Dust & Shadow

“Pulvis et umbra sumus”

— We are but dust and shadow.

Horrace
Adversity reveals genius, prosperity conceals it.”

Ode I, 5: To Pyrrha


What slender youth, bedew’d with liquid odors,
Courts thee on roses in some pleasant cave,
Pyrrha? For whom bind’st thou
In wreaths thy golden hair,
 
Plain in thy neatness? O how oft shall he
Of faith and changed gods complain, and seas
Rough with black winds, and storms
Unwonted shall admire!
 
Who now enjoys thee credulous, all gold,
Who, always vacant, always amiable
Hopes thee; of flattering gales
Unmindful. Hapless they
 
To whom thou untried seem’st fair. Me, in my vow’d
Picture, the sacred wall declares t’have hung
My dank and dropping weeds
To the stern god of sea.


— Translated by John Milton

^ Horace’s “Ode to Pyrrha” can be interpreted in many ways… Read more about the life and works of Horace, including some pretty detailed literary analysis of the ode above:

PoetsHorace