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Fortune keeps a smiling face, at Rome let Samos be praised, and Chios and Rhodes—though far away ! And you—whatever hour God has given for your weal, take it with grateful hand, nor put off joys from year to year; so that, in whatever place you have been, you may say that you have lived happily. For if 'tis reason and wisdom that take away cares, and not a site commanding a wide expanse of sea, they change their clime, not their mind, who rush across the sea.a 'Tis a busy idleness that is our bane; with yachts and cars we seek to make life happy. What you are seeking is here ; it is at Ulubrae,b if there fail you not a mind well balanced.

Ulubrae, called vacuae by Juvenal (Sat. x. 101), was a decaying town in the Pomptine marshes, where the frogs were very clamorous (Cicero, Ad fam. vii. 81).




HORACE introduces Grosphus to Iccius, and in doing so takes occasion to rally his friend on his discontent.

Iccius, whom in one of his Odes (i. 29) Horace rallies for deserting philosophy to take part in a military expedition to Arabia Felix, has now, some five years later, become the procurator or "agent, ” who had charge of Agrippa's estates in Sicily. Apparently he had written to Horace, grumbling because he was not an independent landowner, to which Horace replies that the agent of a large estate is able to live on the produce very comfortably, inasmuch as it is all at his disposal, though he is not the actual owner.

Then in a somewhat ironical vein (12-20), Horace congratulates his friend on being able, amid all his business cares, to study the physics of Empedocles and the dialectic of the Stoics.

The letter closes with some bits of news, preceded by the request to show some courtesy to Pompeius Grosphus, whom we have also encountered in the Odes (ii. 16), where he is spoken of as a wealthy proprietor in Sicily.

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Fructibus Agrippae Siculis, quos colligis, Icci, si recte frueris, non est ut copia maior ab love donari possit tibi. tolle querellas : pauper enim non est, cui rerum suppetit usus. si ventri bene, si lateri est pedibusque tuis, nil divitiae poterunt regales addere maius. si forte in medio positorum abstemius herbis vivis et urtica, sic vives protinus, ut te confestim liquidus Fortunae rivus inauret, vel quia naturam mutare pecunia nescit,

10 vel quia cuncta putas una virtute minora.

Miramur, si Democriti pecus edit agellos cultaque, dum peregre est animus sine corpore velox; cum tu inter scabiem tantam et contagia lucri nil parvum sapias et adhuc sublimia cures : 15 quae mare compescant causae, quid temperet' annum, stellae sponte sua iussaene vagentur et errent, quid premat obscurum lunae, quid proferat orbem, quid velit et possit rerum concordia discors, Empedocles an Stertinium deliret acumen. 20 Verum seu piscis seu porrum et caepe trucidas,

temperat, II.


a A reference to the main principle of Empedocles' philosophy that the life of the world is due to a perpetual conflict of the two principles of Love and Strife.


If, Iccius, you are enjoying as you should the Sicilian products which you collect for Agrippa, Jupiter himself could not give you greater abundance. Away with complaints ; for he is not poor, who has enough of things to use. If stomach, lungs, and feet are all in health, the wealth of kings can give you nothing more. If haply you hold aloof from what is within your reach, and live on nettles and other greens, you will go on living in the same way, though Fortune's stream suddenly flood you with gold: either because money cannot change your nature, or because you count all else below the one thing, virtue.

12 We marvel that the herds of Democritus ate up his meadows and corn-fields, while his swift mind wanders abroad without his body; whereas you, in the very midst of the contagious itch of gain, still have a taste far from mean, still set your thoughts on lofty themes : what causes hold the sea in check, what rules the year, whether stars roam at large of their own will or by law, what hides the moon's disk in darkness, what brings it into light, what is the meaning and what the effects of Nature's jarring harmony,a whether Empedocles is doting or subtle Stertinius. ” ilowe er, whether it is fish, or only leeks and


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