They Are Not Long by Ernest Dowson - BA English Note

The title of this poem by Ernest Dowson, Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longarm, can be translated from my half-remembered schoolboy Latin as something like “the brief span of Life forbids us from conceiving an enduring hope”.

Ernest Dowson

It’s a quotation from one of the Odes of Horace (Book I, Ode 4, line 15):
They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate;
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses,
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.
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