“Wonder at nothing!” said the bard;
A kingdom’s fall, a nation’s rising,
A lucky or a losing card,
Are really not at all surprising;
However men or manners vary,
Keep cool and calm: Nil admirari!
If kindness meet a cold return;
If friendship prove a dear delusion;
If love, neglected, cease to burn,
Or die untimely of profusion,—
Such lessons well may make us wary,
But needn’t shock: Nil admirari!
Ah! when the happy day we reach
When promisers are ne’er deceivers;
When parsons practice what they preach,
And seeming saints are all believers,
Then the old maxim you may vary,
And say no more, Nil admirari!
—John G. Saxe
The Emperor Titus, at the close of a day
in which he had neither
gained any knowledge nor conferred benefit, was accustomed to
exclaim, “Perdidi diem,” “I have lost a day.”
Why art thou sad, thou of the sceptred
The rob’d in purple, and the high in state?
Rome pours her myriads forth, a vassal band,
And foreign powers are crouching at thy gate;
Yet dost thou deeply sigh, as if oppressed by fate.
the empire’s treasure,
Uncounted gold, and gems of rainbow dye;
Unlock the fountains of a monarch’s pleasure
To lure the lost one back. I heard a sigh—
One hour of parted time, a world is poor to buy.
a mournful story,
Thus in the ear of pensive eve to tell,
Of morning’s firm resolves, the vanish’d glory,
Hope’s honey left within the withering bell
And plants of mercy dead, that might have bloomed so well.
Hail, self-communing Emperor, nobly wise!
There are, who thoughtless haste to life’s last goal.
There are, who time’s long squandered wealth despise.
Perdidi vitam marks their finished scroll, When Death’s dark angel comes to claim the startled soul.
JUPITER AND HIS CHILDREN
A Classic Fable
Once, on sublime Olympus, when
Great Jove, the sire of gods and men,
Was looking down on this our Earth,
And marking the increasing dearth
Of pious deeds and noble lives,
While vice abounds and meanness thrives,—
He straight determined to efface
At one fell swoop the thankless race
Of human kind. “Go!” said the King
Unto his messenger, “and bring
The vengeful Furies; be it theirs,
Unmindful of their tears and prayers,
These wretches,—hateful from their birth,—
To wipe from off the face of earth!”
The message heard, with torch of flame
And reeking sword, Alecto came,
And by the beard of Pluto swore
The human race should be no more!
But Jove, relenting thus to see
The direst of the murderous three,