“‘Tis not in mortals to command success; but we’ll do more…we’ll deserve it.”

How seductive are lines like these,
That temporarily blind.

Giving hardy nihilists,
Happiness at clutching straws,
That soften the human condition.

Straws made of Hope,
That word describing,
Wishes on wings,
Which ease the wait,
For what time brings.

Tch tch, what use hope,
When you can see everything,
In the colours you command,
Limited only, by the rules that you demand.

So to say, everything is self-preservation,
Choose your marination,
According to how you wish to be preserved.

That quote is from a play about Cato’s life, and was George Washington’s favourite line from it. Cato was his hero. And Cato’s legacy of stoicism has left its indelible trail all over western political thought and philosophy for the last 2000 years. More proof that this kind of seduction is powerful opium.

Here is a good link to introduce you to Cato and his ‘extraordinary life’ :


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