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John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

Page 935

Marcus Aurelius. (121–180)
    This Being of mine, whatever it really is, consists of a little flesh, a little breath, and the part which governs.
          Meditations. ii. 2.
    The ways of the gods are full of providence.
          Meditations. ii. 3.
    Thou wilt find rest from vain fancies if thou doest every act in life as though it were thy last. 1
          Meditations. ii. 5.
    Thou seest how few be the things, the which if a man has at his command his life flows gently on and is divine.
          Meditations. ii. 5.
    Find time still to be learning somewhat good, and give up being desultory.
          Meditations. ii. 7.
    No state sorrier than that of the man who keeps up a continual round, and pries into “the secrets of the nether world,” as saith the poet, and is curious in conjecture of what is in his neighbour’s heart.
          Meditations. ii. 13.
    Though thou be destined to live three thousand years and as many myriads besides, yet remember that no man loseth other life than that which he liveth, nor liveth other than that which he loseth.
          Meditations. ii. 14.
    For a man can lose neither the past nor the future; for how can one take from him that which is not his? So remember these two points: first, that each thing is of like form from everlasting and comes round again in its cycle, and that it signifies not whether a man shall look upon the same things for a hundred years or two hundred, or for an infinity of time; second, that the longest lived and the shortest lived man, when they come to die, lose one and the same thing.
          Meditations. ii. 14.
Note 1.
See Publius Syrus, Quotation 65.

A similar saying falls from his lips at another time: “Let every act and speech and purpose be framed as though this moment thou mightest take thy leave of life.” [back]