The secrets of
The life I love
(Companionship with girls and toddy)
I would not drag
With drunken brag
Into the ken of everybody;
But in the shade
Let some coy maid
With smilax wreathe my flagon’s nozzle,
Then all day long,
With mirth and song,
Shall I enjoy a quiet sozzle!
AN ODE TO FORTUNE
O Lady Fortune! ’t is to thee I
Dwelling at Antium, thou hast power to crown
The veriest clod with riches and renown,
And change a triumph to a funeral
The tillers of the soil and they that vex the seas,
Confessing thee supreme, on bended knees
Invoke thee, all.
Of Dacian tribes, of roving Scythian bands,
Of cities, nations, lawless tyrants red
With guiltless blood, art thou the haunting dread;
Within thy path no human valor stands,
And, arbiter of empires, at thy frown
The sceptre, once supreme, slips surely down
From kingly hands.
Necessity precedes thee in thy way;
Hope fawns on thee, and Honor, too, is seen
Dancing attendance with obsequious mien;
But with what coward and abject dismay
The faithless crowd and treacherous wantons fly
When once their jars of luscious wine run dry,—
Such ingrates they!
Fortune, I call on thee to bless
Our king,—our Caesar girt for foreign wars!
Help him to heal these fratricidal scars
That speak degenerate shame and wickedness;
And forge anew our impious spears and swords,
Wherewith we may against barbarian hordes
Our Past redress!
TO A JAR OF WINE
O gracious jar,—my friend, my twin,
Born at the time when I was born,—
Whether tomfoolery you inspire
Or animate with love’s desire,
Or flame the soul with bitter scorn,
Or lull to sleep, O jar of mine!
Come from your place this festal day;
Corvinus hither wends his way,
And there’s demand for wine!
Corvinus is the sort of man
Who dotes on tedious argument.
An advocate, his ponderous pate
Is full of Blackstone and of Kent;
Yet not insensible is he,
O genial Massic flood! to thee.
Why, even Cato used to take
A modest, surreptitious nip
At meal-times for his stomach’s sake,
Or to forefend la grippe.
How dost thou melt the stoniest hearts,
And bare the cruel knave’s design;
How through thy fascinating arts
We discount Hope, O gracious wine!
And passing rich the poor man feels
As through his veins thy affluence steals.
Now, prithee, make us frisk and sing,
And plot full many a naughty plot
With damsels fair—nor shall we care
Whether school keeps or not!
And whilst thy charms hold out to burn
We shall not deign to go to bed,
But we shall paint creation red;
So, fill, sweet wine, this friend of mine,—
My lawyer friend, as aforesaid.