Horace (Q. Horatius Flaccus)tr. Niall Rudd
Hoc erat in votis: modus agri non ita magnus,
hortus ubi et tecto vicinus jugis aquae fons
et paullum silvae super his foret. auctius atque
di melius fecere. bene est. nil amplius oro,
Maia nate, nisi ut propria haec mihi munera faxis.
si neque majorem feci ratione mala rem
nec sum facturus vitio culpave minorem;
si veneror stultus nihil horum: 'o si angulus ille
proximus accedat, qui nunc denormat agellum!'

'o si urnam argenti fors quae mihi monstret! ut illi,
thesauro invento qui mercennarius agrum
illum ipsum mercatus aravit, dives amico
Hercule!' si, quod adest, gratum juvat, hac prece te
pingue pecus domino facias et cetera praeter
ingenium, utque soles, custos mihi maximus adsis.
ergo ubi me in montis et in arcem ex urbe removi,
quid prius illustrem satiris musaque pedestri?
nec mala me ambitio perdit nec plumbeus Auster
autumnusque gravis, Libitinae quaestus acerbae.
matutine pater, seu Iane libentius audis,
unde homines operum primos vitaeque labores
instituunt, sic Dis placitum, tu carminis esto
principium. Romae sponsorem me rapis. 'heia!
ne prior officio quisquam respondeat, urge.'
sive Aquilo radit terras seu bruma nivalem
interiore diem gyro trahit, ire necesse est.
This is what I prayed for. A piece of land - not so very big,
with a garden and, near the house, a spring that never fails,
and a bit of wood to round it off. All this and more
the gods have granted. So be it. I ask for nothing else,
O son of Maia, except that you make these blessings last.
If I haven't increased my assets by any dishonest trick
and don't intend to fritter them away by waste or neglect,
if I'm not such a fool as to pray: 'I wish my little farm
could take in that corner of my neighbour's, which at present spoils
its shape;
I wish I could stumble on a pot of silver and be like the fellow
who on finding some treasure bought and ploughed the very field
in which he had worked as a hired hand; it was Hercules' favour
that made him rich; if I'm pleased and content with my lot, then this

is my prayer: 'make fat the flocks I own and everything else
except my head, and remain as ever my chief protector.'
Well then, now that I've left town for my castle in the hills
what thing can I better praise in the satires of my lowland muse?
I'm spared the accursed struggle for status, and the leaden sirocco,
which in the tainted autumn enriches Our Lady of funerals.
O Father of the Dawn, or Janus if you would rather have that name,
you watch over the beginning of man's working day,
for such is the will of heaven. So let me begin my song
with you. In Rome you dispatch me to act as a guarantor.
'Hurry, or someone else will answer the call before you!'
The north wind may he rasping the earth or winter may be drawing
the snowy day into a smaller circle, but go I must.

Transl. Copyright © Niall Rudd, 1973, 1979, 1997 - publ. Penguin Classics this book
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