"Those maxims of the Stoics, that death was no evil, and that the mind of man ought to be superior to despair"

   Stoicism was a popular strand of philosophy in the ancient world, originating in Athens around 300 BC.  Among its chief tenets was the insistence that a true philosopher should be in total control of their emotions, accepting hardship and death without complaint.  Clerval repeats the popular account in which famous follower Cato the Younger, a politician in the 1st-century BC, broke his stoical facade with a heartfelt display of grief at the funeral of his beloved half-brother Quintus Servilius Caepio. 

 

Online edition of 'Cato: A Tragedy in Five Acts' by Joseph Addison, (1713)