Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Dum Fata Sinunt, Vivite Laeti

Seneca, Hercules Furens 159-201 (tr. Frank Justus Miller):
Such are the tasks of those whose is the peaceful calm of harmless lives, whose home rejoices in the tiny store that is its own; overweening hopes stalk abroad in cities, and trembling fears. One, sleepless, haunts the haughty vestibules and unfeeling doors of his rich patrons; another endlessly heaps up abundant wealth, gloats over his treasures, and is still poor amid piled-up gold. Yonder dazed wretch, with empty wind puffed up, popular applause and the mob more shifting than the sea uplift; this, trafficking in the mad wrangles of the noisy court, shamelessly lets out for hire his passions and his speech.

Haec, innocuae quibus est vitae
tranquilla quies
et laeta suo parvoque domus.
spes immanes urbibus errant
trepidique metus.
ille superbos aditus regum
durasque fores expers somni
colit, hic nullo fine beatas
componit opes,
gazis inhians
et congesto pauper in auro;
illum populi favor attonitum
fluctuque magis mobile vulgus
aura tumidum tollit inani;
hic clamosi rabiosa fori
iurgia vendens
improbus iras et verba locat.

Known to but few is untroubled calm, and they, mindful of time’s swift flight, hold fast the days that never will return. While the fates permit, live happily; life speeds on with hurried step, and with winged days the wheel of the headlong year is turned. The harsh sisters ply their tasks, yet do they not spin backward the threads of life. But men are driven, each one uncertain of his own, to meet the speeding fates; we seek the Stygian waves of our own accord. With heart too brave, Alcides, thou dost haste to visit the grieving ghosts; at the appointed time the Parcae come. No one may linger when they command, no one may postpone the allotted day; the urn receives the nations hurried to their doom.

Novit paucos secura quies,
qui velocis memores aevi
tempora numquam reditura tenent.
dum fata sinunt, vivite laeti.
properat cursu vita citato
volucrique die
rota praecipitis vertitur anni;
durae peragunt pensa sorores
nec sua retro fila revolvunt.
at gens hominum fertur rapidis
obvia fatis incerta sui;
Stygias ultro quaerimus undas.
nimium, Alcide, pectore forti
properas maestos visere manes.
certo veniunt tempore Parcae.
nulli iusso cessare licet,
nulli scriptum proferre diem;
recipit populos urna citatos.

Let glory laud another to many lands, and let babbling fame sing his praise through every city and lift him to a level with the stars of heaven; let another fare towering in his car; but me let my own land, beside my lonely, sheltered hearth, protect. The inactive reach hoary age, and in a lowly estate but secure stands the mean lot of a humble home; from a lofty height ambitious courage falls.

Alium multis Gloria terris
tradat et omnes
Fama per urbes garrula laudet,
caeloque parem tollat et astris;
alius curru sublimis eat;
me mea tellus
lare secreto tutoque tegat.
venit ad pigros cana senectus
humilique loco, sed certa sedet
sordida parvae fortuna domus;
alte virtus animosa cadit.

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