phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Quintus Horatius Flaccus a.k.a "Horace"

Posted by Bruce Kahl on June 07, 2000

In Reply to: Carpe diem posted by ESC on June 06, 2000

Hmmmm...Could my 8 years of studying Latin, a "dead" language, finally come in handy?

Quintus Horatius Flaccus a.k.a "Horace"
65 - 8 BC

Ode I-XI
The most famous of Horace's odes urges us to embrace the pleasures available in everyday life instead of relying on far-reaching aspirations for the future - hence the motto "Carpe Diem", or "Enjoy today":

Tu ne quaesieris - scire nefas - quem mihi, quem tibi
finem di dederint, Leuconoë, nec Babylonios
temptaris numeros. ut melius, quicquid erit, pati!
seu plures hiemes, seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam,
quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare
Tyrhenum. Sapias, vina liques, et spatio brevi
spem longam reseces. dum loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.

Translated:

Ask not - we cannot know - what end the gods have set for you, for me; nor attempt the Babylonian reckonings Leuconoë. How much better to endure whatever comes, whether Jupiter grants us additional winters or whether this is our last, which now wears out the Tuscan Sea upon the barrier of the cliffs! Be wise, strain the wine; and since life is brief, cut back far-reaching hopes! Even while we speak, envious time has passed: Enjoy today, putting as little trust as possible in tomorrow!

See also: the meaning and origin of Carpe Diem.