Seneca the Younger, Epistles

LCL 76: 168-169

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The Epistles Of Seneca

diu cogitando. Audimus aliquando voces imperitorum dicentium: “sciebam1 hoc mihi restare”; sapiens scit sibi omnia restare. Quicquid factum est, dicit: “sciebam.” Vale.

LXXVII. Seneca Lvcilio svo salvtem

1Subito nobis hodie Alexandrinae naves apparuerunt, quae praemitti solent et nuntiare secuturae classis adventum; tabellarias vocant. Gratus illarum Campaniae aspectus est; omnis in pilis Puteolorum turba consistit et ex ipso genere velorum Alexandrinas quamvis in magna turba navium intellegit. Solis enim licet siparum intendere, quod in alto omnes 2habent naves. Nulla enim res aeque adiuvat cursum quam summa pars veli; illinc maxime navis urgetur. Itaque quotiens ventus increbruit maiorque est quam expedit, antemna summittitur; minus habet virium flatus ex humili. Cum intravere Capreas et promunturium, ex quo

Alta procelloso speculatur vertice Pallas,

ceterae velo iubentur esse contentae; siparum Alexandrinarum insigne est.2

3In hoc omnium discursu properantium ad litus magnam ex pigritia mea sensi voluptatem, quod epistulas meorum accepturus non properavi scire, quis illic esset


Epistle LXXVII.

others lighten by long endurance. We sometimes hear the inexperienced say: “I knew that this was in store for me.” But the wise man knows that all things are in store for him. Whatever happens, he says: “I knew it.” Farewell.

LXXVII. On Taking One’s Own Life

Suddenly there came into our view to-day the “Alexandrian” ships,—I mean those which are usually sent ahead to announce the coming of the fleet; they are called “mail-boats.” The Campanians are glad to see them; all the rabble of Puteolia stand on the docks, and can recognize the “Alexandrian” boats, no matter how great the crowd of vessels, by the very trim of their sails. For they alone may keep spread their topsails, which all ships use when out at sea, because nothing sends a ship along so well as its upper canvas; that is where most of the speed is obtained. So when the breeze has stiffened and becomes stronger than is comfortable, they set their yards lower; for the wind has less force near the surface of the water. Accordingly, when they have made Capreae and the headland whence

Tall Pallas watches on the stormy peak,b

all other vessels are bidden to be content with the mainsail, and the topsail stands out conspicuously on the “Alexandrian” mail-boats.

While everybody was bustling about and hurrying to the water-front, I felt great pleasure in my laziness, because, although I was soon to receive letters from my friends, I was in no hurry to know how my affairs

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-epistles.1917