Fortitudinis quaedam praecepta sunt ac paene leges, quae effeminari virum vetant in dolore. quamobrem turpe putandum est, non dico dolere (nam id quidem est interdum necesse), sed ‘saxum illud Lemnium’ clamore Philocteteo ‘funestare’,

quod eiulatu, questu, gemitu, fremitibus
resonando mutum flebiles voces refert.

huic Epicurus praecentet, si potest, cui

e viperino morsu venae viscerum
veneno imbutae taetros cruciatus cient!

sic Epicurus: ‘Philocteta, si gravis dolor, brevis.’ at iam decimum annum in spelunca iacet.
(Cicero, De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum 2.94)

Courage has its precepts and its rules, rules of constraining force, that forbid a man to show womanish weakness in pain. Hence it must be considered a disgrace, I do not say to feel pain (that is sometimes inevitable), but that ‘rock of Lemnos to outrage’* with the cries of a Philoctetes,

Till the dumb stones utter a voice of weeping,
Echoing his wails and plaints, his sighs and groanings.

Let Epicurus soothe with his spells, if he can, the man whose

Veins and vitals, from the viper’s fang
Envenom’d, throb with pangs of anguish dire.

Thus Epicurus: ‘Philoctetes! If pain is severe, it is short.’ Oh, but he has been languishing in his cave these ten years past.

* Quoted probably from the Philoctetes of Attius.

(tr. Harris Rackham, with his note)

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