Sunday, May 07, 2006



Seneca, Letters to Lucilius 28.1-2 (tr. Richard M. Gummere):
Do you suppose that you alone have had this experience? Are you surprised, as if it were a novelty, that after such long travel and so many changes of scene you have not been able to shake off the gloom and heaviness of your mind? You need a change of soul rather than a change of climate. Though you may cross vast spaces of sea, and though, as our Vergil remarks,
Lands and cities are left astern,
your faults will follow you whithersoever you travel. Socrates made the same remark to one who complained; he said: "Why do you wonder that globe-trotting does not help you, seeing that you always take yourself with you? The reason which set you wandering is ever at your heels." What pleasure is there in seeing new lands? Or in surveying cities and spots of interest? All your bustle is useless. Do you ask why such flight does not help you? It is because you flee along with yourself. You must lay aside the burdens of the mind; until you do this, no place will satisfy you.

Hoc tibi soli putas accidisse et admiraris quasi rem novam quod peregrinatione tam longa et tot locorum varietatibus non discussisti tristitiam gravitatemque mentis? Animum debes mutare, non caelum. Licet vastum traieceris mare, licet, ut ait Vergilius noster,
terraeque urbesque recedant,
sequentur te quocumque perveneris vitia. Hoc idem querenti cuidam Socrates ait, 'quid miraris nihil tibi peregrinationes prodesse, cum te circumferas? premit te eadem causa quae expulit'. Quid terrarum iuvare novitas potest? quid cognitio urbium aut locorum? in irritum cedit ista iactatio. Quaeris quare te fuga ista non adiuvet? tecum fugis. Onus animi deponendum est: non ante tibi ullus placebit locus.

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