Monday, January 02, 2006


A Happy Life

Martial 10.47 (tr. Mildmay Fane, in his Otia Sacra):
That which creates a happy life
Is substance left, not gained by strife,
A fertile and a thankful mold,
A chimney always free from cold;
Never to be the client, or
But seldom times the counselor.
A mind content with what is fit,
Whose strength doth most consist in wit;
A body nothing prone to be
Sick; a prudent simplicity.
Such friends as one's own rank are;
Homely fare, not sought from far;
The table without art's help spread;
A night in wine not buriéd,
Yet drowning cares; a bed that's blest
With true joy, chastity, and rest;
Such short, sweet slumber as may give
Less time to die in 't, more to live:
Thine own estate whate'er commend,
And wish not for, nor fear thine end.

Vitam quae faciant beatiorem,
iucundissime Martialis, haec sunt:
res non parta labore sed relicta;
non ingratus ager, focus perennis;
lis numquam, toga rara, mens quieta;
vires ingenuae, salubre corpus;
prudens simplicitas, pares amici;
convictus facilis, sine arte mensa;
nox non ebria sed soluta curis;
non tristis torus et tamen pudicus;
somnus qui faciat breves tenebras:
quod sis esse velis nihilque malis;
summum nec metuas diem nec optes.
substance left = an inheritance
mold = ground

Compare the version by Henry Howard.

Update: An objection to the sentiment in Martial's penultimate line at Fragments of the New Stoa.

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