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The means to attain happy life

May 7, 2010

Viewers of The Tudors may remember that last week Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey, recited his translation of one of Martial‘s epigrams (specifically X:47). By coincidence, this week I ran across the translation made by the real Henry Howard and here it is:

MARTIAL, the things that do attain
The happy life be these, I find:—
The richesse left, not got with pain;
The fruitful ground, the quiet mind;
The equal friend; no grudge, no strife;
No charge of rule, nor governance;
Without disease, the healthful life;
The household of continuance;
The mean diet, no delicate fare;
True wisdom join’d with simpleness;
The night dischargèd of all care,
Where wine the wit may not oppress.
The faithful wife, without debate;
Such sleeps as may beguile the night:
Contented with thine own estate
Ne wish for death, ne fear his might.

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