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that tamer of Troy, who looked with discerning eyes upon the cities and manners of many men, and while for self and comrades he strove for a return across the broad seas, many hardships he endured, but could never be o'erwhelmed in the waves of adversity. You know the Sirens' songs and Circe's cups; if, along with his comrades, he had drunk of these in folly and greed, he would have become the shapeless and witless vassal of a harlot mistress-would have lived as an unclean dog or a sow that loves the mire. We are but ciphers, born to consume earth's fruits, Penelope's good-for-naught suitors, young courtiers of Alcinous, unduly busy in keeping their skins sleek, whose pride it was to sleep till midday and to lull care to rest to the sound of the cithern.
32 To cut men's throats, robbers rise up by night; to save your own life, won't you wake up? Nay, just as, if you won't take up running in health, you'll have to do it when dropsical; so, if you don't call for a book and a light before daybreak, if you don't devote your mind to honourable studies and pursuits, envy or passion will keep you awake in torment. Why indeed are you in a hurry to remove things which hurt the eye, while if aught is eating into your soul, you put off the time for cure till next year r? Well begun is half done; dare to be wise; begin! He who puts off the hour of right living is like the bumpkin waiting for the river to run out : yet on it glides, and on it will glide, rolling its flood forever.
44 We seek money and a rich wife to bear us children; the wild woods, too, are tamed by our
a This sentence gives a free rendering of the opening lines of the Odyssey.
quod satis est cui contingit,1 nihil amplius optet. non domus et fundus, non aeris acervus et auri aegroto domini deduxit corpore febris,
non animo curas; valeat possessor oportet, si comportatis rebus bene cogitat uti.
qui cupit aut metuit, iuvat illum sic domus et res, ut lippum pictae tabulae, fomenta2 podagram, auriculas citharae collectá sorde dolentis. sincerum est nisi vas, quodcumque infundis acescit. Sperne voluptates; nocet empta dolore voluptas. semper avarus eget; certum voto pete finem. invidus alterius macrescit rebus opimis; invidia Siculi non invenere tyranni
maius tormentum. qui non moderabitur irae,3 infectum volet esse, dolor quod suaserit et mens, 60 dum poenas odio per vim festinat inulto.
ira furor brevis est : animum rege; qui nisi paret imperat; hunc frenis, hunc tu compesce catena.5
Fingit equum tenera docilem cervice magister ire viam qua monstret eques; venaticus, ex quo 65 tempore cervinam pellem latravit in aula, militat in silvis catulus. nunc adbibe puro pectore verba puer, nunc te melioribus offer. quo semel est imbuta recens, servabit odorem testa diu. quod si cessas aut strenuus anteis, nec tardum opperior nec praecedentibus insto. 1 contigit is V2. 2 tomenta Bouhier. 4 et mens] exmens or amens.
5 catenis E Goth.
3 iram, II.
6 qua E: quam a.
a Such as the cruel Dionysius or Phalaris.
Cf. "sapor, quo nova imbuas, durat" (Quintilian, i. 1. 5). Unglazed ware, which Horace doubtless has in mind, is more absorbent than glazed.
plough but he, to whose lot sufficient falls, should covet nothing more. No house or land, no pile of bronze or gold, has ever freed the owner's sick body of fevers, or his sick mind of cares. The possessor must be sound in health, if he thinks of enjoying the stores he has gathered. To one with fears or cravings, house and fortune give as much pleasure as painted panels to sore eyes, warm wraps to the gout, or citherns to ears that suffer from secreted matter. Unless the vessel is clean, whatever you pour in
55 Scorn pleasures; pleasure bought with pain is harmful. The covetous is ever in want: aim at a fixed limit for your desires. The envious man grows lean when his neighbour waxes fat; than envy Sicilian tyrants a invented no worse torture. He who curbs not his anger will wish that undone which vexation and wrath prompted, as he made haste with violence to gratify his unsated hatred. Anger is short-lived madness. Rule your passion, for unless it obeys, it gives commands. Check it with bridlecheck it, I pray you, with chains.
64 While the colt has a tender neck and is able to learn, the groom trains him to go the way his rider directs. The hound that is to hunt does service in the woods from the time that it first barked at a deer-skin in the yard. Now, while still a boy, drink in my words with clean heart, now trust yourself to your betters. The jar will long keep the fragrance of what it was once steeped in when new. But if you
lag behind, or with vigour push on ahead, I neither wait for the slow nor press after those who hurry on before.
TO JULIUS FLORUS
THE Julius Florus, to whom this Epistle is addressed, and to whom Epistle ii. 2 is later dedicated, was one of a number of young literary men who accompanied Tiberius to the East in 20 B.C., when the prince was sent by Augustus to place Tigranes on the throne of Armenia after the murder of Artaxias. Horace, now forty-five years old, makes kindly inquiries about his younger literary friends, and urges Florus, whatever field of letters he is cultivating, not to neglect philosophy.