If for more winters our poor lot is cast,
Or this the last,
Which on the crumbling rocks has dashed Etruscan seas,
Strain clear the wine; this life is short, at best.
Take hope with zest,
And, trusting not To-morrow, snatch To-day for ease!
Seek not, Leuconoee, to know how long you’re
going to live yet,
What boons the gods will yet withhold, or what they’re going to give yet;
For Jupiter will have his way, despite how much we worry,—
Some will hang on for many a day, and some die in a hurry.
The wisest thing for you to do is to embark this diem
Upon a merry escapade with some such bard as I am.
And while we sport I’ll reel you off such odes as shall surprise ye;
To-morrow, when the headache comes,—well, then I’ll satirize ye!
Though mighty in Love’s favor still,
Though cruel yet, my boy,
When the unwelcome dawn shall chill
Your pride and youthful joy,
The hair which round your shoulder grows
Is rudely cut away,
Your color, redder than the rose,
Is changed by youth’s decay,—
Then, Ligurinus, in the glass
Another you will spy.
And as the shaggy face, alas!
You see, your grief will cry:
“Why in my youth could I not learn
The wisdom men enjoy?
Or why to men cannot return
The smooth cheeks of the boy?”
O Cruel fair,
Whose flowing hair
The envy and the pride of all is,
As onward roll
The years, that poll
Will get as bald as a billiard ball is;
Then shall your skin, now pink and dimply,
Be tanned to parchment, sear and pimply!
When you behold
Yourself grown old,
These words shall speak your spirits moody:
What heaps of fun
I’ve missed by being goody-goody!
Oh, that I might have felt the hunger
Of loveless age when I was younger!”
THE HAPPY ISLES
Oh, come with me to the Happy Isles
In the golden haze off yonder,
Where the song of the sun-kissed breeze beguiles
And the ocean loves to wander.
Fragrant the vines that mantle those hills,
Proudly the fig rejoices,
Merrily dance the virgin rills,
Blending their myriad voices.
Our herds shall suffer no evil there,
But peacefully feed and rest them;
Never thereto shall prowling bear
Or serpent come to molest them.
Neither shall Eurus, wanton bold,
Nor feverish drought distress us,
But he that compasseth heat and cold
Shall temper them both to bless us.