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Page 9

The Detestation of Old Age

 

    Again, we are quick to learn that this "beauty" is the beauty of youth. It is useless to talk to an Athenian of a "beautiful old age." Old age is an evil to be borne with dignity, with resignation if needs be, to be fought against by every kind of bodily exercise; but to take satisfaction in it?—impossible. It means a diminishing of those keen powers of physical and intellectual enjoyment which are so much to every normal Athenian. It means becoming feeble, and worse than feeble, ridiculous. The physician's art has not advanced so far as to prevent the frequent loss of sight and hearing in even moderate age. No hope of a future renewal of noble youth in a happier world gilds the just man's sunset. Old age must, like the untimely passing of loved ones, be endured in becoming silence, as one of the fixed inevitables; but it is gloomy work to pretend to find it cheerful. Only the young can find life truly happy. Euripides in "The Mad Heracles" speaks for all his race:

"Tell me not of the Asian tyrant,
Or of palaces plenished with gold;
For such bliss I am not an aspirant,
If youth I might only behold:—
Youth that maketh prosperity higher,
And every adversity lighter".[5]

 

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/old-athens-gymnasia.asp?pg=9