ODES - II.3 THIS SHIFTING BUBBLE ...
Horace (Q. Horatius Flaccus) trans. G.M. & G.F.Whicher
Aequam memento rebus in arduis
seruare mentem, non secus in bonis
ab insolentia temperatam
laetitia, moriture Delli,


seu maestus omni tempore uixeris,
seu te in remoto gramine per dies
festos reclinatum bearis
interiore nota Falerni.


Quo pinus ingens albaque populus
umbram hospitalem consociare amant
ramis? Quid obliquo laborat
lympha fugax trepidare riuo?


Huc uina et unguenta et nimium breuis
flores amoenae ferre iube rosae,
dum res et aetas et sororum
fila trium patiuntur atra.


Cedes coemptis saltibus et domo
uillaque flauus quam Tiberis lauit,
cedes et exstructis in altum
diuitiis potietur heres.


Diuesne prisco natus ab Inacho
nil interest an pauper et infima
de gente sub diuo moreris,
uictima nil miserantis Orci.


Omnes eodem cogimur, omnium
uersata urna serius ocius
sors exitura et nos in aeternum
exsilium impositura cumbae.
This shifting bubble sages call thy soul
Wilt thou not keep it, Friend, in firm control?
Nor Joy nor Grief o'er-throws his level mind
Who learns the Wisdom hidden in the Bowl.

Whether thou pass thy gloomy days in pain,
Or fling the Balm-of-life abroad like rain,
Alike the bitter or the sparkling Cup
Thou quaff'st to sleep and wake no more again.

I sometimes think that never flows the Wine
So red, as 'neath the Poplar and the Pine.
Wer't not a shame? O Friend, wer't not a shame,
If they in vain their pleasing shade combine?

And to what end, think'st thou, this rivulet
Doth in its winding Channel fume and fret?
O pluck To-day! and make no vain pursuit
Of This and That, which thou may'st never get.

The Wine, the Perfume, and the lovely Rose
That buds at dawn and with the evening goes, -
That man whom Wealth permits, and Youth and Fate,
He knows about them all - He knows - He knows!

The aureate earth thou sett'st thy Heart upon,
The River-gardens thy heaped treasure won, -
All must thou leave; nor cares the heir one jot
For all thy toil and thee, once thou art gone.

Though Kaikobad the Great thy sires begot,
Or thou art beggar's spawn, - it matters not.
The Potter molded from the same red clay
And at his pleasure shatters every pot.

All to the one dark realm are we addresst;
On every brow one fatal sign is prest;
When nods the dark Ferrash, the caravan
Moves to the dusty desert, - and we rest.

In the style of Edward Fitzgerald ("Rubaiyated by Edward Fitzgerald")

Click here 1 for another translation of this poem.

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