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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Scipio Africanus

  • [Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major, a Roman general, born 235 or 234 B.C.; gained great victories over Hasdrubal in Spain; invaded Africa, 204; defeated Hannibal at Zama, 202, and Antiochus in Syria; tried for receiving bribes, and, although acquitted, left Rome, and died at Liternum, 183 B.C.]
  • I am never less alone than when alone, nor less at leisure than when at leisure.

  • Quoted from Scipio by Cato, and recorded by Cicero (“De Officiis,” III. 1), “Nunquam se minus otiosum esse, quam quum otiosus, nec minus solum, quam quum solus esset.” Repeated by many authors since, as by Gibbon, “I was never less alone than when by myself.”—Memoir, 117. Seneca says, in his Sixth Epistle, “I am never more in action than when I am alone in my study.”
  • “Never less alone than when alone.”
  • ROGERS: Human Life.
  • “In solitude where we are least alone.”
  • BYRON: Childe Harold, III. 90.
  • “There is society, where none intrudes,
  • By the deep sea.”
  • Ibid., IV. 178.
  • “They are never alone that are accompanied with noble thoughts.”
  • SIDNEY’S Arcadia, Book I.
  • “Little do men perceive,” says Bacon, “what solitude is, and how far it extendeth; for a crowd is not company, and faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love.”—Essays, Friendship.
  • After leaving Rome in disgust that his probity should have been brought into question (see Mirabeau), Scipio ordered the following words to be placed upon his tomb in Campania: “Ingrata patria, ne ossa quidem habebis!” (Thankless country, thou shalt not possess even my bones!)