He wins every hand who mingles profit with pleasure, by delighting and instructing the reader at the same time.
What odds does it make to the man who lives within Nature's bounds, whether he ploughs a hundred acres or a thousand?
( Quintus Horatius Flaccus 8 December 65 BC – 27 November 8 BC), known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading lyric poet in Latin.
Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work.
Satires (c. 35 BC and 30 BC) [ edit ]
Quamquam ridentem dicere verum quid vetat? ut pueris olim dant crustula blandi doctores, elementa velint ut discere prima.
What is to prevent one from telling truth as he laughs, even as teachers sometimes give cookies to children to coax them into learning their A B C?
Book I, satire i, line 24
What odds does it make to the man who lives within Nature's bounds, whether he ploughs a hundred acres or a thousand?
Book I, satire i, line 48
Inde fit ut raro, qui se vixisse beatum
dicat et exacto contentus tempore vita
cedat uti conviva satur, reperire queamus.
We rarely find anyone who can say he has lived a happy life, and who, content with his life, can retire from the world like a satisfied guest. Book I, satire i, line 117
Non satis est puris versum perscribere verbis.
'Tis not sufficient to combine
Well-chosen words in a well-ordered line. Book I, satire iv, line 54 (translated by
Atqui si vitiis mediocribus ac mea paucis
mendosa est natura, alioqui recta, velut si
egregio inspersos reprehendas corpore naevos,
si neque avaritiam neque sordes nec mala lustra
obiciet vere quisquam mihi, purus et insons,
ut me collaudem, si et vivo carus amicis...
at hoc nunc
laus illi debetur et a me gratia maior.
nil me paeniteat sanum patris huius, eoque
non, ut magna dolo factum negat esse suo pars,
quod non ingenuos habeat clarosque parentis,
sic me defendam.
If my character is flawed by a few minor faults, but is otherwise decent and moral, if you can point out only a few scattered blemishes on an otherwise immaculate surface, if no one can accuse me of greed, or of prurience, or of profligacy, if I live a virtuous life, free of defilement (pardon, for a moment, my self-praise), and if I am to my friends a good friend, my father deserves all the credit... As it is now, he deserves from me unstinting gratitude and praise. I could never be ashamed of such a father, nor do I feel any need, as many people do, to apologize for being a freedman's son.
Book I, satire vi, lines 65-92
Nil sine magno
vita labore dedit mortalibus.
Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work. Book I, satire ix, line 59
in pace, ut sapiens, aptarit idonea bello
In peace, as a wise man, he should make suitable preparation for war.
Book II, satire ii, line 111
Adclinis falsis animus meliora recusat.
The mind enamored with deceptive things, declines things better.
Book II, satire ii, line 6
Ille sinistrorsum, hie dextrorsum abit : unus utrique
Error, sed variis illudit partibus.
This to the right, that to the left hand strays,
And all are wrong, but wrong in different ways. Book II, satire iii, line 50 (trans. Conington)
Heu, Fortuna, quis est crudelior in nos
Te deus? Ut semper gaudes illudere rebus Humanis!
O Fortune, cruellest of heavenly powers,
Why make such game of this poor life of ours? Book II, satire viii, line 61 (trans. Conington)
Sed convivatoris uti ducis ingenium res
Adversae nudare solent, celare secundae.
A host is like a general: calamities often reveal his genius.
Book II, satire viii, lines 73-74
Dum licet, in rebus jucundis vive beatus;
Vive memor quam sis aevi brevis.
Then take, good sir, your pleasure while you may;
With life so short 'twere wrong to lose a day. Book II, satire viii, line 96 (trans. Conington)
(c. 23 BC and 13 BC) Odes [ edit ]
I have made a monument more lasting than bronze.
Nequiquam deus abscidit
Prudens Oceano dissociabili
Terras, si tamen impiae
Non tangenda rates transiliunt vada.
In vain did Nature's wife command
Divide the waters from the land,
If daring ships and men profane,
Invade th' inviolable main. Book I, ode iii, line 21 (trans. by
Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare longam.
Life's short span forbids us to enter on far reaching hopes.
Book I, ode iv, line 15
Never despair... Book I, ode vii, line 27
Nunc vino pellite curas.
Now drown care in wine.
Book I, ode vii, line 32
Permitte divis cetera.
Leave all else to the gods. Book I, ode ix, line 9
Dum loquimur, fugerit invida
Aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.
As we speak cruel time is fleeing. Seize the day, believing as little as possible in the morrow. Book I, ode xi, line 7
John Conington's translation:
In the moment of our talking, envious time has ebbed away,
Seize the present, trust tomorrow e'en as little as you may.
O matre pulchra filia pulchrior
O fairer daughter of a fair mother!
Book I, ode xvi, line 1
Nunc est bibendum, nunc pede libero
Now is the time for drinking, now the time to dance footloose upon the earth. Book I, ode xxxvii, line 1
Aequam memento rebus in arduis
In adversity, remember to keep an even mind. Book II, ode iii, line 1
Auream quisquis mediocritatem
diligit, tutus caret obsoleti
sordibus tecti, caret invidenda
Whoever cultivates the golden mean avoids both the poverty of a hovel and the envy of a palace.
Book II, ode x, line 5
Virginibus puerisque canto.
I sing for maidens and boys.
Book III, ode i, line 4
Aequa lege Necessitas
Sortitur insignes et imos;
Omne capax movet urna nomen.
Death takes the mean man with the proud;
The fatal urn has room for all. Book III, ode i, line 14 (translated by
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.
It is sweet and honorable to die for one's country. Book III, ode ii, line 13
Iustum et tenacem propositi virum
non civium ardor prava iubentium,
non vultus instantis tyranni
mente quatit solida.
The man who is tenacious of purpose in a rightful cause is not shaken from his firm resolve by the frenzy of his fellow citizens clamoring for what is wrong, or by the tyrant's threatening countenance. Book III, ode iii, line 1
Si fractus illabatur orbis,
impavidum ferient ruinae.
If the world should break and fall on him, it would strike him fearless.
Book III, ode iii, line 7
Vis consili expers mole ruit sua.
Force without wisdom falls of its own weight. Book III, ode iv, line 65
Crescentem sequitur cura pecuniam,
As money grows, care follows it and the hunger for more.
Book III, ode xvi, line 17
Magnas inter opes inops.
A pauper in the midst of wealth.
Book III, ode xvi, line 28.
Conington's translation: "'Mid vast possessions poor."
Quod adest memento
Enjoy the present smiling hour,
And put it out of Fortune's power. Book III, ode xxix, line 32 (as translated by
Ille potens sui
laetusque deget, cui licet in diem
dixisse "vixi: cras vel atra
nube polum pater occupato
vel sole puro."
He will through life be master of himself and a happy man who from day to day can have said, "I have lived: tomorrow the Father may fill the sky with black clouds or with cloudless sunshine."
Book III, ode xxix, line 41
John Dryden's paraphrase:
Happy the man, and happy he alone,
He, who can call to day his own:
He who, secure within, can say,
To-morrow do thy worst, for I have lived to-day.
Exegi monumentum aere perennius
I have made a monument more lasting than bronze. Book III, ode xxx, line 1
Pulvis et umbra sumus.
We are but dust and shadow. Book IV, ode vii, line 16
Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona. Brave men were living before Agamemnon.
I am not bound over to swear allegiance to any master; where the storm drives me I turn in for shelter.
To flee vice is the beginning of virtue, and to have got rid of folly is the beginning of wisdom.
He who has begun has half done. Dare to be wise; begin!
Nullius addictus iurare in verba magistri,
quo me cumque rapit tempestas, deferor hospes.
I am not bound over to swear allegiance to any master; where the storm drives me I turn in for shelter. Book I, epistle i, line 14
Virtus est vitium fugere et sapientia prima
To flee vice is the beginning of virtue, and to have got rid of folly is the beginning of wisdom. Book I, epistle i, line 41
Nos numerus sumus et fruges consumere nati.
We are but numbers, born to consume resources.
Book I, epistle ii, line 27
quae laedunt oculum festinas demere; si quid
est animum, differs curandi tempus in annum?
For why do you hasten to remove things that hurt your eyes, but if anything gnaws your mind, defer the time of curing it from year to year?
Book I, epistle ii, lines 37-39; translation by C. Smart
Dimidium facti qui coepit habet; sapere aude;
He who has begun has half done. Dare to be wise; begin! Book I, epistle ii, lines 40-41
Semper avarus eget.
The covetous man is ever in want.
Book I, epistle ii, line 56
Ira furor brevis est: animum rege: qui nisi paret
Anger is a momentary madness so control your passion or it will control you. Book I, epistle ii, line 62
Inter spem curamque, timores inter et iras,
Omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse supremum:
Grata superveniet quae non sperabitur hora.
Let hopes and sorrows, fears and angers be,
And think each day that dawns the last you'll see;
For so the hour that greets you unforeseen
Will bring with it enjoyment twice as keen. Book I, epistle iv, line 12 (translated by John Conington)
Omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse supremum.
grata superveniet, quae non sperabitur hora.
Think to yourself that every day is your last; the hour to which you do not look forward will come as a welcome surprise. Book I, epistle iv, line 13-14
Me pinguem et nitidum bene curata cute vises,
cum ridere voles Epicuri de grege porcum.
As for me, when you want a good laugh, you will find me in fine state... fat and sleek, a true hog of Epicurus' herd. Book I, epistle iv, lines 15-16
Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret.
You may drive out Nature with a pitchfork, yet she still will hurry back.
Book I, epistle x, line 24
Caelum, non animum mutant, qui trans mare currunt.
Sky, not spirit, do they change, those who cross the sea. Book I, epistle xi, line 27
Pauper enim non est, cui rerum suppetit usus.
si ventri bene, si lateri est pedibusque tuis, nil
divitiae poterunt regales addere maius.
He is not poor who has enough of things to use. If it is well with your belly, chest and feet, the wealth of kings can give you nothing more. Book I, epistle xii, line 4
Quid velit et possit rerum concordia discors
What the discordant harmony of circumstances would and could effect.
Book I, epistle xii, line 19
Nam neque divitibus contingunt gaudia solis,.
nec vixit male, qui natus moriensque fefellit
For joys fall not to the rich alone, nor has he lived ill, who from birth to death has passed unknown.
Book I, epistle xvii, line 9
Sedit qui timuit ne non succederet.
He who feared that he would not succeed sat still. Book I, epistle xvii, line 37
Semel emissum volat irrevocabile verbum.
Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled. Book I, epistle xviii, line 71
Qualem commendes, etiam atque etiam aspice, ne mox incutiant aliena tibi peccata pudorem.
Look round and round the man you recommend,
For yours will be the shame should he offend. Book I, epistle xviii, line 76 (translated by
John Conington). Variant translation:
Study carefully the character of the one you recommend, lest his misdeeds bring you shame.
Nam tua res agitur, paries cum proximus ardet.
It is your concern when your neighbor's wall is on fire. Book I, epistle xviii, line 84
Dulcis inexpertis cultura potentis amici; Expertus metuit. 
To have a great man for an intimate friend seems pleasant to those who have never tried it; those who have, fear it.
Book I, epistle xviii, line 86
Interdum volgus rectum videt, est ubi peccat.
At times the world sees straight, but many times the world goes astray.
Book II, epistle i, line 63
Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit et artes intulit agresti Latio.
Conquered Greece took captive her savage conqueror and brought her arts into rustic Latium. Book II, epistle i, lines 156-157
Singula de nobis anni praedantur euntes.
The years as they pass plunder us of one thing after another.
Book II, epistle ii, line 55
Natales grate numeras?
Do you count your birthdays with gratitude?
Book II, epistle ii, line 210
, or The Epistle to the Pisones (c. 18 BC) Ars Poetica [ edit ]
The mountains will be in labor, and a ridiculous mouse will be brought forth.
Inceptis gravibus plerumque et magna professis
purpureus, late qui splendeat, unus et alter
Often a purple patch or two is tacked on to a serious work of high promise, to give an effect of colour.
Brevis esse laboro,.
Struggling to be brief I become obscure. Line 25
Non satis est pulchra esse poemata; dulcia sunto
Et, quocumque uolent, animum auditoris agunto.
Mere grace is not enough: a play should thrill
The hearer's soul, and move it at its will. Line 99 (tr.
Si vis me flere, dolendum est
primum ipsi tibi.
If you wish me to weep, you yourself
Must first feel grief. Line 102
Format enim Natura prius nos intus ad omnem
Fortunarum habitum, juvat, aut impellit ad iram,
Aut ad humum moerore gravi deducit, et angit.
For nature forms our spirits to receive
Each bent that outward circumstance can give:
She kindles pleasure, bids resentment glow,
Or bows the soul to earth in hopeless woe. Line 108 (tr. Conington)
Difficile est proprie communia dicere.
It is difficult to speak of the universal specifically. Line 128
Nec verbum verbo curabis reddere fidus
Nor word for word too faithfully translate.
Line 133 (tr. John Dryden)
Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.
Desperat tractata nitescere posse relinquit.
And what he fears he cannot make attractive with his touch he abandons.
Line 149 (tr. H. R. Fairclough)
Scribendi recte sapere est et principium et fons.
To have good sense, is the first principle and fountain of writing well.
Grais ingenium, Grais dedit ore rotundo
Musa loqui, præter laudem nullius avaris. . .
The Muse gave the Greeks their native character, and allowed them to speak in noble tones, they who desired nothing but praise.
Quidquid praecipies, esto brevis, ut cito dicta
percipiant animi dociles teneantque fideles:
omne supervacuum pleno de pectore manat.
When you wish to instruct, be brief; that men’s minds may take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind.
Lines 335-337; Edward Charles Wickham translation
Omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci,.
lectorem delectando pariterque monendo
He wins every hand who mingles profit with pleasure, by delighting and instructing the reader at the same time. Line 343
Sunt delicta tamen quibus ignovisse velimus.
Some faults may claim forgiveness.
Line 347 (tr. Conington)
Indignor quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus;
I am displeased when sometimes even the worthy Homer nods; Whence the familiar expression,
Even Homer nods (i.e. No one is perfect: even the wisest make mistakes). Line 359
Mediocribus esse poetis Non homines, non di, non concessere columnae.
Mediocrity in poets has never been tolerated by either men, or gods, or booksellers.
Nec satis apparet, cur versus factitet.
None knows the reason why this curse
Was sent on him, this love of making verse. Line 470 (tr. Conington)
Misattributed [ edit ]
Ars longa, vita brevis.
Art is long, life is short.
Seneca's ( De Brevitate Vitae, 1.1) Latin translation of the Greek by Hippocrates.
External links [ edit ]