Now like short meals and slumbers by the burn:
No shame I deem it to have had my sport;
The shame had been in frolics not cut short.
There at my farm I fear no evil eye;
No pickthank blights my crops as he goes by;
My honest neighbours laugh to see me wield
A heavy rake, or dibble my own field.
Were wishes wings, you’d join my slaves in town,
And share the rations that they swallow down;
While that sharp footboy envies you the use
Of what my garden, flocks, and woods produce.
The horse would plough, the ox would draw the car.
No; do the work you know, and tarry where you are.
XV. TO C. NUMONIUS VALA.
QUAE sit HIEMS VELIAE.
If Velia and Salernum tell me, pray,
The climate, and the natives, and the way:
For Baiae now is lost on me, and I,
Once its staunch friend, am turned its enemy,
Through Musa’s fault, who makes me undergo
His cold-bath treatment, spite of frost and snow.
Good sooth, the town is filled with spleen, to see
Its myrtle-groves attract no company;
To find its sulphur-wells, which forced out pain
From joint and sinew, treated with disdain
By tender chests and heads, now grown so bold,
They brave cold water in the depth of cold,
And, finding down at Clusium what they want,
Or Gabii, say, make that their winter haunt.
Yes, I must change my quarters; my good horse
Must pass the inns where once he stopped of course.
“How now, you creature? I’m not bound to-day
For Cumae or for Baiae,” I shall say,
Pulling the left rein angrily, because
A horse when bridled listens through his jaws.
Which place is best supplied with corn, d’ye think?
Have they rain-water or fresh springs to drink?
Their wines I care not for: when at my farm
I can drink any sort without much harm;
But at the sea I need a generous kind
To warm my veins and pass into my mind,
Enrich me with new hopes, choice words supply,
And make me comely in a lady’s eye.
Which tract is best for game, on which sea-coast
Urchins and other fish abound the most,
That so, when I return, my friends may see
A sleek Phaeacian come to life in me:
These things you needs must tell me, Vala dear,
And I no less must act on what I hear.
When Maenius, after nobly gobbling down
His fortune, took to living on the town,
A social beast of prey, with no fixed home,
He ranged and ravened o’er the whole of Rome;
His maw unfilled, he’d turn on friend and foe;
None was too high for worrying, none too low;
The scourge and murrain of each butcher’s shop,
Whate’er he got, he stuffed into his crop.
So, when he’d failed in getting e’er a bit
From those who liked or feared his wicked wit,
Then down a throat of three-bear power he’d cram