Your heart on Arab wealth
Good Iccius: you would try your steel
On Saba’s kings, unconquer’d yet,
And make the Mede your fetters feel.
Come, tell me what barbarian fair
Will serve you now, her bridegroom slain?
What page from court with essenced hair
Will tender you the bowl you drain,
Well skill’d to bend the Serian bow
His father carried? Who shall say
That rivers may not uphill flow,
And Tiber’s self return one day,
If you would change Panaetius’ works,
That costly purchase, and the clan
Of Socrates, for shields and dirks,
Whom once we thought a saner man?
Come, Cnidian, Paphian Venus,
Thy well-beloved Cyprus spurn,
Haste, where for thee in Glycera’s home
Sweet odours burn.
Bring too thy Cupid, glowing warm,
Graces and Nymphs, unzoned and free,
And Youth, that lacking thee lacks charm,
What blessing shall the bard entreat
The god he hallows, as he pours
The winecup? Not the mounds of wheat
That load Sardinian threshing floors;
Not Indian gold or ivory—no,
Nor flocks that o’er Calabria stray,
Nor fields that Liris, still and slow,
Is eating, unperceived, away.
Let those whose fate allows them train
Calenum’s vine; let trader bold
From golden cups rich liquor drain
For wares of Syria bought and sold,
Heaven’s favourite, sooth, for thrice a-year
He comes and goes across the brine
Undamaged. I in plenty here
On endives, mallows, succory dine.
O grant me, Phoebus, calm content,
Strength unimpair’d, a mind entire,
Old age without dishonour spent,
Nor unbefriended by the lyre!
They call;—if aught
in shady dell
We twain have warbled, to remain
Long months or years, now breathe, my shell,
A Roman strain,
Thou, strung by Lesbos’ minstrel hand,
The bard, who ’mid the clash of steel,
Or haply mooring to the strand
His batter’d keel,
Of Bacchus and the Muses sung,
And Cupid, still at Venus’ side,
And Lycus, beautiful and young,
O sweetest lyre, to Phoebus dear,
Delight of Jove’s high festival,
Blest balm in trouble, hail and hear
Whene’er I call!
Albi, ne DOLEAS.