maius putem quam illa secura et intemptata fortunae, quanto rarius est hostem amissa manu vicisse quam armata? “Quid ergo?” inquis, “hoc bonum tibi optabis?” Quidni? Hoc enim nisi qui potest et 53optare, non potest facere. An potius optem, ut malaxandos articulos exoletis meis porrigam? Ut muliercula aut aliquis in mulierculam ex viro versus digitulos meos ducat? Quidni ego feliciorem putem Mucium, quod sic tractavit ignem, quasi illam manum tractatori praestitisset? In integrum restituit quidquid erraverat; confecit bellum inermis ac mancus et illa manu trunca reges duos vicit.Vale.
LXVII. Seneca Lvciuo svo salvtem
1Vt a communibus initium faciam, ver aperire se coepit, sed iam inclinatum in aestatem, quo tempore calere debebat, intepuit nec adhuc illi fides est. Saepe enim in hiemem revolvitur. Vis scire, quam dubium adhuc sit? Nondum me committo frigidae verae, adhuc rigorem eius infringo. “Hoc est,” inquis, “nec calidum nec frigidum pati.” Ita est, mi Lucili; iam aetas mea contenta est suo frigore. Vix
those other goods which are unattended by danger and have made no trial of fortune, as it is a rarer thing to have overcome a foe with a hand lost than with a hand armed? “What then?” you say; “shall you desire this good for yourself?” Of course I shall. For this is a thing that a man cannot achieve unless he can also desire it. Should I desire, instead, to be allowed to stretch out my limbs for my slaves to massage,a or to have a woman, or a man changed into the likeness of a woman, pull my finger-joints? I cannot help believing that Mucius was all the more lucky because he manipulated the flames as calmly as if he were holding out his hand to the manipulator. He had wiped out all his previous mistakes; he finished the war unarmed and maimed; and with that stump of a hand he conquered two kings.b Farewell.
LXVII. On Ill-Heath and Endurance of Suffering
If I may begin with a commonplace remark,c spring is gradually disclosing itself; but though it is rounding into summer, when you would expect hot weather, it has kept rather cool, and one cannot yet be sure of it. For it often slides back into winter weather. Do you wish to know how uncertain it still is? I do not yet trust myself to a bath which is absolutely cold; even at this time I break its chill. You may say that this is no way to show the endurance either of heat or of cold; very true, dear Lucilius, but at my time of life one is at length contented with the natural chill of the body. I can scarcely thaw out in