Seneca, Letters to Lucilius
4.10-11 (tr. Richard M. Gummere):
But I must end my letter. Let me share with you the saying which pleased me to-day. It, too, is culled from another man's Garden: "Poverty, brought into conformity with the law of nature, is great wealth." [Epicurus, fragment 477 Usener.] Do you know what limits that law of nature ordains for us? Merely to avert hunger, thirst, and cold. In order to banish hunger and thirst, it is not necessary for you to pay court at the doors of the purse-proud, or to submit to the stern frown, or to the kindness that humiliates; nor is it necessary for you to scour the seas, or go campaigning; nature's needs are easily provided and ready to hand. It is the superfluous things for which men sweat,—the superfluous things that wear our togas threadbare, that force us to grow old in camp, that dash us upon foreign shores. That which is enough is ready to our hands. He who has made a fair compact with poverty is rich.
sed ut finem epistulae imponam, accipe, quod mihi hodierno die placuit. et hoc quoque ex alienis hortulis sumptum est. "magnae divitiae sunt lege naturae composita paupertas." lex autem illa naturae scis quos nobis terminos statuat? non esurire, non sitire, non algere. ut famem sitimque depellas, non est necesse superbis adsidere liminibus nec supercilium grave et contumeliosam etiam humanitatem pati, non est necesse maria temptare nec sequi castra; parabile est, quod natura desiderat,
et adpositum. ad supervacua sudatur. illa sunt, quae togam conterunt, quae nos senescere sub tentorio cogunt, quae in aliena litora impingunt. ad manum est, quod sat est. cui cum paupertate bene convenit, dives est.
Vatican Collection 25, text from Hermann Usener, "Epikurische Spruchsammlung," in his Kleine Schriften
I (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1912), pp. 297-325 (at 315), tr. Cyril Bailey in Whitney J. Oates, ed., The Stoic and Epicurean Philosophers
(New York: Random House, 1940), p. 41:
Poverty, when measured by the natural purpose of life, is great wealth, but unlimited wealth is great poverty.
ἡ πενία μετρουμένη τῷ τῆς φύσεως τέλει μέγας ἐστὶ πλοῦτος· πλοῦτος δὲ μὴ ὁριζόμενος μεγάλη ἐστὶ πενία.