carpe diem: Odes 1.11

Horace’s Carpe diem consists of an invitation for the reader to appreciate the day in all its facets, in every moment, without thinking about tomorrow. It is the most famous of Horace’s odes. It has the tone of a conversation happening in front of a stormy sea, the dialogue is between a mature man, made wise by age and experience, and a girl with a Greek name, Leucònoe (“with a white mind”), she is in a hurry to live her future, on which she has projected many expectations. The poet instead tells her that she shouldn’t have long term expectations but to seize what the present gives her and to enjoy the great little joys that life offers every day. 😊

Vittoria Smorto [4th year Italian high school student, Reggio Calabria]

You mustn’t ask, it is not lawful to know, what end to me, which to you
 the gods have given us, and don’t tempt the Babylonian kabbalah,
Leucònoe. How much better it is to endure what will be,
Whether Jupiter has granted us many winters or whether this is the last one
that now wears out the Tyrrhenian sea on the opposite cliffs:
 be wise, filter the wine, cut back long hope,
 as life is short. While we speak, envious time has already fled:
seize the moment, trust in the future as little as possible.

Translation by Vittoria Smorto

Tu ne quaesieris, scire nefas, quem mihi, quem tibi
finem di dederint, Leuconoe, nec Babylonios
emptaris numeros. Ut melius, quidquid erit, pati,
seu pluris hiemes seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam,
quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare
Tyrrhenum: sapias, vina liques, et spatio brevi
spem longam reseces. Dum loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.


The Rock of Scilla, Reggio Calabria
Even a landscape can fill our hearts; seize the moment and enjoy all the beauties that nature offers daily.
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