With these soft sorrows; rather tell
Of Caesar’s trophies newly won,
And hoar Niphates’ icy fell,
And Medus’ flood, ’mid conquer’d tribes
Rolling a less presumptuous tide,
And Scythians taught, as Rome prescribes,
Henceforth o’er narrower steppes to ride.
Licinius, trust a seaman’s
Steer not too boldly to the deep,
Nor, fearing storms, by treacherous shore
Too closely creep.
Who makes the golden mean his guide,
Shuns miser’s cabin, foul and dark,
Shuns gilded roofs, where pomp and pride
Are envy’s mark.
With fiercer blasts the pine’s dim height
Is rock’d; proud towers with heavier fall
Crash to the ground; and thunders smite
The mountains tall.
In sadness hope, in gladness fear
’Gainst coming change will fortify
Your breast. The storms that Jupiter
Sweeps o’er the sky
He chases. Why should rain to-day
Bring rain to-morrow? Python’s foe
Is pleased sometimes his lyre to play,
Nor bends his bow.
Be brave in trouble; meet distress
With dauntless front; but when the gale
Too prosperous blows, be wise no less,
And shorten sail.
O, Ask not what those sons of
Cantabrian, Scythian, each intend,
Disjoin’d from us by Hadria’s bar,
Nor puzzle, Quintius, how to spend
A life so simple. Youth removes,
And Beauty too; and hoar Decay
Drives out the wanton tribe of Loves
And Sleep, that came or night or day.
The sweet spring-flowers not always keep
Their bloom, nor moonlight shines the same
Each evening. Why with thoughts too deep
O’ertask a mind of mortal frame?
Why not, just thrown at careless ease
’Neath plane or pine, our locks of grey
Perfumed with Syrian essences
And wreathed with roses, while we may,
Lie drinking? Bacchus puts to shame
The cares that waste us. Where’s the slave
To quench the fierce Falernian’s flame
With water from the passing wave?
Who’ll coax coy Lyde from her home?
Go, bid her take her ivory lyre,
The runaway, and haste to come,
Her wild hair bound with Spartan tire.
NOLIS LONGA FERAE.
The weary war where fierce Numantia
Fell Hannibal, the swoln Sicilian main
Purpled with Punic blood—not mine to wed
These to the lyre’s soft strain,
Nor cruel Lapithae, nor, mad with wine,
Centaurs, nor, by Herculean arm o’ercome,
The earth-born youth, whose terrors dimm’d the shine
Of the resplendent dome
Of ancient Saturn. You, Maecenas, best
In pictured prose of Caesar’s warrior feats
Will tell, and captive kings with haughty crest