Friday 15 March 2024

Discover the Causes of Things

discite et, o miseri, causas cognoscite rerum:
quid sumus et quidnam uicturi gignimur, ordo
quis datus, aut metae qua mollis flexus et unde,
quis modus argento, quid fas optare, quid asper
utile nummus habet, patriae carisque propinquis
quantum elargiri deceat, quem te deus esse
iussit et humana qua parte locatus es in re.

Learn, o wretched men, discover the causes of things: what we are and what manner of life we were born for, what station of life we were delivered to, how and when to ease round the turning-post, what are the limits to silver, what is proper to pray for, the use of freshly minted coins, what amount should be spent on your country and how much on near relatives, to what God has in store for  you and what part you are called to play in human affairs.
Persius, Sat. III.66-72. My translation.