Seneca the Younger, Epistles

LCL 76: 284-285

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The Epistles Of Seneca

ut intres, plus, cum intraveris. Praeteri istos gradus divitum et magno adgestu suspensa vestibula; non in praerupto tantum istic stabis, sed in lubrico. Huc potius te ad sapientiam derige tranquillissimasque res eius et simul amplissimas pete. 13Quaecumque videntur eminere in rebus humanis, quamvis pusilla sint et comparatione humillimorum extent, per difficiles tamen et arduos tramites adeuntur. Confragosa in fastigium dignitatis via est; at si conscendere hunc verticem libet, cui se fortuna summisit, omnia quidem sub te, quae pro excelsissimis habentur, aspicies, sed tamen venies ad summa per planum. Vale.

LXXXV. Seneca Lvcilio svo salvtem

1Peperceram tibi et quicquid nodosi adhuc supererat, praeterieram, contentus quasi gustum tibi dare eorum, quae a nostris dicuntur, ut probetur virtus ad explendam beatam vitam sola satis efficax. Iubes me quicquid est interrogationum aut nostrarum aut ad traductionem nostram excogitatarum comprendere. Quod si facere voluero, non erit epistula, sed liber. Illud totiens testor, hoc me argumentorum genere


Epistle LXXXV.

an insulta for you as you enter the door, and still more after you have entered. Pass by the steps that mount to rich men’s houses, and the porches rendered hazardous by the huge throng; for there you will be standing, not merely on the edge of a precipice but also on slippery ground. Instead of this, direct your course hither to wisdom, and seek her ways, which are ways of surpassing peace and plenty. Whatever seems conspicuous in the affairs of men—however petty it may really be and prominent only by contrast with the lowest objects—is nevertheless approached by a difficult and toilsome pathway. It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness; but if you desire to scale this peak, which lies far above the range of Fortune, you will indeed look down from above upon all that men regard as most lofty, but none the less you can proceed to the top over level ground. Farewell.

LXXXV. On Some Vain Syllogisms

I had been inclined to spare you, and had omitted any knotty problems that still remained undiscussed; I was satisfied to give you a sort of taste of the views held by the men of our school, who desire to prove that virtue is of itself sufficiently capable of rounding out the happy life. But now you bid me include the entire bulk either of our own syllogisms or of those which have been devisedb by other schools for the purpose of belittling us. If I shall be willing to do this, the result will be a book, instead of a letter. And I declare again and again that I take no pleasure in such proofs. I am ashamed to

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-epistles.1917