It’s Better To Live

It’s Better To Live

It’s better to live, Licinius, neither
always pressing out on the deep nor, trembling
and cautious, hugging overly close to the
dangerous shoreline.

Whosoever cherishes the golden mean
safely avoids the squalor of a hovel
and discreetly keeps away from a palace
that excites envy.

Most often it’s the huge pine that is shaken
by the wind, and the highest towers that fall
the greatest fall, and the tops of mountains that
attract the lightning.

Hopeful in adversity, apprehensive
in prosperity is the heart that prepares
well for either fate. Zeus brings the winter, but
also takes it back.

Even if times are bad, they won’t always be so:
for Apollo doesn’t always tense his bow,
but sometimes inspires the silent Muses.

When the straits are narrow, show yourself to be
undaunted and bold – yet wisely tuck your sails
when they’re swelled by too strong a following wind.