all right

Occasionally adding corroborative details to add verisimilitude to otherwise bald and unconvincing,
but veridicous accounts
with careful attention, indefatigable assiduity, and nice discrimination.

24 May, 2012

Quotation in Context: Seneca

“Happy the man who can endure the highest and the lowest fortune.  He, who has endured such vicissitudes with equanimity, has deprived misfortune of its power.”—Seneca
Thus is L. Annaeus Seneca (c. 4 BCAD 65), also known as Seneca the younger, approvingly quoted on various websites.
The quotation is derived from Seneca’s tragedy, Hercules Œtaeus; therein a chorus of Oechalian maidens, suffering captivity in company with Iole (the daughter of Eurytus, king of Oechalia) whom Hercules has abducted, sing to the princess who’s been complaining, not unnaturally, of her lot:
Quid regna tui clara parentis
casusque* tuos respicis amens?
Fugiat vultus fortuna prior.
Felix quisquis novit famulum
regemque pati
vultusque suos variare potest.
Rapuit vires pondusque mali
casus animo qui tulit aequo. (225-32) 
[“Why consider thy father’s famous realm and thy calamities, mad one?  Former fortune should flee countenances.  Lucky whoever knows to endure as slave or king and can vary those respective miens.  He did seize the power and weight of evil who bore calamity with equal heart.”]
The scene then changes, so we have no record of what Iole’s reaction to her maidens’ motivational advice was.

*  a variant reading has proavosque, “and [thine] ancestors”, for casusque
, “and [thy] calamities”.

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