Aretēs

Κάλλος μὲν γὰρ ἢ χρόνος ἀνήλωσεν ἢ νόσος ἐμάρανε· πλοῦτος δὲ κακίας μᾶλλον ἢ καλοκαγαθίας ὑπηρέτης ἐστίν, ἐξουσίαν μὲν τῇ ῥᾳθυμίᾳ παρασκευάζων, ἐπὶ δὲ τὰς ἡδονὰς τοὺς νέους παρακαλῶν· ῥώμη δὲ μετὰ μὲν φρονήσεως ὠφέλησεν, ἄνευ δὲ ταύτης πλείω τοὺς ἔχοντας ἔβλαψε, καὶ τὰ μὲν σώματα τῶν ἀσκούντων ἐκόσμησε, ταῖς δὲ τῆς ψυχῆς ἐπιμελείαις ἐπεσκότησεν. ἡ δὲ τῆς ἀρετῆς κτῆσις, οἷς ἂν ἀκιβδήλως ταῖς διανοίαις συναυξηθῇ, μόνη μὲν συγγηράσκει, πλούτου δὲ κρείττων, χρησιμωτέρα δὲ εὐγενείας ἐστί, τὰ μὲν τοῖς ἄλλοις ἀδύνατα δυνατὰ καθιστᾶσα, τὰ δὲ τῷ πλήθει φοβερὰ θαρσαλέως ὑπομένουσα, καὶ τὸν μὲν ὄκνον ψόγον, τὸν δὲ πόνον ἔπαινον ἡγουμένη.
(Isocrates 1.6-7)

For beauty is spent by time or withered by disease; wealth ministers to vice rather than to nobility of soul, affording means for indolent living and luring the young to pleasure; strength, in company with wisdom, is, indeed, an advantage, but without wisdom it harms more than it helps its possessors, and while it sets off the bodies of those who cultivate it, yet it obscures the care of the soul. But virtue, when it grows up with us in our hearts without alloy, is the one possession which abides with us in old age; it is better than riches and more serviceable than high birth; it makes possible what is for others impossible; it supports with fortitude that which is fearful to the multitude; and it considers sloth a disgrace and toil an honor. (tr. George Norlin)

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