Reference > Quotations > John Bartlett, comp. > Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. > Epictetus
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John Bartlett (1820–1905).  Familiar Quotations, 10th ed.  1919.
 
Epictetus. (A.D. c. 50–c. 138)
 
 
1
    To a reasonable creature, that alone is insupportable which is unreasonable; but everything reasonable may be supported.
          Discourses. Chap. ii.
2
    Yet God hath not only granted these faculties, by which we may bear every event without being depressed or broken by it, but like a good prince and a true father, hath placed their exercise above restraint, compulsion, or hindrance, and wholly without our own control.
          Discourses. Chap. vi.
3
    In a word, neither death, nor exile, nor pain, nor anything of this kind is the real cause of our doing or not doing any action, but our inward opinions and principles.
          Discourses. Chap xi.
4
    Reason is not measured by size or height, but by principle.
          Discourses. Chap. xii.
5
    O slavish man! will you not bear with your own brother, who has God for his Father, as being a son from the same stock, and of the same high descent? But if you chance to be placed in some superior station, will you presently set yourself up for a tyrant?
          Discourses. Chap. xiii.
6
    When you have shut your doors, and darkened your room, remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not alone; but God is within, and your genius is within,—and what need have they of light to see what you are doing?
          Discourses. Chap. xiv.
7
    No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.
          Discourses. Chap. xv.
8
    Any one thing in the creation is sufficient to demonstrate a Providence to an humble and grateful mind.
          Discourses. Chap. xvi.
9
    Were I a nightingale, I would act the part of a nightingale; were I a swan, the part of a swan.
          Discourses. Chap. xvi.
10
    Since it is Reason which shapes and regulates all other things, it ought not itself to be left in disorder.
          Discourses. Chap. xvii.
  
  
  
11
    If what the philosophers say be true,—that all men’s actions proceed from one source; that as they assent from a persuasion that a thing is so, and dissent from a persuasion that it is not, and suspend their judgment from a persuasion that it is uncertain,—so likewise they seek a thing from a persuasion that it is for their advantage.
          Discourses. Chap. xviii.
12
    Practise yourself, for heaven’s sake, in little things; and thence proceed to greater.
          Discourses. Chap. xviii.
13
    Every art and every faculty contemplates certain things as its principal objects.
          Discourses. Chap. xx.
14
    Why, then, do you walk as if you had swallowed a ramrod?
          Discourses. Chap. xxi.
15
    When one maintains his proper attitude in life, he does not long after externals. What would you have, O man?
          Discourses. Chap. xxi.
16
    Difficulties are things that show what men are.
          Discourses. Chap. xxiv.
17
    If we are not stupid or insincere when we say that the good or ill of man lies within his own will, and that all beside is nothing to us, why are we still troubled?
          Discourses. Chap. xxv.
18
    In theory there is nothing to hinder our following what we are taught; but in life there are many things to draw us aside.
          Discourses. Chap. xxvi.
19
    Appearances to the mind are of four kinds. Things either are what they appear to be; or they neither are, nor appear to be; or they are, and do not appear to be; or they are not, and yet appear to be. Rightly to aim in all these cases is the wise man’s task.
          Discourses. Chap. xxvii.
20
    The appearance of things to the mind is the standard of every action to man.
          That we ought not to be angry with Mankind. Chap. xxviii.
21
    The essence of good and evil is a certain disposition of the will.
          Of Courage. Chap. xxix.
22
    It is not reasonings that are wanted now; for there are books stuffed full of stoical reasonings.
          Of Courage. Chap. xxix.
23
    For what constitutes a child?—Ignorance. What constitutes a child?—Want of instruction; for they are our equals so far as their degree of knowledge permits.
          That Courage is not inconsistent with Caution. Book ii. Chap. i.
24
    Appear to know only this,—never to fail nor fall.
          That Courage is not inconsistent with Caution. Book ii. Chap. i.
25
    The materials of action are variable, but the use we make of them should be constant.
          How Nobleness of Mind may be consistent with Prudence. Chap. v.
26
    Shall I show you the muscular training of a philosopher? “What muscles are those?”—A will undisappointed; evils avoided; powers daily exercised; careful resolutions; unerring decisions.
          Wherein consists the Essence of Good. Chap. viii.
27
    Dare to look up to God and say, “Make use of me for the future as Thou wilt. I am of the same mind; I am one with Thee. I refuse nothing which seems good to Thee. Lead me whither Thou wilt. Clothe me in whatever dress Thou wilt.”
          That we do not study to make Use of the established Principles concerning Good and Evil. Chap. xvi.
28
    What is the first business of one who studies philosophy? To part with self-conceit. For it is impossible for any one to begin to learn what he thinks that he already knows.
          How to apply general Principles to particular Cases. Chap. xvii.
29
    Every habit and faculty is preserved and increased by correspondent actions,—as the habit of walking, by walking; of running, by running.
          How the Semblances of Things are to be combated. Chap. xviii.
30
    Whatever you would make habitual, practise it; and if you would not make a thing habitual, do not practise it, but habituate yourself to something else.
          How the Semblances of Things are to be combated. Chap. xviii.
31
    Reckon the days in which you have not been angry. I used to be angry every day; now every other day; then every third and fourth day; and if you miss it so long as thirty days, offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God.
          How the Semblances of Things are to be combated. Chap. xviii.
32
    Be not hurried away by excitement, but say, “Semblance, wait for me a little. Let me see what you are and what you represent. Let me try you.”
          How the Semblances of Things are to be combated. Chap. xviii.
33
    Things true and evident must of necessity be recognized by those who would contradict them.
          Concerning the Epicureans. Chap. xx.
34
    There are some things which men confess with ease, and others with difficulty.
          Of Inconsistency. Chap. xxi.
35
    Who is there whom bright and agreeable children do not attract to play and creep and prattle with them?
          Concerning a Person whom he treated with Disregard. Chap. xxiv.
36
    Two rules we should always have ready,—that there is nothing good or evil save in the will; and that we are not to lead events, but to follow them.
          In what Manner we ought to bear Sickness. Book iii. Chap. x.
37
    In every affair consider what precedes and what follows, and then undertake it. 1
          That Everything is to be undertaken with Circumspection. Chap. xv.
38
    There is a fine circumstance connected with the character of a Cynic,—that he must be beaten like an ass, and yet when beaten must love those who beat him, as the father, as the brother of all.
          Of the Cynic Philosophy. Chap. xxii.
39
    First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.
          Concerning such as read and dispute ostentatiously. Chap. xxiii.
40
    Let not another’s disobedience to Nature become an ill to you; for you were not born to be depressed and unhappy with others, but to be happy with them. And if any is unhappy, remember that he is so for himself; for God made all men to enjoy felicity and peace.
          That we ought not to be affected by Things not in our own Power. Chap. xxiv.
41
    Everything has two handles,—one by which it may be borne; another by which it cannot.
          Enchiridion. xliii.
 
Note 1.
See Publius Syrus, Quotation 76. [back]
 

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