Page:The works of Horace - Christopher Smart.djvu/158

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chant; you, lately a lawyer [shall be] a farmer. Do ye depart one way, and ye another, having exchanged the parts [you are to act] in life. How now! why do you stand?” They are unwilling; and yet it is in their power to be happy. What reason can be assigned, but that Jupiter should deservedly distend both his cheeks in indignation, and declare that for the future he will not be so indulgent as to lend an ear to their prayers? But further, that I may not run over this in a laughing manner, like those [who treat] on ludicrous subjects (though what hinders one being merry, while telling the truth? as good-natured teachers at first give cakes to their boys, that they may be willing to learn their first rudiments: railery, however, apart, let us investigate serious matters). He that turns the heavy glebe with the hard ploughshare, this fraudulent tavern-keeper, the soldier, and the sailors, who dauntless run through every sea, profess that they endure toil with this intention, that as old men they may retire into a secure resting place, when once they have gotten together a sufficient provision.

Thus the little ant (for she is an example), of great industry, carries in her mouth whatever she is able, and adds to the heap which she piles up, by no means ignorant and not careless for the future. Which [ant, nevertheless], as soon, as Aquarius saddens the changed year, never creeps abroad, but wisely makes use of those stores which were provided beforehand: while neither sultry summer, nor winter, fire, ocean, sword, can drive you from gain. You surmount every obstacle, that no other man may be richer than yourself. What pleasure is it for you, trembling to deposit an immense weight of silver and gold in the earth dug up by stealth? Because if you lessen it, it may be reduced to a paltry farthing.

But unless that be the case, what beauty has an accumulated hoard? Though your thrashing-floor should yield a hundred thousand bushels of corn, your belly will not on that account contain more than mine: just as if it were your lot to carry on your loaded shoulder the basket of bread among slaves, you would receive no more [for your own share] than he who bore