Horace’s Odes – Β΄- 18

Horace’s Odes – Β΄- 18


Ceilings of gold or ivory

do not glisten in my house.

No beams of Mount Hymettus

rest on columns quarried in farthest Africa.

Nor have I, an unknown heir,

inherited the Palace of Attalus

nor do honorable clients

spin for me the Spartan purple.

But integrity I do possess

and a considerable vein of talent; and though I be poor

the rich man seeks me out. Hence for nothing more do I the gods implore

Nor greater gifts demand

of my powerful friend.

So, with my Sabine farm alone

I am sufficiently content.

Day is driven on by day.

Each new moon hastens to wane.

And you, on the very verge of the grave

are letting out contracts for cutting marble,

constructing palaces, unmindful of the tomb;

and not rich enough

with your estates on the mainland,

eagerly building along the beach of the sea . . .

Why are you ever shoving back your neighbor’s boundaries?

Dispossessing husband and wife,

each bearing in their bosom

their household gods and squalid offspring

And yet no home or hall

More certainly awaits the wealthy Master

than the end destined by rapacious Orcus.

Why strive for more?

The earth opens alike for the poor

and for the sons of Kings,

Nor has the ferryman of Ocrus, bribed by gold,

brought back to life Promethius, the cunning.

And Tantalus the Proud, and the sons of Tantalus

he yet imprisons. And summoned or unsummoned,

he listens to the poor man

arrived at the term of his travail.




The Odes



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