On Anger, Book III, VI

There is no greater proof of magnanimity than that nothing which befalls you should be able to move you to anger.

The higher region of the universe, being more excellently ordered and near to the stars, is never gathered into clouds, driven about by storms, or whirled round by cyclones: it is free from all disturbance: the lightnings flash in the region below it.

In like manner a lofty mind, always placid and dwelling in a serene atmosphere, restraining within itself all the impulses from which anger springs, is modest, commands respect, and remains calm and collected: none of which qualities will you find in an angry man: for who, when under the influence of grief and rage, does not first get rid of bashfulness? who, when excited and confused and about to attack someone, does not fling away any habits of shamefacedness he may have possessed? what angry man attends to the number or routine of his duties? who uses moderate language?

Who keeps any part of his body quiet? who can guide himself when in full career?

We shall find much profit in that sound maxim of Democritus which defines peace of mind to consist in not labouring much, or too much for our strength, either in public or private matters.

A man’s day, if he is engaged in many various occupations, never passes so happily that no man or no thing should give rise to some offence which makes the mind ripe for anger.

Just as when one hurries through the crowded parts of the city one cannot help jostling many people, and one cannot help slipping at one place, being hindered at another, and splashed at another, so when one’s life is spent in disconnected pursuits and wanderings, one must meet with many troubles and many accusations.

One man deceives our hopes, another delays their fulfillment, another destroys them: our projects do not proceed according to our intention.

No one is so favoured by Fortune as to find her always on his side if he tempts her often: and from this it follows that he who sees several enterprises turn out contrary to his wishes becomes dissatisfied with both men and things, and on the slightest provocation flies into a rage with people, with undertakings, with places, with fortune, or with himself.

In order, therefore, that the mind may be at peace, it ought not to be hurried hither and thither, nor, as I said before, wearied by labour at great matters, or matters whose attainment is beyond its strength.

It is easy to fit one’s shoulder to a light burden, and to shift it from one side to the other without dropping it: but we have difficulty in bearing the burdens which others’ hands lay upon us, and when overweighted by them we fling them off upon our neighbours.

Even when we do stand upright under our load, we nevertheless reel beneath a weight which is beyond our strength.