Ancient teachings

The Golden Verses

of Pythagoras of Samos

1. First, worship the immortal gods, as the law ordains.

2. Reverence thy oath, and next, the illustrious heroes.

3. Then supplicate the good terrestrial daemons with the proper offerings.

4. Honour also thy parents, and those most nearly related to thee.

5. Of other men, make him your friend, who is most distinguished by virtue.

6. Listen to his kind words, and copy his good deeds.

7. Do not hate thy friends for a small fault.

8. Now, Power is a near neighbour to necessity.

9. Know these things; accustom thyself to being the master of thy passion.

10. First gluttony, then sloth, luxury, and anger.

11. Do no shameful act in private with thyself, nor with another.

12. And above all things, respect thyself.

13. In the next place, be just both in deed and word.

14. And let it not be thy habit to behave thyself thoughtlessly.

15. But consider this, -- that all must die.

16. And that as the good things of fortune may be acquired, so they may be lost.

17. As to those calamities which befall men through divine fortune.

18. If thou suffer, suffer in patience, and resent them not.

19. Do thy best to remedy them, and bear in Mind,

20. That destiny does not give the largest share to good men.

21. Many sorts of reasonings, good and bad, are to be found amoungst men.

22. But be not disturbed by them, not allow them to harass thee.

23. But, if anything false of thee be put forth, bear it patiently.

24. Listen now carefully to what I am about to tell thee.

25. Let no one ever seduce thee by their words or acts.

26. Nor make thee do what is not seemly.

27. Deliberate before doing, in order that what thou doest, may not be foolish.

28. For it is the part of the stupid man to speak and act without thought.

29. But do thou act so that thou shalt not be troubled by the result.

30. Do nothing also which thou doest not understand.

31. But learn all that thou shouldst know, and so shalt thou live a pleasant life.

32. Neglect not the health of thy body.

33. Be moderate in food, drink, and exercise.

34. Now by moderation, I mean that which will not injure thee.

35. Accustom thyself to a style of living which is simple, but not luxurious.

36. Avoid anything which might give rise to envy.

37. Spend not unseasonably, as one who knows not what is right.

38. Be not niggardly nor covetous.

39. Moderation in all things is most excellent.

40. Do only those things which cannot hurt thee, and think before doing.

41. Never sleep before going over the acts of the day in the mind.

45. Practise thoroughly all these maxims; think on them; love them.

46. This will put thee in the way of right virtue.

47. I swear it by him, who has put into our soul, the quaternion.

48. Who is the eternal source of nature?

49. Go to thy work only after having prayed the gods to accomplish it.

50. Having done this, thou shalt know the constitution of the immortal gods, and of mortal men.

52. Thou shalt know also, according to right, that nature is alike in all.

53. So that thou shalt not hope for that which thou shouldst not, and nothing shall be hidden from thee.

54. Thou shalt know also that men draw their misfortunes upon themselves.

55. Wretches! They neither see, nor understand.

56. Few know how to free themselves from their own misfortune.

57. Such is the fate that takes away the senses of men.

58. Some, like wheels are carried in one direction, some in another, pressed down by ills innumberable.

59. For fatal strife, innate, ever following, unseen afflicts them.

60. They ought not to provoke this, but yield, and so escape.

61. O jove, mighty father, wouldst thou deliver them from many evils?

62. Show them what fate is about to overtake them.

63. But be of good heart, the race of man is divine.

64. Holy Nature shews them all her mysteries.

65. If thou knowest these things, thou wilt do what I bid thee do.

66. And having healed thy soul, thou wilt deliver it from these evils.

67. But abstain thou from the food, of which I have spoken, in your purifications.

68. And in the deliverance of thy soul, decide between the courses open to you, and thoroughly examine all things.

69. Take the supreme mind as thy guide, who must ever direct and restrain thy course.

70. And when, after having thrown aside thy body, thou comest to the realms of the most pure ether.

71. Thou shalt be a god, immortal, incorruptible.

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