Horace ii.10


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english translation

Horace ii.10

A better life’s not always making for
The deeps, Licinius; nor is it found
Cringing with dread when tempests come around,
            Clinging too near the shore.

Whoever loves the golden mean will shun
The squalors of the low, forgotten houses,
And also shun the palace that arouses
            Envy in everyone.

The tall pine shakes most when the shrill winds shriek;
High towers come down with the loudest crash,
And frequently the lightning’s sudden flash
            Strikes on the highest peak.

The well-made heart hopes on the bleakest day,
Fears on the brightest, that his fate somehow
May change. Jove brings back hideous winter now,
            And now takes it away

Again. If things are bad now, they will not
Be bad forever: sometimes Apollo’s lyre
Wakes up the silent Muse, and his hand tires
            Of stretching his bow taut.

Show yourself a man of spirit, hale
When times are hard, and when it’s billowing
And puffed out from the jolly winds that sing,
            Wisely trim your sail.

original Latin poem

Horace ii.10

Rectius vives, Licini, neque altum
semper urgendo neque, dum procellas
cautus horrescis, nimium premendo
            litus iniquum.

Auream quisquis mediocritatem
diligit, tutus caret obsoleti
sordibus tecti, caret invidenda
            sobrius aula.

Saepius ventis agitatur ingens
pinus et celsae graviore casu
decidunt turres feriuntque summos
            fulgura montis.

Sperat infestis, metuit secundis
alteram sortem bene praeparatum
pectus. Informis hiemes reducit
            Iuppiter; idem

summovet. Non, si male nunc, et olim
sic erit : quondam cithara tacentem
suscitat Musam neque semper arcum
            tendit Apollo.

Rebus angustis animosus atque
fortis adpare ; sapienter idem
contrahes vento nimium secundo
            turgida vela.