In vain we shun war’s contact red
Or storm-tost spray of Hadrian main:
In vain, the season through, we dread
For our frail lives Scirocco’s bane.
Cocytus’ black and stagnant ooze
Must welcome you, and Danaus’ seed
Ill-famed, and ancient Sisyphus
To never-ending toil decreed.
Your land, your house, your lovely bride
Must lose you; of your cherish’d trees
None to its fleeting master’s side
Will cleave, but those sad cypresses.
Your heir, a larger soul, will drain
The hundred-padlock’d Caecuban,
And richer spilth the pavement stain
Than e’er at pontiff’s supper ran.
Jam PAUCA ARATRO.
Few roods of ground
the piles we raise
Will leave to plough; ponds wider spread
Than Lucrine lake will meet the gaze
On every side; the plane unwed
Will top the elm; the violet-bed,
The myrtle, each delicious sweet,
On olive-grounds their scent will shed,
Where once were fruit-trees yielding meat;
Thick bays will screen the midday range
Of fiercest suns. Not such the rule
Of Romulus, and Cato sage,
And all the bearded, good old school.
Each Roman’s wealth was little worth,
His country’s much; no colonnade
For private pleasance wooed the North
With cool “prolixity of shade.”
None might the casual sod disdain
To roof his home; a town alone,
At public charge, a sacred fane
Were honour’d with the pomp of stone.
For ease, in wide Aegean caught,
The sailor prays, when clouds are hiding
The moon, nor shines of starlight aught
For seaman’s guiding:
For ease the Mede, with quiver gay:
For ease rude Thrace, in battle cruel:
Can purple buy it, Grosphus? Nay,
Nor gold, nor jewel.
No pomp, no lictor clears the way
’Mid rabble-routs of troublous feelings,
Nor quells the cares that sport and play
Round gilded ceilings.
More happy he whose modest board
His father’s well-worn silver brightens;
No fear, nor lust for sordid hoard,
His light sleep frightens.
Why bend our bows of little span?
Why change our homes for regions under
Another sun? What exiled man
From self can sunder?
Care climbs the bark, and trims the sail,
Curst fiend! nor troops of horse can ’scape her,
More swift than stag, more swift than gale
That drives the vapour.
Blest in the present, look not forth
On ills beyond, but soothe each bitter
With slow, calm smile. No suns on earth
Achilles’ light was quench’d at noon;