Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Statius On What Authors Hope and Fear

Authors hope and fear for their work. Will it endure? Will it be forgotten? Will it be read and considered, or crumble away as if it never had been written?

Here is the Roman poet, Statius--a magnificent writer in his own right, but today largely forgotten--at the conclusion of his masterpiece, the Thebaid (concerning the travails of the Seven Against Thebes), with a lovely reflection on these perennial anxieties:

Wilt thou endure in the time to come, O my Thebaid, for twelve years object of my wakeful toil, wilt thou survive thy master and be read? Of a truth already present Fame hath paved thee a friendly road, and begun to hold thee up, young as thou art, to future ages. Already great-hearted Caesar deigns to know thee, and the youth of Italy eagerly learns and recounts thy verse. O live, I pray! nor rival the divine Aeneid, but follow afar and ever venerate its footsteps. Soon, if any envy as yet o’erclouds thee, it shall pass away, and, after I am gone, thy well-won honours shall be duly paid.


DeGirolami, Marc | Permalink