Voices from Deep Below
I Want to Stand Where the Sun Himself Shakes with Fear
Out March 24th 2017
“As fire test gold, so misfortune tests brave men. See how high virtue must climb: you will learn the path she must take is fraught with peril:
Steep is the way at first, which my steeds scarce
Can climb in the morning freshness; in mid-sky
The altitude is greatest and the sight
Of land and sea has often struck
In my own heart an agony of fear.
The final part drops sheer; then above all
Control must be assured, and even she
Whose waters lie below to welcome me,
Tethys, waits fearful lest I headlong fall.
When he heard these words, that noble youth replied: ‘I like the journey, I shall mount; though I fall, it is worth the risk to soar above such sights.’ But his father did not cease from trying to make his bold heart tremble with fear:
And though you keep your course and steer aright,
Yet you shall meet the Bull, must brave his horns,
And face the Archers and the ravening Lion.
To this he said: ‘Harness the chariot you have granted: what you think makes me frightened makes me bold; I want to stand where the Sun himself shakes with fear.’ The soul that is earth-bound and sluggish will follow the safe course: virtue takes to the heights.”
- Lucius Annaeus Seneca