Seneca the Younger, Epistles

LCL 76: 136-137

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The Epistles Of Seneca

si medium spatium transiluerit et se in illam saeculo post futuram sollicitudinem inmiserit; eodem modo fit, ut animos libenter aegros et captantes causas doloris vetera atque obliterata contristent. Et quae praeterierunt et quae futura sunt, absunt; neutra sentimus.1 Non est autem nisi ex eo, quod sentias, dolor. Vale.

LXXV. Seneca Lvcilio svo salvtem

1Minus tibi accuratas a me epistulas mitti quereris. Quis enim accurate loquitur, nisi qui vult putide loqui? Qualis sermo meus esset, si una sederemus aut ambularemus, inlaboratus et facilis, tales esse epistulas meas volo, quae nihil habent accersitum nec 2fictum. Si fieri posset, quid sentiam, ostendere quam loqui mallem. Etiam si disputarem, nec supploderem pedem nec manum iactarem nec attollerem vocem, sed ista oratoribus reliquissem, contentus sensus meos ad te pertulisse, quos nec 3exornassem nec abiecissem. Hoc unum plane tibi adprobare vellem: omnia me illa sentire, quae dicerem, nec tantum sentire, sed amare. Aliter homines amicam, aliter liberos osculantur; tamen in hoc quoque amplexu tam sancto et moderato satis apparet adfectus.


Epistle LXXV.

unless he has leaped over the intervening years, and has projected himself into the trouble that is destined to arrive a generation later. In the same way, souls that enjoy being sick and that seize upon excuses for sorrow are saddened by events long past and effaced from the records. Past and future are both absent; we feel neither of them. But there can be no pain except as the result of what you feel. Farewell.

LXXV. On the Diseases of the Soul

You have been complaining that my letters to you are rather carelessly written. Now who talks carefully unless he also desires to talk affectedlya? I prefer that my letters should be just what my conversationb would be if you and I were sitting in one another’s company or taking walks together,—spontaneous and easy; for my letters have nothing strained or artificial about them. If it were possible, I should prefer to show, rather than speak, my feelings. Even if I were arguing a point, I should not stamp my foot, or toss my arms about, or raise my voice; but I should leave that sort of thing to the orator, and should be content to have conveyed my feelings to you without having either embellished them or lowered their dignity. I should like to convince you entirely of this one fact,—that I feel whatever I say, that I not only feel it, but am wedded to it. It is one sort of kiss which a man gives his mistress, and another which he gives his children; yet in the father’s embrace also, holy and restrained as it is, plenty of affection is disclosed.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-epistles.1917