Seneca, Moral Epistles 64.2-4
“We talked about different things as one does at dinner, taking no matter to conclusion, but leaping from one thing to another.. Then we had a book read aloud by Quintus Sextius the father, a great man, if you trust me, and a Stoic, even if he denies it. Good gods, how much vigor and spirit in the man! You don’t find this in all philosophers–many with famous names have feeble writings. They propose, they dispute, but they don’t make it spirited because they lack it.
But when you read Sextius you conclude: “He is alive! He is strong! He is free! He is beyond a man and he sends me away filled with belief. I’ll tell you how I feel when I read his work: I need to call our every chance, to shout, “Why do you hold back, Fortune? Come on–see how I am prepared!” I put on the character of a man who seeks to test himself, some way to show his worth.”
Varius nobis fuit sermo, ut in convivio, nullam rem usque ad exitum adducens, sed aliunde alio transiliens. Lectus est deinde liber Quinti Sextii patris, magni, si quid mihi credis, viri et, licet neget, Stoici. Quantus in illo, di boni, vigor est, quantum animi! Hoc non in omnibus philosophis invenies; quorundam scripta clarum habentium nomen exanguia sunt. Instituunt, disputant, cavillantur, non faciunt animum, quia non habent; cum legeris Sextium, dices: “Vivit, viget, liber est, supra hominem est, dimittit me plenum ingentis fiduciae.” In qua positione mentis sim, cum hunc lego, fatebor tibi: libet omnis casus provocare, libet exclamare: “Quid cessas, fortuna? Congredere; paratum vides.” Illius animum induo, qui quaerit, ubi se experiatur, ubi virtutem suam ostendat,