Horace: The Epistles

Book I: Epistle IV

Translated by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2005 All Rights Reserved

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BkIEpIV:1-16 Imagine every hour is your last

Tibullus, sincere judge of my Satires, what shall I

Say you’re doing in your native country at Pedum?

Writing something to outdo Cassius of Parma ’s pieces,

Or creeping about silently in healthy woodland,

Thinking of all that belongs to the wise and good?

You were never just a body, lacking in feelings:

The gods gave you beauty, wealth, the art of enjoyment.

What more would a nurse desire for her sweet darling

Than wisdom, the power to express what he feels,

With a generous share of kindness, health and fame,

An elegant mode of life, and no lack of money?

Beset by hopes and anxieties, indignation and fear,

Treat every day that dawns for you as the last.

The unhoped-for hour’s ever welcome when it comes.

When you want to smile then visit me: sleek, and fat

I’m a hog, well cared-for, one of Epicurus’ herd.

End of Book I Epistle IV