Pieter Claesz, Vanitas, 1630
Pieter Claesz, Vanitas (1630)

Male de Seio. sed omnia humana tolerabilia ducenda. ipsi enim quid sumus aut quam diu haec curaturi sumus? ea videamus quae ad nos magis pertinent, nec tamen multo. quid agamus de senatu? et ut ne quid praetermittam, Caesonius ad me litteras misit Postumiam Sulpici domum ad se venisse. de Pompei Magni filia tibi rescripsi me nihil hoc tempore cogitare; alteram vero illam quam tu scribis, puto, nosti: nihil vidi foedius. sed adsum. coram igitur.
obsignata epistula accepi tuas. Atticae hilaritatem libenter audio. commotiunculis συμπάσχω.
(Cicero, Ep. ad Att. 249 (=12.11))

I am so sorry about Seius. But we must resign ourselves to the lot of mankind and all that is part of it. What after all are we, and how long shall we be taking these things to heart? Let us look at matters which concern us more directly, though not much more. What am I to do about the Senate? And, not to leave anything out, Caesonius has sent me a letter to say that Postumia, Sulpicius’ wife, has been to see him at his house. I wrote to you in answer to your remark about Pompeius Magnus’ daughter that I had no such thought at present. As for the other lady you mention, I think you know her. She is quite remarkably ugly. However I am nearly home, and we shall talk of it* together.
After sealing my letter I received yours. Glad to hear of Attica’s good spirits. I sympathize with her little upsets.

* I.e., of a new wife for Ciero, who had divorced Terentia earlier in the year. The ‘other lady’ may have been Hirtius’ sister, whom according to St. Jerome (Adversus Iovinianum, 1.48) Cicero declined to mary on the ground that he coul not devote himself equally to a wife and to philosophy.

(tr. David Roy Shackleton Bailey, with his note)

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