Petrarch on Fortune and Old Age


Domenico Ghirlandaio An Old Man and His Grandson (1490)

In his “On His Own Ignorance,” Petrarch writes of wearing effects of old age: “Alas, my friend, is there an evil that does not happen to a man who lives too long? Who has ever enjoyed a prosperity so permanent that it did not at some time suffer a change and become old, so to speak, by sheer living? Men grow old, so does fortune, so does man’s fame: every human thing grows old, and there was a time when I did not believe it–finally even souls grow old, though they are immortal, and the Cordovan’s words become true: ‘Too long a life undoes vast souls.'”

Life is an endurance race; only great souls can endure it. Let us pray for God’s grace to make it to the end.

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