Horace: The Epistles

Book I: Epistle XIII

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

This work may be freely reproduced, stored and transmitted, electronically or otherwise, for any non-commercial purpose. Conditions and Exceptions apply.


BkIEpXIII:1-19 Instructions to Vinius regarding his poems

As I told you often, at length, on leaving, Vinius,

Deliver these volumes, sealed, to Augustusif

He’s well, if he’s cheerful, if in short he asks for them:

Lest you offend in your zeal for me, and a busy

Servant, over-eager, causes dislike for my books.

If you find my pages’ heavy burden chafes you,

Leave it, rather than dashing your packsaddle down

Wildly where you were told to deliver it, turning

Your father’s name, of Asina , into a joke,

And a topic of gossip. Flex your strength over, hills

Streams, and bogs. Achieving your purpose, arriving there,

By no chance hold your parcel so as to carry

That bundle of books under your arm, as a rustic

A lamb, drunken Pyrria her stolen ball of wool,

Or a poor tribal-dinner guest his slippers and cap.

And don’t tell everyone you’ve sweated, carrying

Verses, that could engage Caesar’s eyes and ears.

Beseeched by many a prayer, press forward. On now:

Farewell: take care, don’t stumble and damage your load.

End of Book I Epistle XIII