Seneca the Younger, Epistles

LCL 76: 210-211

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The Epistles Of Seneca

confitetur, se et Epicurum non satis enotuisse; sed post se et Epicurum magnum paratumque nomen habituros, qui voluissent per eadem ire vestigia.

17Nulla virtus latet, et latuisse non ipsius est damnum. Veniet qui conditam et saeculi sui malignitate conpressam dies publicet. Paucis natus est, qui populum aetatis suae cogitat. Multa annorum milia, multa populorum supervenient; ad illa respice. Etiam si omnibus tecum viventibus silentium livor indixerit, venient qui sine offensa, sine gratia iudicent. Si quod est pretium virtutis ex fama, nec hoc interit. Ad nos quidem nihil pertinebit posterorum sermo; tamen etiam non sentientes colet ac frequentabit. 18Nulli non virtus et vivo et mortuo rettulit gratiam, si modo illam bona secutus est fide, si se non exornavit et pinxit, sed idem fuit, sive ex denuntiato videbatur, sive inparatus ac subito. Nihil simulatio proficit. Paucis inponit leviter extrinsecus inducta facies; veritas in omnem partem sui eadem est. Quae decipiunt, nihil habent solidi. Tenue est mendacium; perlucet, si diligenter inspexeris. Vale.


Epistle LXXIX.

and he were not well known to the public; but he declares that after the lifetime of Epicurus and himself any man who might wish to follow in their footsteps would win great and ready-made renown.

Virtue is never lost to view; and yet to have been lost to view is no loss. There will come a day which will reveal her, though hidden away or suppressed by the spite of her contemporaries. That man is born merely for a few, who thinks only of the people of his own generation. Many thousands of years and many thousands of peoples will come after you; it is to these that you should have regard. Malice may have imposed silence upon the mouths of all who were alive in your day; but there will come men who will judge you without prejudice and without favour. If there is any reward that virtue receives at the hands of fame, not even this can pass away. We ourselves, indeed, shall not be affected by the talk of posterity; nevertheless, posterity will cherish and celebrate us even though we are not conscious thereof. Virtue has never failed to reward a man, both during his life and after his death, provided he has followed her loyally, provided he has not decked himself out or painted himself up, but has been always the same, whether he appeared before men’s eyes after being announced, or suddenly and without preparation. Pretence accomplishes nothing. Few are deceived by a mask that is easily drawn over the face. Truth is the same in every part. Things which deceive us have no real substance. Lies are thin stuff; they are transparent, if you examine them with care. Farewell.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-epistles.1917