Horace: The Epistles
Book I: Epistle XIII
Translated by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2005 All Rights Reserved
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BkIEpXIII:1-19 Instructions to Vinius regarding his poems
As I told you often, at length, on leaving, Vinius,
Deliver these volumes, sealed, to Augustus, if
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