Saturday, 19 December 2009
read me from Horace
It's winter-time in the Carpathians and the Euxine
and hoary is the Danube as during the great deluge
and my life's age drifts towards the north.
Read me from Horace time and time again
the poem about Thaliarch, with hearths
wherein woods weep - with old, old wines
turned into amber oil, in flasks.
And I will listen to you softly, ever so softly
while time comes calmly and goes on beyond.
(from: Read Me from Horace
tr. Dan Duţescu)
Look how the snow lies deep on glittering
Soracte. White woods groan and protestingly
Let fall their branch-loads. Bitter frost has
Paralysed rivers: the ice is solid.
Unfreeze the cold! Pile plenty of logs in the
Fireplace! And you, dear friend Thaliarcus, come,
Bring out the Sabine wine-jar four years
Old and be generous. Let the good gods
Take care of all else. Later, as soon as they've
Calmed down this contestation of winds upon
Churned seas, the old ash-trees can rest in
peace and the cypresses stand unshaken.
Try not to guess what lies in the future, but
As Fortune deals days enter them into your
Life's book as windfalls, credit items,
Gratefully. Now that you're young, and peevish
Grey hairs are still far distant, attend to the
Dance-floor, the heart's sweet business; for now is the
Right time for midnight assignations,
Whispers and murmurs in Rome's piazzas
And fields, and soft, low laughter that gives away
The girl who plays love's games in a hiding-place -
Off comes a ring coaxed down an arm or
Pulled from a faintly resisting finger.
Horace (To Thaliarchus)