ↀ VI

1Therefore, putting aside the verdict of the majority who are swept away by the first appearance of things, no matter what ground they have to trust it, let us see what exile is. It is a change of place. That I may not seem to narrow its force and to subtract the worst it holds, I will admit that this changing of place is attended by disadvantages - by poverty, disgrace, and scorn. These matters I shall cope with later meanwhile, the first question that I wish to consider is what unpleasantness the mere changing of place brings with it. 2"To be deprived of one's country is intolerable," you say. But come now, behold this concourse of men, for whom the houses of huge Rome scarcely suffice; most of this throng are now deprived of their country. From their towns and colonies, from the whole world, in fact, hither have they flocked. Some have been brought by ambition, some by the obligation of a public trust, some by an envoy's duty having been laid upon them, some, seeking a convenient and rich field for vice, by luxury, some by a desire for the higher studies, some by the public spectacles; some have been drawn by friendship, some, seeing the ample opportunity for displaying energy, by the chance to work; some have presented their beauty for sale, some their eloquence for sale - 3every class of person has swarmed into the city that offers high prizes for both virtues and vices. Have all of them summoned by name and ask of each - "Whence do you hail?"? You will find that there are more than half who have left their homes and come to this city, which is truly a very great and a very beautiful one, but not their own. 4Then leave this city, which in a sense may be said to belong to all, and travel from one city to another; everyone will have a large proportion of foreign population. Pass from the cities that entice very many by their delightful situation and an advantageous position; survey the desert places and the, rockiest islands - Sciathus and Seriphus, Gyarus and Cossura; you will find no place of exile where someone does not linger of his own desire. 5What can be found so barren, what so precipitous on every side as this rock? If its resources are viewed, what is more starved? if its people, what is more uncivilized? if the very topography of the place, what is more rugged? if the character of its climate, what is more intemperate? Yet here reside more foreigners than natives. So far, therefore, is the mere changing of places from being a hardship that even this place has tempted some from their native land. 6I find some who say that nature has planted in the hurnan breast a certain restlessness that makes man seek to change his abode and find a new home; for to him has been given a mind that is fickle and restless, it lingers nowhere; it ranges to and fro, and sends forth its thoughts to all places, known and unknown - a rover, impatient of repose and happiest in the midst of new scenes. 7And this will not make you wonder if you consider its earliest origin. It was not formed from heavy and terrestrial matter, it came down from yonder spirit in the sky; but celestial things by their very nature are always in motion, they ever flee and are driven on in swiftest course. Behold the planets that light the world; no one of them stands still. The sun glides onward ceaselessly and changes from place to place, and although it revolves with the universe, it moves none the less in a direction contrary to that of the world itself, it runs through all the signs of the zodiac and never halts; its movement is incessant and it shifts from one position to another. 8All the planets are ever whirling on and passing by; as the inviolable law of Nature has decreed, they are swept from one position to another; when in the course of fixed periods of years they have rounded out their circuits, they will enter again upon the paths by which they came. What folly, then, to think that the human mind, which has been formed from the self-same elements as these divine beings, is troubled by journeying and changing its home, while God's nature finds delight or, if you will, its preservation in continuous and most speedy movement!

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