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)



Proxime dis consul, tantae qui prospicis urbi,
qua nihil in terris complectitur altius aether,
cuius nec spatium visus nec corda decorem
nec laudem vox ulla capit; quae luce metalli
aemula vicinis fastigia conserit astris;
quae septem scopulis zonas imitatur Olympi;
armorum legumque parens quae fundit in omnes
imperium primique dedit cunabula iuris.
haec est exiguis quae finibus orta tetendit
in geminos axes parvaque a sede profecta
dispersit cum sole manus. haec obvia fatis
innuneras uno gereret cum tempore pugnas,
Hispanas caperet, Siculas obsideret urbes
et Gallum terris prosterneret, aequore Poenum,
numquam succubuit damnis et territa nullo
vulnere post Cannas maior Trebiamque fremebat
et, cum iam premerent flammae murumque feriret
hostis, in extremos aciem mittebat Hiberos
nec stetit Oceano remisque ingressa profundum
vincendos alio quaesivit in orbe Britannos.
haec est in gremium victos quae sola recepit
humanumque genus communi nomine fovit
matris, non dominae ritu, civesque vocavit
quos domuit nexuque pio longinqua revinxit.
huius pacificis debemus moribus omnes,
quod veluti patriis regionibus utitur hospes;
quod sedem mutare licet; quod cernere Thylen
lusus et horrendos quondam penetrare recessus;
quod bibimus passim Rhodanum, potamus Orontem;
quod cuncti gens una sumus.
(Claudian, Cons. Stil. 3.130-159)

Consul, all but peer of the gods, protector of a city greater than any that upon earth
the air encompasseth, whose amplitude no eye can measure, whose beauty no imagination can picture, whose praise no voice can sound, who raises a golden head amid the neighbouring stars and with her seven hills imitates the seven regions of heaven, mother of arms and of law, who extends her sway o’er all the earth and was the earliest cradle of justice, this is the city which, sprung from humble beginnings, has stretched to either pole, and from one small place extended its power so as to be co-terminous with the sun’s light. Open to the blows of fate while at one and the same time she fought a thousand battles, conquered Spain, laid siege to the cities of Sicily, subdued Gaul by land and Carthage by sea, never did she yield to her losses nor show fear at any blow, but rose to greater heights of courage after the disasters of Cannae and Trebia, and, while the enemy’s fire threatened her, and her foe smote upon her walls, sent an army against the furthest Iberians. Nor did Ocean bar her way; launching upon the deep, she sought in another world for Britons to be vanquished. ‘Tis she alone who has received the conquered into her bosom and like a mother, not an empress, protected the human race with a common name, summoning those whom she has defeated to share her citizenship and drawing together distant races with bonds of affection. To her rule of peace we owe it that the world is our home, that we can live where we please, and that to visit Thule and to explore its once dreaded wilds is but a sport; thanks to her all and sundry may drink the waters of the Rhone and quaff Orontes’ stream, thanks to her we are all one people. (tr. Maurice Platnauer)