Tuesday, October 14, 2008

730. Horace - Book I. Ode 11

Translated from the Latin by Heather McHugh

Don't ask, Clarice, we're not supposed to know
what end the gods intend for us.
Take my advice: don't gamble so
on horoscopes of Babylon. Far better just

to take what heaven might allot us, whether
it's winters galore, and more, until we're stiff,
or only the one wintertime to end all others,
grinding Tuscany Sea with its pumice of cliff.

Get wise. Get wine, and one good filter for it.
Cut that high hope down to size, and pour it
into something fit for men. Think less
of more tomorrows, more of this

one second, endlessly unique: it's
jealous, even as we speak, and it's
about to split again . . .

Translated from the Latin by Burton Raffel

Leucon, no one's allowed to know his fate,
Not you, not me: don't ask, don't hunt for answers
In tea leaves or palms. Be patient with whatever comes.
This could be our last winter, it could be many
More, pounding the Tuscan Sea on these rocks:
Do what you must, be wise, cut your vines
And forget about hope. Time goes running, even
As we talk. Take the present, the future's no one's affair.