Seneca on Saturday: when every new day is a bonus

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Male figure on funerary couch surrounded by funeral cortège (detail), Funerary procession, Amiternum, c. 50-1 B.C.E. (Museum, Aquila) (photo: Erin Taylor, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

Epistle XII: On Old Age

Pacuvius… used to hold a regular burial sacrifice in his own honor, with wine and the usual funeral feasting, and then would have himself carried from the dining-room to his chamber, while eunuchs applauded and sang in Greek to a musical accompaniment: “He has lived his life, he has lived his life!” Thus Pacuvius had himself carried out to burial every day. Let us, however, do from a good motive what he used to do from a debased motive; let us go to our sleep with joy and gladness; let us say:

I have lived; the course which Fortune set for me

Is finished.**

And if God is pleased to add another day, we should welcome it with glad hearts. That man is happiest, and is secure in his own possession of himself, who can await the morrow without apprehension. When a man has said: “I have lived!”, every morning he arises is a bonus.

** Vergil, Aenid, iv. 63

Seneca Epistles 1-65, Translation by Richard Gummere. Loeb Classical Library.

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