8 December 65 BC – 27 November 8 BC / Italy

Bki:Xxxi A Prayer To Apollo

What is the poet’s request to Apollo?
What does he pray for as he pours out the wine
from the bowl? Not for the rich harvests
of fertile Sardinia, nor the herds,

(they’re delightful), of sunlit Calabria,
not for India’s gold or its ivory,
nor fields our silent Liris’s stream
carries away in the calm of its flow.

Let those that Fortune allows prune the vines,
with a Calenian knife, so rich merchants
can drink their wine from a golden cup,
wine they’ve purchased with Syrian goods,

who, dear to the gods, three or four times yearly,
revisit the briny Atlantic, unscathed.
I browse on olives, and chicory
and simple mallow. Apollo, the son

of Latona, let me enjoy what I have,
and, healthy in body and mind, as I ask,
live an old age not without honour,
and one not lacking the art of the lyre.
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