To Polybius, on Consolation I

… compared with ours is firm and lasting; but if you transfer it to the domain of Nature, which destroys everything and calls everything back to the place from whence it came, it is transitory.

What, indeed, have mortal hands made that is not mortal?

The seven wonders of the world, and any even greater wonders which the ambition of later ages has constructed, will be seen some day leveled with the ground.

So it is: nothing lasts forever, few things even last for long: all are susceptible of decay in one way or another.

The ways in which things come to an end are manifold, but yet everything that has a beginning has an end also.

Some threaten the world with death, and, though you may think the thought to be impious, this entire universe, containing gods and men and all their works will someday be swept away and plunged a second time into its original darkness and chaos.

Weep, if you can, after this, over the loss of any individual life!

Can we mourn the ashes of Carthage, Numantia, Corinth, or any city that has fallen from a high estate, when we know that the world must perish, albeit it has no place into which it can fall.

Weep, if you can, because Fate has not spared you, she who someday will dare to work so great a wickedness!

Who can be so haughtily and peevishly arrogant as to expect that this law of nature by which everything is brought to an end will be set aside in his own case, and that his own house will be exempted from the ruin which menaces the whole world itself?

It is, therefore, a great consolation to reflect that what has happened to us has happened to everyone before us and will happen to everyone after us.

In my opinion, Nature has made her cruellest acts affect all men alike, in order that the universality of their lot might console them for its hardship.