20 November 2012

Posted on Ahead

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales, Letter 99, Sections 7-8, tr. Richard M. Gummere, Vol. 3 (London: William Heinemann, 1917), pp. 133-5:
Note the rapidity of Time -- that swiftest of things; consider the shortness of the course along which we hasten at top speed; mark this throng of humanity, all straining toward the same point with briefest intervals between them -- even when they seem longest; he whom you count as passed away has simply posted on ahead. And what is more irrational than to bewail your predecessor, when you yourself must travel on the same journey? Does a man bewail an event which he knew would take place? Or, if he did not think of death as man's lot, he has but cheated himself. Does a man bewail an event which he has been admitting to be unavoidable? Whoever complains about the death of anyone, is complaining that he was a man.
The Latin:
Respice celeritatem rapidissimi temporis, cogita brevitatem huius spatii per quod citatissimi currimus, observa hunc comitatum generis humani eodem tendentis, minimis intervallis distinctum etiam ubi maxima videntur: quem putas perisse praemissus est. Quid autem dementius quam, cum idem tibi iter emetiendum sit, flere eum qui antecessit? Flet aliquis factum quod non ignoravit futurum? Aut si mortem in homine non cogitavit, sibi inposuit. Flet aliquis factum quod aiebat non posse non fieri? quisquis aliquem queritur mortuum esse, queritur hominem fuisse.
I will not be posting for the next few days. I hope to resume next week.