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Semelhante, em alguns aspectos, à anterior, esta é uma obra em que Cícero nos fala sobre a velhice, uma questão tão actual como a última de que aqui falei . Pessoalmente, creio que é uma das mais belas obras da literatura latina, mas apesar de ter momentos profundamente belos e extremamente instrutivos (alguns dos quais são parcialmente reproduzidos abaixo), também tem outros que a tornam uma obra de não tão fácil leitura para quem estiver menos habituado a estas andanças. Aqui ficam, como anteriormente, algumas citações da obra, retirados da mesma edição que usei antes:

 

- "To rebel against nature - is not that to fight like the giants with the gods?"

 

- "The consciousness of a well-spent life and the recollection of many virtuous actions are exceedingly delightful."

 

- "I find that there are four reasons for old age being thought unhappy: First, that it withdraws us from active employments; second, that it enfeebles the body; third, that it deprives us of nearly all physical pleasures; fourth, that it is the next step to death."

 

- "The great affairs of life are not performed by physical strength, or activity, or nimbleness of body, but by deliberation, character, expression of opinion."

 

- "Rashness is the note of youth, prudence of old age."

 

- "Old men retain their intellects well enough, if only they keep their minds active and fully employed."

 

- "You should use what you have, and whatever you may chance to be doing, do it with all your might."

 

- "Shall we not allow old age even the strength to teach the young, to train and equip them for all the duties of life? And what can be a nobler employment?"

 

- "To each part of our life there is something specially seasonable; so that the feebleness of children, as well as the high spirit of youth, the soberness of maturer years, and the ripe wisdom of old age - all have a certain natural advantage which should be secured in its proper season."

 

- "Many old men are so feeble that they cannot perform any duty in life of any sort or kind. That is not a weakness to be set down as peculiar to old age: it is one shared by ill health."

 

- "Pleasure hinders thought, is a foe to reason, and, so to speak, blinds the eyes of the mind."

 

- "Why then do I spend so many words on the subject of pleasure? Why, because, far from being a charge against old age, that it does not much feel the want of any pleasures, it is its highest praise."

 

- "But, you will say, it is deprived of the pleasures of the table, the heaped up board, the rapid passing of the wine-cup. Well, then, it is also free from headache, disordered digestion, broken sleep."

 

- "Old men are fretful, fidgety, ill-tempered, and disagreeable. If you come to that, they are also avaricious. But these are faults of character, not of the time of life."

 

- "Death, that is either to be totally disregarded, if it entirely extinguishes the soul, or is even to be desired, if it brings him where he is to exist forever. A third alternative, at any rate, cannot possibly be discovered. Why then should I be afraid if I am destined either not to be miserable after death or even to be happy?"

 

- "To disregard death is a lesson which must be studied from our youth up; for unless that is learnt, no one can have a quiet mind. For die we certainly must, and that too without being certain whether it may not be this very day. As death, therefore, is hanging over our head every hour, how can a man ever be unshaken in soul if he fears it?"

 

- "If some god should grant me to renew my childhood from my present age and once more to be crying in my cradle, I would firmly refuse"

 

- "Oh glorious day when I shall set out to join that heavenly conclave and company of souls, and depart from the turmoil and impurities of this world!"

 

 

Para terminar, em adição ao costumeiro convite de leitura da totalidade da obra, eu gostaria de deixar uma explicação adicional. Há umas semanas vieram-me perguntar o porquê da citação do texto destas quatro obras, e a razão é até bastante simples - sendo que estas são as únicas quatro obras que costumo recomendar a todo o tipo de leitores, achei importante não só publicitar o seu conteúdo mas também apresentar algumas das razões porque as considero tão importantes, mais do que simplesmente analisá-las, como fiz no passado e optei por não fazer nestes quatro casos. Sim, claro que para um aluno de Clássicas é importante ler a Ilíada, ou as Metamorfoses, e até Os Trabalhos e os Dias, mas essas também acabam por ser obras que, lidas da forma e no contexto que o são hoje, acabam por ter muito pouco interesse. Então, a minha recomendação destas quatro obras prende-se com o carácter intemporal dos temas nelas abordados; claro que apresentam, aqui e ali, menções à mitologia e à cultura grega e latina (das quais não devemos despojá-las, como parece ter feito, há já uns tempos, um dado palerma de um teatro português), mas também são obras com as quais podemos aprender bastante, já que nos apresentam situações pelas quais certamente teremos de passar nas nossas próprias vidas.

 

Aqui termina, então, essa referência a essas quatro obras que considero serem de especial importância. O próximo post voltará a ser sobre a mitologia, com algo de novo a ser por cá abordado.

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Nesta obra, Cícero apresenta-nos algumas interessantes considerações sobre a amizade. Aqui ficam alguns momentos dessa obra que eu considero interessantes (foram retirados da edição disponível neste link):

 

- "Friendship can only exist between good men."

 

- "Friendship may be thus defined: a complete accord on all subjects human and divine, joined with mutual goodwill and affection."

 

- "What can be more delightful than to have some one to whom you can say everything with the same absolute confidence as to yourself?"

 

- "In the face of a true friend a man sees as it were a second self."

 

- "If it were true that its material advantages cemented friendship, it would be equally true that any change in them would dissolve it."

 

- "While the most fatal blow to friendship in the majority of cases was the lust of gold, in the case of the best men it was a rivalry for office and reputation, by which it had often happened that the most violent enmity had arisen between the closest friends."

 

- "The plea of having acted in the interests of a friend is not a valid excuse for a wrong action. (...) We may then lay down this rule of friendship - neither ask nor consent to do what is wrong."

 

- "If you take away emotion, what difference remains I don't say between a man and a beast, but between a man and a stone or a log of wood, or anything else of that kind?"

 

- "The true rule is to take such care in the selection of our friends as never to enter upon a friendship with a man whom we could under any circumstances come to hate. And even if we are unlucky in our choice, we must put up with it—according to Scipio—in preference to making calculations as to a future breach."

 

- "The real limit to be observed in friendship is this: the characters of two friends must be stainless. There must be complete harmony of interests, purpose, and aims, without exception."

 

- "He must neither take pleasure in bringing accusations against us himself, nor believe them when they are brought."

 

- "First, he will be entirely without any make-believe or pretence of feeling; for the open display even of dislike is more becoming to an ingenuous character than a studied concealment of sentiment. Secondly, he will not only reject all accusations brought against his friend by another, but he will not be suspicious himself either, nor be always thinking that his friend has acted improperly."

 

- "Here is another golden rule in friendship: put yourself on a level with your friend."

 

- "People must not, for instance, regard as fast friends all whom in their youthful enthusiasm for hunting or football they liked for having the same tastes."

 

- "Another good rule in friendship is this: do not let an excessive affection hinder the highest interests of your friends. (...) There are, of course, limits to what you ought to expect from a friend and to what you should allow him to demand of you. And these you must take into calculation in every case."

 

- "There can be nothing more discreditable than to be at open war with a man with whom you have been intimate."

 

- "Our first object, then, should be to prevent a breach; our second, to secure that, if it does occur, our friendship should seem to have died a natural rather than a violent death. Next, we should take care that friendship is not converted into active hostility, from which flow personal quarrels, abusive language, and angry recriminations."

 

- "Most people unreasonably, not to speak of modesty, want such a friend as they are unable to be themselves, and expect from their friends what they do not themselves give."

 

- "If a man could ascend to heaven and get a clear view of the natural order of the universe, and the beauty of the heavenly bodies, that wonderful spectacle would give him small pleasure, though nothing could be conceived more delightful if he had but had some one to whom to tell what he had seen."

 

- "My friend Terence says in his Andria: Compliance gets us friends, plain speaking hate. (...) Plain speaking is a cause of trouble, if the result of it is resentment, which is poison of friendship; but compliance is really the cause of much more trouble, because by indulging his faults it lets a friend plunge into headlong ruin."

 

- "There are people who owe more to bitter enemies than to apparently pleasant friends: the former often speak the truth, the latter never."

 

Como de costume, para mais informações poderão ler a obra original...

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