Of Neptune’s empire let us sing
At whose command the waves obey;
To whom the rivers tribute pay,
Down the high mountains sliding:
To whom the scaly nation yields
Homage for the crystal fields
Wherein they dwell:
And every sea-god pays a gem
Yearly out of his wat’ry cell
To deck great Neptune’s diadem.
The Tritons dancing in a ring
Before his palace gates do make
The waters with their echoes quake,
Like the great thunder sounding:
The sea-nymphs chant their accents shrill,
And the sirens, taught to kill
With their sweet voice,
Make every echoing rock reply
Unto their gentle murmuring noise
The praise of Neptune’s empery.
HORACE’S PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE
Book II, Ode 16
(In part, only)
He lives on little, and is blest,
On whose plain board the bright
Salt-cellar shines, which was his sire’s delight,
Nor terrors, nor cupidity’s unrest,
Disturb his slumbers light.
Why should we still project and plan,
We creatures of an hour?
Why fly from clime to clime, new regions scour?
Where is the exile, who, since time began,
To fly from self had power?
Fell care climbs brazen galley’s sides;
Nor troops of horse can fly
Her foot, which than the stag’s is swifter, ay,
Swifter than Eurus when he madly rides
The clouds along the sky.
Careless what lies beyond to know,
And turning to the best,
The present, meet life’s bitters with a jest,
And smile them down; since nothing here below
Is altogether blest.
In manhood’s prime Achilles died,
Tithonus by the slow
Decay of age was wasted to a show,
And Time may what it hath to thee denied
On me perchance bestow.
To me a farm of modest size,
And slender vein of song,
Such as in Greece flowed vigorous and strong,
Kind fate hath given, and spirit to despise
The base, malignant throng.
—Sir Theodore Martin
AN INVITATION TO DINE WRITTEN BY HORACE TO VIRGIL
Book IV, Ode 12
Yes, a small box of nard from the stores of Sulpicius
A cask shall elicit, of potency rare
To endow with fresh hopes, dewy-bright and delicious,
And wash from our hearts every cobweb of care.
If you’d dip in such joys, come—the
better the quicker!—
But remember the fee—for it suits not my ends,
To let you make havoc, scot-free, ’with my liquor,
As though I were one of your heavy-pursed friends.
To the winds with base lucre and pale melancholy!—
In the flames of the pyre these, alas! will be vain,
Mix your sage ruminations with glimpses of folly,—
’Tis delightful at times to be somewhat insane.