ↀ IX

1"But," you say, "this land yields no fruitful or pleasing trees; it is watered by the channels of no great or navigable rivers; it produces nothing that other nations desire, it scarcely bears enough to support its own inhabitants; no costly marble is quarried here, no veins of gold and silver are unearthed." 2But it is a narrow mind that finds its pleasure in earthly things; it should turn from these to those above, which everywhere appear just the same, everywhere are just as bright. This, too, we must bear in mind, that earthly things because of false and wrongly accepted values cut off the sight of these true goods. The longer the rich man extends his colonnades, the higher he lifts his towers, the wider he stretches out his mansions, the deeper he digs his caverns for summer, the huger loom the roofs of the banquet-halls he rears, so much the more there will be to hide heaven from his sight. 3Has misfortune cast you into a country where the most sumptuous shelter is a hut? Truly you show a paltry spirit and take to yourself mean comfort if you bear this bravely only because you know the hut of Romulus. Say, rather, this: "This lowly hovel, I suppose, gives entrance to the virtues? When justice, when temperance, when wisdom and righteousness and understanding of the proper apportionment of all duties and the knowledge of God and man are seen therein, it will straightway become more stately than any temple. No place that can hold this concourse of such great virtues is narrow; no exile can be irksome to which one may go in such company as this."

4Brutus, in the book he wrote on virtue, says that he saw Marcellus in exile at Mytilene, living as happily as the limitations of human nature permit, and that he had never been more interested in liberal studies than he was at that time. And so he adds that, when he was about to return to Rome without him, he felt that he himself was going into exile instead of leaving him behind in exile. 5How much more favoured was Marcellus at that time when as an exile he won the approval of Brutus than when as consul he won the approval of the state! What a man he must have been to have made any one feel that he himself was an exile because he was parting from an exile! What a man he must have been to have drawn to himself the admiration of one whom Cato, his kinsman, had to admire! 6Brutus says, too, that Gaius Caesar had sailed past Mytilene because he could not bear to see a hero in disgrace. The senate did indeed by public petitions secure his recall, being meanwhile so anxious and sad that all its members on that day seemed to feel as Brutus did and to be pleading, not for Marcellus, but for themselves, lest they should be exiles if they should be left without him; but he attained far more on that day when Brutus could not bear to leave him, and Caesar to see him as an exile! For he was so fortunate as to have testimony from both - Brutus grieved to return without Marcellus, but Caesar blushed! 7Can you doubt that Marcellus, great hero that he was, often encouraged himself by such thoughts as these to bear his exile with patience? "The mere loss of your country is not unhappiness. You have so steeped yourself in studies as to know that to the wise man every place is his country. And, besides, the very man who drove you forth - was be not absent from his country through ten successive years? His reason was, it is true, the extension of the empire, but for all that he was away from his country. 8See! now he is drawn toward Africa, which is rife with menace as war again lifts up its head; he is drawn toward Spain, which is nursing back the strength of crushed and shattered forces; he is drawn toward faithless Egypt - in short, toward the whole world, waiting for a chance to strike the stricken empire. Which matter shall he cope with first? Toward what quarter set his face? Throughout all lands shall he be driven, a victim of his own victory. Him let the nations reverence and worship, but do you live content to have Brutus an admirer!"

<ↀVIII - ↀX>