All this, in truth, was very little in harmony with Anaxagoras's wisdom; if, indeed, it be true that he, by a kind of divine impulse and greatness of spirit, voluntarily quitted his house, and left his land to lie fallow and to be grazed by sheep like a common.

Nor were these the only advantages which Pericles derived from Anaxagoras's acquaintance; he seems also to have become, by his instructions, superior to that superstition with which an ignorant wonder at appearances, for example, in the heavens possesses the minds of people unacquainted with their causes, eager for the supernatural, and excitable through an inexperience which the knowledge of natural causes removes, replacing wild and timid superstition by the good hope and assurance of an intelligent piety.

However, there is a story, that Anaxagoras himself, while Pericles was taken up with public affairs, lay neglected, and that, now being grown old, he wrapped himself up with a resolution to die for want of food; which being by chance brought to Pericles's ear, he was horror-struck, and instantly ran thither, and used all the arguments and entreaties he could to him, lamenting not so much Anaxagoras's condition as his own, should he lose such a counselor as he had found him to be; and that, upon this, Anaxagoras unfolded his robe, and showing himself, made answer: "Pericles," said he, "even those who have occasion for a lamp supply it with oil."

Yet we must not allow that humming noise to Anaxagoras's little motes, for it is neither probable nor necessary. But their tremulous and whirling motion in the sunbeams is oftentimes sufficient to disturb and break a sound. Thus sounds are best heard in calm still weather; and the contrary is seen in stormy weather, as Simonides hath it:

It is said that, as Perikles was engaged in public affairs, Anaxagoras, who was now an old man and in want, covered his head with his robe, and determined to starve himself to death; but when Perikles heard of this, he at once ran to him, and besought him to live, lamenting, not Anaxagoras's fate, but his own, if he should lose so valuable a political adviser.

For it was necessary that there should be first a place and room provided for the beings that were afterward to be produced; and not as was seen yesterday at my son's entertainment, according to Anaxagoras's saying, All lay jumbled together.

Nor were these the only advantages which Pericles derived from Anaxagoras's acquaintance; he seems also to have become, by his instructions, superior to that superstition with which an ignorant wonder at appearances, for example, in the heavens, possesses the minds of people unacquainted with their causes, eager for the supernatural, and excitable through an inexperience which the knowledge of natural causes removes, replacing wild and timid superstition by the good hope and assurance of an intelligent piety.