Unlock solutions to your love life challenges, from choosing the right partner to navigating deception and loneliness, with the book "Lust Love & Liberation ". Click here to get your copy!
Unlock solutions to your love life challenges, from choosing the right partner to navigating deception and loneliness, with the book "Lust Love & Liberation ". Click here to get your copy!

The True Life

The True Life

4 mins

Let other men gather bright gold to themselves

And own many acres of well-ploughed soil,

Let endless worry trouble them, with enemies nearby,

And the peals of the war-trumpets driving away sleep:

Let my moderate means lead me to a quiet life,

As long as my fireside glows with endless flame.

If only i might now be happy to live with little,

And not always be addicted to distant journeys,

But avoid the rising dog-star’s summer heat

In the shade of a tree by a stream of running water.

Nor be ashamed to take up the hoe at times

Or rebuke the lazy oxen with a goad:

Or object to carrying a ewe-lamb home

Or a young kid deserted by its mother.

Let me plant the tender vines at the proper time,

Tall fruit-trees, myself a rustic, with skilled hands:

Nor let hope fail, but deliver the piled-up fruits,

And the rich vintage in overflowing vats,

Since i worship wherever there’s a stump left in the fields,

Or an old stone at the crossroads, wreathed with flowers:

And whatever fruit of mine the new season brings

I set as an offering before the god of the fields.

Golden ceres, a spiked crown is yours from my estate,

One that is hung before the doors to your temple:

And blushing priapus is set as a guard on the orchards

To terrorise the birds with his cruel hook.

You too, accept your gifts, lares, guardians

Of impoverished fields that once were fruitful.

Then a slaughtered calf purified countless heifers:

Now a lamb’s the poor sacrifice of my meagre land.

A lamb shall fall to you, round which the rustic youths

Will shout: “hurrah, give us good crops and wine!”

But you, wolves and thieves, spare my meagre flocks:

You must take your pillage from greater herds.

This is what i have to purify my herdsmen

And sprinkle gentle pales with milk.

Gods, be with me, and do not scorn what’s given

From a humble table in pure earthenware.

The cups were earthenware the ancients made,

At first, themselves, from ductile clay.

I don’t need the wealth of my forefathers,

That the harvest brought my distant ancestors:

A little field’s enough: enough to sleep in peace,

And rest my limbs on the accustomed bed

What joy to hear the raging winds as I lie there

Holding my girl to my tender breast,

Or when a wintry southerly pours its icy showers,

Sleep soundly helped by an accompanying fire!

Let this be mine: let him be rich, of right,

Who can stand the raging sea and the mournful rain.

O, let as much gold, and emeralds more, be lost

As the tears any girl might weep for my travels.

It’s right for you to war by land and sea, messalla,

So that your house might display the enemy spoils:

The ties of a lovely girl bind me captive,

And i sit a doorman before her harsh entrance.

I don’t care for praise, my delia: only let me be

With you, and pray let me be called idle and lazy.

Let me gaze on you, when my last hour has come,

Hold you, as i die, in my failing grasp.

You’ll weep for me, laid on my pyre, delia,

And grant me kisses mixed with your sad tears.

You’ll weep: your mind’s not bound with cold steel,

Nor is there flint within your tender heart.

No young man or young girl will return home

With dry eyes from that funeral.

Don’t wound my ghost, delia, but spare

Your tender cheeks and your loosened hair.

Meanwhile, while fate allows, let’s join in love:

Soon death comes with his dark shrouded head:

Soon weakened age steals on, and love’s not fitting

Nor speaking flatteries when your hair is white.

Now’s the time for sweet love, while there’s no shame

In breaking doors down, while it’s joy to pick a fight.

Here i’m a general and brave soldier both: away

Standards and trumpets, bear wounds to greedy men,

And take them wealth: I safe with my gathered store

Will despise their riches, and despise all hunger too.

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