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Epictetus. (c.A.D. 50–c.A.D. 138). The Golden Sayings of Epictetus.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.


Who then is a Stoic—in the sense that we call that a statue of Phidias which is modelled after that master’s art? Show me a man in this sense modelled after the doctrines that are ever upon his lips. Show me a man that is sick—and happy; in danger—and happy; on his death—bed—and happy; an exile—and happy; in evil report—and happy! Show me him, I ask again. So help me Heaven, I long to see one Stoic! Nay, if you cannot show me one fully modelled, let me at least see one in whom the process is at work—one whose bent is in that direction. Do me that favour! Grudge it not to an old man, to behold a sight that he has never yet beheld. Think you I wish to see the Zeus or Athena of Phidias, bedecked with gold and ivory?—Nay, show me, one of you, a human soul, desiring to be of one mind with God, no more to lay blame on God or man, to suffer nothing to disappoint, nothing to cross him, to yield neither to anger, envy, nor jealousy—in a word, why disguise the matter? one that from a man would fain become a God; one that while still imprisoned in this dead body makes fellowship with God his aim. Show me him!—Ah, you cannot! Then why mock yourselves and delude others? why stalk about tricked out in other men’s attire, thieves and robbers that you are of names and things to which you can show no title!