Ode to a Wine Jar
Odes : Book III Ode XXI
translation by John Luo


O, born like me under the Consul Manlius,
Bring violent quarrels or joyful banter,
Heavy disputes or passionate affairs,
Or easy sleep, affectionate pot.

However you preserved this excellent wine,
Descend, and dignify this special occasion,
Descend, for Corvinus invites you forth,
For trusty Corvinus has asked for more wine.

Hes not a man to pass up a drink
Though hes steeped in Socratic ideas, not him.
And its even recorded that Cato himself
Used to glow from your influence from time to time.

Your gentle persuasion draws out the dull,
Loosens the rigid, gets secrets from those
Who consider themselves to be wise: they let slip
Their doubts and fears with a laugh and a joke.

You bring hope to the troubled and uneasy mind 
And increase the horns of the poor, so they stand 
Before nobles and kings, and soldiers at arms, 
They stand without trembling or shaking of limbs.

Immortal Liber and, haply, Venus 
Will loosen the ties of desire and we, 
The living, will bring out the lamps until Phoebus 
Returns to chase away the stars.

O nata mecum consule Manlio,
seu tu querellas siue geris iocos
     seu rixam et insanos amores
     seu facilem, pia testa, somnum,

quocumque lectum nomine Massicum       
seruas, moueri digna bono die,
     descende, Coruino iubente
     promere languidiora uina.

Non ille, quamquam Socraticis madet
sermonibus, te negleget horridus:         
     narratur et prisci Catonis
     saepe mero caluisse uirtus.

Tu lene tormentum ingenio admoues
plerumque duro; tu sapientium
     curas et arcanum iocoso          
     consilium retegis Lycaeo.

Tu spem reducis mentibus anxiis
uiresque et addis cornua pauperi,
     post te neque iratos trementi
     regum apices neque militum arma.           

Te Liber et si laeta aderit Venus
segnesque nodum soluere Gratiae
     uiuaeque procucent lucernae,
     dum rediens fugat astra Phoebus.