Your Message Interrupted My Daydream

Seneca, Moral Epistles 102.1-2

“Just as someone is annoying when they disturb a person from a happy dream, since he interrupts a pleasure, which, even if counterfeit, has something of a real effect, so your letter has caused me pain. It pulled me back from a needed reverie and I would have gone further if allowed.

It was pleasing me to think about the immortality of our souls, ok, really, to believe in it. I was opening myself to the arguments of great thinkers who promise as much as approve of this most welcome matter. I was surrendering myself to a great hope. I was feeling tired of myself, already sick of the broken pieces of my age and ready to cross over into that endless expanse of time and the embrace of every era. Then, suddenly, I was shaken up by your letter and I lost so beautiful a dream. Maybe I will seek it and find it again, if I get rid of you.

Quomodo molestus est iucundum somnium videnti qui excitat, aufert enim voluptatem, etiam si falsam, effectum tamen verae habentem; sic epistula tua mihi fecit iniuriam. Revocavit enim me cogitationi aptae traditum et iturum, si licuisset, ulterius. Iuvabat de aeternitate animarum quaerere, immo mehercules credere. Praebebam enim me facilem opinionibus magnorum virorum rem gratissimam promittentium magis quam probantium. Dabam me spei tantae. Iam eram fastidio mihi, iam reliquias aetatis infractae contemnebam in immensum illud tempus et in possessionem omnis aevi transiturus; cum subito experrectus sum epistula tua accepta et tam bellum somnium perdidi. Quod repetam, si te dimisero, et redimam.

Color photograph of a book illustration. A woman in a yellow dress looks into a hilly distance at a castle with a light


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