From Horace's Epistles

There is so much genuinely good, wise, and surprising in these that it's hard simply to select.  What comes as great comfort to me is that I'm hearing some two thousand years later exactly the same plaints that I might have made myself last Wednesday.  People simply don't change all that much.  There's a nice fairly archaic, formal, perhaps more literal translation of Horace's epsitles online; however, I want to share from the brilliant work of David Ferry.  It is instructive to compare the two.

from The Epistles of Horace Book I
"To Maecenas"
tr. David Ferry

Different people go in for different things,
For this, for that, or the other; that doesn't mean
They won't change their minds an hour later and
Go in for that, this, anything else instead.
"No place more beautiful that Baiae Bay."
The minute the rich man says it, that minute you know
His pleasure in Baiae Bay has spent itself,
And you know his libido will take him another way:
"Workmen, build me a house inland at Teanum."
Is the bed of the household Genius set up in the hall
Of the married man's house? Why of course he says:
I long for a bachelor's life, the best of all."
But move it out of the hall, and then he says,
"Being married, after all, is best of all."
How do you keep the face of this Proteus
From changing, time and Time again? The poor man?
Just like the rich man on a different budget.

 While there is a certain tedium/depression that emerges from a world in which wants change on a minute by minute basis, there is a certain comfort in knowing that it isn't a "sign of the times."

It is simply as St. Augustine noted:  "Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you, O Lord."


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