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By Horace

Translated by Burton Raffel

Leucon, no one’s allowed to know his fate,

Not you, not me: don’t ask, don’t hunt for answers

In tea leaves or palms. Be patient with whatever comes.

This could be our last winter, it could be many

More, pounding the Tuscan Sea on these rocks:

Do what you must, be wise, cut your vines

And forget about hope. Time goes running, even

As we talk. Take the present, the future’s no one’s affair.


Horace, Ode I. 11, translated by Burton Raffel, from The Essential Horace. Copyright © 1983 by Burton Raffel. Reprinted with the permission of North Point Press, a division of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC.

Source: The Essential Horace (1983)

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Poet Bio

Horace
Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) was a Roman poet, satirist, and critic. Born in Venusia in southeast Italy in 65 BCE to an Italian freedman and landowner, he was sent to Rome for schooling and was later in Athens studying philosophy when Caesar was assassinated. Horace joined Brutus’s army and later claimed to have thrown away his shield in his panic to escape. Returning to Rome, Horace began his career as a scribe, employment that gave him time to write. He befriended poets and important figures of his day such as Virgil and the Emperor Augustus, and he eventually achieved great renown. Horace is known for detailed self-portraits in genres such as epodes, satires and epistles, and lyrics.  See More By This Poet

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