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Here goes Epode II


“Happy is he who avoids the rat race, like the ancient race of mortals, cultivates his ancestral lands with cows, who is free from debt, who’s neither a soldier, roused by the cruel trumpet, nor dreading the wrathful sea, nor living at the Forum and the haughty thresholds of more powerful men.

“So, when the shoots of his vines mature, he weds them to tall poplars, or in a remote vale, he watches the wanderings of the bellowing flocks, and removing useless boughs with a pruning hook, he replaces them with fruitful ones, or he pours pressed honey into clean amphoras, or he shears the timorous sheep; or maybe, as Autumnus rises from the field, his head garlanded with ripe fruit, how happy he is picking the grafted pear or the purple dyed grape, with which to honor you, Priapus, and you, Father Sylvanus, protector of boundaries.

“Sometimes he likes to lie under the ancient holm oak, sometimes in the firm grass-- the waters gliding between the tall banks of the river, the birds making plaintive sounds in the woods, the waters of the stream making a noise that invites light slumber.

“What’s more, as the Wintry season readies the rain and snow of Thundering Jove, he presses the brisling wild boar here and there into the hindering hunting nets with many hounds, or stretches out loose nets on smooth poles, a devise for greedy thrushes, and captures the trembling hare and the foreign crane with his snare, a great catch.

“Amongst all this, who cannot forget the evil cares of love? So if a chaste woman helps with her share of the house and the sweet children (such as a Sabine, or a nimble, sunburned, Apulian wife), who builds up the sacred hearth fires with well-seasoned wood for her tired man’s return, who corrals the fat cattle in wicker fences, who drains their distended udders and pours this year’s sweet wine from the jar, who prepares the homemade sacrificial feast, neither Lucrinian mussels, turbot, nor parrotfish would please me more; if Winter, raging the eastern waves, turns them toward this sea, neither Numidian Guinea Fowl nor Ionian Grouse will descend into my guts.

“It’s better picking olives from the richest branches of the tree, or the meadow loving sorrel and the healthy mallows for a sick body, or the lamb killed for the Boundary Feast, or a kid saved from the wolf.

“Between holy days, it is pleasing to watch the pastured sheep hurry home and tired oxen drag the inverted plow by their languid necks, and to see the home-born slaves, proof of a prosperous home, gathered around the shining Lares.”

This spoke Alfius the Moneylender, “now, now, I am about to be a farmer.”
He called in his loans on the Ides and is trying to re-lend the money on the Kalends.

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