Friday, November 27, 2009

Courage Not Luck

 . . . you should pray for a sound mind in a sound body.
Ask for a heart that is courageous, with no fear of death,
that reckons long life among the least of Nature's gifts,
that can put up with any anguish, that is unfamiliar with anger,
that longs for nothing, that prefers the troubles and
gruelling labours of Hercules to the sex and feasts and
downy cushions of Sardanapallus. I'm showing you
something you can give yourself. There is no doubt
that the only peaceful life lies through goodness.
Fortune, you'd have no power, if we were sensible:
it's we who make you a goddess,
it's we who give you a place in the sky.


Juvenal, Satire 10, lines 356-366,
(Trans. Susanna Morton Braund, Loeb Classical Library)
A historical note: Sardanapaulus according to Diodorus "the thirtieth from Ninus, and the last King of Assyria, exceeded all his in sloth and luxury;" and therefore incited his own overthrow.) h/t Wikipedia.

4 comments:

Christopher said...

I love reading these works from the ancients. If you won't reveal your source, at least promise to post them often.

Ann T. said...

Dear Christopher,
I have my own anthology, from a ton of books and sources and hand-copied into a blank book. Took me months. Plenty of pages left over in case I find something else that's great.

The Loeb Classical Library has the Braund translation of Juvenal. That's Harvard U Press, and some bookstores stock that collection.

I'm glad you're enjoying my selections!

Ann T.

Sandra G. said...

I love this - please post more for these are words I have not yet had the pleasure of reading.

Ann T. said...

Dear Sandra,
You can count on it. It's like discovering them all over again to re-read them, and to type them in can only be a pleasure.

So glad they speak to you.

Ann T.