Horace Roman Ode 1 (3.1) A Translation

13519279734_b60a5cf817I hate the wicked crowd and shun it

Be careful with your tongues! Songs unheard

Before, I sing, priest of Muses,

to girls to boys.

The power of fearsome kings is for their

herds, for the kings themselves of Jupiter,

noted for routing the Giants

swaying all things with a look.

Look how one man sets his trees

in wider rows than another; how this kinder

candidate comes down to gladhand; how this

one, his opponent, is more known, nobler.


That one has a broader mob of admirers.

With edict favoring none, Necessitas allots

the leading and the least. A roomy urn

moves every name.

For whom the drawn sword dangles

atop his head, Sicilian feasts yield

no sweet elaborate flavor, no songs

of birds or strings yield

Sleep.  The gentle sleep of farmers

won’t boycott his humble homes

and shady river bank, and ravines

unruffled by the winds.

art-van-gogh-farmers-toolsThe roaring sea does not excite

the one desiring just enough,

nor the cruel assaults of Arcturus

falling, Zeta rising;

Nor the vineyard knocked with hail and

the fickle farm, with trees now chiding

the floods, now the sun inflaming the fields

now the wicked winters.


The fish feel the loss of sea when the

mansions are built there. Here constantly the

contractor with his slaves lays foundations;

and there’s the testy owner of the land.

But Fear and Threats climb the same stairs

as the owner.  Black Care rides behind

the knight and never disembarks

from the copper-fitted ships

If Phrygian stone, if purple dyes

brighter than stars, if Falernian wine,

if Persian spices do not console

anyone grieving;

Norcia_general_viewThen why would I upgrade my sublime atrium

in the latest rage with envy-causing columns;

why exchange my Sabine home for

more taxing assets?


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