13 May 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.
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