"Deep with Snow"

(Horace, Odes I.9)

translated by Peter Saint-Andre

You see how white Soractus stands deep with snow
And how the laboring woods cannot support
Their burden, and the rivers stand still with frost.

Drive out the cold, Thaliarchus, piling logs
High on the fire, and bring out in abundance
That four-year-old vintage in the Sabine jar.

Leave all else to the gods, for not cypresses
Nor ancient wild ash trees are disturbed when
They scatter warring winds over raging seas.

Don't bother asking what tomorrow will bring,
Consider as gain whatever days fortune
Grants — don't spurn sweet loves and dances while you're young,

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

Under the stars, the tell-tale laugh of a girl
Hiding in the farthest corner, and the pledge
Torn from her arm or finger, not unyielding.


Peter Saint-Andre > Writings > Ancient Fire