Vides, ut alta stet nive candidum
Soracte, nec iam sustineant onus
Silvae laborantes, geluque
Flumina constiterint acuto.
Dissolve frigus ligna super foco
Large reponens atque benignius
Deprome quadrimum Sabina,
O Thaliarche, merum diota.
Permitte divis cetera, qui simul
Stravere ventos aequore fervido
Deproeliantis, nec cupressi
Nec veteres agitantur orni.
Quid sit futurum cras, fuge quaerere et
Quem fors dierum cumque dabit lucro
Adpone, nec dulcis amores
Sperne puer neque tu choreas,
Donec virenti canities abest
Morosa. Nunc et campus et areae
Lenesque sub noctem susurri
Composita repetantur hora,
Nunc et latentis proditor intumo
Gratus puellae risus ab angulo
Pignusque dereptum lacertis
Aut digito male pertinaci.
Q. Horatius Flaccus, Carmina
My prose translation:
You see how the snow stands deep and bright on Mt. Soractus, and the woods let go their burden while the rivers stand still with sharp ice. Dispel the cold: heap firewood on the hearth, and generously pour out mature wine, o Thaliarchus, from a Sabine wine-jar. Hand everything else over to the gods, who at the same time quell the winds which stir up the ocean and prevent the cypress, forest pines and mountain ash trees from being stirred. Whatever tomorrow might bring, do not worry and mark whatever the gods give you up as profit, and don't spurn sweet lovers, nor dances, while old age stays away from your youth. Now is the time for open spaces and playing fields, and for quiet whispers in the darkness of the night, and for the sweet laugh of a girl from the corner which gives her away, and to pull the bracelet from the arm or a finger, hardly resisting.
My attempt at a poetic construe, which will be less accurate, but hopefully more beautiful:
You must see the snow, deep and bright
on Mount Soractus. The leaves in the forest
let go their heavy burdens and the rivers
stand still with bright ice.
Dispel, then, the cold: heap timber on the hearth
pour out generously, friend Thaliarchus,
good wine, four years matured,
from a Sabine wineskin.
Entrust the rest to the gods,
who keep the wind from stirring
the ocean waves and the cypress
and the forest pine and mountain ash.
Don't worry for what tomorrow might bring:
mark the gods' gifts up as profit,
and don't spurn sweet lovers
or their dances
as long as white hair is kept from your youthful brow.
Now the time demands leisure and
playing-fields and hushed
whispers in night's darkness.
Now is the time for a girl's sweet laugh
from a corner, giving her away,
and for taking a ring from her arm
or a finger, feigning to resist.
I consider this to be the most beautiful poem I have yet read.