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  • Il Novellino

    LXXII
    Here it is told how Cato lamented against fortune

    Cato the philosopher, one of Rome's greatest men, being in prison and in poverty, rallied against his fate, and was sorely grieved and said: why have you taken so much away from me? Then he answered himself in the place of fate and said: my son, how finely have I not brought you up and educated you. I have given you all you have asked me. I have given you the lordship of Rome. I have made you master of many delights, of great palaces, of much gold, fine horses and beautiful accoutrements. O my son, why do you complain? Is it because I leave you?

    And Cato answered: yes, I grieve for this. And fate replied: my son, you are a wise man. Do you not remember that I have other little sons, whom I must take care of? Do you want me to abandon them? That would not be right. Ah! what a host of children I have to support! My son, I cannot stay longer with you. Do not complain, for I have taken away from you nothing, since what you have lost was not yours. For what can be lost is not one's own. And what is not personal to you is not yours.

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    Il Novellino : The Hundred Old Tales
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    Storer, Edward, trans. Il Novellino: The Hundred Old Tales. London: G. Routledge & Sons Ltd.; New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., [1925]. 167-168

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