BLACK CAT POEMS
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Congratulations on Poverty
(c. 84-54 B.C.)
translated by George Lamb
Furius, thy life no servants tease,
No chests of gold with watchings tire;
No downy bed to harbour fleas,
No blazing hearth thy house to fire.
Thou feed'st thy father and his wife,
Whose sharp-set teeth on flints could browse.
How blest must be your careless life
With him, and his old wooden spouse!
Oh truly blest!--ye keep your health,
Digest your food with ease; nor dread
Nor fire, nor ruin's curse, nor stealth,
Plunder, nor poison in your bread.
Ye all the ills and dangers scorn,
The fear of which makes many sigh;
Your bodies drier are than horn,
Or aught, if there is aught more dry.
Still warm'd by Summer's burning rays,
Or cool'd in Winter's snowy vest,
Physick'd by famine, can your days
Be otherwise than truly blest?
All fears of plethora ye may spurn,
And gout's and fever's anguish keen.
When others swell, and throb, and burn,
Ye still continue cool and clean.
Furious, no more these gifts disdain,
Nor rate them small, nor e'er infest
The Gods with prayers for wealth again;
For really thou art very blest.
poems by Catullus