Horace: The Epistles

Book I: Epistle VIII

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

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BkIEpVIII:1-17 Discontent

Muse, at my request, carry greetings and good wishes

To Celsus Albinovanus, Tiberius’ scribe

And friend. If he asks how I am, say despite all good

Intentions, I live a life that’s neither good nor sweet:

Not that hail’s crushed my vines, heat blighted the olives,

Nor that my herds fall ill with disease in far pastures:

But much less healthy in mind than I am in body

I choose not to listen or learn how to ease my ills:

Quarrelling with true doctors, irritable with friends,

Who come running to ward off some fatal lethargy:

I chase what harms me, flee what I know will help:

Restless, wanting Tibur in Rome, Rome at Tibur .

Next, ask how he is, Muse, how he and his affairs

Are doing, how he’s liked by the prince and his staff.

If he says, ‘Fine,’ show pleasure first, but later

Remember to drop these words of advice in his ear:

‘As you bear success, dear Celsus, so we’ll bear you.

End of Book I Epistle VIII