Odes 3.1

Latin English










Odi profanum vulgus et arceo;
favete linguis. carmina non prius
     audita Musarum sacerdos
     virginibus puerisque canto.

regum timendorum in proprios greges,
reges in ipsos imperium est Iovis,
     clari Giganteo triumpho,
     cuncta supercilio moventis.

est ut viro vir latius ordinet
arbusta sulcis, hic generosior
     descendat in campum petitor,
     moribus hic meliorque fama

contendat, illi turba clientium
sit maior; aequa lege Necessitas
     sortitur insignes et imos:
     omne capax movet urna nomen.

destrictus ensis cui super impia
cervice pendet, non Siculae dapes
     dulcem elaborabunt saporem,
     non avium citharaeque cantus

somnum reducent. somnus agrestium
lenis virorum non humiles domos
     fastidit umbrosamque ripam,
     non zephyris agitata Tempe.

desiderantem quod satis est neque
tumultuosum sollicitat mare
     nec saevus Arcturi cadentis
     impetus aut orientis Haedi,

non verberatae grandine vineae
fundusque mendax, arbore nunc aquas
     culpante, nunc torrentia agros
     sidera, nunc hiemes iniquas.

contracta pisces aequora sentiunt
iactis in altum molibus: huc frequens
     caementa demittit redemptor
     cum famulis dominusque terrae

fastidiosus. sed Timor et Minae
scandunt eodem quo dominus, neque
     decedit aerata triremi et
     post equitem sedet atra Cura.

quodsi dolentem nec Phrygius lapis
nec purpurarum sidere clarior
     delenit usus nec Falerna
     vitis Achaemeniumque costum,

cur invidendis postibus et novo
sublime ritu moliar atrium?
     cur valle permutem Sabina
     divitias operosiores?

I hate the uninitiate crowd and keep them far
away. Observe a reverent silence! I, the
Muses' priest, sing for maids and boys songs
not heard before.

The rule of dreaded kings is over their own peoples;
but over the kings themselves is the rule of Jove,
glorious for his victory o'er the Giants, and
controlling all things with the nod of his brow.

'Tis true that one man plants his vineyards over
wider acres than his fellow; that one candidate
for office who comes down to the Campus is of
nobler birth, another of greater worth and fame,

while still another has a larger band of
followers; yet with impartial justice Necessity
allots the fates of high and low alike. The
ample urn keeps tossing every name.

Over whose impious head the drawn sword
hangs, for him Sicilian feasts will produce no
savour sweet, nor will music of birds or lutes
bring back sleep

to his couch. Soft slumber scorns not the
humble cottage of the peasant, nor the shady
bank, nor the valley by the zephyrs fanned.

He who longs for only what he needs is
troubled not by stormy seas, not by the fierce
onslaught of setting Arcturus or rising

not by the lashing of his vineyards with the hail, nor
by the treachery of his farm, the trees complaining
now of too much rain, now of the dog-star parching
the fields, now of the cruel winters.

The fishes note the narrowing of the waters
by piers of rock laid in their depths. Here the
builder with his throng of slaves, and the
master who disdains the land, let down the rubble.

But Fear and Threats climb to the selfsame
spot the owner does; nor does black Care quit
the brass-bound galley and even takes her
seat behind the horseman.

But if neither Phrygian marble nor purple
brighter than the stars nor Falernian wine nor
Persian nard can soothe one in distress,

why should I rear aloft in modern style a hall with
columns to stir envy? Why should I change
my Sabine dale for the greater burden of

In Odes III.1 Horace sings the praises of Jupiter and his justice, which rules over rich and poor alike. The poor man who is just can enjoy life more than can the unjust rich man, who is prevented from savoring the material rewards of his wealth because of fear and threats. Thus Horace concludes by stating that he would not exchange his peaceful, if humble, Sabine valley for "the greater burden of wealth" (verses 47-48). Once again, as in Odes II.18, Horace favorably contrasts the simplicity of his villa with the luxurious estates of others, and once again the image conveyed stands in fascinating contrast to Horace's actual property.

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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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