est quod nocet quam cui nocetur, optima 18vi noxia carent. Expectant nos, si1 ex hac aliquando faece in illud evadimus sublime et excelsum, tranquillitas animi et expulsis erroribus absoluta libertas. Quaeris quae sit ista? Non homines timere, non deos; nec turpia velle nec nimia; in se ipsum habere maximam potestatem. Inaestimabile bonum est suum fieri. Vale.
LXXVI. Seneca Lvcilio svo salvtem
1Inimicitias mihi denuntias, si quicquam ex iis, quae cotidie facio, ignoraveris. Vide, quam simpliciter tecum vivam: hoc quoque tibi committam. Philosophum audio et quidem quintum iam diem habeo, ex quo in scholam eo et ab octava disputantem audio. “Bona,” inquis, “aetate.” Quidni bona? Quid autem stultius est quam, quia diu non didiceris, 2non discere? “Quid ergo? Idem faciam, quod trossuli et iuvenes?” Bene mecum agitur, si hoc unum senectutem meam dedecet.2 Omnis aetatis homines haec schola admittit. “In hoc senescamus, ut iuvenes sequamur?” In theatrum senex ibo et
no greater power than that which receives harm, and things which are utterly good have no power at all to harm.a There await us, if ever we escape from these low dregs to that sublime and lofty height, peace of mind and, when all error has been driven out, perfect liberty. You ask what this freedom is? It means not fearing either men or gods; it means not craving wickedness or excess; it means possessing supreme power over oneself. And it is a priceless good to be master of oneself. Farewell.
LXXVI. On Learning Wisdom in Old Age
You have been threatening me with your enmity, if I do not keep you informed about all my daily actions. But see, now, upon what frank terms you and I live: for I shall confide even the following fact to your ears. I have been hearing the lectures of a philosopher; four days have already passed since I have been attending his school and listening to the harangue, which begins at two o’clock.“A fine time of life for that!” you say. Yes, fine indeed! Now what is more foolish than refusing to learn, simply because one has not been learning for a long time? “What do you mean? Must I follow the fashion set by the fopsb and youngsters?” But I am pretty well off if this is the only thing that discredits my declining years. Men of all ages are admitted to this class-room. You retort: “Do we grow old merely in order to tag after the youngsters?” But if I, an old man, go to the theatre, and am carried to
- aTherefore death has no power to harm, since man is not harmed thereby, and the gods, who are utterly good, cannot be the source of evil.
- bA mock-heroic nickname for the knights, derived from the town of Trossulum in Etruria, which they captured by a sensational charge. See Persius, i. 82, and Seneca, Ep. lxxxvii. 9.