You, an expert in prose in either language,
wonder what I, a bachelor, am doing
on the Kalends of March, what do the flowers mean,
the box of incense,
and the embers laid out on the fresh cut turf.
I vowed sweet meats to Bacchus, vowed a pure white
goat, at that time when I was so nearly killed
by a falling tree.
When this festive day returns again I’ll draw
a tight-fitting cork, sealed with pitch, from a jar
laid down to gather the dust in that year when
Tullus was Consul.
So drink a whole gallon of wine, Maecenas,
celebrating your friend’s escape, and we’ll quench
the flickering lamps at dawn: keep far away
the noise and anger.
Leave the cares of state behind in the City:
Cotiso’s Dacian army’s been destroyed,
the dangerous Medes are fighting each other,
in grievous battle,
our old Cantabrian enemies are slaves,
subdued, in chains, at last, on the Spanish coast,
and now the Scythians, their bows unstrung, plan
to give up their plains.
A private citizen for now, don’t worry
yourself, overmuch, what troubles the people,
and gladly accept the gifts of the moment,
and forget dark things.