Friday, July 15, 2016


Better Off

[Seneca,] Octavia 377-384 (Seneca speaking; tr. John G. Fitch):
Why, wilful Fortune, smiling on me with your deceiving face—why, when I was content with my lot, did you raise me on high, so that once admitted to this lofty eminence I could fall more heavily, and look out on so many terrors?

I was better off when hidden far from envy's mischief, out of the way amidst Corsica's sea crags, where my mind was free and sovereign and always at liberty for me to pursue my studies.

quid, impotens Fortuna, fallaci mihi
blandita vultu, sorte contentum mea
alte extulisti, gravius ut ruerem edita
receptus arce totque prospicerem metus?        380

melius latebam procul ab invidiae malis
remotus inter Corsici rupes maris,
ubi liber animus et sui iuris mihi
semper vacabat studia recolenti mea.

377 impotens ... mihi Siegmund: me impotens ... diu Heinsius: me potens ... mihi A

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