When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people you deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But you have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to your own – not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine….
Look at the immensity of time behind you, and to the time which is before you, another boundless space. In this infinity, then what is the difference between him who lives three days and him who lives three generations…?
Soon you’ll be ashes or bones. A mere name at most – and even that is just a sound, an echo. The things we want in life are empty, stale, trivial….
Do not act as if you are going to live 10,000 years. Death hangs over you. While you live, while it is in your power, be good….
Now obsolete are the men whose names were once on everyone’s lips. . . . For all things fade away, become the stuff of legend, and are soon buried in oblivion. Mind you, this is true not only for those who blazed once like bright stars in the firmament, but also for the rest, as soon as a few clods of earth cover their corpses. . . .
In the end, what would you gain from everlasting remembrance? Absolutely nothing. So what is left worth living for? This alone: justice in thought, goodness in action, speech that cannot deceive, and a disposition glad of whatever comes….
The above meditations are from Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher – much admired by Frank Pearl, Rappahannock landholder, lawyer, financier, philanthropist, book publisher extraordinaire and visionary who passed away last Friday at the age of 68. To attempt to put into words some other form of eulogy would surely be inadequate and, given his humble public persona, inappropriate.