Felix ille animi divisque simillimus ipsis,
quem non mendaci resplendens gloria fuco
sollicitat, non fastosi mala gaudia luxus,
sed tacitos sinit ire dies et paupere cultu
exigit innocuae tranquilla silentia vitae,
urbe procul, voti exiguus; sortemque benignus
ipse suam fovet ac modico contentus acervo
non spes corde avidas, non curam pascit inanem;
securus quo sceptra cadant, cui dira minentur
astra et sanguinei iubar exitiale cometae.
non illum fragilis favor indocilisque potenti
plebs servare fidem, evectum popularibus auris,
casuro imponit solio, nec ducit hiantem
huc illuc vanos ostentans purpura fasces.
non mentem pavet ipse suam nec conscius omnes
exhorret strepitus nec edaci pectora culpa
carpitur occulte; non opportunus iniqui
iudicio vulgi aut celsa conspectus in arce
degeneri patet invidiae; non ipse vicissim
obliquo livore macet fetusque veneno
aestuat atque aliena oculis bona limat acutis.
(Angelus Politianus, Rusticus 17-37)
Happy in spirit and comparable to the gods themselves is the man who is not attracted by the lure of glory with its false splendors or by the evil pleasures of haughty luxury, but allows the days to go by quietly and in his modest way of life spends his days in the silent tranquility of a blameless life, far from the city, with few desires. He accepts his lot resignedly and is happy with his modest possessions; he does not nurture avid hopes or empty cares in his heart; he is unconcerned with the fall of kingdoms or with those who are threatened by dreadful signs in the skies and the fatal glare of a blood-red comet. Not carried away by the uncertain breezes of popular favor, he will not be placed upon a throne, destined to fall, by the common herd, who have not learned to keep faith with the powerful, nor does he allow himself to be dragged hither and yon, his mouth agape, by the purple garb which promises empty symbols of power. He is not frightened at his own thoughts, nor does his guilty conscience make him terrified at every sound, nor does gnawing guilt eat secretly away at his heart. He is not subject to the judgment of the prejudiced crowd nor is he, descried in his lofty citadel, exposed to ignoble jealousy. He in turn is not consumed by malicious envy nor does he seethe, swollen with envy’s venom, nor does he detract from another’s blessings with sharp-eyed looks. (tr. Charles Fantazzi)