Pallida mors aequo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas
regumque turres. o beate Sesti,
vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam.
iam te premet nox fabulaeque Manes
et domus exilis Plutonia; quo simul mearis,
nec regna vini sortiere talis,
nec tenerum Lycidan mirabere, quo calet iuventus
nunc omnis et mox virgines tepebunt.
(Horace, Carm. 1.4.13-20)
Pale Death knocks with impartial foot on the poor man’s cottage and the rich man’s castle. Sestius, well-off as you are, the brief span of life forbids us to embark on far-reaching hopes. Soon night will close round you, and the storied Ghosts and the meagre house of Pluto. Once you reach there, you will not throw dice to decide who directs the party, nor will you gaze in admiration at the boyish Lycidas, who now makes all the young men burn with passion and before long will kindle the desires of the girls. (tr. Niall Rudd)