"The Snows Have Fled"

(Horace, Odes IV.7)

translated by Peter Saint-Andre

The snows have fled, already
The grass returns to the fields
And leaves return to the trees.
Earth is turning her changes,
The rivers flow less strongly.

Grace along with her Nymphs and
Twin sisters ventures naked
To lead her bands of dancers.
"Hope for immortality
Not", warn the year and the hour
That steal the nourishing day.

The Zephyr lessens the cold,
The Summer tramples the Spring
Only to be overturned
As soon as fruit-bearing Fall
Has poured forth its crops, and soon
Dead winter returns again.

Swift moons heal the heavenly
Damage — but we, when we have
Gone down where good Aeneas,
Where rich Tullus and Arcus
Have gone — we are dust and shade.

Who knows if the gods will add
Tomorrow's time to our sum?
The only thing that escapes
Your heir's grasping hands will be
What you've added to your soul.

When once you've died and Minos
Has given his distinguished
Judgment, nothing, Torquatus —
Not birth nor eloquence nor
Goodness — will restore your life.

For Diana can't release
Good Hippolytus from the
Darkness, nor has Theseus
The power to burst the chains
Of his dear Perithoös.


Peter Saint-Andre > Writings > Ancient Fire