Ἀθανάτους μὲν πρῶτα θεοὺς, νόμῳ ὡς διάκεινται,
τίμα· καὶ σέβου ὅρκον, ἔπειθ’ ἥρωας ἀγαυούς.
τούς τε καταχθονίους σέβε δαίμονας, ἔννομα ῥέζων.
τούς τε γονεῖς τίμα, τούς τ’ ἄγχιστ’ ἐκγεγαῶτας·
τῶν δ’ ἄλλων ἀρετῇ ποιεῦ φίλον ὅς τις ἄριστος.
πρᾴεσι δ’ εἶκε λόγοις, ἔργοισί τ’ ἐπωφελίμοισι.
μηδ’ ἔχθαιρε φίλον σὸν ἁμαρτάδος εἵνεκα μικρῆς,
ὄφρα δύνῃ· δύναμις γὰρ ἀνάγκης ἐγγύθι ναίει.
ταῦτα μὲν οὕτως ἴσθι. κρατεῖν δ’ εἰθίζεο τῶνδε,
γαστρὸς μὲν πρώτιστα, καὶ ὕπνου, λαγνείης τε,
καὶ θυμοῦ. πρήξεις δ’ αἰσχρὸν ποτε μήτε μετ’ ἄλλου,
μήτ’ ἰδίῃ· πάντων δὲ μάλιστ’ αἰσχύνεο σαυτόν·
εἶτα δικαιοσύνην ἄσκει ἔργῳ τε λόγῳ τε.
μηδ’ ἀλογίστως σαυτὸν ἔχειν περὶ μηδὲν ἔθιζε.
ἀλλὰ γνῶθι μὲν ὡς θανέειν πέπρωται ἅπασι.
χρήματα δ’ ἄλλοτε μὲν κτᾶσθαι φίλει, ἄλλοτ’ ὀλέσσαι.
ὅσσα τε δαιμονίῃσι τύχαις βροτοὶ ἄλγε’ ἔχουσιν,
ἥν ἂν μοῖραν ἕλῃς, ταύτην φέρε, μήδ’ ἀγανάκτει·
ἰᾶσθαι δὲ πρέπει, καθόσον δύνῃ. ὥδε δὲ φράζευ·
οὐ πάνυ τοῖς ἀγαθοῖς τουτῶν πολὺ μοῖρα δίδωσι.
(Pseudo-Pythagoras, Carm. Aur. 1-20)
First worship the Immortal Gods, as they are established and ordained by the Law.
Reverence the Oath, and next the Heroes, full of goodness and light.
Honour likewise the Terrestrial Dæmons by rendering them the worship lawfully due to them.
Honour likewise thy parents, and those most nearly related to thee.
Of all the rest of mankind, make him thy friend who distinguishes himself by his virtue.
Always give ear to his mild exhortations, and take example from his virtuous and useful actions.
Avoid as much as possible hating thy friend for a slight fault.
[And understand that] power is a near neighbour to necessity.
Know that all these things are as I have told thee; and accustom thyself to overcome and vanquish these passions:—
First gluttony, sloth, sensuality, and anger.
Do nothing evil, neither in the presence of others, nor privately;
But above all things respect thyself.
In the next place, observe justice in thy actions and in thy words.
And accustom not thyself to behave thyself in any thing without rule, and without reason.
But always make this reflection, that it is ordained by destiny that all men shall die.
And that the goods of fortune are uncertain; and that as they may be acquired, so may they likewise be lost.
Concerning all the calamities that men suffer by divine fortune,
Support with patience thy lot, be it what it may, and never repine at it.
But endeavour what thou canst to remedy it.
And consider that fate does not send the greatest portion of these misfortunes to good men.
(tr. Florence M. Firth)