Life is thick sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.
[La vie est hérissée d’épines, & je ne sçais d’autre remède, que de passer vite à travers ces broussailles. C’est donner de la consistance aux maux, que de trop s’y arrêter.]
(Source (French)). Quoted in Louis Mayeul Chaudon, ed., Historical and Critical Memoirs of the Life and Writings of M. de Voltaire [Mémoires Pour Servir à L’Histoire de M. de Voltaire], Part 2, "Anecdotes Sur Voltaire (1785, tr. 1786). The English translation is also quoted in The Lady's Magazine, "Anecdotes of Voltaire" (Jul 1786). Voltaire used a similar metaphor in a 1769 letter ("La vie est hérissée de ces épines").
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One house upon the Esquiline,
One where patricians dwell,
And hard beside Diana’s shrine
You have a third as well.
You live near mournful Cybele,
You’ve Vesta’s fane in view;
Jove’s ancient temple you can see.
You look upon the new.
With seven dwellings I despair
To find you when I call,
He who has mansions everywhere
Has not a home at all.
[Esquiliis domus est, domus est tibi colle Dianae,
Et tua patricius culmina vicus habet;
Hinc viduae Cybeles, illinc sacraria Vestae,
Inde novum, veterem prospicis inde Iovem.
Dic, ubi conveniam, dic, qua te parte requiram:
Quisquis ubique habitat, Maxime, nusquam habitat.]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 7, epigram 73 (7.73) (AD 92) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]
(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:
Thou has a house on the Aventine hill,
Another where Diana's worshipped still,
In the Patrician street more of them stand,
Hence thou beholdst within thine eyes, command
The widowed Cybells, thence Vesta with all,
There either Jove earth'd in the Capitol.
Where shall I meet thee? tell, where wilt appear?
He dwells just nowhere, that dwells everywhere.
[tr. Fletcher (1656)]
On Esquiline, and on Diana's hill,
Thou hast abodes thou not pretend'st to fill.
But city-sites can ne'er suffice thy state:
Thou far from town must tow'r among the great:
Hence Cybele's, thence Vesta's fane behold;
Here the new Jupiter, and there the old.
Where shall I meet thee? who they mansion tells?
Who e'vrywhere inhabits, nowhere dwells.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 6, Part 1, ep. 10]
You possess a house at Esquiliae, and one on the hill of Diana; and the street of Patricians amongst its roofs reckons yours. From one of your houses you behold the temple of Cybele, from another that of Vesta; you command a view both of the ancient and modern capitol. Say, where shall I meet with you? At what place shall I ask for you? Maximus! he who lives everywhere lives nowhere.
[tr. Amos (1858), ch. 3, ep. 103]
You have a mansion on the Esquiline hill, and a mansion on the hill of Diana; and another rears its head in the Patricians' quarter. From one of your dwellings you behold the temple of the widowed Cybele, from another that of Vesta; from others you look on the old and the new Capitol. Tell me where I may meet you; tell me whereabouts I am to look for you: a man who lives everywhere, Maximus, lives nowhere.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]
He has no home whose home is all the world.
[ed. Harbottle (1897)]
On the Esquiline you have a house, you have a house on Diana's hill, and the Patrician Street holds a roof of yours; from this you survey the shrine of widowed Cybele, from that the shrine of Vesta; from here the new, from there the ancient temple of Jove. Say where I amy call upon you, say in what quarter I may look for you: he who lives everywhere, Maximus, lives nowhere.
[tr. Ker (1919)]
The Esquiline and Aventine are yours
And the Patrician Street confronts your doors;
Thence widowed Cybele and Vesta's fire
And ancient Jove and modern you admire.
Where shall I meet you, wither, pray, repair?
He has no home who lodges everywhere.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), ep. 372]
That's a fine lace you have on Beacon Hill, Max,
and that unlisted duplex out Huntington Avenue,
and the old homestead in Tewksbury.
From one you can see
the big gilt dome; the second
gives you an uninterrupted ecstatic view
of the Mother Church; the third
commands the County Poorhouse.
invite me to dinner?
Max, a man who lives everywhere
[tr. Fitts (1967), "... Are Many Mansions"]
You have one home on the Esquiline,
Another on the Aventine,
And from a third one you can see
The shrine of widowed Cybele.
From still another you've a view
Of both the temples, old and new,
Of Jupiter, In fact, a home
Of yours lies everywhere in Rome!
Where can I find you when in town?
At what address can you be found?
He who lives all over Rome
Never can be found at home.
[tr. Marcellino (1968), "A Far-Flung Friend"]
A house on the Esquiline --
and one on the Aventine --
Patricius Street claims another rooftop of yours
over here you have a shrine on the widowed Great Mother
over there is your sacred hearth of Vesta
elsewhere you display a new bust of Jove
elsewhere a bust of Veiovis.
Can you tell me, Maximus,
where to meet you,
where to find you at home?
[tr. Bovie (1970)]
You have a house on the Esquiline, and a house on Diana's hill, and Patrician Row has a roof of yours. From one you view the shrine of bereaved Cybele, from another that of Vesta, and from this Jupiter's new temple, from that the old one. Tell me where I am to meet you, in what quarter to look for you. Who lives everywhere, Maximus, lives nowhere.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]
You’ve a house on the Esquiline, house on the Aventine,
and Patrician Street owns a roof of yours too;
add one with a view of poor Cybele’s shrine,
one Vesta’s, one Jupiter’s old, one his new.
Tell me where to meet you, tell me where to find you:
Who lives everywhere, Maximus, lives nowhere at all.
[tr. Kline (2006)]
Birds of the air know
the man with a house everywhere
has a home nowhere.
[tr. Kennelly (2008), "A geography"]
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