Old Men as Moral Exemplars

Vergerio, de ingenuis moribus et liberalibus adulescentiae studiis, X:

“The studious youth, therefore, who is excited by a desire for virtue and true glory, should select one or even several men who seem to him to be of the highest moral character, whose lives and habits he should – as much as is permitted by his age – attempt to imitate. Those men, and older men more generally, though they should at all times take account of their gravity and modesty, should consider it most carefully in the presence of youths. For, the age of youths is most prone to error, and, unless it be restrained by the examples and authority of elders, easily degenerates into vice.”

Debet igitur studiosus adulescens quem virtutis veraeque gloriae desiderium concitat, unum aliquem pluresve quos sibi videatur deligere probatissimos viros, quorum vitae ac mores, quantum per aetatem licebit, imitetur. Illis autem ceterisque natu maioribus, cum omni tempore habenda sit gravitatis atque modestiae ratio, tum vero maxime coram iunioribus custodienda est. Iuvenum enim aetas prona est ad peccandum ac, nisi maiorum exemplis auctoritateque contineatur, facile semper in deteriora prolabitur.

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