Horace: The Epistles
Book I: Epistle XI
Translated by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2005 All Rights Reserved
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BkIEpXI:1-30 Be happy wherever you are
Better or worse than claimed, are they all worthless, beside
Of Attalus’ cities, or weary of roads and seas praise
Lebedus ? You know Lebedus: even more empty
Forgetting all my friends, and forgotten by them,
Gazing from the shore at distant Neptune’s fury!
Yet a man heading for Rome from Capua, soaked
With mud and rain, wouldn’t choose to live in an inn:
Nor does one who catches a chill praise stove and bath
As the total answer to living a happy life:
Nor will you, tossed by a southerly gale on the deep,
Across the Aegean, sell your ship because of it!
Are a heavy cloak in summer, a loincloth worn in
A snowstorm, the wintry Tiber, or an August fire.
While Fate proves benign, and while you can, from Rome,
Praise the far-distant, Samos, and Chios, and Rhodes .
And whatever the hour heaven has blessed you with
Accept it gratefully, don’t put off what’s sweet to some
Other year: then wherever you’ve lived, you can say
You were happy. It’s wisdom, it’s reason, not some place
Overlooking a breadth of water, that drives out care:
Those who rush to sea gain a change of sky not themselves.
Restless idleness occupies us: in yachts and chariots
We seek the good life. But what you’re seeking is here:
If your mind’s not lacking in calm, it’s at Ulubrae!
End of Book I Epistle XI