Satires

Horace

Horace. The Works of Horace. Vol. II. Smart, Christopher, translator. Philadelphia: J. Whetham, 1836.

Who then is free? The wise man, who has dominion over himself; whom neither poverty, nor death, nor chains affright; brave in the checking of his appetites, and in contemning honors; and, perfect in himself, polished and round as a globe,[*](Teres atque rotundus. The metaphor is taken from a globe, and our vices are those inequalities which stop us in our course of virtue.) so that nothing from without can retard, in consequence of its smoothness; against whom misfortune ever advances ineffectually. Can you, out of these, recognize any thing applicable to yourself? A woman demands five talents of you, plagues you, and after you are turned out of doors, bedews you with cold water: she calls you again. Rescue your neck from this vile yoke; come, say, I am free, I am free. You are not able: for an implacable master oppresses your mind, and claps the sharp spurs to your jaded appetite, and forces you on though reluctant. When you, mad one, quite languish at a picture by Pausias;[*](Pausias was a famous flower-painter. Lucullus gave a thousand crowns for a picture, in which he drew his mistress Glycera sitting, and making a wreath of flowers. He was a contemporary of Apelles.) how are you less to blame than I, when I admire the combats of Fulvius and Rutuba and Placideianus, with their bended knees, painted in crayons[*](Masters of gladiators hung the pictures of their best champions, such as Fulvius, Rutuba, or Placideianus, at the door of the house where they fought.) or charcoal, as if the men were actually engaged, and push and parry, moving heir weapons? Davus is a scoundrel and a loiterer; but you have the character of an exquisite and expert connoisseur in antiquities. If I am allured by a smoking pasty, I am a good-for-nothing fellow: does your great virtue and soul resist delicate entertainments? Why is a tenderness for my belly too destructive for me? For my back pays for it. How do you come off with more impunity, since you hanker after such dainties as can not be had for a little expense? Then those delicacies, perpetually taken, pall upon the stomach; and your mistaken feet refuse to support your sickly body. Is that boy guilty, who by night pawns a stolen scraper for some grapes? Has he nothing servile about him, who in indulgence to his guts sells his estates? Add to this, that you yourself can not be an hour by yourself, nor dispose of your leisure in a right manner; and shun yourself as a fugitive and vagabond, one while endeavoring with wine, another while with sleep, to cheat care-in vain: for the gloomy companion presses upon you, and pursues you in your flight. "Where can I get a stone?" "What occasion is there for it?" "Where some darts?" "The man is either mad, or making verses." "If you do not take yourself away in an instant, you shall go [and make] a ninth laborer[*](Accedes opera.Opera for servus. Slaves who were employed in tilling their lands were generally chained, so that the threat was enough to alarm Davus, and end the conversation.) at my Sabine estate."