Yet no hall that wealth e’er plann’d
Waits you more surely than the wider room
Traced by Death’s yet greedier hand.
Why strain so far? you cannot leap the tomb.
Earth removes the impartial sod
Alike for beggar and for monarch’s child:
Nor the slave of Hell’s dark god
Convey’d Prometheus back, with bribe beguiled.
Pelops he and Pelops’ sire
Holds, spite of pride, in close captivity;
Beggars, who of labour tire,
Call’d or uncall’d, he hears and sets them free.
BACCHUM in REMOTIS.
Bacchus I saw in mountain
Retired (believe it, after years!)
Teaching his strains to Dryad maids,
While goat-hoof’d satyrs prick’d their ears.
Evoe! my eyes with terror glare;
My heart is revelling with the god;
’Tis madness! Evoe! spare, O spare,
Dread wielder of the ivied rod!
Yes, I may sing the Thyiad crew,
The stream of wine, the sparkling rills
That run with milk, and honey-dew
That from the hollow trunk distils;
And I may sing thy consort’s crown,
New set in heaven, and Pentheus’ hall
With ruthless ruin thundering down,
And proud Lycurgus’ funeral.
Thou turn’st the rivers, thou the sea;
Thou, on far summits, moist with wine,
Thy Bacchants’ tresses harmlessly
Dost knot with living serpent-twine.
Thou, when the giants, threatening wrack,
Were clambering up Jove’s citadel,
Didst hurl o’erweening Rhoetus back,
In tooth and claw a lion fell.
Who knew thy feats in dance and play
Deem’d thee belike for war’s rough game
Unmeet: but peace and battle-fray
Found thee, their centre, still the same.
Grim Cerberus wagg’d his tail to see
Thy golden horn, nor dream’d of wrong,
But gently fawning, follow’d thee,
And lick’d thy feet with triple tongue.
No vulgar wing, nor
Shall bear me through the liquid sky;
A two-form’d bard, no more to bide
Within the range of envy’s eye
’Mid haunts of men. I, all ungraced
By gentle blood, I, whom you call
Your friend, Maecenas, shall not taste
Of death, nor chafe in Lethe’s thrall.
E’en now a rougher skin expands
Along my legs: above I change
To a white bird; and o’er my hands
And shoulders grows a plumage strange:
Fleeter than Icarus, see me float
O’er Bosporus, singing as I go,
And o’er Gastulian sands remote,
And Hyperborean fields of snow;
By Dacian horde, that