Seneca the Younger, Epistles

LCL 76: 392-393

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The Epistles Of Seneca

dico: quo usque nullus erit lacus cui non villarum vestrarum fastigia immineant? Nullum flumen cuius non ripas aedificia vestra praetexant? Ubicumque scatebunt aquarum calentium venae, ibi nova deversoria luxuriae excitabuntur. Ubicumque in aliquem sinum litus curvabitur, vos protinus fundamenta iacietis1 nec contenti solo nisi quod manu feceritis, mare2 agetis introrsus. Omnibus licet locis tecta vestra resplendeant, aliubi inposita montibus in vastum terrarum marisque prospectum, aliubi ex plano in altitudinem montium educta, cum multa aedificaveritis, cum ingentia, tamen et singula corpora estis et parvola. Quid prosunt multa cubicula? In uno iacetis, Non est vestrum ubicumque non estis.

2Ad vos deinde transeo, quorum profunda et insatiabilis gula hinc maria scrutatur, hinc terras, alia hamis, alia laqueis, alia retium variis generibus cum magno labore persequitur; nullis animalibus nisi ex fastidio pax est. Quantulum3 ex istis epulis, quae per tot comparatis manus, fesso voluptatibus ore libatis? Quantulum ex ista fera periculose capta dominus crudus ac nauseans gustat? Quantulum ex tot conchyliis tam longe advectis per istum stomachum inexplebilem labitur? Infelices, ecquid4 intellegitis maiorem vos famem habere quam ventrem?

23Haec aliis dic, ut dum dicis, audias ipse; scribe,

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Epistle LXXXIX.

this custom continue until there is no lake over which the pinnacles of your country-houses do not tower? Until there is no river whose banks are not bordered by your lordly structures? Wherever hot waters shall gush forth in rills, there you will be causing new resorts of luxury to rise. Wherever the shore shall bend into a bay, there will you straightway be laying foundations, and, not content with any land that has not been made by art, you will bring the sea within your boundaries.a On every side let your house-tops flash in the sun, now set on mountain peaks where they command an extensive outlook over sea and land, now lifted from the plain to the height of mountains; build your manifold structures, your huge piles,—you are nevertheless but individuals, and puny ones at that! What profit to you are your many bed-chambers? You sleep in one. No place is yours where you yourselves are not.

“Next I pass to you, you whose bottomless and insatiable maw explores on the one hand the seas, on the other the earth, with enormous toil hunting down your prey, now with hook, now with snare, now with nets of various kinds; no animal has peace except when you are cloyed with it. And how slight a portion of those banquets of yours, prepared for you by so many hands, do you taste with your pleasure-jaded palate! How slight a portion of all that game, whose taking was fraught with danger, does the master’s sick and squeamish stomach relish? How slight a portion of all those shell-fish, imported from so far, slips down that insatiable gullet? Poor wretches, do you not know that your appetites are bigger than your bellies?”

Talk in this way to other men,—provided that while you talk you also listen; write in this

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-epistles.1917