Translations
by permission
of the

Harvard
University
Press

Epistles I.14

Latin English




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Vilice silvarum et mihi me reddentis agelli,
quem tu fastidis habitatum quinque focis et
quinque bonos solitum Variam dimittere patres,
certemus, spinas animone ego fortius an tu
evellas agro, et melior sit Horatius an res.
Me quamvis Lamiae pietas et cura moratur,
fratrem maerentis, rapto de fratre dolentis
insolabiliter, tamen istuc mens animusque
fert et amat spatiis obstantia rumpere claustra.
rure ego viventem, tu dicis in urbe beatum.
cui placet alterius, sua nimirum est odio sors.
stultus uterque locum immeritum causatur inique:
in culpa est animus, qui se non effugit umquam.
Tu mediastinus tacita prece rura petebas,
nunc urbem et ludos et balnea vilicus optas:
me constare mihi scis et discedere tristem
quandocumque trahunt invisa negotia Romam.
non eadem miramur; eo disconvenit inter
meque et te. nam quae deserta et inhospita tesqua
credis, amoena vocat mecum qui sentit, et odit
quae tu pulchra putas. fornix tibi et uncta popina
incutiunt urbis desiderium, video, et quod
angulus iste feret piper et tus ocius uva,
nec vicina subest vinum praebere taberna
quae possit tibi, nec meretrix tibicina, cuius
ad strepitum salias terrae gravis; et tamen urges
iampridem non tacta ligonibus arva bovemque
disiunctum curas et strictis frondibus exples;
addit opus pigro rivus, si decidit imber,
multa mole docendus aprico parcere prato.
Nunc age, quid nostrum concentum dividat, audi.
quem tenues decuere togae nitidique capilli,
quem scis immunem Cinarae placuisse rapaci,
quem bibulum liquidi media de luce Falerni,
cena brevis iuvat et prope rivum somnus in herba;
nec lusisse pudet, sed non incidere ludum.
non istic obliquo oculo mea commoda quisquam
limat, non odio obscuro morsuque venenat:
rident vicini glaebas et saxa moventem.
cum servis urbana diaria rodere mavis;
horum tu in numerum voto ruis: invidet usum
lignorum et pecoris tibi calo argutus et horti.
optat ephippia bos, piger optat arare caballus.
quam scit uterque libens censebo exerceat artem.

Bailiff of my woods and of the little farm
which makes me myself again -- while you
disdain it, though the home of five
households and wont to send to Varia their
five honest heads -- let us have a match to see
whether I more stoutly root out thorns from
the mind or you from the land, and whether
Horace or his farm is in a better state.

For me, though kept here by the love and
grief of Lamia, who is sighing for his
brother, grieving for his lost brother
inconsolably, yet thither thought and feeling
bear me longing to burst the barriers that
block the track. I call him happy who lives in
the country; you him who dwells in the city.
One who likes another's lot, of course
dislikes his own. Each is foolish and unfairly
blames the undeserving place; what is at fault
is the mind, which never escapes from itself.

You, as a common drudge, used to sigh
in secret for the country; now as a bailiff you
long for the town, its games and baths: as for
me, you know that I'm consistent with
myself, and depart in gloom, whenever
hateful business drags me to Rome. Our
tastes are not the same: therein lies the
difference between you and me. What you
hold to be desert and inhospitable wilds, he
who shares my views calls lovely, and hates
what you believe so beautiful. 'Tis the brothel,
I see, and greasy cookshop that stir in you a
longing for the city, and the fact that that
poky spot will grow pepper and spice as
soon as grapes, and that there is no tavern
hard by that can supply you with wine and no
flute-playing courtesan, to whose strains you
can dance and thump the ground. And yet
you toil over fields long untouched by the
hoe, you care for the ox after he is unyoked,
and you fill him up with fodder you have
stripped; when you are dead tired, the brook
brings fresh work, for if rain has fallen, it
must be taught by many a mounded dam to
spare the sunny meadow.

Now come, hear what makes the
discord in our common song. One whom
fine-spun clothes became, and shining locks,
one who, as you know, though
empty-handed, found favor with greedy
Cinara, and in midday hours would drink the
clear Falernian, now takes pleasure in a
simple meal, and a nap on the grass beside
the stream: nor is it shameful to have once
been foolish, but not to cut folly
short. Where you live, no one with eye
askance detracts from my comforts, or
poisons them with the bite of secret hate. As
I move sods and stones the neighbors laugh.
You would rather be munching rations with
the slaves in town; it is their number you fain
would join: my sharp-witted groom envies
you the use of fuel, flock, and garden. The ox
longs for the horse's trappings: the horse,
when lazy, longs to plow. What I shall advise
is that each contentedly practice the trade he
understands.


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Epistles: 1.7 | 1.10 | 1.14 | 1.16 | 1.18
Epode: 2
Odes: 1.17 | 1.20 | 1.22 | 2.13 | 2.17 | 2.18 | 3.1 | 3.4 | 3.8 | 3.13 | 3.18 | 3.22 | 3.23 | 3.29
Satires: 2.3 | 2.6 | 2.7
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