Translation Cons. Phil. Book 1 Metrum 1
1 To pleasant songs my work was erstwhile given, and bright were all my labours then;
2 but now in tears to sad refrains am I compelled to turn.
3 Thus my maimed Muses guide my pen,
4 and gloomy songs make no feigned tears bedew my face.
5 Then could no fear so overcome
6 to leave me companionless upon my way.
7 They were the pride of my earlier bright-lived days:
8 in my later gloomy days they are the comfort of my fate;
9 for hastened by unhappiness has age come upon me without warning,
10 and grief hath set within me the old age of her gloom.
11 White hairs are scattered untimely on my head,
12 and the skin hangs loosely from my worn-out limbs.
13 Happy is that death which thrusts not itself upon men in their pleasant years,
14 yet comes to them at the oft-repeated cry of their sorrow.
15 Sad is it how death turns away from the unhappy with so deaf an ear,
16 and will not close, cruel, the eyes that weep.
17 Ill is it to trust to Fortune's fickle bounty, and while yet she smiled upon me,
18 the hour of gloom had well-nigh overwhelmed my head.
19 Now has the cloud put off its alluring face,
20 wherefore without scruple my life drags out its wearying delays.
21 Why, O my friends, did ye so often puff me up, telling me that I was fortunate?
22 For he that is fallen low did never firmly stand.