Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Sooner or Later

Horace, Odes 2.3.25-28 (tr. Niall Rudd):
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.

omnes eodem cogimur, omnium
versata urna serius ocius
  sors exitura et nos in aeternum
    exsilium impositura cumbae.
Archinus, quoted by Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 6.2.22 (tr. William Wilson):
All men are bound to die sooner or later.

πᾶσι μὲν ἀνθρώποις ὀφείλεται ἀποθανεῖν ἢ πρότερον ἢ εἰς ὕστερον.
Propertius 2.28.57-58 (tr. H.E. Butler):
Neither beauty nor fortune abideth everlastingly for any; sooner or later death awaiteth all.

nec forma aeternum aut cuiquam est fortuna perennis:
  longius aut propius mors sua quemque manet.
Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.32-33 (Orpheus speaking to the rulers of the underworld, tr. Stanley Lombardo):
We are all owed to you, and after a brief delay
Sooner or later we all rush down to this place.

omnia debemur vobis, paulumque morati
serius aut citius sedem properamus ad unam.
I 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.

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:

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