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A View of Mount Soracte

After Horace, Odes, 1, 9

Look out the window: Mount Soracte’s thick with glistening snow.
The woods are overburdened with it; they can’t hold the load.
The streams are frozen solid in the biting cold.

Thaliarchus, we’ll beat the freeze by piling firewood
high upon the hearth. I’ll fetch a wine that’s had four years of ageing
in a Sabine jar. I’m feeling generous.

As for the rest: we’ll leave the worry to the gods. The moment they decide
to calm these howling winds which have been whipping up the storm at sea
the cypresses and ancient rowans will be still.

Don’t ask what tomorrow brings; and treat each day
that Fortune gives you as a bonus. This is the time to dance, my boy;
to taste the sweet delights of love. Don’t miss the chance.

We’re in the greening phase of life; the miseries of age
are far away. We should get out more. There are parks and squares
where, every evening, lovers meet and softly whisper in the dusk;

and from a secret corner, it’s so nice to hear
the tell-tale laughter of a hidden girl, pretending, only, to protest
as someone steals a little something from her finger or her arm.

Audio file

Listen to this poem — read by Peter Hetherington

Horace, Odes, 1, 9

Vides ut alta stet nive candidum
Soracte, nec iam sustineant onus
  silvae laborantes, geluque
    flumina constiterint acuto?

dissolve frigus ligna super foco
large reponens, atque benignius
  deprome quadrimum Sabina,
    o Thaliarche, merum diota.
permitte divis cetera, qui simul
stravere ventos aequore fervido
  deproeliantes, nec cupressi
    nec veteres agitantur orni.

quid sit futurum cras, fuge quaerere et
quem Fors dierum cumque dabit, lucro
  appone nec dulces amores
    sperne puer neque tu choreas,

donec virenti canities abest
morosa. nunc et campus et areae
  lenesque sub noctem susurri
    composita repetantur hora,

nunc et latentis proditor intumo
gratus puellae risus ab angulo
  pignusque dereptum lacertis
    aut digito male pertinaci.