Be slow, then, in reaching a decision: these are matters of great importance. And do not let other people’s opinions and complaints persuade you to incur troubles of your own. Give thought now to all the incalculable elements of war before you find yourselves in it. When war is prolonged it tends to become largely a matter of chance, in which we are both equally far from control and both face the danger of an uncertain outcome. And as they enter on their wars men take to action first, which should come later, and only have recourse to words when things go badly for them. (tr. Martin Hammond)
Quare agite, o tectis, iuvenes, succedite nostris.
Me quoque per multos similis fortuna labores
iactatam hac demum voluit consistere terra;
non ignara mali, miseris succurrere disco.
(Vergil, Aen. 1.627-630)
So come, young soldiers, welcome to our house.
My destiny, harrying me with trials hard as yours,
led me as well, at last, to anchor in this land.
Schooled in suffering, now I learn to comfort those who suffer too. (tr. Robert Fagles)
One may understand how effective and how productive a thing is application and hard work, if he only direct his attention to many effects that are daily observed. For drops of water make hollows in rocks, steel and bronze are worn away by the touch of hands, and rims of chariot-wheels once bent by dint of labour, cannot, no matter what be done, recover their original lines. The bent staves which actors use it is impossible to straighten; indeed the unnatural shape has, through labour, come to predominate over the natural. (tr. Frank Cole Babbitt)
Sperat infestis, metuit secundis
alteram sortem bene praeparatum
pectus. informes hiemes reducit
submovet. non, si male nunc, et olim
sic erit: quondam cithara tacentem
suscitat Musam neque semper arcum
rebus angustis animosus atque
fortis appare; sapienter idem
contrahes vento nimium secundo
(Horace, Carm. 2.10.13-24)
In adversity the well-prepared mind hopes for the opposite situation, is on guard against it in prosperity. Jupiter brings round the ugly winters; he also removes them. If things are bad now, they will not always be so: at times Apollo wakens the slumbering Muse with his lyre; he does not always keep his bow taut. In dire straits show yourself spirited and brave; you will also be wise to shorten your sail when it swells before too favourable a breeze. (tr. Niall Rudd)
Concines laetosque dies et Urbis
publicum ludum super impetrato
fortis Augusti reditu forumque
tum meae, si quid loquar audiendum,
vocis accedet bona pars, et, “o Sol
pulcher! o laudande!” canam, recepto
tuque dum procedis, “io Triumphe!”
non semel dicemus, “io Triumphe!”
civitas omnis, dabimusque divis
(Horace, Carm. 4.2.41-52)
You will celebrate the days of joy, the capital’s public holiday, and the Forum bereft of lawsuits in honour of the valiant Augustus’ return which has been granted to our prayers. Then, if I have anything to say that is worth hearing, I shall join in to the best of my ability, singing “O glorious day, o worthy of all praise!” in my joy at Caesars’ return. And while you take the lead, we shall cry more than once “Io Triumphe!” The whole city will cry “Io Triumphe” and we shall offer incense to the kindly gods. (tr. Niall Rudd)