1. Education

Book III.24 of The Odes and Carmen Saeculare of Horace


Bronze medallion of Horace from the reign of Constantine.

Bronze medallion of Horace from the reign of Constantine.

Horace, by Wm Tuckwell (1829-1919). London: G. Bell & sons. 1905.

Translated into English verse by John Conington, M.A. Corpus Professor of Latin in the University of Oxford. Edition.

The Latin text comes from The Latin Library.

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The Odes of Horace Book III.24

Directory of Greek and Roman Writers | Meters in Greek and Latin Poetry | Book III. Notes


Intactis Opulentior.

Though your buried wealth surpass
The unsunn'd gold of Ind or Araby,
Though with many a ponderous mass
You crowd the Tuscan and Apulian sea,
Let Necessity but drive
Her wedge of adamant into that proud head,
Vainly battling will you strive
To 'scape Death's noose, or rid your soul of dread.
Better life the Scythians lead,
Trailing on waggon wheels their wandering home,
Or the hardy Getan breed,
As o'er their vast unmeasured steppes they roam;
Free the crops that bless their soil;
Their tillage wearies after one year's space;
Each in turn fulfils his toil;
His period o'er, another takes his place.
There the step-dame keeps her hand
From guilty plots, from blood of orphans clean;
There no dowried wives command
Their feeble lords, or on adulterers lean.
Theirs are dowries not of gold,
Their parents' worth, their own pure chastity,
True to one, to others cold;
They dare not sin, or, if they dare, they die.
O, whoe'er has heart and head
To stay our plague of blood, our civic brawls,
Would he that his name be read
"Father of Rome" on lofty pedestals,
Let him chain this lawless will,
And be our children's hero! cursed spite!
Living worth we envy still,
Then seek it with strain'd eyes, when snatch'd from sight.
What can sad laments avail
Unless sharp justice kill the taint of sin?
What can laws, that needs must fail
Shorn of the aid of manners form'd within,
If the merchant turns not back
From the fierce heats that round the tropic glow,
Turns not from the regions black
With northern winds, and hard with frozen snow;
Sailors override the wave,
While guilty poverty, more fear'd than vice,
Bids us crime and suffering brave,
And shuns the ascent of virtue's precipice?
Let the Capitolian fane,
The favour'd goal of yon vociferous crowd,
Aye, or let the nearest main
Receive our gold, our jewels rich and proud:
Slay we thus the cause of crime,
If yet we would repent and choose the good:
Ours the task to take in time
This baleful lust, and crush it in the bud.
Ours to mould our weakling sons
To nobler sentiment and manlier deed:
Now the noble's first-born shuns
The perilous chase, nor learns to sit his steed:
Set him to the unlawful dice,
Or Grecian hoop, how skilfully he plays!
While his sire, mature in vice,
A friend, a partner, or a guest betrays,
Hurrying, for an heir so base,
To gather riches. Money, root of ill,
Doubt it not, still grows apace:
Yet the scant heap has somewhat lacking still.

Intactis Opulentior.

Intactis opulentior
thesauris Arabum et diuitis Indiae
caementis licet occupes
terrenum omne tuis et mare publicum:
si figit adamantinos 5
summis uerticibus dira Necessitas
clauos, non animum metu,
non mortis laqueis expedies caput.
Campestres melius Scythae,
quorum plaustra uagas rite trahunt domos, 10
uiuunt et rigidi Getae
inmetata quibus iugera liberas
fruges et Cererem ferunt
nec cultura placet longior annua
defunctumque laboribus 15
aequali recreat sorte uicarius.
Illic matre carentibus
priuignis mulier temperat innocens
nec dotata regit uirum
coniunx nec nitido fidit adultero; 20
dos est magna parentium
uirtus et metuens alterius uiri
certo foedere castitas,
et peccare nefas aut pretium est mori.
O quisquis uolet impias 25
caedis et rabiem tollere ciuicam,
si quaeret Pater Vrbium
suscribi statuis, indomitam audeat
refrenare licentiam,
clarus postgenitis; quatenus, heu nefas! 30
uirtutem incolumem odimus,
sublatam ex oculis quaerimus inuidi.
Quid tristes querimoniae
si non supplicio culpa reciditur,
quid leges sine moribus 35
uanae proficiunt, si neque feruidis
pars inclusa caloribus
mundi nec Boreae finitimum latus
durataeque solo niues
mercatorem abigunt, horrida callidi 40
uincunt aequora nauitae?
Magnum pauperies obprobrium iubet
quiduis et facere et pati
uirtutisque uiam deserit arduae.
Vel non in Capitolium 45
quo clamor uocat et turba fauentium
uel non in mare proximum
gemmas et lapides, aurum et inutile,
summi materiem mali,
mittamus, scelerum si bene paenitet. 50
Eradenda cupidinis
praui sunt elementa et tenerae nimis
mentes asperioribus
formandae studiis. Nescit equo rudis
haerere ingenuus puer 55
uenarique timet, ludere doctior
seu Graeco iubeas trocho
seu malis uetita legibus alea,
cum periura patris fides
consortem socium fallat et hospites, 60
indignoque pecuniam
haredi properet. Scilicet inprobae
crescunt diuitiae, tamen
curtae nescio quid semper abest rei.

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