Sunday, November 09, 2008

Carpe Diem

A few weeks ago, Gaius the scribe from the Leg II Aug, gave me a hand-drawn papyrus scroll of Horace's most famous ode. I've been meaning to put up a picture, with the original Latin and the English translation. Here it is:

Tu ne quaesieris -- scire nefas -- quem mihi, quem tibi finem di dederunt, Leuconoe, nec Babylonios temptaris numeros. Ut melius, quidquid erit, pati, seu pluris hiemes seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam, quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare Tyrrhenum: sapias, vina liques, et spatio brevi spem longam reseces. Dum loquimur, fugerat invida aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.

"You should not inquire -- it's not ours to know -- what end the gods have in store for you or me, Leuconoe, nor should you dabble in Babylonian charts. How much better it is to take what comes, whether more winters have been allotted by Jove or this is the last, which now pounds the Tyrrhenian sea on those rocks opposite. Be wise. Decant the wine. Trim your lengthy hopes to a shorter length. Even as we speak, an unwilling eternity has slipped away. Seize the day. And trust as little as possible to the future."
Horace Ode I.XI

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