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For, as it is impossible for her to be at ease while she stands in fear of death, on the other hand, if she be reassured, she can boast (which is something surpassing, as it were, the human state) that it is impossible that anxiety, anguish, fear, nay, even the least annoyance, should lodge with her:

(b) Non vultus instantis tyranni
Mente quatit solida; neque Auster
Dux inquieti turbidus Adriæ,
Nec fulminantis magna Iovis manus.[1]

(a) She has made herself mistress of her passions and lusts, mistress of destitution, shame, poverty, and all other buffets of Fortune. Let those of us who can, gain this superiority: here is the real and sovereign liberty, which gives us the power to snap our fingers[2] at force and injustice, and to laugh at prison-bars and fetters:[3]

in manicis et
Compedibus sævo te sub custode tenebo.
Ipse Deus, simul atque volam, me solvet. Opinor,
Hoc sentit: Moriar; mors ultima linea rerum est.[4]

Our religion has had no more solid human basis than contempt of life. Not only do reasonable considerations[5] lead us to this: for why should we dread the loss of a thing which, when lost, can not be regretted? And since we are threatened by so many ways of dying, is there not more harm in dreading them all than in enduring one of them?[6] (c) What does it matter when it happens, since it is inevitable? To him who said to Socrates, “The thirty tyrants have sentenced you to

  1. Neither the countenance of a threatening tyrant, nor Auster, the boisterous ruler of the stormy Adriatic, nor the mighty hand of thunder-hurling Jupiter can shake his firm soul. — Horace, Odes, III, 3.3.
  2. Faire la figue.
  3. Cf. Seneca, Epistle 26, at the end.
  4. “I will hold you captive in fetters and shackles, under the eye of a pitiless jailer.” “A god himself will set me free as soon as I so desire.” He means this, I suppose: “I shall die. Death is the end and goal of all things.” — Horace, Epistles, 1, 16.76. A figurative allusion to chariot races is intended. The alba linea marked the goal of the race.
  5. Le discours de la raison.
  6. See St. Augustine, De Civ. Dei, I, 11.54.