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Bki:Xi Carpe Diem
Claudia Emerson (13 January 1957 / Chatham, Virginia)

Bki:Xi Carpe Diem

Leuconoë, don’t ask, we never know, what fate the gods grant us,
whether your fate or mine, don’t waste your time on Babylonian,
futile, calculations. How much better to suffer what happens,
whether Jupiter gives us more winters or this is the last one,
one debilitating the Tyrrhenian Sea on opposing cliffs.
Be wise, and mix the wine, since time is short: limit that far-reaching hope.
The envious moment is flying now, now, while we’re speaking:
Seize the day, place in the hours that come as little faith as you can.

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Comments (4)

As a further comment, while I appreciate the great effort that has been put into these translations of Horace's Odes, still they are unnecessarily loose in places and thereby lose many of Horace's finer points and subtleties.
He didn't say mix the wine, he said strain out the wine (Dryden) , ie to clarify it for drinking. That is, strain it rather than let it stand, which was the better but slower way, because if you let it stand you might not live to drink it, whereas if you strain it you can drink it immediately. This point was made by Professor Robin Nisbet.
Pure lack of liveliness is seen!
original Latin text: Tu ne quaesieris, scire nefas, quem mihi, quem tibi finem di dederint, Leuconoe, nec Babylonios temptaris numeros. Vt melius, quidquid erit, pati, seu pluris hiemes seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam, quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare Tyrrhenum! Sapias, uina liques et spatio breui spem longam reseces. Dum loquimur, fugerit inuida aetas. Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.