ODES - I.11 HIS GIRL ASKS ABOUT THE FUTURE
Horace (Q. Horatius Flaccus) trans. Roland John
Tu ne quaesieris, scire nefas, quem mihi, quem tibi

finem di dederint, Leuconoë, nec Babylonios

tentaris numeros. ut melius, quidquid erit, pati!

seu plures hiemes seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam,

quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare

Tyrrhenum, sapias, vina liques, et spatio brevi

spem longam reseces. dum loquimur, fugerit invida

aetas: carpe diem quam minimum credula postero.
Don't ask about the future
that's closed to us
forget the I-Ching and numerology
take what you've got:
life goes on, a long life
and with the best to come?
Or this year your last
the one that wears you down.
Be wise, pour another glass
seize these moments
forget distant hopes, even as we talk
the hours slip by
live now, let tomorrow wait.

Click here 6 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © Roland John 1979 - publ. Agenda 16.3-4; Poetry Wales 12.3; Agenda Editions 1985.


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