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Dr Barrett


In September 1895, nine months before his death, the 79-year-old Mereweather made a free translation of Carm. I, Ode XI by Horace.

Below follow, first, a copy of Mereweather’s own text (a page in his book of Memoranda originally left blank from the year 1842) together with a transcription, and, secondly, a copy of the corresponding Latin text published in London in 1733 in Quintus Horatius Flaccus, Opera (two volumes), with copperplate engravings by Johannes Pine.

Mereweather, Book of Memoranda, p. 97

Horace, 11th Ode, 1 book, Transd. Sept 1895

Inquisitive Leuconoè!
Meddle not with Destiny.
Prithee, fair one, search no more
Books that treat of magic lore.
For you and me to dare to pry
Into our short life's mystery,
And calculate our term on earth,
Counting the swift days from our birth,
Were surely an unholy thing
That peace and joy can never bring.
How much better 'tis to bear
Uncomplaining each our share
Of good and ill : of mirth and woe
Careless how the winters go
Whether many, whether few,
That Jove may have in store for you.
Be wise, pour out your wine, and straight compel
Your fondest hopes in briefest space to dwell,
E'en whilst I pen this little lay
Envious time has slipped away.
Snatch we then the passing hour
And laugh to scorn the Future's power.

Quintus Horatius Flaccus, Opera, Vol. I, p. 20, London, 1733

Venice, The Grand Canal with The Rialto Bridge
Edizione Alinari, Florence 1896