This is my translation of Horace’s Ode I.11, which is the origin of the famous phrase “carpe diem.” I’ve been working on polishing this on and off for a while now, trying to convey not only the meaning but also the emotional tenor in English. Original Latin below.
Don’t seek to know what is a sin to know:
What end the Gods will give to you, to me, Leuconoe.
Nor try the Babylonian numbers either. But suffer whatever will be.
Whether Jupiter give many winters or one last,
as the Tyrrhenian sea breaks on the rocks.
Be wise, prepare the wine, and since time is short,
long hopes cut back. While we talk, envious age flees.
Take today, and trust what comes after as little as you can.
Tū nē quaesierīs, scīre nefās, quem mihi, quem tibī
fīnem dī dederint, Leuconoē, nec Babylōniōs
temptāris numerōs. Ut melius quidquid erit patī,
seu plūrīs hiemēs seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam,
quae nunc oppositīs dēbilitat pūmicibus mare
Tyrrhēnum: sapiās, vīna liquēs, et spatiō brevī
spem longam resecēs. Dum loquimur, fūgerit invida
aetās: carpe diem, quam minimum crēdula posterō.