XXVIII. (142) Last of all, the divine legislator prohibits covetousness, knowing that desire is a thing fond of revolution and of plotting against others; for all the passions of the soul are formidable, exciting and agitating it contrary to nature, and not permitting it to remain in a healthy state, but of all such passions the worst is desire. On which account each of the other passions, coming in from without and attacking the soul from external points, appears to be involuntary; but this desire alone derives its origin from ourselves, and is wholly voluntary. (143) But what is it that I am saying? The appearance and idea of a present good, or of one that is accounted such, rouses up and excites the soul which was previously in a state of tranquillity, and raises it to a high degree of elation, like a light suddenly flashing before the eyes; and this passion of the soul is called pleasure. (144) But the contrary to good is evil, which, when it forces its way in, and inflicts a mortal wound, immediately fills the soul against its will with depression and despondency; and the name of the passion is sorrow. (145) But when the evil presses upon the soul, when it has not as yet taken up its habitation in it, but when it is only impending, being about to come and to agitate it, it sends before it agitation and suspense, as express messengers, to fill the soul with alarm; and this passion is denominated fear. (146) And when any one, having conceived an idea of some good which is not present, hastens to lay hold of it, he then drives his soul forward to a great distance, and extending it in the greatest possible degree, from his anxiety to attain the object of his desires, he is stretched as it were upon the rack, being anxious to lay hold of the thing, but being unable to reach it, and being in the same condition with those who are pursuing people who are running away, following with an inferior speed, but with unrivalled eagerness. (147) And something of the same kind appears to happen, also, with respect to the external senses; for very frequently the eyes, hastening to come to the comprehension of something which is removed to a great distance, strain themselves, exerting themselves to the very fullest extent of and even beyond their power, are unsuccessful, and grow dim in the empty space between themselves and their object, wholly failing in attaining to an accurate knowledge of the subject before them, and moreover impairing and injuring their sight by the exceeding intensity of their efforts and steady gaze. (148) And, again, sometimes when an indistinct noise is borne towards us from a long distance, the ears are excited, and feeling as it were a fair breeze, are eager and hasten to approach nearer to it if possible, from a desire that the sound should be distinctly apprehended by the sense of hearing. (149) But the noise, for it is still obscure as it seems, strikes the ear but faintly, not giving forth any more distinct tone by which it may be understood, so that the desire of comprehending it, being unsuccessful and unsatisfied, is excited more and more, the desire causing a Tantalus-like kind of punishment. For Tantallus, whenever he seemed about to lay his hands on any of the objects which he desired, was invariably disappointed, and the man who is overcome by desire, being always thirsting for what is not present, is never satisfied, wallowing about among vain appetites, (150) like those diseases which would creep over the whole body, if they were not checked by excision or cautery, and which would overrun and seize upon the whole composition of the body, not leaving a single part in a sound state; in like manner, unless discourse in accordance with philosophy did not, like a good physician, check the influx of appetite, all the affairs of life would of necessity be set in motion in a manner contrary to nature; for there is nothing exempt from such an affliction, nothing which can escape the dominion of passion, but, when once it has obtained immunity and license, it devours everything and becomes by itself everything in every part. (151) Perhaps it is a piece of folly to make a long speech upon matters which are so manifest, as to which there is no individual and no city that is ignorant, that they are not only every day, but even every hour, as one may say, supplying a visible proof of the truth of my assertion. Is the love of money, or of women, or of glory, or of any one of the other efficient causes of pleasure, the origin of slight and ordinary evils? (152) Is it not owing to this passion that relationships are broken asunder, and change the good will which originates in nature into an irreconcilable enmity? And are not great countries and populous kingdoms made desolate by domestic seditions, through such causes? And are not earth and sea continually filled with novel and terrible calamities by naval battles and military expeditions for the same reason? (153) For, both among the Greeks and barbarians, the wars between one another, and between their own different tribes, which have been so celebrated by tragedians, have all flowed from one source, namely, desire of money, or glory, or pleasure; for it is on such subjects as these that the race of mankind goes mad.