"Deep with Snow"

(Horace, Odes I.9)

translated by Peter Saint-Andre

You see how white Soractus stands there deep with snow
And how the laboring woods struggle to support
Their burden, and the rivers stand stock still with frost.

So drive out the cold, Thaliarchus, piling logs
High on the fire, and bring out in abundance
The four-year-old wine contained in that Sabine jar.

Leave all else to the gods, for neither cypresses
Nor ancient wild ash trees are much disturbed when
They scatter the warring winds over raging seas.

Do not bother asking what tomorrow will bring,
Consider as gain whatever days fortune grants —
Do not spurn sweet loves and dances while you're still young,

While yet you're flourishing and capricious old age
Has not yet arrived. So come, let's seek out the town,
With low-voiced whispering at the appointed hour

Under the stars, the tell-tale laughter of a girl
Who's hiding in the farthest corner, and the pledge
That's torn from her arm or finger, not unyielding.


Peter Saint-Andre > Writings > Ancient Fire