LCL 151: 214-215
nolumus assiduis animum tabescere curis, quae tamen inrumpunt quoque vetantur eunt. cur scribam, docui. cur mittam, quaeritis, isto1? 80vobiscum cupio quolibet esse modo.
Ecquid ubi e Ponto nova venit epistula, palles, et tibi sollicita solvitur illa manu? pone metum, valeo; corpusque, quod ante laborum inpatiens nobis invalidumque fuit. 5sufficit, atque ipso vexatum induruit usu. an magis infirmo non vacat esse mihi? mens tamen aegra iacet, nec tempore robora sumpsit, affectusque animi, qui fuit ante, manet. quaeque mora spatioque suo coitura putavi 10vulnera non aliter quam modo facta dolent. scilicet exiguis prodest annosa vetustas; grandibus accedunt tempore damna malis. paene decem totis aluit Poeantius annis pestiferum tumido vulnus ab angue datum. 15Telephus aeterna consumptus tabe perisset. si non, quae nocuit, dextra tulisset opem. et mea, si facinus nullum commisimus, opto, vulnera qui fecit, facta levare velit, contentusque mei iam tandem parte doloris 20exiguum pleno de mare demat aquae. detrahat ut multum, multum restabit acerbi,2 parsque meae poenae totius instar erit. litora quot conchas, quot amoenos Ostia3 flores, quotve soporiferum grana papaver habet,
my soul waste away with continual woes, which nevertheless break in upon me, entering where they are forbidden. Why I write I have told you. Why do I send my writings to you, you ask. I am eager to be with you all in some fashion—no matter how.
II. To His Wife
What? When a fresh letter has come from Pontus, do you grow pale, do you open it with anxious hand? Put aside your fear: I am well, and my frame, which before could endure no toils and had no strength, now bears up and under the very harassings of experience has become hardened—or is it rather that I have no leisure to be weak? But my mind lies ill, nor has time given it strength; my feelings remain the same as of old. The wounds that I thought would close with passing time pain me no otherwise than if they had been freshly made. Yes, little troubles are helped by the flight of years; with great ones time but increases the ruin they cause. For almost ten whole years the son1 of Poeas nursed the baneful wound given him by the venom-swollen snake. Telephus would have died, destroyed by his eternal disease, had not the hand that harmed him borne him aid. My wounds also, if I have committed no crime, may their maker, I pray, desire to heal, and now at length satisfied with a portion of my suffering, may he draw off a little of the water from a brimming sea. Though he draw much, much bitterness will remain, and a part of my penalty will be as good as the whole. As many as are the shells on the shore, the coloured flowers of Ostia, the seeds of the sleep-producing poppy,