From Lives of the Eminent Philosophers
“Pardon is better than vengeance”
συγγνώμη τιμωρίας κρείσσων
“[Pittacus] made some laws: that the penalty would be double for someone who messed up while drunk. This is to discourage people from getting drunk, since there was a lot of wine on the island. And he said “it is hard to be noble.” This is recalled when Simonides says “It is hard for a man to be truly good, the Pittakan phrase.” Plato also echoed this in the Protagoras: “Not even the gods fight with necessity;” and “the position reveals a man.”
When someone asked him, “what is best?” He said “Doing the present work well.” When he was asked by Kroisos, “what government is best?” He answered “the rule of decorated wood;” which means the law. He used to encourage that victories should be obtained without blood. And he said to the Phocian man who was asking what it is necessary for a man to seek earnestly, “whatever you seek to excess, you will not find.” And to the men who were inquiring what was kindest, he said “time”. Uncertain? “the future?” Trustworthy? “Earth” Untrustworthy? “The sea”.
And he also used to say that it is the nature of wise men to make plans for misfortune before things go badly while brave men handle them after they happen. Don’t say what you are going to do: for you will be mocked if you fail. Don’t reproach misfortune, but fear Nemesis. Give back what has been entrusted to you. Don’t speak badly of a friend or an enemy. Make piety a habit. Love wisdom. Keep close truth, faith, experience, cleverness, companionship, and care.
Of the songs he sang, these lines are the most famous
One should keep a bow and arrow-holding quiver
Trained against a wicked man
The tongue in his mouth
Speaks nothing credible
Because his heart harbors
A doubled-minded thought.”
Νόμους δὲ ἔθηκε: τῷ μεθύοντι, ἐὰν ἁμάρτῃ, διπλῆν εἶναι τὴν ζημίαν: ἵνα μὴ μεθύωσι, πολλοῦ κατὰ τὴν νῆσον οἴνου γινομένου. εἶπέ τε “χαλεπὸν ἐσθλὸν ἔμμεναι:” οὗ καὶ Σιμωνίδης μέμνηται λέγων: “ἄνδρ᾽ ἀγαθὸν ἀλαθέως γενέσθαι χαλεπόν, τὸ Πιττάκειον.” 4  μέμνηται αὐτοῦ καὶ Πλάτων ἐν Πρωταγόρᾳ: “ἀνάγκᾳ δ᾽ οὐδὲ θεοὶ μάχονται.” καὶ “ἀρχὴ ἄνδρα δείκνυσιν.” ἐρωτηθεὶς δέ ποτε τί ἄριστον, “τὸ παρὸν εὖ ποιεῖν.” καὶ ὑπὸ Κροίσου τίς ἀρχὴ μεγίστη, “ἡ τοῦ ποικίλου,” ἔφη, “ξύλου,” σημαίνων τὸν νόμον. ἔλεγε δὲ καὶ τὰς νίκας ἄνευ αἵματος ποιεῖσθαι. ἔφη δὲ καὶ πρὸς τὸν Φωκαϊκὸν φάσκοντα δεῖν ζητεῖν ἄνθρωπον σπουδαῖον, “ἂν λίαν,” ἔφη, “ζητῇς, οὐχ εὑρήσεις.” καὶ πρὸς τοὺς πυνθανομένους τί εὐχάριστον, “χρόνος,” ἔφη: ἀφανές, “τὸ μέλλον”: πιστόν, “γῆ”: ἄπιστον, “θάλασσα.” ἔλεγέ τε συνετῶν ἀνδρῶν, πρὶν γενέσθαι τὰ δυσχερῆ, προνοῆσαι ὅπως μὴ γένηται: ἀνδρείων δέ, γενόμενα εὖ θέσθαι. ὃ μέλλεις πράττειν, μὴ πρόλεγε: ἀποτυχὼν γὰρ γελασθήσῃ. ἀτυχίαν μὴ ὀνειδίζειν, νέμεσιν αἰδούμενον. παρακαταθήκην λαβόντα ἀποδοῦναι. φίλον μὴ λέγειν κακῶς, ἀλλὰ μηδὲ ἐχθρόν. εὐσέβειαν ἀσκεῖν. σωφροσύνην φιλεῖν. ἀλήθειαν ἔχειν, πίστιν, ἐμπειρίαν, ἐπιδεξιότητα, ἑταιρίαν, ἐπιμέλειαν.
Τῶν δὲ ᾀδομένων αὐτοῦ μάλιστα εὐδοκίμησε τάδε:
ἔχοντα χρὴ τόξα καὶ ἰοδόκον φαρέτρην
στείχειν ποτὶ φῶτα κακόν.
πιστὸν γὰρ οὐδὲν γλῶσσα διὰ στόματος
λαλεῖ διχόθυμον ἔχουσα