Wednesday, June 18, 2014

An Epicurean's Guide to Life

Bored, I gave myself an hour to translate a poem. The result is Martial's guide to life (Ep. X.xlvii), translated by me into bad English.

The parts, dear Martial, of a happy life
are these: a bit of wealth by birth, not sweat;
a burning hearth and not a field of strife.
Stay out of court, and shirk your social debt;
relax your mind and make your body strong.
Be simple and stand by an equal friend;
have parties just as plain as they are long.
Don't drown your stress in wine, but let it end;
warm up a lonely bed, but whores abhor;
sleep well to flee the darkness of the deep.
Be what you are and do not hope for more—
fear not your final day, nor tempt its sleep.
Vitam quae faciant beatiorem,
Iucundissime Martialis, haec sunt:
Res non parta labore, sed relicta;
Non ingratus ager, focus perennis;
Lis numquam, toga rara, mens quieta;
Vires ingenuae, salubre corpus;
Prudens simplicitas, pares amici;
Convictus facilis, sine arte mensa;
Nox non ebria, sed soluta curis;
Non tristis torus, et tamen pudicus;
Somnus, qui faciat breves tenebras:
Quod sis, esse velis nihilque malis;
Summum nec metuas diem nec optes.
This, by the way, is by the last good painter in the West.

No comments: