ODES I.18: AD QUINCTILIUM VARUMIN PRAISE OF MODERATE DRINKING
Horace (Q. Horatius Flaccus)trans. Alan Marshfield
Nullam, Vare, sacra vite prius severis arborem
circa mite solum Tiburis et moenia Catili.
Siccis omnia nam dura deus proposuit, neque
mordaces aliter diffugiunt sollicitudines.
Quis post vina gravem militiam aut pauperiem crepat?
Quis non te potius, Bacche pater, teque, decens
Venus?
Ac ne quis modici transiliat munera Liberi,
Centaurea monet cum Lapithis rixa super mero

debellata, monet Sithoniis non levis Euhius,
cum fas atque nefas exiguo fine libidinum
discernunt avidi. Non ego te, candide Bassareu,
invitum quatiam, nec variis obsita frondibus
sub divum rapiam. Saeva tene cum Berecyntio
cornu tympana, quae subsequitur caecus Amor sui
et tollens vacuum plus nimio Gloria verticem

arcanique Fides prodiga, perlucidior vitro.
See no foliage advanced, Varus, before mulching the sacred vine's
roots round Tibur's mellow ways, under walls Catilus founded once.
Oh, teetotallers, mourn! since the god ordained it be hard on you;
for how do otherwise people kill their gnawing anxieties?
Who bleats, after the wine's flowing, of war's tents, or of being skint?
Who'd like either one gone - sweet and demure Venus or Father
Wine?
And so no sot would pass munificent Liber's limits, the brawl
to their knees the Lapiths fought once against those rotten-drunk
Centaurs
warns. And warns as well our Euhius (who loathed the Sithonians)
by their tale as well: how right from wrong by lust's exiguous hairs
those beasts judged, avid. I, bright god Bassareus, will not try against
your edict to explode in that kind of glut. The leaves will not
be pushed from your dark ikons at my call. Quell the wild cymbal
and horn used at Cybele's upland orgies, Phrygian Earth Mother,
with blind Self-Love as their sequel, the void head of Conceit flung
high,
and faith throwing away secrets, as see-through as a piece of glass!

Transl. copyright © Alan Marshfield 2001

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