Now Spring’s companions, the Thracian northerlies,
that quieten the ocean, are swelling the canvas:
now fields are unfrozen, and rivers stop roaring
with their volumes of winter snow.
The sad swallow, tearfully mourning Itys, builds
her nest, she’s the House of Cecrops’ eternal shame,
avenging the barbarous lust of Tereus
with too savage a cruelty.
The shepherds, with indolent sheep, in the soft grass,
sing their songs to the sound of the pipes, and delight
great god, Pan, who is pleased with the flocks, and is pleased
by the dark hills of Arcady.
And, Virgil, the season has brought its thirst to us:
but if you’re eager to sip at a grape that was pressed
at Cales, you follower of noble youth, then
earn your wine with a gift of nard.
One small onyx box of nard elicits a jar
that’s lying there now in Sulpicius’ cellar,
sufficient for granting fresh hope, and effective
at washing away bitter care.
If you’re in a rush for pleasures like this, come quick
with your purchase: since I refuse to consider
dipping a gift-less you, in my wine, as if I’m
rich, my house filled with everything.
But abolish delay, and desire for profit,
and, remembering death’s sombre flames, while you can,
mix a little brief foolishness with your wisdom:
it’s sweet sometimes to play the fool.