Menexenus by Plato. - HTML preview
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Some of us have fathers and mothers still living, and we hanging in suspense on other men, or changing with the would urge them, if, as is likely, we shall die, to bear the vicissitude of their fortune,has his life ordered for the best.
calamity as lightly as possible, and not to condole with one He is the temperate and valiant and wise; and when his another; for they have sorrows enough, and will not need riches come and go, when his children are given and taken any one to stir them up. While we gently heal their wounds, away, he will remember the proverbNeither rejoicing over-let us remind them that the Gods have heard the chief part much nor grieving overmuch, for he relies upon himself.
of their prayers; for they prayed, not that their children might And such we would have our parents to bethat is our word live for ever, but that they might be brave and renowned.
and wish, and as such we now offer ourselves, neither la-And this, which is the greatest good, they have attained. A menting overmuch, nor fearing overmuch, if we are to die at mortal man cannot expect to have everything in his own this time. And we entreat our fathers and mothers to retain life turning out according to his will; and they, if they bear these feelings throughout their future life, and to be assured their misfortunes bravely, will be truly deemed brave fa-that they will not please us by sorrowing and lamenting over thers of the brave. But if they give way to their sorrows, us. But, if the dead have any knowledge of the living, they either they will be suspected of not being our parents, or will displease us most by making themselves miserable and we of not being such as our panegyrists declare. Let not by taking their misfortunes too much to heart, and they will either of the two alternatives happen, but rather let them be please us best if they bear their loss lightly and temperately.
our chief and true panegyrists, who show in their lives that For our life will have the noblest end which is vouchsafed to they are true men, and had men for their sons. Of old the man, and should be glorified rather than lamented. And if saying, Nothing too much, appeared to be, and really was, they will direct their minds to the care and nurture of our well said. For he whose happiness rests with himself, if pos-wives and children, they will soonest forget their misfortunes, sible, wholly, and if not, as far as is possible,who is not and live in a better and nobler way, and be dearer to us.