Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Sooner or Later
We are all driven to the same pen; for all alike is the lot shaken in the urn; sooner or later, out it will come, and put us aboard the skiff for eternal exile.Archinus, quoted by Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 6.2.22 (tr. William Wilson):
omnes eodem cogimur, omnium
versata urna serius ocius
sors exitura et nos in aeternum
exsilium impositura cumbae.
All men are bound to die sooner or later.Propertius 2.28.57-58 (tr. H.E. Butler):
πᾶσι μὲν ἀνθρώποις ὀφείλεται ἀποθανεῖν ἢ πρότερον ἢ εἰς ὕστερον.
Neither beauty nor fortune abideth everlastingly for any; sooner or later death awaiteth all.Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.32-33 (Orpheus speaking to the rulers of the underworld, tr. Stanley Lombardo):
nec forma aeternum aut cuiquam est fortuna perennis:
longius aut propius mors sua quemque manet.
We are all owed to you, and after a brief delayI owe these parallels to R.G.M. Nisbet and Margaret Hubbard, A Commentary on Horace: Odes, Book II (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 65.
Sooner or later we all rush down to this place.
omnia debemur vobis, paulumque morati
serius aut citius sedem properamus ad unam.
The following illustration of Death drawing lots from an urn comes from Otto van Veen (1556-1629), Quinti Horatii Flacci Emblemata (Antwerp: Philip Lisaert, 1612), p. 203: