1But because you have need of something to lean upon until you can reach that haven which philosophy promises to you, I wish meanwhile to point out the consolations you still have. Turn your eyes upon my brothers; while they live, you have no right to complain of Fortune. 2Different as their merits are, you have reason to rejoice in both. The one by his energy has attained public honours; the other with wisdom has scorned them. Find comfort in the prestige of one son, in the retirement of the other - in the devotion of both! The secret motives of my brothers I well know. The one fosters his prestige for the real purpose of shedding lustre upon you; the other retired to a life of tranquillity and repose for the real purpose of using his leisure for you. It was kind of Fortune so to arrange the lives of your children that they would bring help and pleasure to you; 3you can both be protected by the position of the one, and enjoy the leisure of the other. They will vie in their services to you, and the blank that one has caused will be filled by the devotion of two. I can make a confidant promise - you will lack nothing except the full number. 4From these turn your eyes, too, upon your grandchildren - to Marcus, a most winsome lad, the sight of whom no sorrow can possibly withstand; no one's heart can hold a sorrow so great or so fresh that his embrace will not soothe it. 5Whose tears would his merriment not stay? Whose heart contracted by pain will his lively prattle not release? Whom will his playfulness not provoke to mirth? Whom intent upon his own thoughts will he not attract to himself and divert by the chatter that no one will weary of? 6I pray the gods that we may have the good fortune to die before he does! May all the cruelty of Fate be exhausted and stop at me; whatever grief you are doomed to suffer as a mother, whatever as a grandmother - may it all be shifted to me! May all the rest of my band be blest with no change in their lot. I make no complaint of my childlessness, none of my present fortune; only let me be a scapegoat for the family, and know that it will have no more sorrow. 7Hold to your bosom Novatilla, who so soon will present you with greatgrandchildren, whom I had so transferred to myself, had so adopted as my own, that in losing me she may well seem to be an orphan although her father is still living; do you cherish her for me also! Fortune recently snatched from her her mother, but you by your affection can see to it that she shall but mourn, and not really know, her mother's loss. 8Now is the time to order her character, now is the time to shape it; instruction that is stamped upon the plastic years leaves a deeper mark. Let her become accustomed to your conversation, let her be moulded to your pleasure; you will give her much even if you give her nothing but your example. Such a sacred duty as this will bring to you relief; for only philosophy or an honourable occupation can turn from its distress the heart that sorrows from affection. 9Among your great comforts I would count your father also, were he not now absent. As it is, nevertheless, let your love for him make you think of what his is for you, and you will understand how much more just it is that you should be preserved for him than sacrificed for me. Whenever excessive grief assails you with its power and bids you submit, do you think of your father! It is true that, by giving to him so many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, you have saved yourself from being his sole treasure; nevertheless the crowning pleasure of his happy life depends on yon. While he lives, it is wrong to complain because you have lived.

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