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Theme 13. The Seasons (viii) >

Horace

Anne Francois Louis Janmot, Musťe des Beaux Arts, Lyon

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< Winter is Fled
Odes, Book IV Ode VII 

English Translation

The snows have fled. Now grasses begin to shoot,
And leaves return to the trees. The earth
Is slowly changing, dry beneath my foot,
And the rivers have receded beneath their banks.
Casting off her robes, one of the Graces
Dares to dance with her naked sisters.

But soft, the circling year and the sunís retreat 
Surely teach us thereís naught eternal.
The gentle air of the westerly wind disperses
The Winter frosts, and after Spring
The Summer is born, but dies when Autumn pours
Its plenty into the arms of Winter.

The heavenly moon will quickly repair her loss,
But we poor mortals, when once we descend
Into the place where our noble ancestors roam,
We are but shadows, and ghosts and dust.
Who can know if the gods above will add
A single day to the sum of our days?

So spend your wealth on your own delight, my friend,
Donít hoard for the good of a greedy child.
As soon as you are dead, and Minos has passed
Judgement on your soul, then nothing
No nothing, Torquatus, is going to bring you back,
Not rank, not eloquence, not even holiness.

 

Latin original

Diffugere niues, redeunt iam gramina campis
     arboribus comae;
mutat terra uices et decrescentia ripas
     flumina praetereunt;
Gratia cum Nymphis geminisque sororibus audet             
     ducere nuda chorus.



Inmortalia ne speres, monet annus et almum
     quae rapit hora diem.
Frigora mitescunt Zephyris, uer proterit aestas,
     interitura simul             
pomifer autumnus fruges effuderit, et mox
     bruma recurrit iners.

 

Damna tamen celeres reparant caelestia lunae:
     non ubi decidimus
quo pater Aeneas, quo diues Tullus et Ancus,               
     puluis et umbra sumus.
Quis scit an adiciant hodiernae crastina summae
     tempora di superi?

Cuncta manus auidas fugient heredis, amico
     quae dederis animo.            
Cum semel occideris et de te splendida Minos
     fecerit arbitria,
non, Torquate, genus, non te facundia, non te
     restituet pietas;
infernis neque enim tenebris Diana pudicum              
     liberat Hippolytum,
nec Lethaea ualet Theseus abrumpere caro
     uincula Pirithoo.

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