Πολλοὶ δ’ ἀνθρώποισι λόγοι δειλοί τε καὶ ἐσθλοὶ
προσπίπτουσ’, ὧν μήτ’ ἐκπλήσσεο, μήτ’ ἄρ’ ἐάσῃς
εἴργεσθαι σαυτόν· ψεῦδος δ’ ἤν περ τι λέγηται,
πρᾴως ἴσχ’· ὅ δέ τοι ἐρέω, ἐπὶ παντὶ τελείσθω.
μηδεὶς μήτε λόγῳ σε παρείπῃ, μήτε τι ἔργῳ,
πρῆξαι μήτ’ εἰπεῖν ὅ τι τοι μὴ βέλτερόν ἐστι·
βουλεύου δὲ πρὸ ἔργου, ὅπως μὴ μῶρα πέληται.
δειλοῦ τοι πρήσσειν τε λέγειν τ’ ἀνόητα πρὸς ἀνδρός·
ἀλλὰ τάδ’ ἐκτελέειν, ἅ σε μὴ μετέπειτ’ ἀνιήσει.
πρῆσσε δὲ μηδὲν τῶν μὴ ἐπίστασαι, ἀλλὰ διδάσκευ
ὅσσα χρεών, καὶ τερπνότατον βίον ὧδε διάξεις.
οὐδ’ ὑγιείης τῆς περὶ σῶμ’ ἀμέλειαν ἔχειν χρή.
ἀλλὰ ποτοῦ τε μέτρον καὶ σίτου γυμνασίων τε
ποιεῖσθαι. μέτρον δὲ λέγω τόδ’, ὅ μή σ’ ἀνιήσει.
εἰθίζου δὲ δίαιταν ἔχειν καθάρειον, ἄθρυπτον·
καὶ πεφύλαξό γε ταῦτα ποιεῖν, ὁπόσα φθόνον ἴσχει.
μὴ δαπανᾶν παρὰ καιρόν, ὁποῖα καλῶν ἀδαήμων·
μηδ’ ἀνελέυθερος ἴσθι· μέτρον δ’ ἐπὶ πᾶσιν ἄριστον.
πρῆσσε δὲ ταῦθ’, ἃ σε μὴ βλάψει· λόγισαι δὲ πρὸ ἔργου.
μηδ’ ὕπνον μαλακοῖσιν ἐπ’ ὄμμασι προσδέξασθαι,
πρὶν τῶν ἡμερινῶν ἔργων τρὶς ἕκαστον ἐπελθεῖν·
πῇ παρέβην; τί δ’ ἔρεξα; τί μοι δέον οὐκ ἐτελέσθη;
ἀρξάμενος δ’ απὸ πρώτου ἐπέξιθι· καὶ μετέπειτα
δειλὰ μὲν ἐκπρήξας ἐπιπλήσσεο· χρηστὰ δέ, τέρπου.
(Pseudo-Pythagoras, Carm. Aur. 21-44)
There are among men many sorts of reasonings, good and bad;
Admire them not too easily, nor reject them.
But if falsehoods be advanced, hear them with mildness, and arm thyself with patience.
Observe well, on every occasion, what I am going to tell thee:—
Let no man either by his words, or by his deeds, ever seduce thee.
Nor entice thee to say or to do what is not profitable for thyself.
Consult and deliberate before thou act, that thou mayest not commit foolish actions.
For it is the part of a miserable man to speak and to act without reflection.
But do that which will not afflict thee afterwards, nor oblige thee to repentance.
Never do anything which thou dost not understand.
But learn all thou ought’st to know, and by that means thou wilt lead a very pleasant life.
In no wise neglect the health of thy body;
But give it drink and meat in due measure, and also the exercise of which it has need.
Now by measure I mean what will not incommode thee.
Accustom thyself to a way of living that is neat and decent without luxury.
Avoid all things that will occasion envy.
And be not prodigal out of season, like one who knows not what is decent and honourable.
Neither be covetous nor niggardly; a due measure is excellent in these things.
Do only the things that cannot hurt thee, and deliberate before thou dost them.
Never suffer sleep to close thy eyelids, after thy going to bed,
Till thou hast examined by thy reason all thy actions of the day.
Wherein have I done amiss? What have I done? What have I omitted that I ought to have done?
If in this examination thou find that thou hast done amiss, reprimand thyself severely for it;
And if thou hast done any good, rejoice.
(tr. Florence M. Firth)