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The Golden Verses of Pythagoras, by Fabre d'Olivet, [1917], at

18. Neglect not thy health . . .

I had at first the intention of making here some allusion to the manner in which Pythagoras and the ancient sages considered medicine; and I had wished to reveal their principles,

p. 194

quite different from those of the moderns; but I have realized that an object so important requires developments that this work would not allow and I have left them for a time more opportune, and for a work more suitable. Moreover the line of Lysis has no need of explanation; it is clear. This philosopher commends each one to guard his health, to keep it by temperance and moderation, and if it becomes impaired, to put himself in condition of not confiding to another the care of its re-establishment. This precept was sufficiently understood by the ancients for it to have become a sort of proverb.

The Emperor Tiberius, who made it a rule of conduct, said that a man of thirty years or more who called or even consulted a physician was an ignoramus. a It is true that Tiberius did not add to the precept the exercise of the temperance that Lysis did not forget to commend in the following lines, also he lived only seventy-eight years, notwithstanding the strength of his constitution promised him a much longer life. Hippocrates of Cos, the father of medicine in Greece and strongly attached to the doctrine of Pythagoras, lived one hundred and four years; Xenophile, Apollonius, Tyanæus, Demonax, and many other Pythagorean philosophers lived to one hundred and six and one-hundred and ten years; and Pythagoras himself, although violently persecuted towards the end of his life, attained to nearly ninety-nine years according to some and even to the century mark according to others. b


194:a Bacon, de le Vie et de la Mort; Sueton., in Tiber., § 66.

194:b Diogen. Laërt., in Pythag.

Next: 19. . . . Dispense with moderation, Food to the body, and to the mind repose