“Although in other matters there are great distinctions of rank and birth, virtue is accessible to all; she deems no man unworthy if only he deems himself worthy of her.”
— Seneca, De Consolatione ad Polybium, XVII.2
“But the wise man is fortified against all inroads; he is alert; he will not retreat before the attack of poverty, or of sorrow, or of disgrace, or of pain. He will walk undaunted both against them and among them.”
— Seneca, Epistle LIX.8 – On Pleasure and Joy
When cleaning house recently, I came across a paper on which I’d written three Tanka poems during a visit to the Getty Villa. It would seem, however, that I never actually published them—so here you are:
“Hence partisanship arose and this was the beginning of great calamities. For public affairs began to be conducted more in accordance with greed and rivalry than with goodness and honor, and in private life hatred and enmity increased daily. Thus the disease took hold of private and public life at the same time.”
—Leonardo Bruni, History of the Florentine People, I.81, published ca. 1416
Even more words for our time?
“For a coward, and a weakling, made dissolute by wealth and soft living, is not, I swear, worth a dog or even an ass.”
— Plutarch, Moralia – How to Study Poetry
Words for our times?
“For timely silence is a wise thing, and better than any speech…For, again, nobody was ever sorry because he kept silent, but hundreds because they talked. Again, the word unspoken can easily be uttered later; but the spoken word cannot possibly be recalled.”
— Plutarch, Moralia – On the Education of Children
You should also think about this the next time you’re posting to Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere…
“…the man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready, and it may be a long time…”
— Henry David Thoreau, from Walden
Just one of the advantages of solo travel, from one of the greats.