Horace

8 December 65 BC – 27 November 8 BC / Italy

Bkii:Iii One Ending

When things are troublesome, always remember,
keep an even mind, and in prosperity
be careful of too much happiness:
since my Dellius, you’re destined to die,

whether you live a life that’s always sad,
or reclining, privately, on distant lawns,
in one long holiday, take delight
in drinking your vintage Falernian.

Why do tall pines, and white poplars, love to merge
their branches in the hospitable shadows?
Why do the rushing waters labour
to hurry along down the winding rivers?

Tell them to bring us the wine, and the perfume,
and all-too-brief petals of lovely roses,
while the world, and the years, and the dark
threads of the three fatal sisters allow.

You’ll leave behind all those meadows you purchased,
your house, your estate, yellow Tiber washes,
you’ll leave them behind, your heir will own
those towering riches you’ve piled so high.

Whether you’re rich, of old Inachus’s line,
or live beneath the sky, a pauper, blessed with
humble birth, it makes no difference:
you’ll be pitiless Orcus’s victim.

We’re all being driven to a single end,
all our lots are tossed in the urn, and, sooner
or later, they’ll emerge, and seat us
in Charon’s boat for eternal exile.
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