Let everyone, then, say to himself, whenever he is provoked, “Am I more powerful than Philip? yet he allowed a man to curse him with impunity.
Have I more authority in my own house than the Emperor Augustus possessed throughout the world? yet he was satisfied with leaving the society of his maligner.
Why should I make my slave atone by stripes and manacles for having answered me too loudly or having put on a stubborn look, or muttered something which I did not catch?
Who am I, that it should be a crime to shock my ears?
Many men have forgiven their enemies: shall I not forgive men for being lazy, careless, and gossipping?”
We ought to plead age as an excuse for children, sex for women, freedom for a stranger, familiarity for a house-servant.
Is this his first offence? think how long he has been acceptable.
Has he often done wrong, and in many other cases? then let us continue to bear what we have borne so long.
Is he a friend? then he did not intend to do it.
Is he an enemy? then in doing it he did his duty.
If he be a sensible man, let us believe his excuses; if a fool, let us grant him pardon; whatever he may be, let us say to ourselves on his behalf, that even the wisest of men are often in fault, that no one is so alert that his carefulness never betrays itself, that no one is of so ripe a judgment that his serious mind cannot be goaded by circumstances into some hotheaded action, that, in fine, no one, however much he may fear to give offence, can help doing so even while he tries to avoid it.