Don’t spurn sweet love,
my child, and don’t you be neglectful
of the choir of love, or the dancing feet,
while life is still green, and your white-haired old age
is far away with all its moroseness. Now,
find the Campus again, and the squares,
soft whispers at night, at the hour agreed,
and the pleasing laugh that betrays her, the girl
who’s hiding away in the darkest corner,
and the pledge that’s retrieved from her arm,
or from a lightly resisting finger.
 
[Nec dulcis amores
sperne puer neque tu choreas,
donec virenti canities abest
morosa. Nunc et campus et areae
lenesque sub noctem susurri
conposita repetantur hora,
nunc et latentis proditor intumo
gratus puellae risus ab angulo
pignusque dereptum lacertis
aut digito male pertinaci.]

Horace (65-8 BC) Roman poet and satirist [Quintus Horacius Flaccus]
Odes [Carmina], Book 1, # 9, l. 15ff (1.9.15-24) (23 BC) [tr. Kline (2015)]
    (Source)

"To Thaliarchus." (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Till testy Age gray Hairs shall snow
Upon thy Head, lose Mask, nor Show:
Soft whispers now delight
At a set hour by Night:
And Maids that gigle to discover
Where they are hidden to a Lover;
And Bracelets or some toy
Snatcht from the willing Coy.
[tr. Fanshaw (Brome (1666))]

Secure those golden early joys,
That youth unsoured with sorrow bears,
Ere withering time the taste destroys,
With sickness and unwieldy years.
For active sports, for pleasing rest,
This is the time to be possest;
The best is but in season best.
The appointed hour of promised bliss,
The pleasing whisper in the dark,
The half unwilling willing kiss,
The laugh that guides thee to the mark;
When the kind nymph would coyness feign,
And hides but to be found again;
These, these are joys the gods for youth ordain.
[tr. Dryden (c. 1685)]

Whilst Thou art green, and gay, and Young,
E're dull Age comes, and strength decays,
Let mirth, and humor, dance, and song
Be all the trouble of thy days.
The Court, the Mall, the Park, and Stage,
With eager thoughts of Love pursue;
Gay Evening whispers fit thy Age,
And be to Assignation true.
Now Love to hear the hiding Maid,
Whom Youth hath fir'd, and Beauty charms
By her own tittering laugh betray'd,
And forc'd into her Lover's Arms.
Go dally with thy wanton Miss,
And from the Willing seeming Coy,
Or force a Ring, or steal a Kiss;
For Age will come, and then farewell to joy.
[tr. Creech (1684)]

Sport in life's young spring,
Nor scorn sweet love, nor merry dance,
While years are green, while sullen eld
Is distant. Now the walk, the game,
The whisper'd talk at sunset held,
Each in its hour, prefer their claim.
Sweet too the laugh, whose feign'd alarm
The hiding-place of beauty tells,
The token, ravish'd from the arm
Or finger, that but ill rebels.
[tr. Conington (1872)]

Nor disdain, being a young fellow, pleasant loves, nor dances, as long as ill-natured hoariness keeps off from your blooming age. Now let both the Campus Martius and the public walks, and soft whispers at the approach of evening be repeated at the appointed hour: now, too, the delightful laugh, the betrayer of the lurking damsel from some secret corner, and the token ravished from her arms or fingers, pretendingly tenacious of it.
[tr. Smart/Buckley (1853)]

Let beauty's glance
Engage thee, and the merry dance,
Nor deem such pleasures vain!
Gloom is for age. Young hearts should glow
With fancies bright and free,
Should court the crowded walk, the show,
And at dim eve love's murmurs low
Beneath the trysting tree;
The laugh from the sly corner, where
Our girl is hiding fast,
The struggle for the lock of hair,
The half well pleased, half angry air,
The yielded kiss at last.
[tr. Martin (1864)]

Spurn not, thou, who art young, dulcet loves;
Spurn not, thou, choral dances and song
While the hoar-frost morose keeps aloof from thy verdure.
Thine the sports of the Campus, the gay public gardens;
Thine at twilight the words whispered low;
Each in turn has its own happy hour:
And thine the sweet laugh of the girl -- which betrays her
Hiding slyly within the dim nook of the threshold,
And the love-token snatched from the wrist,
Or the finger's not obstinate hold.
[tr. Bulwer-Lytton (1870)]

Youth must not spurn
Sweet loves, nor yet the dance forsake,
While grudging Age thy prime shall spare.
The Plain, the Squares, be now thy care,
And lounges, dear at nightfall, where
By concert love may whisper 'Hist!'
From inner nook a winsome smile
Betrays the girl that sculks the while,
And keepsakes, deftly filched by guile
From yielding finger, or from wrist.
[tr. Gladstone (1894)]

Nor, while thy vigour lasts, despise thou
Pleasures of love, nor the joys of dancing.
While the moroseness due to advancing age
Whitens not yet thy head, let the walks and park
And gentle whispers heard at nightfall
Each be repeated at fitting seasons.
Now, too, the pleasant laughter be heard, that tells
How lurking beauty hides in the corner-nook,
And token ravish'd from the arm, or
Finger, that daintily seems unwilling.
[tr. Phelps (1897)]

Being but yet a youth, contemn
Neither the sweets of love nor of the dance,
While from your bloom crabbed greyness holds aloof.
Now let the Campus and the city squares,
And whispers low, be sought at nightfall,
On the appointed hour of tryst;
And now the fascinating laugh from some recess
Secluded, the betrayer of a maid
In hiding, and the pledge snatched off
An arm or finger ill retaining it.
[tr. Garnsey (1907)]

Spurn not the dance,
Or in sweet loves to bask,
While surly age mars not thy morning's flower.
Seek now the athlete's training field or court;
See gentle lovers' whispered sport,
At nightfalls's trysted hour;
Seek the gay laught that from her ambush borne
Betrays the merry maiden huddled warm,
And forfeit from her hand or arm
Half given, half playful torn.
[tr. Marshall (1908)]

Nor in thy youth neglect sweet love nor dances, whilst life is still in its bloom and crabbed age is far away! Now let the Campus be sought and the squares, with low whispers at the trysting-hour as night draws on, and the merry tell-tale laugh of maiden hiding in farthest comer, and the forfeit snatched from her arm or finger that but feigns resistance.
[tr. Bennett (Loeb) (1912)]

Scorn not, while still
A boy, sweet loves; scorn not the dance.
Life in its Spring, and crabbed eld
Far off -- that is the time; then hey
For Park, Square, whispered concerts held
At a set hour at close of day:
For the sweet laugh whose soft alarm
Tells in what nook the maid lies hid:
For the love-token snatched from arm,
Of fingers that but half-forbid.
[tr. Mills (1924)]

Now that you're young, and peevish
Grey hairs are still far distant, attend to the
Dance-floor, the heart's sweet business; for now is the
Right time for midnight assignations,
whispers and murmurs in Rome's piazzas
And fields, and soft, low laughter that gives away
The girl who plays love's games in a hiding-place --
Off comes a ring coaxed down an arm or
Pulled from a faintly resisting finger.
[tr. Michie (1963)]

Take love while you're young and you can,
Laugh, dance,
Before time takes your chances
Away. Stroll where baths, where theaters
Bring Romans to walk, to talk, where whispers
Flit through the darkness as lovers meet,
And girls laugh from hidden corners,
Happy as favors
Are snatched in the darkness, laugh
And pretend to say no.
[tr. Raffel (1983)]

While you're still young,
And while morose old age is far away,
There's love, there are parties, there's dancing and there's music,
There are young people out in the city squares together
As evening comes on, there are whispers of lovers, there's laughter.
[tr. Ferry (1997)]

Do not disdain, boy, sweet love; and dance
while you are yet in bloom, and crabbed age far away.
Now frequent the Campus Martius
and public ways, and pizzas where soft whispers
are repeated at the trysting hour
and where the suffocated laughter of a girl
lurking in a corner reveals
secret betrayal and the forfeit
snatched away from a wrist
or from a finger, scarcely resisting.
[tr. Alexander (1999)]

And while you're young don't scorn
sweet love affairs and dances,
so long as crabbed old age is far from
your vigor. Now let the playing field and the
public squares and soft whisperings at nightfall
(the appointed hour) be your pursuits;
now too the sweet laughter of a girl hiding
in a secret corner, which gives her away,
and a pledge snatched from her wrists
or her feebly resisting finger.
[tr. Wikisource (2021)]


 
Added on 21-Jun-24 | Last updated 21-Jun-24
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