The means to attain happy life

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.

Advertisements