But soft, methinks I scent the morning air. Brief let me be:

Jakob Balde’s (the Horace of Germany) lyric poetry is so stunningly beautiful—like that of Horace himself—that one may justify the labor of learning Latin solely to read it. Of course, one must read carefully and with the heart the lyrics of Horace in order to understand Balde.

Here’s a brief snippet, in a translation by Karl Maurer. Of course, the artistry of the poem, like that of the Japanese Haiku, is visual and untranslatable. Being a poem, and metrical, as well, its music (to which the language is intrinsic), is also untranslatable.

But I can’t find the Latin text right now. Alas. We’ll have to settle.

As when a mountain’s shadow floats in sea,
but itself does so never, gold and pleasures
companioned are by fickle shades of bliss
         but never bliss.
And do you long for truer bliss? Tied tightly,
cut all the knots of worries!  Our own goods
cause fear in us; another person’s, gloom;
         each, emptiness.

                 -- Jacob Balde, Lyr. 3.35.13-20

About philokalos

Philologist, historian, and lover of great books, I started this blog to keep myself alert to the beauty of what I see amid the demands of my work.
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