no man, no city. God is the one who can contrive all things: in mortal life nothing is safe from harm. 526

There is no ill that men should not expect; in a short space of time God reshuffles everything. 527

When men die [for their country,] fame is their fortune, fair their fate, their tomb an altar; in the ploace of wailing there is remembrance, and their dirge is praise. This winding-sheet is such as neither mould nor Time that conquers all can fade; this sepulcher of fine men has adopted as its sacristan Greece’s good name. Witness Leonidas, the king of Sparta: he has left a monument of valor, and perennial fame. 531

All larks must sport a crest. 538

…distinguishes fair and foul. And if someone who has no shutters to his mouth cavils, why, smoke is ineffectual stuff, gold does not stain, and truth alone prevails. But God grants few men such distinction as endures throughout: it is no easy thing to keep high standards, for despite himself man is overborne by irresistible desire of gain or the scheming Love-goddess’s compelling itch or lively rivalries. Still, if he cannot keep the path of sanctity throughout his life, but to his best ability… 541

For a man to be truly good is difficult, fashioned foursquare in hands and feet and mind without blemish…Nor does the saying of Pittacus ring true to me, although a wise man was its source: he said that being good was difficult. That honor’s God’s alone: a man can’t help but sink, if he be caught by helpless circumstance. Any man’s good if his affairs go well, and bad if they go badly; so they’re best for longest, whom the immortals bless. Therefore I will not waste my allotted span of life in vain and insubstantial hope, trying to find what is not possible, a perfect human soul, of all of us who cull the broad earth’s fruits – I’ll tell you if I do. No, I commend and favor anyone who does no scurvy thing from choice – even the gods can’t find necessity. … I’m not bent on finding fault. It’s good enough for me if someone’s not a rogue or too shiftless, and knows the public good that comes from righteousness, a sane man; I’ll not criticize him, for the breed of fools is infinite. All things are fair that have no foul mixed in. 542

There is a tale that Merit dwells on high rocks, hard to climb… patrols the holy place. Not all men’s eyes may look upon her – only he who sheds heart-stinging sweat and reaches the summit of manly endeavor. 579

Who of sound mind could assent to that Lindian, Cleobulus, who against the perennial flow of rivers, the flowers of spring, the flame of the sun, the gold of the moon and swirl of the sea pitted the strength of a mere tombstone? All things yield to the gods: a stone even man’s arts can shatter. That was the thought of a fool. 581

Even silence has its reward of safety. 582

For, void of pleasure, what human life’s desirable, what monarchy? Without that, even the gods’ eternity were nothing enviable. 584

Even what’s tough becomes attractive in emergencies. 590

A glorious reputation is the last thing to sink below the earth. 594

Not even lovely skill in poetry gives any joy, unless one has the dignity of health. 604

There’s only one sun in the sky. 605

The finest single thing the Chian said: “As is the breed of leaves, even so is that of man.” Few mortals who have had that in their ears have taken it to heart, for everyone relies on hope; it’s planted in a young man’s breast. El. 19

A mortal, while he has the lovely bloom of youth, has many empty-headed, vain ideas. He has no expectation of old age or death, and while in health, has no thought of disease. They’re fools who have that attitude, and do not know the time allowed to us for youth and life is short. Take note of this, and till your days are done don’t waver, treat your soul to all that’s nice. … Ponder the [saying of a man] of old – for Homer’s tongue’s escaped [oblivion;] all-conquering Time has spared him, never dimmed his name,] [and never found his testimony] false. El. 20

My soul, I cannot be your watchful guardian. I’ve ruefully respected pure-faced Right ever since first I saw on my young growing thighs the signs that my boy’s life was at an end, and that the ivory gleam was interspersed with black, and from the snows… Restrained by inhibition…youth’s disorderly. El. 21

Wine, defence against unhappiness. El. 23

Time has sharp teeth, and gnaws all things away, even the mightiest. El. 88

A man learns from the community. El. 90

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