Sunday, May 28, 2006


Translations of Horace, Ode 2.10

First the original, Horace, Ode 2.10:
Rectius vives, Licini, neque altum
  semper urgendo neque, dum procellas
  cautus horrescis, nimium premendo
    litus iniquum.

Auream quisquis mediocritatem
  diligit, tutus caret obsoleti
  sordibus tecti, caret invidenda
    sobrius aula.

Saepius ventis agitatur ingens
  pinus et celsae graviore casu
  decidunt turres feriuntque summos
    fulgura montis.

Sperat infestis, metuit secundis
  alteram sortem bene praeparatum
  pectus. Informis hiemes reducit
    Iuppiter, idem

summovet. Non, si male nunc, et olim
  sic erit: quondam cithara tacentem
  suscitat Musam neque semper arcum
    tendit Apollo.

Rebus angustis animosus atque
  fortis appare; sapienter idem
  contrahes vento nimium secundo
    turgida vela.
William Cowper:
Receive, dear friend, the truths I teach,
So shalt thou live beyond the reach
  Of adverse Fortune's pow’r;
Not always tempt the distant deep,
Nor always timorously creep
  Along the treach'rous shore.

He, that holds fast the golden mean,
And lives contentedly between
  The little and the great,
Feels not the wants that pinch the poor,
Nor plagues that haunt the rich man's door,
  Imbitt'ring all his state.

The tallest pines feel most the pow'r
Of wintry blasts; the loftiest tow'r
  Comes heaviest to the ground;
The bolts, that spare the mountain's side,
His cloud-capt eminence divide,
  And spread the ruin round.

The well-inform'd philosopher
Rejoices with an wholesome fear,
  And hopes, in spite of pain;
If winter bellow from the north,
Soon the sweet spring comes dancing forth,
  And nature laughs again.

What if thine heav'n be overcast,
The dark appearance will not last;
  Expect a brighter sky;
The God that strings the silver bow
Awakes sometimes the muses too,
  And lays his arrows by.

If hindrances obstruct thy way,
Thy magnanimity display
  And let thy strength be seen;
But oh! if Fortune fill thy sail
With more than a propitious gale,
  Take half thy canvass in.
John Conington:
Licinius, trust a seaman's lore:
Steer not too boldly to the deep,
Nor, fearing storms, by treacherous shore
Too closely creep.

Who makes the golden mean his guide,
Shuns miser's cabin, foul and dark,
Shuns gilded roofs, where pomp and pride
Are envy's mark.

With fiercer blasts the pine's dim height
Is rock'd; proud towers with heavier fall
Crash to the ground; and thunders smite
The mountains tall.

In sadness hope, in gladness fear
'Gainst coming change will fortify
Your breast. The storms that Jupiter
Sweeps o'er the sky

He chases. Why should rain to-day
Bring rain to-morrow? Python's foe
Is pleased sometimes his lyre to play,
Nor bends his bow.

Be brave in trouble; meet distress
With dauntless front; but when the gale
Too prosperous blows, be wise no less,
And shorten sail.
Franklin P. Adams:
Sail not too far to be safe, O Licinius!
  Neither too close to the shore should you steer.
Rashness is foolish, and how ignominious
    Cowardly fear!

He who possesses neither palace nor hovel
  (My little flat would be half way between)
Hasn't a house at which paupers must grovel
    Yet it is clean.

Shaken by winds is the pine that is tallest;
  Ever the summit is bared to the flash;
The bigger thou art, so the harder thou fallest --
    Cracketty crash!

He who in famine can hope for the manna,
  He who in plenty fears poverty's chafe --
He is the proper, the true Pollyanna,
    Playing it safe.

Jupiter, bringing the bleak, bitter, raw gust,
  Also remembers to take it away;
He is the god of December ... but August --
    April ... but May.

When you have creditors suing to pay them,
  Four-to-an-ace is the way to invest;
But when you win every pot, you should play them
    Close to your chest.

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