1But, that you may not think that I am using merely the precepts of philosophers for the purpose of belittling the ills of poverty, which no man feels to be burdensome unless he thinks it so, consider, in the first place, how much larger is the proportion of poor men, and yet you will observe that they are not a whit sadder or more anxious than the rich; nay, I am inclined to think that they are happier because they have fewer things to harass their minds. Let us pass over the wealth that is almost poverty, let us come to the really rich. 2How many are the occasions on which they are just like the poor! If they go abroad, they must cut down their baggage, and whenever the pressure of the journey requires haste, they dismiss their train of attendants. And those who are in the army - how small a part of their possessions do they have with them since camp discipline prohihits every luxury? 3And not only does the necessity of certain times and places put them on a level with the poor in actual want, but, when a weariness of riches happens to seize them, they even choose certain days on which to dine on the ground and use earthen vessels, refraining from gold and silver plate. Madmen! - this state which they always dread, they sometimes even covet. O what darkness of mind, what ignorance of truth blinds those who, harassed by the fear of poverty, for pleasure's sake simulate poverty! 4As for myself, whenever I look back upon the great examples of antiquity, I am ashamed to seek any consolations for poverty, since in these times luxury has reached such a pitch that the allowance of exiles is larger than the inheritance of the chief men of old. It is well known that Homer had one slave, Plato three, that Zeno, the founder of the strict and virile school of Stoic philosophy, had none. Will any one say, therefore, that these men lived poorly without seeming from his very words to be the poorest wretch alive? 5Menenius Agrippa, who acting as mediator between the patricians and plebeians brought harmony to the state, was buried by public subscription. Atilius Regulus, when he was engaged in routing the Carthaginians in Africa, wrote to the senate that his hired- hand had absconded and left the farm abandoned; whereupon the senate decreed that, as long as Regulus was away, his farm was to be managed by the state. Was it not worth his while to have no slave in order that the Roman people might become his labourer? 6Scipio's daughters received their dowry from the public treasury because their father had left them nothing. Heaven knows! it was only fair for the Roman people to bestow tribute on Scipio just once since he was always exacting it from Carthage. O happy the maidens' husbands in having the Roman people as their father-in-law! Think you that those whose daughters dance upon the stage and wed with a dowry of a million sesterces are happier than Scipio, whose children had the senate as their guardian and received from it a weight of copper a for their dowry? 7Can any one scorn Poverty when she has a pedigree so illustrious? Can an exile chafe at suffering any need when Scipio had need of a dowry, Regulus of a hireling, Menenius of a funeral? when in the case of all of these what they needed was supplied to their greater honour for the very reason that they had had the need? With such defenders, therefore, as these the cause of poverty becomes not only safe, but greatly favoured.

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