I’ve been reading Epicurus (and no, I haven’t forgotten Aristotle), but I happened up on Irwin Edman’s essay introducing the volume, and it’s lovely:
There is no ecstasy and no adoration in Epicurus’ dream of the good life. But there is a decent, half-sad content, the resigned pleasure in what may be made of an earth where, lost amid the wide spaces where our world is but one among many, we may briefly and decently make a lovely and harmonious interval. The senses are avenues to delight; so are those impulses which enable us to enjoy the companionship of our friends; so is the mind which enables us to contemplate without fear that nature which has produced us, which will destroy us, which will generate others after us. The material surface of things, these make a quiet joy for a quiet garden. Better far are these, Epicurus thinks, than the turbulences of affairs of the anxieties bred by hopes an fears such as ambition or supernatural religion breeds. Epicurus is an almost melancholy, secular saint who tells us what we must renounce impossible and illusory happiness, for the modest content which mortal creatures may enjoy in their momentary span.
Oooooooo how I wish I could write like that.