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(reminder: all quotes here are fiddled, probably.)

何必多問, 生死大事豈容你我知道


Franklin P. Adams (after horace, ode 1.11)

It is not right for you to know, so do not ask, Leuconoe,
How long a life the gods may give or ever we are gone away;
Try not to read the Final Page, the ending colophonian,
Trust not the gypsy's tea-leaves, nor the prophets Babylonian.
Better to have what is to come enshrouded in obscurity
Than to be certain of the sort and length of our futurity.
Why, even as I monologue on wisdom and longevity
How Time has flown! Spear some of it! The longest life is brevity.


Walter Baumann's translation

Don't ask, Leuconoe! What business have you and/or I to know
When death comes from the gods? Neither consult soothsayers and the like!
So much better to take whatever comes, whether this winter is
One of many that Jove's given us, or whether we're seeing for
One more time how the sea batters the cliffs, how they are tumbling down.
Let's be wise above all, get out the wine, and never make big plans!
Let small hopes be enough! While we two speak, time, reckless time, flies by.
So seize this very day, and never count on what the future holds.


John Conington's translation

Ask not ('tis forbidden knowledge), what our destined term of years,
Mine and yours; nor scan the tables of your Babylonish seers.
Better far to bear the future, my Leuconoe, like the past,
Whether Jove has many winters yet to give, or this our last;
THIS, that makes the Tyrrhene billows spend their strength against the shore.
Strain your wine and prove your wisdom; life is short; should hope be more?
In the moment of our talking, envious time has ebb'd away.
Seize the present; trust to-morrow e'en as little as you may.

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