I went back and forth on if I should include a translation of the Latin at the end. I decided not to, because I didn’t want to write a long-winded end note, but also because it was already included in an earlier chapter:
Though I’m still having difficulty believing he’s gone, I believe without question that he wouldn’t want us to mourn him. I leave you with the words of his favorite poet, Virgil:
Do you wish to hang a rose wreath around your tombstone?
Set down the wine and dice. Let him perish, who cares for tomorrow.
Death whispers in your ear, ‘Live,’ says he, ‘For I will come.’
None of us can choose when our time comes, just how we’d like to spend the time we are given. My father chose to live.
So the final words of Edward’s salutatorian speech (which is always given in Latin at Princeton) were, “Set down the wine and dice. Let him perish, who cares for tomorrow.”
My purpose in doing this was two-fold. I wanted to contrast from his high school valedictorian speech, in which he “made no attempt to speak for those I did not know.”
In the course of the story, he finds acceptance and figures out where he fits. He now has true peers.