Men were most happy in former ages, content with the yield of
fertile fields, and not yet ruined by indolent luxury. Their hunger
was easily satisfied by acorns. They did not know the potent mixture
of wine and honey; they had not learned to color fine silk of Syria
with Tyrian dye. They slept soundly on the soft grass, drank
from the running streams, and rested in the shade of the high pines.
Travelers had not yet sailed the high seas to visit foreign ports with
their merchandise. Trumpets of war were silent, and blood had
not with fierce hate dyed red the gory fields. For how could hostile
fury drive men to take up arms when war offered no rewards for
gaping wounds except the blood that was spilled? Would that our age
could return to those ancient virtues; but now man's avarice burns
more fiercely than Aetna's fires. Who was he that first dug up the
buried gold, the gems that wished to remain hidden, and with them
all our costly dangers?