BOOK I, CHAPTER XI
(c) And, on the other hand, they who believe the following statement, believe it mistakenly: Ista sic reciprocantur, ut et, si divinatio sit, dii sint; et, si dii sint, sit divinatio. Much more wisely Pacuvius says:
Nam istis qui linguam avium intelligunt,
Plusque ex alieno jecore sapiunt quam ex suo,
Magis audiendum quam auscultandum censeo.
The Tuscans’ celebrated art of divination originated thus: A ploughman, driving his plough deep, saw Tages rise out of the earth — a demigod with the face of a child but an old man’s wisdom. Every one hastened to the place, and his words and his learning, embodying the principles and processes of this art, were collected and preserved for many centuries. An origin consonant with its growth. (b) I should
- A wise god conceals in thick darkness the outcome of the future, and laughs if some mortal is more alarmed than he should be. … He will be master of himself and happy, who can say each day, “I have lived; to-morrow let the father cover the heavens with a dark cloud or with pure sunshine.” — Horace, Odes, III, 29.29-32, 41-45.
- The mind happy in the present shuns all thought of the future. — Ibid., II, 16.25. The Essay ended here in the early editions.
- Thus the argument is converted: If there be an art of divination, there are gods; and if there be gods, there is an art of divination. — Cicero, De Divin., I, 6.
- As for those who understand the language of birds and learn more from the liver of a beast than from their own thought, they should be heard, I think, rather than heeded. — Ibid., I, 57.
- See Ibid., II, 23.