I The man who stated his judgement in the god's precinct in Delos made an inscription on the propylaeum to the temple of Leto, in which he separated from one another the good, the beautiful, and the pleasant as not all properties of the same thing; he wrote, 'Most beautiful is what is most just, but best is health, and pleasantest the obtaining of what one desires.' But let us disagree with him; for happiness is at once the most beautiful and best of all things and also the pleasantest.
Now about each thing and kind there are many views that are disputed and need investigation; of these some concern knowledge only, some the acquisition of things and the performance of acts as well. About those which involve speculative philosophy only we must at a suitable opportunity say what is relevant to that study. But first we must consider in what the happy life consists and how it is to be acquired, whether all who receive the epithet 'happy' become so by nature (as we become tall, short, or of different complexions), or by teaching (happiness being a sort of science), or by some sort of discipline—for men acquire many qualities neither by nature nor by teaching but by habituation, bad qualities if they are habituated to the bad, good if to the good. Or do men become happy in none of these ways, but either—like those possessed by nymphs or deities—through a sort of divine influence, being as it were inspired, or through chance? For many declare happiness to be identical with good luck.
That men, then, possess happiness through all or some of these causes is evident; for practically all new creations come under these principles—for all acts arising from intelligence may be included among acts that arise from knowledge. Now to be happy, to live blissfully and beautifully, must consist mainly in three things, which seem most desirable; for some say prudence1 is the greatest good, some virtue, and some pleasure. Some also dispute about the magnitude of the contribution made by each of these elements to happiness, some declaring the contribution of one to be greater, some that of another,—these regarding prudence as a greater good than virtue, those the opposite, while others regard pleasure as a greater good than either: and some consider the happy life to be compounded of all or two of these, while others hold it to consist in one of them alone.