Lucius Annaeus Seneca [Seneca the Younger]
1BC-65 AD *executed by Emperor Nero
Latin (Imperial period)
L. ANNAEI SENECAE
EPISTULARUM MORALIUM AD LUCILIUM LIBER PRIMUS
I. SENECA LUCILIO SUO SALUTEM
 Ita fac, mi Lucili:
[Do this, Lucilius, my friend:]
vindica te tibi,
[redeem yourself, for your sake,]
et tempus quod adhuc aut auferebatur aut subripiebatur aut excidebat collige et serva.
[both gather and preserve the time that has yet to be taken away, stolen out from under, or cut off suddenly.]
Persuade tibi hoc sic esse ut scribo:
[Convince yourself that this is the case as I write it:]
quaedam tempora eripiuntur nobis, quaedam subducuntur, quaedam effluunt.
[our limited time here is stolen away from us, it is taken out from under us, it flows away.]
Turpissima tamen est iactura quae per neglegentiam fit.
[In any event, it's a damn shame if happens out of negligence.]
Et si volueris attendere, magna pars vitae elabitur male agentibus, maxima nihil agentibus, tota vita aliud agentibus.
[and if you will've wished to do some service, a great part of life will slip away from men who act badly; most of it for those who do nothing; and the entireity of life for those doing something their not supposed to.]
 Quem mihi dabis qui aliquod pretium tempori ponat, qui diem aestimet, qui intellegat se cotidie mori?
[Whom can you show me who can assign some price for our time, and ration out the day, and understand how to be patient each day?]
In hoc enim fallimur, quod mortem prospicimus:
[You see, I don't know how to do this, since I look forward to death:]
magna pars eius iam praeterit;
[The largest part of this will already pass by;]
quidquid aetatis retro est mors tenet.
[Death holds back whatever there is of life.]
Fac ergo, mi Lucili, quod facere te scribis, omnes horas complectere;
[There, Lucilius my friend, make sure to do you write yourself, "embrace all the time you have;"]
sic fiet ut minus ex crastino pendeas, si hodierno manum inieceris.
[so let it happen that you delay less for tomorrow, if you could throw your hands upon today.]
 Dum differtur vita transcurrit.
[As soon as it is dispersed, life takes it course.]
Omnia, Lucili, aliena sunt, tempus tantum nostrum est;
[Lucilius, all things are strange, only time is our own;]
in huius rei unius fugacis ac lubricae possessionem natura nos misit, ex qua expellit quicumque vult.
[Nature grants us the possession of the one single thing, fleeting and difficult to grasp, from where each man desires, it takes it away.]
Et tanta stultitia mortalium est
[And so great is the stupidity of mortal beings,]
ut quae minima et vilissima sunt, certe reparabilia, imputari sibi cum impetravere patiantur,
[that whatever is the least and cheapest, and clearly reparable, are able to reckoned for themselves when sought,]