10.08.2016

Moral Letters to Lucilius // a poem

A translation of a poem of mine.


My dear Lucilius.
Once again I encourage you to ponder
The virtues of temperance
And tranquillity.
My dear Lucilius.
Long have I written to you incessantly,
And told you tales of brave souls
That you might copy them.
We are both making great progress.
My dear Lucilius.
Our friends tell me
That in your party nights you pass by my house
And sing just a bit lower
So as not to wake me up.
I have indeed a light sleep,
Though not from cares,
But from the light electric the gods
Planted inside me,
In my spirit,
And that keeps me up at night
While I write to you.
My dear Lucilius.
Tell me news. Some say
That every night you sing
Until your lips stiffen and numb.
I have trouble believing this.
You do not sing, you pray.
Always have you kept the two apart.
And be that as it may I do not think you could sing
Without me there to give you the tone.
This is true,
Is it not?
My dear Lucilius.
Once again I ask that you direct your body
To just deeds, that you conform your soul
To the super-celestial gods.
If I repeat myself, if I search for you,
If I insist and see myself in you,
That is because I know that God that spins everything
Spins us both in unison,
If I take your hand He
Takes mine in turn,
And with the other He takes yours.
My dear Lucilius.
Try to dull your love.
Dull it and smoothen it,
The love for people,
The love for the beautiful statues in your palaces,
Dull the love for philosophy,
The love for music,
The love for the gods of Love and the others.
Love instead the dulling itself.
But even that in a way that's tame and faint.
Let it dry and gather it once more the following Summer.
Thin it until it fits,
Like a papyrus sheet,
Between the closed beak of an ibis.
My dear Lucilius.
Once again I encourage you to ponder
The virtues of temperance and resignation.





































Imagem: Jusepe de RiberaSeneca (?), 1625-1650 @ Londres.