Ode I. 11

By Horace 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 Horace

POET’S REGION Italy

Subjects Time & Brevity, Living, Death, Religion, The Spiritual

Occasions Farewells & Good Luck

Poetic Terms Ode

Biography

Horace wrote poetry ranging from iambi (epodes) and sermones (satires and epistles) to carmina (lyrics). These poems paint a detailed self-portrait—laughing poet of moderation; ironic and gentle moralist; enigmatic observer of the Augustan principate; and self-deprecating lover of the Italian countryside, good wine, his friends, and, most of all, his art. By offering a poetic persona who speaks to so many human concerns, Horace . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Living, Death, Religion, The Spiritual

POET’S REGION Italy

Poetic Terms Ode

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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