What the object of senile avarice may be I cannot conceive. For can there be anything more absurd than to seek more journey money, the less there remains of the journey?

[Avaritia vero senilis quid sibi velit, non intellego. Potest enim quicquam esse absurdius quam, quo viae minus restet, eo plus viatici quaerere?]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Senectute [Cato Maior; On Old Age], ch. 18 / sec. 65 (18.65) (44 BC) [tr. Shuckburgh (1900)]

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Also I may not consceyue nor understande why avaryce & covetyse ought to be in an olde man for ther is no thyng more unreasonable nor more folyssh then is for to hepe gretter quantite of wordily goodes or of vitailles in the tyme when the man hath lesse wey for to endure & lyve.
[tr. Worcester/Worcester/Scrope (1481)]

But as for the avarice and covetousness of old men, I am not acquainted therewith, neither do I know what it meaneth. For what can be more absurd or repugnant to all reason than for a wayfaring man, when his journey is now almost dispatched and brought to an end, and hath but little way to go, to provide and furnish himself with the more victuals, and the shorter that his journey is, the more to seek and purvey for costage?
[tr. Newton (1569)]

But as for covetousnesse in age, I know not what it meanes; for there can be no greater absurdity, then when the journey is almost done, to take care to provide much more provision.
[tr. Austin (1648), ch. 19]

Of Age's avarice I cannot see
What colour, ground, or reason there should be,
Is it not folly? when the way we ride
Is short, for a long voyage to provide.
[tr. Denham (1669)]

As for Covetousness, and an eager Desire to heap up Riches in this World, when we are about to leave it, I must own, I know not what to make of it. For what in Nature can be more absurd, than to b e anxiously intent in making Provisions for our Journey, when we are almost at the End of it?
[tr. Hemming (1716)]

As to Covetousness, what it can profit an Old Man I am at a Loss to imagine. For what in Life can be more absurd, than to overstock ourselves with Provision, when we are nigh our Journey's End?
[tr. J. D. (1744)]

What covetousness in old men can mean, I must own, I cannot comprehend; for can any thing be more senselessly absurd, than that the nearer we are to our journey's end, we should still lay in the more provision for it.
[tr. Logan (1750)]

As to avarice, it is inconceivable for what purpose that passion should find admittance into an old man's breast. For surely nothing can be more irrational and absurd than to increase our provision for the road, the nearer we approach to our journey's end.
[tr. Melmoth (1773)]

But, as for avarice in an old man, I cannot understand what it purposes. For can anything be more absurd than to seek the more provisions the less remains of the journey?
[Cornish Bros. ed. (1847)]

What avarice in an old man can propose to itself I cannot conceive: for can anything be more absurd than, in proportion as less of our journey remains, to seek a greater supply of provisions?
[tr. Edmonds (1874)]

Avarice in old age is foolish; for what can be more absurd than to increase our provisions for the road the nearer we approach to our journey's end.
[Common English translation (e.g. (1873))]

As for senile avarice, I do not understand what it means; for can anything be more foolish than, in proportion as there is less of the way to travel, to seek the more provision for it?
[tr. Peabody (1884)]

As to greediness, I do not know
What it can mean. Can aught be more absurd
Than that as life draws to a close, we seek
More money to assist our journey's end?
[tr. Allison (1916)]

As for avariciousness in the old, what purpose it can serve I do not understand, for can anything be more absurd in the traveler than to increase his luggage as he nears his journey's end?
[tr. Falconer (1923)]

As for avarice in an old man, I simply can’t understand it; could anything be more ridiculous than to ask for more and more travel-funds as one’s journey grows closer and closer to its end?
[tr. Copley (1967)]

But greed is another thing altogether. I can never understand why elderly men are so attached to their money. What could be more pointless? Toward the end of a journey, one’s travelling expenses ought to be less, rather than more.
[tr. Cobbold (2012)]

When it comes to old people’s avidity,
It is altogether beyond my pale
To seek more food when shorter is the trail.
[tr. Bozzi (2015)]

Added on 21-Apr-14 | Last updated 2-Nov-23
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