Felix

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Felix, qui propriis aevum transegit in arvis,
ipsa domus puerum quem videt, ipsa senem;
qui baculo nitens in qua reptavit harena
unius numerat saecula longa casae.
illum non vario traxit fortuna tumultu,
nec bibit ignotas mobilis hospes aquas.
non freta mercator tremuit, non classica miles,
non rauci lites pertulit ille fori.
indocilis rerum, vicinae nescius urbis
adspectu fruitur liberiore poli.
frugibus alternis, non consule computat annum:
autumnum pomis, ver sibi flore notat.
idem condit ager soles idemque reducit,
metiturque suo rusticus orbe diem,
ingentem meminit parvo qui germine quercum
aequaevumque videt consenuisse nemus,
proxima cui nigris Verona remotior Indis
Benacumque putat litora Rubra lacum.
sed tamen indomitae vires firmisque lacertis
aetas robustum tertia cernit avum.
erret et extremos alter scrutetur Hiberos:
plus habet hic vitae, plus habet ille viae.
(Claudian, Carmina Minora 20)

Happy he who has passed his whole life mid his own fields, he of whose birth and old age the same house is witness; he whose stick supports his tottering steps o’er the very ground whereon he crawled as a baby and whose memory knows but of one cottage as the scene where so long a life was played out. No turns of fortune vexed him with their sudden storms; he never travelled nor drank the waters of unknown rivers. He was never a trader to fear the seas nor a soldier to dread the trumpet’s call; never did he face the noisy wrangles of the courts. Unpractised in affairs, unfamiliar with the neighbouring town, he finds his delight in a freer view of the sky above him. For him the recurring seasons, not the consuls, mark the year: he knows autumn by his fruits and spring by her flowers. From the selfsame fields he watches the sun rise and set, and, at his work, measures the day with his own round of toils. He remembers yon mighty oak an acorn, and sees the plantation, set when he was born, grown old along with him. Neighbouring Verona is, for him, more distant than sun-scorched India; Benacus he accounts as the Red Sea. But his strength is unimpaired and the third generation see in him a sturdy, stout-armed grandsire. Let who will be a wanderer and explore farthest Spain: such may have more of a journey; he of Verona has more of a life. (tr. Maurice Platnauer)

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