Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem!

Seize the day! Preached by many, practiced by few. What is not often discussed is that “Carpe diem” was only the beginning of a longer passage in Horace’s most famous of odes. The latter part of the passage offers just as much to the reader:

quam minimum credula postero

Loosely translated: “putting as little trust as possible in tomorrow”.

Horatius offers up an important point which is worth contemplating: don’t just seize today – also don’t take it for granted. There are no guarantees for tomorrow!

 

Read the full passage (both Latin and translated) below. Credit to epicurus.net for the translation.

Tu ne quaesieris—scire nefas—quem mihi, quem tibi
finem di dederint, Leuconoë, nec Babylonios
temptaris numeros. ut melius, quicquid erit, pati!
seu plures hiemes, seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam,
quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare
Tyrhenum. Sapias, vina liques, et spatio brevi
spem longam reseces. dum loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.
Ask not—we cannot know—what end the gods have set for you, for me; nor attempt the Babylonian reckonings Leuconoë. How much better to endure whatever comes, whether Jupiter grants us additional winters or whether this is our last, which now wears out the Tuscan Sea upon the barrier of the cliffs! Be wise, strain the wine; and since life is brief, prune back far-reaching hopes! Even while we speak, envious time has passed: pluck the day, putting as little trust as possible in tomorrow!