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Esto bonus miles, tutor bonus, arbiter idem
integer; ambiguæ si quando citabere testis
incertæque rei, Phalaris licet imperet ut sis
falsus et admoto dictet perjuria tauro,
summum crede nefas animam præferre pudori
et propter vitam vivendi perdere causas.
Be a good soldier, or upright trustee,
An arbitrator from corruption free;
And if a witness in a doubtful cause,
Where a bribed judge means to elude the laws,
Though Phalaris’ brazen bull were there,
And he would dictate what he’d have you swear,
Be not so profligate, but rather choose
To guard your honour, and your life to lose,
Rather than let your virtue be betray’d;
Virtue, the noblest cause for which you’re made.
–Decimus Junius Juvenalis (Juvenal), Satura viii, 79-84 (ca. 100 CE)(J. Dryden transl. 1692)(the key phrase here, “propter vitam vivendi perdere causas,” might be rendered more accurately, though less poetically, as “do not forsake the reasons for living in the interest of staying alive.”)
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Average number of days an oiled seabird survives in the wild after cleaning and release:
Epilepsy drugs can extend the life of worms by 50 percent.
A deaf dog belonging to a deaf owner was shot and killed in Alabama, and an Indiana dog’s skin troubles were found to be caused by an allergy to humans. “It’s just not his fault,” said the owner of Lucky Dog Retreat.
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”