A Classic Sampler
Beowulf / Viking Poetry
Sir Gawain & the
Green Knight and Pearl
Poetic Techniques /
Masthead / Awards
New Changes & Old
Horace: Epode 2
Translated by John Quinn
- "The fellow's worth a fortune who, far
- from commerce, cultivates his fathers'
- farm with his own oxen & is free
- of usury -- like the folk of yore.
- "No soldier, summoned to battle by the bugle
- or fearful of a fuming sea,
- no plaintiff or haunter of the haughty portals
- of especially-powerful citizens
- is the man who marries mature growths
- of grape to poplars he's pampered
- OR watches over his wandering herd
- bellowing in lonely bottomlands
- while he saws away worthless scions
- & engrafts the gainful
- OR hoards
- honey from the comb into clean containers
- OR shears his compliant sheep.
- "As Autumn hoists its head, adorned with
- fleshy fruits, through fields,
- he gloats, gathering prize pears
- & grapes purpler than the pigment
- to pay you, Priapus, & you sir,
- Silvanus, protector of property.
- The bliss of napping beneath an old oak
- OR on a luxuriant lawn
- while water wends between wide banks
- & birds whine in the woods
- & fountains fret with splashing spray --
- a summons to soft slumbers!
- "When wintry weather threatens with thunder,
- storms & snow, he speeds
- into snares (from all sides) boars
- battling a horde of hounds
- OR suspends from slender staves the webbing
- widened to fool feeding
- figpeckers and ropes the frightened rabbit
- & drifting crane (a delicacy!).
- "Living that life, who wouldn't ignore
- the ills latent in love?
- "Should a faithful wife do her fair share
- helping with the home & cherished
- children (a Sabine, say, or the sunburned
- bride of an assiduous Apulian)
- AND stack seasoned timber on the hearth
- for her tired husband's return
- AND pen yielding ewes within pleachwork
- to drain their distended udders
- AND, ladling a lively vintage from the vat,
- prepare an unpurchased repast --
- "I'd freely forego the finest oyster
- OR flounder OR scaurfish forced
- to these waters when winter blasts
- bolts on Eastern breakers.
- African fowl & Greek game-hens hardly
- would settle into my stomach
- happier than the odd olive, harvested
- from the orchard's oiliest offshoot
- OR meadow-dwelling sourdock & mallows
- (medicine for a body's burdens)
- OR a lamb slain for a farmers' festival
- OR a friskling whisked from a wolf.
- "How felicitous at such feasts to see fattened
- flocks hurrying homeward,
- bone-weary bulls with nodding necks
- pulling an upended plough,
- & the worker-bees of a wealthy abode: slaves
- stationed near smiling cult-statues!"
- So spoke Alfius, a financier,
- bent on becoming a bumpkin.
- Midway through the month, he cashed his capital --
- to float it again on the first.
- 'Beatus ille qui procul negotiis,
- ut prisca gens mortalium,
- paterna rura bubus exercet suis
- solutus omni faenore
- neque excitatur classico miles truci
- neque horret iratum mare
- forumque vitat et superba civium
- potentiorum limina.
- ergo aut adulta vitium propagine
- altas maritat populos
- aut in reducta valle mugientium
- prospectat errantis greges
- inutilisque falce ramos amputans
- feliciores inserit
- aut pressa puris mella condit amphoris
- aut tondet infirmas ovis.
- vel cum decorum mitibus pomis caput
- Autumnus agris extulit,
- ut gaudet insitiva decerpens pira
- certantem et uvam purpurae,
- qua muneretur te, Priape, et te, pater
- Silvane, tutor finium.
- libet iacere modo sub antiqua ilice,
- modo in tenaci gramine:
- labuntur altis interim ripis aquae,
- queruntur in Silvis aves
- frondesque lymphis obstrepunt manantibus,
- somnos quod invitet levis.
- at cum tonantis annus hibernus Iovis
- imbris nivisque conparat,
- aut trudit acris hinc et hinc multa cane
- apros in obstantis plagas
- aut amite levi rara tendit retia
- turdis edacibus dolos
- pavidumque leporem et advenam laqueo gruem
- iucunda captat praemia.
- quis non malarum quas amor curas habet
- haec inter obliviscitur?
- quodsi pudica mulier in partem iuvet
- domum atque dulcis liberos,
- Sabina qualis aut perusta Solibus
- pernicis uxor Apuli,
- sacrum vetustis exstruat lignis focum
- lassi Sub adventum viri
- claudensque textis cratibus laetum pecus
- distenta siccet ubera
- et horna dulci vina promens dolio
- dapes inemptas adparet:
- non me Lucrina iuverint conchylia
- magisve rhombus aut scari,
- siquos Eois intonata fluctibus
- hiems ad hoc vertat mare,
- non Afra avis descendat in ventrem meum,
- non attagen Ionicus
- iucundior quam lecta de pinguissimis
- oliva ramis arborum
- aut herba lapathi prata amantis et gravi
- malvae salubres corpori
- vel agna festis caesa Terminalibus
- vel haedus ereptus lupo.
- has inter epulas ut iuvat pastas ovis
- videre properantis domum,
- videre fessos vomerem inversum boves
- collo trahentis languido
- positosque vernas, ditis examen domus,
- circum renidentis Laris.'
- haec ubi locutus faenerator Alfius,
- iam iam futurus rusticus,
- omnem redegit idibus pecuniam,
- quaerit kalendis ponere.
Copyright © John Quinn, 1997-1998.
This translation was first published on the web at Diotima: Materials for
the study of women and gender in the ancient world (http://www.uky.edu/AS/Classics/gender.html)
and is reprinted here by permission.