Odes 2.18






Latin English





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Non ebur neque aureum
  mea renidet in domo lacunar,
non trabes Hymettiae
  premunt columnas ultima recisas

Africa, neque Attali
  ignotus heres regiam occupavi,
nec Laconicas mihi
  trahunt honestae purpuras clientae.

at fides et ingeni
  benigna vena est, pauperemque dives
me petit: nihil supra
  deos lacesso nec potentem amicum

largiora flagito,
  satis beatus unicis Sabinis.
truditur dies die,
  novaeque pergunt interire lunae.

tu secanda marmora
  locas sub ipsum funus et sepulcri
immemor struis domos,
  marisque Bais obstrepentis urges

summovere litora,
  parum locuples continente ripa.
quid quod usque proximos
  revellis agri terminos et ultra

limites clientium
  salis avarus? pellitur paternos
in sinu ferens deos
  et uxor et vir sordidosque natos.

nulla certior tamen
  rapacis Orci fine destinata
aula divitem manet
  erum. quid ultra tendis? aequa tellus

pauperi recluditur
  regumque pueris, nec satelles Orci
callidum Promethea
  revexit auro captus. hic superbum

Tantalum atque Tantali
  genus coercet, hic levare functum
pauperem laboribus
  vocatus atque non vocatus audit.

Not ivory or gilded panel gleams in my
home, nor do beams of Hymettian marble
rest on pillars quarried in farthest Africa, nor

have I, as heir of Attalus, become
unwittingly the owner of a palace, nor for me
do high-born dames trail robes of Laconian
purple.

But I have loyalty and a kindly vein of
genius, and me, though poor, the rich man
courts. I importune the gods for nothing
more, and of my friend in power

I crave no larger boon, happy enough in my
cherished Sabine farm. Day treads upon the
heel of day, and new moons hasten to wane;

yet thou on the grave's verge dost contract for
the cutting of marble slabs, and, forgetful of
the tomb, dost rear a palace, eager to build out
the coast of the sea that thunders by Baiae,

not rich enough in the mainland shore. What,
that thou tearest down each neighbouring
post that marks thy farm, and in thy greed
dost overleap the boundaries of thy tenants!

Man and wife are driven forth bearing in their
arms their household gods and ragged
children.

And yet no hall more certainly
awaits the wealthy lord than greedy Orcus'
destined bourne. Why strive for more and
more?

For all alike doth Earth unlock her
bosom--for the poor man and for princes'
sons. Nor could Orcus' minion be bribed by
gold to ferry back Prometheus, the crafty.

Proud Tantalus and the son of Tantalus he
holdeth fast, and, summoned or
unsummoned, lends an ear to free the poor
man when his toils are o'er.

In Odes II.18 Horace contrasts the simplicity of his Sabine property to the luxurious estate of an imaginary interlocutor. Horace describes the residence of his villa with negatives: it does not have ivory or gilded coffering; it lacks Hymettian marble and has no columns quarried in far-off Africa. It is interesting to contrast the literary description of Horace's villa with the actual place, which was not as plain and rustic as Horace implies.


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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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