Martial on the Brevity of Life – “Live Yesterday!”

“Postumus, you always say that you will live tomorrow, tomorrow! But that ‘tomorrow’ of yours – when does it ever come? How far off is that ‘tomorrow’! Where is it, or where should it be sought? Does it lie hidden among the Parthians, or the Armenians? That ‘tomorrow’ is as old as Priam or Nestor. For how much can ‘tomorrow’ be purchased? You will live tomorrow, you say? Postumus, even living today is too late; he is the wise man, who lived yesterday.


Martial 5.58:

Cras te uicturum, cras dicis, Postume, semper:
dic mihi, cras istud, Postume, quando uenit?
Quam longe cras istud! ubi est? aut unde petendum?
Numquid apud Parthos Armeniosque latet?
Iam cras istud habet Priami uel Nestoris annos.              5
Cras istud quanti, dic mihi, possit emi?
Cras uiues? Hodie iam uiuere, Postume, serum est:
ille sapit quisquis, Postume, uixit heri.

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