On Anger, Book II, XXIX

The greatest remedy for anger is delay: beg anger to grant you this at the first, not in order that it may pardon the offence, but that it may form a right judgment about it:⁠—if it delays, it will come to an end.

Do not attempt to quell it all at once, for its first impulses are fierce; by plucking away its parts we shall remove the whole.

We are made angry by some things which we learn at secondhand, and by some which we ourselves hear or see.

Now, we ought to be slow to believe what is told us.

Many tell lies in order to deceive us, and many because they are themselves deceived.

Some seek to win our favour by false accusations, and invent wrongs in order that they may appear angry at our having suffered them.

One man lies out of spite, that he may set trusting friends at variance; some because they are suspicious, [34] and wish to see sport, and watch from a safe distance those whom they have set by the ears.

If you were about to give sentence in court about ever so small a sum of money, you would take nothing as proved without a witness, and a witness would count for nothing except on his oath.

You would allow both sides to be heard: you would allow them time: you would not despatch the matter at one sitting, because the oftener it is handled the more distinctly the truth appears.

And do you condemn your friend offhand?

Are you angry with him before you hear his story, before you have cross-examined him, before he can know either who is his accuser or with what he is charged.

Why then, just now, in the case which you just tried, did you hear what was said on both sides?

This very man who has informed against your friend, will say no more if he be obliged to prove what he says.

“You need not,” says he, “bring me forward as a witness; if I am brought forward I shall deny what I have said; unless you excuse me from appearing I shall never tell you anything.”

At the same time he spurs you on and withdraws himself from the strife and battle.

The man who will tell you nothing save in secret hardly tells you anything at all.

What can be more unjust than to believe in secret, and to be angry openly?