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Seize the Day: A Translation of Horace’s Book I Ode 11

By Henry Kim, VI Form

Seize the Day: A Translation of Horace’s Book I Ode 11

English Translation

O Leuconoë, you should not find that end (to know this is a crime) the gods will give to me and to you, and you should not try out Babylonian numerology*. How much better will it be to endure anything! Whether Jupiter assigns many winters or the final one, which now settles down the Tyrrhenian sea with opposing cliffs, may you be wise, may you strain wine and cut back any excessive hope within a short time. While we speak, an enviable life will have fled from us: seize the day, trust in little as possible things for the future day.

*Babylonian numerology was believed to be able to tell the future

Original Latin

From Horace’s Odes

Book I Ode 11


Tu ne quaesieris, scire nefas, quem mihi, quem tibi

finem di dederint, Leuconoe, nec Babylonios

temptaris 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 logam reseces. Dum loquimur, fugerit invida

aetas: carpe diem quam minimum credula postero.

Henry Kim is a VI Form boarding student from Daejeon, South Korea. He lives in Thieriot House as Prefect, dabbles in tennis, and wants to become an astronaut.

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