ↀ XI

1"But," you say, "the exile is likely to miss his raiment and his house." Will he desire these also merely to the extent of his need? Then he will lack neither shelter nor covering; for it takes just as little to shield as to feed the body. Nature has made nothing difficult which at the same time she made necessary for man. 2But if he desires cloth of purple steeped in rich dye, threaded with gold, and damasked with various colours and patterns, it is not Nature's fault but his own if he is poor. Even if you restore to him whatever he has lost, it will do no good; for he who will need to be restored Will still lack more of all that he covets than as an exile he lacked of all that he once had. 3But if he desires tables that gleam with vessels of gold, and silver plate that boasts the names of ancient artists, bronze made costly by the crazy fad of a few, and a throng of slaves that would hamper a house however large, beasts of burden with bodies over-stuffed and forced to grow fat, and the marbles of every nation - though he should amass all these, they will no more be able to satisfy his insatiable soul than any amount of drink will ever suffice to quench the thirst of a man whose desire arises, not from need, but from the fire that burns in his vitals; for this is not thirst, but disease. 4Nor is this true only in respect to money or food. Every want that springs, not from any need, but from vice is of a like character; however much you gather for it will serve, not to end, but to advance desire. He, therefore, who keeps himself within the bounds of nature will not feel poverty; but he who exceeds the bounds of nature will be pursued by poverty even though he has unbounded wealth. Even places of exile will provide necessaries, but not even kingdoms superfluities. 5It is the mind that makes us rich; this goes with us into exile, and in the wildest wilderness, having found there all that the body needs for its sustenance, it itself overflows in the enjoyment of its own goods. The mind has no concern with money - no whit more than have the immortal gods. 6Those things that men's untutored hearts revere, sunk in the bondage of their bodies - jewels, gold, silver, and polished tables, huge and round - all these are earthly dross, for which the untainted spirit, conscious of its own nature, can have no love, sinee it is itself light and uncumbered, waiting only to be released from the body before it soars to highest heaven. 7Meanwhile, hampered by mortal limbs and encompassed by the heavy burden of the flesh, it surveys, as best it can, the things of heaven in swift and winged thought. And so the mind can never suffer exile, since it is free, kindred to the gods, and at home in every world and every age; for its thought ranges over all heaven and projects itself into all past and future time. This poor body, the prison and fetter of the soul, is tossed hither and thither upon it punishments, upon it robberies, upon it diseases work their will. But the soul itself is sacred and eternal, and upon it no hand can be laid.

<ↀX - ↀXII>