Translation Cons. Phil. Book 2 Metrum 5
1 `O happy was that early age of men,
2 contented with their trusted and unfailing fields,
3 nor ruined by the wealth that enervates.
4 Easily was the acorn got
5 that used to satisfy their longwhile fast.
6 They knew not Bacchus' gifts,
7 nor honey mixed therewith.
8 They knew not how to tinge with Tyre's purple dyes
9 the sheen of China's silks.
10 Their sleep kept health on rush and grass;
11 the stream gave them to drink as it flowed by:
12 the lofty pine to them gave shade.
13 Not one of them yet clave the ocean's depths,
14 nor, carrying stores of merchandise,
15 had visited new shores.
16 Then was not heard the battle's trump,
17 nor had blood made red with bitter hate
18 the bristling swords of war.
19 For why should any madness urge
20 to take up first their arms upon an enemy
21 such ones as knew no sight of cruel wounds
22 nor knew rewards that could be reaped in blood?
23 Would that our times could but return
24 to those old ways!
25 but love of gain and greed of holding burn
26 more fiercely far than Etna's fires.
27 Ah! who was the wretch
28 who first unearthed the mass of hidden gold,
29 the gems that only longed to lie unfound?
30 For full of danger was the prize he found.