Cleanthes

, a celebrated Greek philosopher, of the stoical sect, son of Phanias, and disciple of Zeno, was born at. Assus in Lydia, 33<J B. C. He subsisted by drawing water during the night, that he might pursue his studies by day. Being cited before the areopagus to declare how he gained his livelihood, he brought with him a gardener and a country-woman, saying that he drew water for the one, and kneaded dough for the other. The judges were ordering him a present; but Cleanthes refused to accept of it. This philosopher was for many years so poor, that he was obliged to write the heads of his master’s lectures upon shells and bones, for want of money to buy paper. But, notwithstanding all his poverty, he persevered in the study of philosophy, and remained a pupil of Zeno nineteen years. His natural faculties were slow; but resolution and perseverance enabled him to overcome every difficulty; and he at last became so complete a master of the stoic system, that he was perfectly qualified to succeed Zeno in his school. His fellow disciples often ridiculed him for his dulness, by calling him an ass; but he took no other notice of the sarcasm, than by saying in his defence, that if he was an ass, he was the better able to bear the burthen of Zeno’s doctrine. Being reproved for his timidity, he replied, “It is to this quality that I am indebted for my innocence.” Though he was not of the school of Arcesilaus, when he heard him condemned for undermining by his doctrine the foundations of virtue, he candidly apologized for him, by remarking, that though he might seem an enemy to virtue in his discourses, he showed himself her friend in his conduct. Arcesilaus being informed of the handsome apology which Cleanthes had made for him, said to him, “You know how much I dislike flattery; why will you flatter me?” “Is it then flattery,” replied Cleanthes, “to say of you, that you speak one thing, and do another?Cleanthes frequently advised his pupils to conceive of pleasure, as a deity sitting on her throne, attended by the virtues, who are ready on every occasion to whisper in her ear, “Do nothing which will occasion pain or grief ‘to yourself or others.” A friend observing him silent in company, said, “One would think, Cleanthes, from your silence, that you took no pleasure in conversing with your friendsCleanthes replied, “It is because I know the value of this pleasure, that I am silent for I wish my friends to | enjoy it as well as myself.” The reason which he assigned for the superiority of former philosophers above the present was, that formerly philosophers studied things, whereas now they study only words. When he was old, he still retained the entire use of his faculties, and often said, that he should always think life worth preserving as long as he should be able to write and "study. Long after his death; which happened in his ninetieth year, the Roman senate paid respect to his memory, by ordering a statue to be erected in honour of him at Assus.

He wrote many pieces, none of which are come down to us, except his “Hymn to Jupiter,” and a few fragments; the several editions of which have been enumerated, with the various readings, and critical remarks, by the learned reviewer of Butler’s edition of “Marcus Musurus,” &c. containing this hymn, and other fragments. It was first published by Fulvius Ursinus, in 1568; then by Henry Stephens, in his “Poesis Philosophica,” in 1573; afterwards by Cudworth, in his “Intellectual System,1678, fol.; again in Mosheim’s Latin translation of Cudworth, in 1733; a fifth time in the third dissertation added to Daniel Secundum Septuagint, Rom. 1773, fol.; a sixth time in the 2d edition of Mosheim’s translation of Cudworth, published after his death, Leyd. Bat. 1773, fol.; again in Brunck’s “Analecta,” in 1776, and afterwards by Brunck, in his edition of the “Gnomici Poetae;” a ninth time in, the “Eclogss Physicse” of John Stoboeus, published at Gottingen, 1792, 8vo, by A. H. Heeren, It has also been translated into German, Latin, and English, the latter by Mr. West, at the desire of a friend, who was pleased to find such just sentiments of the deity in a heathen, and so much poetry in a philosopher. 1

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Diogenes Laertius. Brucker. —Moreri. Month, Rev. vol. XXV. N. S, Cyclopædia. —Saxii Onomast.