160colligit ac ponit temere et mutatur in horas. imberbis1 iuvenis, tandem custode remoto, gaudet equis canibusque et aprici gramine Campi, cereus in vitium flecti, monitoribus asper, utilium tardus provisor, prodigus aeris, 165sublimis cupidusque et amata relinquere pernix. conversis studiis aetas animusque virilis quaerit opes et amicitias, inservit honori, commisisse cavet quod mox mutare2 laboret. multa senem circumveniunt incommoda, vel quod 170quaerit et inventis miser abstinet ac timet uti, vel quod res omnis timide gelideque ministrat, dilator3 spe longus, iners avidusque futuri, difficilis, querulus, laudator temporis acti se puero, castigator censorque minorum. 175multa ferunt anni venientes commoda secum, multa recedentes adimunt. ne forte seniles mandentur iuveni partes pueroque viriles, semper in adiunctis aevoque morabimur4 aptis.5 Aut agitur res in scaenis aut acta refertur. 180segnius irritant animos demissa per aurem quam quae sunt oculis subiecta fidelibus et quae ipse sibi tradit spectator: non tamen intus digna geri promes in scaenam, multaque tolles
into a passion and as lightly puts it aside, and changes every hour. The beardless youth, freed at last from his tutor, finds joy in horses and hounds and the grass of the sunny Campus,a soft as wax for moulding to evil, peevish with his counsellors, slow to make needful provision, lavish of money, spirited, of strong desires, but swift to change his fancies. With altered aims, the age and spirit of the man seeks wealth and friends, becomes a slave to ambition, and is fearful of having done what soon it will be eager to change. Many ills encompass an old man, whether because he seeks gain, and then miserably holds aloof from his store and fears to use it, or because, in all that he does, he lacks fire and courage, is dilatory and slow to form hopes,b is sluggish and greedy of a longer life, peevish, surly, given to praising the days he spent as a boy, and to reproving and condemning the young. Many blessings do the advancing years bring with them; many, as they retire, they take away. So, lest haply we assign a youth the part of age, or a boy that of manhood, we shall ever linger over traits that are joined and fitted to the age.
179Either an event is acted on the stage, or the action is narrated. Less vividly is the mind stirred by what finds entrance through the ears than by what is brought before the trusty eyes, and what the spectator can see for himself. Yet you will not bring upon the stage what should be performed behind the scenes, and you will keep much from our
- ai.e. Campus Martius.
- bSpe longus seems to be a translation of Aristotle’s δύσελπις (Rhet. ii. 12), hence Bentley conjectured lentus for longus. It is, however, in view of Horace’s spes longa (Odes, i. 4. 15; i. 11. 6) taken by some as “far-reaching in hope,” the hope requiring a long time for fulfilment. Wickham suggests “patient in hope,” but the quality is here one of the incommoda of age, not one of its blessings. The phrase is explanatory of dilator, even as avidus futuri explains iners, for unlike the youth, who is absorbed in the present, the old man fails to act promptly, because his heart is in the future, however brief that is to be.