And aged ash are rock’d no more.
O, ask not what the morn will bring,
But count as gain each day that chance
May give you; sport in life’s young spring,
Nor scorn sweet love, nor merry dance,
While years are green, while sullen eld
Is distant. Now the walk, the game,
The whisper’d talk at sunset held,
Each in its hour, prefer their claim.
Sweet too the laugh, whose feign’d alarm
The hiding-place of beauty tells,
The token, ravish’d from the arm
Or finger, that but ill rebels.
Grandson of Atlas, wise of tongue,
O Mercury, whose wit could tame
Man’s savage youth by power of song
And plastic game!
Thee sing I, herald of the sky,
Who gav’st the lyre its music sweet,
Hiding whate’er might please thine eye
In frolic cheat.
See, threatening thee, poor guileless child,
Apollo claims, in angry tone,
His cattle;—all at once he smiled,
His quiver gone.
Strong in thy guidance, Hector’s sire
Escaped the Atridae, pass’d between
Thessalian tents and warders’ fire,
Of all unseen.
Thou lay’st unspotted souls to rest;
Thy golden rod pale spectres know;
Blest power! by all thy brethren blest,
Tu ne QUAESIERIS.
Ask not (’tis forbidden knowledge),
what our destined term of years,
Mine and yours; nor scan the tables of your Babylonish seers.
Better far to bear the future, my Leuconoe, like the past,
Whether Jove has many winters yet to give, or this our last;
this, that makes the Tyrrhene billows spend their strength against
Strain your wine and prove your wisdom; life is short; should hope
In the moment of our talking, envious time has ebb’d away.
Seize the present; trust to-morrow e’en as little as you may.
QUEMN VIRUM AUT HEROA.
What man, what hero,
On harp or flute wilt thou proclaim?
What god shall echo’s voice repeat
In mocking game
To Helicon’s sequester’d shade,
Or Pindus, or on Haemus chill,
Where once the hurrying woods obey’d
The minstrel’s will,
Who, by his mother’s gift of song,
Held the fleet stream, the rapid breeze,
And led with blandishment along
The listening trees?
Whom praise we first? the Sire on high,
Who gods and men unerring guides,
Who rules the sea, the earth, the sky,
Their times and tides.
No mightier birth may He beget;
No like, no second has He known;