'Why, then, ye children of mortality,
seek ye from without that happiness whose
seat is only within us? Error and ignorance
bewilder you. I will show thee, in brief,
the hinge on which perfect happiness
turns.Is there anything more precious
to thee than thyself?Nothing, thou wilt
say.If, then, thou art master of thyself,
thou wilt possess that which thou wilt
never be willing to lose, and which Fortune
cannot take from thee.And that thou
mayst see that happiness cannot possibly
consist in these things which are the sport
of chance, reflect that,if happiness is the
highest good of a creature living in accordance
with reason, and if a thing which
can in any wise be reft away is not the
highest good, since that which cannot be
taken away is better than it, it is plain that
Fortune cannot aspire to bestow happiness
by reason of its instability.And, besides,
a man borne along by this transitory felicity
must either know or not know its unstability.
If he knows not, how poor is a
happiness which depends on the blindness
of ignorance! If he knows it, he needs
must fear to lose a happiness whose loss
he believes to be possible. Wherefore, a
never-ceasing fear suffers him not to be
happy.Or does he count the possibility
of this loss a trifling matter?Insignificant,
then, must be the good whose loss can be
borne so equably.