Seneca the Younger, Epistles

LCL 76: 258-259

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The Epistles Of Seneca

corporis solida ferrum et quicquid humanae torserant manus reiceret. Molaribus demum fracta saxis est. Et adversus mortem tu tam1 minuta iacularis? Subula leonem excipis? Acuta sunt ista, quae dicis; nihil est acutius arista. Quaedam inutilia et inefficacia ipsa subtilitas reddit. Vale.

LXXXIII. Seneca Lvcilio svo salvtem

1Singulos dies tibi meos et quidem totos indicari iubes; bene de me iudicas, si nihil esse in illis putas, quod abscondam. Sic certe vivendum est, tamquam in conspectu vivamus; sic cogitandum, tamquam aliquis in pectus intimum introspicere2 possit; et potest. Quid enim prodest ab homine aliquid esse secretum? Nihil deo clusum est. Interest animis nostris et cogitationibus mediis intervenit—sic intervenit, 2dico, tamquam aliquando discedat. Faciam ergo, quod iubes, et quid agam et quo ordine, libenter tibi scribam. Observabo me protinus et, quod est utilissimum, diem meum recognoscam. Hoc nos pessimos facit, quod nemo vitam suam respicit. Quid facturi simus cogitamus. Atqui consilium futuri ex praeterito venit.

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Epistle LXXXIII.

toughness which matched its bulk, made spears, or any weapon hurled by the hand of man, glance off. It was finally destroyed by rocks equal in size to millstones. Are you, then, hurling petty weapons like yours even against death? Can you stop a lion’s charge by an awl?a Your arguments are indeed sharp; but there is nothing sharper than a stalk of grain. And certain arguments are rendered useless and unavailing by their very subtlety. Farewell.

LXXXIII. On Drunkenness

You bid me give you an account of each separate day, and of the whole day too; so you must have a good opinion of me if you think that in these days of mine there is nothing to hide. At any rate, it is thus that we should live,—as if we lived in plain sight of all men; and it is thus that we should think,—as if there were someone who could look into our inmost souls; and there is one who can so look. For what avails it that something is hidden from man? Nothing is shut off from the sight of God. He is witness of our souls,b and he comes into the very midst of our thoughts—comes into them, I say, as one who may at any time depart. I shall therefore do as you bid, and shall gladly inform you by letter what I am doing, and in what sequence. I shall keep watching myself continually, and—a most useful habit—shall review each day.c For this is what makes us wicked: that no one of us looks back over his own life. Our thoughts are devoted only to what we are about to do. And yet our plans for the future always depend on the past.

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-epistles.1917