Saturday, October 19, 2013


William Somervile's Paraphrase of Martial 10.47

Paraphrase of Martial 10.47 by William Somervile (1675-1742), in his Poetical Works, ed. Thomas Park, Vol. II (London: Stanhope Press, 1805), pp. 163-164:
Would you, my friend! find out the true receipt
To live at ease, and stem the tide of fate,
The grand elixir thus you must infuse,
And these ingredients to be happy choose.
First an estate, not got with toil and sweat,
But unencumber'd left, and free from debt;
For let that be your dull forefather's care,
To pinch and drudge for his deserving heir;
Fruitful and rich, in land that's sound and good,
That fills your barn with corn, your hearth with wood;
That cold nor hunger may your house infest,
While flames invade the skies, and pudding crowns the feast.
A quiet mind, serene, and free from care,
Nor puzzling on the bench, nor noisy at the bar;
A body sound, that physic cannot mend;
And the best physic of the mind—a friend,
Equal in birth, in humour, and in place,
Thy other self, distinguish'd but by face;
Whose sympathetic soul takes equal share
Of all thy pleasure, and of all thy care.
A modest board, adorn'd with men of sense,
No French ragouts, nor French impertinence.
A merry bottle to engender wit,
Not over-dos'd, but quantum sufficit:
Equal the error is in each excess,
Nor dulness less a sin than drunkenness.
A tender wife dissolving by thy side,
Easy and chaste, free from debate and pride,
Each day a mistress, and each night a bride.
Sleep undisturb'd, and at the dawn of day
The merry horn, that chides thy tedious stay;
A horse that's clean, sure-footed, swift, and sound,
And dogs that make the echoing cliffs resound;
That sweep the dewy plains, outfly the wind,
And leave domestic sorrows far behind:
Pleas'd with thy present lot, nor grudging at the past,
Not fearing when thy time shall come, nor hoping for thy last.
Other translations and paraphrases of Martial 10.47:

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