Enjoy the Holiday Seasons:
Horace’s Ode II.3 discusses to keep a level head in bad times and in good, and to remember that no matter who you are rich or poor, you will die. So his advice is to enjoy your life, stop acquiring, be in Nature, and start enjoying what you have because when you die your heir or heirs will divide it up…and most of you will know how bad that can be. So enjoy what you have now. You know the phrase, ” You can’t take it with you.” So enjoy the holidays, because whether Zeus gives you more or just one, you must enjoy them and stop acquiring; see Carpe diem. Lastly, in the end, we end up in the same place, so live a good life and be an exemplar for others.
Aequam mementō rēbus in arduīs
servāre mentem, nōn secus in bonīs
ab īnsolentī temperātam
laetitiā, moritūre Dellī,
seu maestus omnī tempore vīxeris
seu tē in remōtō grāmine per diēs
fēstōs reclīnātum beāris
interiōre notā Falernī.
Quō pīnus ingēns albaque pōpulus
umbram hospitālem cōnsociāre amant
rāmīs? Quid oblīquō labōrat
lympha fugāx trepidāre rīvō?
Hūc vīna et unguenta et nimium brevīs
flōrēs amoenae ferre iubē rosae,
dum rēs et aetās et Sorōrum
fīla trium patiuntur ātra.
Cēdēs coēmptīs saltibus et domō
vīllāque, flāvus quam Tiberis lavit,
cēdēs, et exstructīs in altum
dīvitiīs potiētur hērēs.
Dīvesne prīscō nātus ab Īnachō
nīl interest an pauper et īnfimā
dē gente sub dīvō morēris,
victima nīl miserantis Orcī;
omnēs eōdem cōgimur, omnium
versātur urnā sērius ōcius
sors exitūra et nōs in aeternum
exilium impositūra cumbae.
Horace, Odes II.3
My translation of Horace’s Ode II.3:
Remember to keep a level mind in arduous situations
just as in good times restrain
from excessive joy,
Dellius you who are about to die,
Whether sadly you will have lived all your life,
or you will have enjoyed yourself in the grassy meadow
reclining during the festival holidays, with a choice
bottle of Falerian wine.
To what end does the huge pine and the white poplar
love to make common hospitable shade with their branches?
Why does the fleeting water struggle to rush
in its winding stream?
Order someone to bring to here wine, perfume, and too short-lived
flowers of the pleasant rose,
while circumstances, life, and the dark threads
of the three Sisters of Fate allow.
You will depart from your pasture lands having been bought up on all sides,
from your home, and from your villa in the country that the yellow Tiber washes;
You will depart, and of your heaped-up wealth
an heir will take possession.
Whether you linger under the open sky born wealthy
from the ancient line of Inachus, or whether you linger under the open sky
born poor from the lowest class, it does not matter,
You all are a victim of Death who goes by the name Orcus or Hades, who pities no one.
We are all herded to the same place, like cattle,
everyone’s lot about to exit from the funerary urn
sooner or later is shaken,
about to place us on the ferry boat into eternal exile.
Marcus Aurelius also says something similar:
Democritus (460 BC to 370 BC) also has something to tell us:
Men achieve tranquillity through moderation in pleasure and through the symmetry of life. Want and superfluity are apt to upset them and to cause great perturbations in the soul.
- The souls that are rent by violent conflicts are neither stable nor tranquil.
- One should therefore set his mind upon the things that are within his power, and be content with his opportunities, nor let his memory dwell very long on the envied and admired of men, nor idly sit and dream of them.
- Rather, he should contemplate the lives of those who suffer hardship, and vividly bring to mind their sufferings, so that your own present situation may appear to you important and to be envied, and so that it may no longer be your portion to suffer torture in your soul by your longing for more.
- For he who admires those who have, and whom other men deem blest of fortune, and who spends all his time idly dreaming of them, will be forced to be always contriving some new device because of his [insatiable] desire, until he ends by doing some desperate deed forbidden by the laws.
- And therefore one ought not to desire other men’s blessings, and one ought not to envy those who have more, but rather, comparing his life with that of those who fare worse, and laying to heart their sufferings, deem himself blest of fortune in that he lives and fares so much better than they. Holding fast to this saying you will pass your life in greater tranquillity and will avert not a few of the plagues of life—envy and jealousy and bitterness of mind