Thursday, January 1, 2009

Readings: After Horace

O Postumus, alas! I hear the bells go tinkle-tinkle!
Zip! goes another flitting year! here comes another wrinkle!
And though I hate to hang the crape -- no skill and no endurance
Can keep your folks from putting in a claim for your insurance.

If daily you endow a school and forty-two Foundations,
Would that put off a single day your last disintegrations?
No! What though you be prince, or prune, a slacker or a hero,
The sum of all your wealth and woes is ultimately zero.

Some day you'll bid your wife good-bye, and -- this no prognosis --
That afternoon they'll say it was arterio-sclerosis;
And in a year, or maybe less, a man of greater merit
Shall spill upon your marble floors the wine he will inherit.
Franklin P. Adams, "As The New Year (18 BC) Dawned" (1917), after Horace 2.14

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