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|Table of Contents|
|Start of eBook||1|
|Title: Odes and Carmen Saeculare of Horace||1|
|THE ODES AND CARMEN SAECULARE OF HORACE||1|
|PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION.||13|
|PREFACE TO THIRD EDITION.||13|
|THE ODES OF HORACE.||13|
|XVII. VELOX AMOENUM.||21|
|BOOK I, ODE 3.||60|
|BOOK I, ODE 5.||60|
|BOOK I, ODE 6.||61|
|BOOK I, ODE 7.||61|
|BOOK I, ODE 9.||61|
|BOOK I, ODE 15.||61|
|BOOK I, ODE 27.||61|
|BOOK I, ODE 28.||62|
|BOOK II, ODE 1.||62|
|BOOK II, ODE 3.||62|
|BOOK II, ODE 7.||62|
|BOOK II, ODE 13.||62|
|BOOK II, ODE 14.||62|
|BOOK II, ODE 18.||63|
|BOOK II, ODE 20.||63|
|BOOK III, ODE 1.||63|
|BOOK III, ODE 2.||63|
|BOOK III, ODE 3.||63|
|BOOK III, ODE 4.||63|
|BOOK III, ODE 5.||64|
|BOOK III, ODE 8.||65|
|BOOK III, ODE 9.||65|
|BOOK III, ODE 17.||65|
|BOOK III, ODE 23.||65|
|BOOK III, ODE 24.||65|
|BOOK III, ODE 29.||65|
|BOOK IV, ODE 2.||66|
|BOOK IV, ODE 3.||66|
|BOOK IV, ODE 4.||66|
|BOOK IV, ODE 9.||67|
|Information about Project Gutenberg (one page)||68|
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*** Start of the project gutenberg EBOOK, odes and Carmen Saeculare of Horace ***
David Moynihan, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
Translated into English verse
by John CONINGTON, M.A.
Corpus professor of Latin in the
University of Oxford.
I scarcely know what excuse I can offer for making public this attempt to “translate the untranslatable.” No one can be more convinced than I am that a really successful translator must be himself an original poet; and where the author translated happens to be one whose special characteristic is incommunicable grace of expression, the demand on the translator’s powers would seem to be indefinitely increased. Yet the time appears to be gone by when men of great original gifts could find satisfaction in reproducing the thoughts and words of others; and the work, if done at all, must now be done by writers of inferior pretension. Among these, however, there are still degrees; and the experience which I have gained since I first adventured as a poetical translator has made me doubt whether I may not be ill-advised in resuming the experiment under any circumstances. Still, an experiment of this kind may have an advantage of its own, even when it is unsuccessful; it may serve as a piece of embodied criticism, showing what the experimenter conceived to be the conditions of success, and may thus, to borrow Horace’s own metaphor of the whetstone, impart to others a quality which it is itself without. Perhaps I may be allowed, for a few moments, to combine precept with example, and imitate my distinguished friend and colleague, Professor Arnold, in offering some counsels to the future translator of Horace’s Odes, referring, at the same time, by way of illustration, to my own attempt.
The first thing at which, as it seems to me, a Horatian translator ought to aim, is some kind of metrical conformity to his original. Without this we are in danger of losing not only the metrical, but the general effect of the Latin; we express ourselves in a different compass, and the character of the expression is altered accordingly. For instance, one of Horace’s leading features is his occasional sententiousness. It is this, perhaps more than anything else, that has made him a storehouse of quotations. He condenses a general truth in a few words, and thus makes his wisdom portable. “Non, si male nunc, et olim sic erit;” “Nihil est ab omni parte beatum;” “Omnes eodem cogimur,”—these and similar expressions remain in the memory when other features of Horace’s style, equally characteristic, but less obvious, are forgotten. It is almost impossible for a translator to do justice to this sententious brevity unless the stanza in which he writes is in some sort analogous to the metre of Horace. If he chooses a longer and more diffuse measure, he will be apt to spoil the proverb by expansion; not to mention that much will often depend on the very position of the sentence in the stanza. Perhaps, in order to preserve these external peculiarities, it may be necessary to recast the expression, to substitute, in fact, one form of proverb for another; but this is far preferable to retaining the words in a diluted form, and so losing what gives them their character, I cannot doubt, then, that it is necessary in translating an Ode of Horace to choose some analogous metre; as little can I doubt that a translator of the Odes should appropriate to each Ode some particular metre as its own. It may be true that Horace himself does not invariably suit his metre to his subject; the solemn Alcaic is used for a poem in dispraise of serious thought and praise of wine; the Asclepiad stanza in which Quintilius is lamented is employed to describe the loves of Maecenas and Licymnia. But though this consideration may influence us in our choice of an English metre, it is no reason for not adhering to the one which we may have chosen. If we translate an Alcaic and a Sapphic Ode into the same English measure, because the feeling in both appears to be the same, we are sure to sacrifice some important characteristic of the original in the case of one or the other, perhaps of both. It is better to try to make an English metre more flexible than to use two different English metres to represent two different aspects of one measure in Latin. I am sorry to say that I have myself deviated from this rule occasionally, under circumstances which I shall soon have to explain; but though I may perhaps succeed in showing that my offences have not been serious, I believe the rule itself to be one of universal application, always honoured in the observance, if not always equally dishonoured in the breach.
The question, what metres should be selected, is of course one of very great difficulty. I can only explain what my own practice has been, with some of the reasons which have influenced me in particular cases. Perhaps we may take Milton’s celebrated translation of the Ode to Pyrrha as a starting point. There can be no doubt that to an English reader the metre chosen does give much of the effect of the original; yet the resemblance depends rather on the length of the respective lines than on any similarity in the cadences. But it is evident that he chose the iambic movement as the ordinary movement of English poetry; and it is evident, I think, that in translating Horace we shall be right in doing the same, as a general rule. Anapaestic and other rhythms may be beautiful and appropriate in themselves, but they cannot be manipulated so easily; the stanzas with which they are associated bear no resemblance, as stanzas, to the stanzas of Horace’s Odes. I have then followed Milton in appropriating the measure in question to the Latin metre, technically called the fourth Asclepiad, at the same time that I have substituted rhyme for blank verse, believing rhyme to be an inferior artist’s only chance of giving pleasure. There still remains a question about the distribution of the rhymes, which here, as in most other cases, I have chosen to make alternate. Successive rhymes have their advantages, but they do not give the effect of interlinking, which is so natural in a stanza; the quatrain is reduced to two couplets, and its unity is gone. From the fourth to the third Asclepiad the step is easy. Taking an English iambic line of ten syllables to represent the longer lines of the Latin, an English iambic line of six syllables to represent the shorter, we see that the metre of Horace’s “Scriberis Vario” finds its representative in the metre of Mr. Tennyson’s “Dream of Fair Women.” My experience would lead me to believe the English metre to be quite capable, in really skilful hands, of preserving the effect of the Latin, though, as I have said above, the Latin measure is employed by Horace both for a threnody and for a love-song.
The Sapphic and the Alcaic involve more difficult questions. Here, however, as in the Asclepiad, I believe we must be guided, to some extent, by external similarity. We must choose the iambic movement as being most congenial to English; we must avoid the ten-syllable iambic as already appropriated to the longer Asclepiad line. This leads me to conclude that the staple of each stanza should be the eight-syllable iambic, a measure more familiar to English lyric poetry than any other, and as such well adapted to represent the most familiar lyric measures of Horace. With regard to the Sapphic, it seems desirable that it should be represented by a measure of which the three first lines are eight-syllable iambics, the fourth some shorter variety. Of this stanza there are at least two kinds for which something might be said.
You shoot; she whets her tusks
While he who sits to judge the fight
Treads on the palm with foot so white,
And sweetly floating in the air
Wanton he spreads his fragrant hair,
Like Ganymede or Nireus fair,
It would be possible, no doubt, to produce verses better adapted to recommend the measure than these stanzas, which are, however, the best that can be quoted from Francis; it might be possible, too, to suggest some improvement in the structure of the fourth line. But, however managed, this stanza would, I think, be open to two serious objections; the difficulty of finding three suitable rhymes for each stanza, and the difficulty of disposing of the fourth line, which, if made to rhyme with the fourth line of the next stanza, produces an awkwardness in the case of those Odes which consist of an odd number of stanzas (a large proportion of the whole amount), if left unrhymed, creates an obviously disagreeable effect. We come then to the other alternative, the stanza with alternate rhymes. Here the question is about the fourth line, which may either consist of six syllables, like Coleridge’s Fragment, “O leave the lily on its stem,” or of four, as in Pope’s youthful “Ode on Solitude,” these types being further varied by the addition of an extra syllable to form a double rhyme. Of these the four-syllable type seems to me the one to be preferred, as giving the effect of the Adonic better than if it had been two syllables longer. The double rhyme has, I think, an advantage over the single, were it not for its greater difficulty. Much as English lyric poetry owes to double rhymes, a regular supply of them is not easy to procure; some of them are apt to be cumbrous, such as words in-ATION; others, such as the participial-Ing (dying, flying, &c.), spoil the language of poetry, leading to the employment of participles where participles are not wanted, and of verbal substantives that exist nowhere else. My first intention was to adopt the double rhyme in this measure, and I accordingly executed three Odes on that plan (Book I. Odes 22, 38; Book ii. Ode 16); afterwards I abandoned it, and contented myself with the single rhyme. On the whole, I certainly think this measure answers sufficiently well to the Latin Sapphic; but I have felt its brevity painfully in almost every Ode that I have attempted, being constantly obliged to omit some part of the Latin which I would gladly have preserved. The great number of monosyllables in English is of course a reason for acquiescing in lines shorter than the corresponding lines in Latin; but even in English polysyllables are often necessary, and still oftener desirable on grounds of harmony; and an allowance of twenty-eight syllables of English for thirty-eight of Latin is, after all, rather short.
For the place of the Alcaic there are various candidates. Mr. Tennyson has recently invented a measure which, if not intended to reproduce the Alcaic, was doubtless suggested by it, that which appears in his poem of “The Daisy,” and, in a slightly different form, in the “Lines to Mr. Maurice.” The two last lines of the latter form of the stanza are indeed evidently copied from the Alcaic, with the simple omission of the last syllable of the last line of the original. Still, as a whole, I doubt whether this form would be as suitable, at least for a dignified Ode, as the other, where the initial iambic in the last line, substituted for a trochec, makes the movement different. I was deterred, however, from attempting either, partly by a doubt whether either had been sufficiently naturalized in English to be safely practised by an unskilful hand, partly by the obvious difficulty of having to provide three rhymes per stanza, against which the occurrence of one line in each without a rhyme at all was but a poor set-off. A second metre which occurred to me is that of Andrew Marvel’s Horatian Ode, a variety of which is found twice in Mr. Keble’s Christian Year. Here two lines of eight syllables are followed by two of six, the difference between the types being that in Marvel’s Ode the rhymes are successive, in Mr. Keble’s alternate. The external correspondence between this and the Alcaic is considerable; but the brevity of the English measure struck me at once as a fatal obstacle, and I did not try to encounter it. A third possibility is the stanza of “In Memoriam,” which has been adopted by the clever author of “Poems and Translations, by C. S. C.,” in his version of “Justum et tenacem.” I think it very probable that this will be found eventually to be the best representation of the Alcaic in English, especially as it appears to afford facilities for that linking of stanza to stanza which one who wishes to adhere closely to the logical and rhythmical structure of the Latin soon learns to desire. But I have not adopted it; and I believe there is good reason for not doing so. With all its advantages, it has the patent disadvantage of having been brought into notice by a poet who is influencing the present generation as only a great living poet can. A great writer now, an inferior writer hereafter, may be able to handle it with some degree of independence; but the majority of those who use it at present are sure in adopting Mr. Tennyson’s metre to adopt his manner. It is no reproach to “C. S. C.” that his Ode reminds us of Mr. Tennyson; it is a praise to him that the recollection is a pleasant one. But Mr. Tennyson’s manner is not the manner of Horace, and it is the manner of a contemporary; the expression—a most powerful and beautiful expression—of influences to which a translator of an ancient classic feels himself to be too much subjected already. What is wanted is a metre which shall have other associations than those of the nineteenth century, which shall be the growth of various
The problem of finding English representatives for the other Horatian metres, if a more difficult, is a less important one. The most pressing case is that of the metre known as the second Asclepiad, the “Sic te diva potens Cypri.” With this, I fear, I shall be thought to have dealt rather capriciously, having rendered it by four different measures, three of them, however, varieties of the same general type. It so happens that the first Ode which I translated was the celebrated Amoebean Poem, the dialogue between Horace and Lydia. I had had at that time not the most distant notion of translating the whole of the Odes, or even any considerable number of them, so that in choosing a metre I thought simply of the requirements of the Ode in question, not of those of the rest of its class. Indeed, I may say that it was the thought of the metre which led me to try if I could translate the Ode. Having accomplished my attempt, I turned to another Ode of the same class, the scarcely less celebrated “Quem
The remaining metres may be dismissed in a very few words. As a general rule, I have avoided couplets of any sort, and chosen some kind of stanza. As a German critic has pointed out, all the Odes of Horace, with one doubtful exception, may be reduced to quatrains; and though this peculiarity does not, so far as we can see, affect the character of any of the Horatian metres (except, of course, those that are written in stanzas), or influence the structure of the Latin, it must be considered as a happy circumstance for those who wish to render Horace into English. In respect of restraint, indeed, the English couplet may sometimes be less inconvenient than the quatrain, as it is, on the whole, easier to run couplet into couplet than to run quatrain into quatrain; but the couplet seems hardly suitable for an English lyrical poem of any length, the very notion of lyrical poetry apparently involving a complexity which can only be represented by rhymes recurring at intervals.
From this enumeration, which I fear has been somewhat tedious, it will be seen that I have been guided throughout not by any systematic principles, but by a multitude of minor considerations, some operating more strongly in one case, and some in another. I trust, however, that in all this diversity I shall be found to have kept in view the object on which I have been insisting, a metrical correspondence with the original. Even where I have been most inconsistent, I have still
Some may consider it extraordinary that in discussing the different ways of representing Horatian metres I have said nothing of transplanting those metres themselves into English. I think, however, that an apology for my silence may he found in the present state of the controversy about the English hexameter. Whatever may be the ultimate fate of that struggling alien—and I confess myself to be one of those who doubt whether he can ever be naturalized—most judges will, I believe, agree that for the present at any rate his case is sufficient to occupy the literary tribunals, and that to raise any discussion on the rights of others of his class would be premature. Practice, after all, is more powerful in such matters than theory; and hardly at any time in the three hundred years during which we have had a formed literature has the introduction of classical lyric measures into English been a practical question. Stanihurst has had many successors in the hexameter; probably he has not had more than one or two in the Asclepiad. The Sapphic, indeed, has been tried repeatedly; but it is an exception which is no exception, the metre thus intruded into our language not being really the Latin Sapphic, but a metre of a different kind, founded on a mistake in the manner of reading the Latin, into which Englishmen naturally fall, and in which, for convenience’ sake, they as naturally persist. The late Mr. Clough, whose efforts in literature were essentially tentative, in form as well as in spirit, and whose loss for that very reason is perhaps of more serious import to English poetry than if, with equal genius, he had possessed a more conservative habit
“Eager for battle
Stood Vulcan, here matronal Juno,
And with the bow to his shoulder faithful
He who with pure dew laveth of Castaly
His flowing locks, who holdeth of Lycia
The oak forest and the wood that bore him,
Delos’ and Patara’s own Apollo,”—
admirably finished as it is, and highly pleasing as a fragment, scarcely persuades us that twenty stanzas of the same workmanship would be read with adequate pleasure, still less that the same satisfaction would be felt through six-and-thirty Odes. After all, however, a sober critic will be disposed rather to pass judgment on the past than to predict the future, knowing, as he must, how easily the “solvitur ambulando” of an artist like Mr. Tennyson may disturb a whole chain of ingenious reasoning on the possibilities of things.
The question of the language into which Horace should be translated is not less important than that of the metre; but it involves far less discussion of points of detail, and may, in fact, be very soon dismissed. I believe that the chief danger which a translator has to avoid is that of subjection to the influences of his own period. Whether or no Mr. Merivale is right in supposing that an analogy exists between the literature of the present day and that of post-Augustan Rome, it will not, I think, be disputed that between our period and the Augustan period the resemblances are very few, perhaps not more than must necessarily exist between two periods of high cultivation. It is the fashion to say that the characteristic of the literature of the last century was shallow clearness, the expression of obvious thoughts in obvious, though highly finished language; it is the fashion to retort upon our own generation that its tendency is to over-thinking and over-expression, a constant search for thoughts which shall not he obvious and words which shall be above the level of received conventionality. Accepting these as descriptions, however imperfect, of two different types of literature, we can have no doubt to which division to refer the literary remains of Augustan Rome. The Odes of Horace, in particular, will, I think, strike a reader who comes back to them after reading other books, as distinguished by a simplicity, monotony, and almost poverty of sentiment, and as depending for the charm of their external form not so much on novel and ingenious images as on musical words aptly chosen and aptly combined. We are always hearing
A very few words will serve to conclude this somewhat protracted Preface. I have not sought to interpret Horace with the minute accuracy which I should think necessary in writing a commentary; and in general I have been satisfied to consult two of the latest editions, those by Orelli and Ritter. In a few instances I have preferred the views of the latter; but his edition will not supersede that of the former, whose commentary is one of the most judicious ever produced, within a moderate compass, upon a classical author. In the few notes which I have added at the end of this volume, I have noticed chiefly the instances in which I have differed from him, in favour either of Hitter’s interpretation, or of some view of my own. At the same time it must be said that my translation is not to be understood as always indicating the interpretation I prefer. Sometimes, where the general effect of two views of the construction of a passage has been the same, I have followed that which I believed to be less correct, for reasons of convenience. I have of course held myself free to deviate in a thousand instances from the exact form of the Latin sentence; and it did not seem reasonable to debar myself from a mode of expression which appeared generally consistent with the original, because it happened to be verbally consistent with a mistaken view of the Latin words. To take an example mentioned in my notes, it may be better in Book III. Ode 3, line 25, to make “adulterae” the genitive case after “hospes” than the dative after “splendet;” but for practical purposes the two come to the same thing, both being included in the full development of the thought; and a translation which represents either is substantially a true translation. I have omitted four Odes altogether, one in each Book, and some stanzas of a fifth; and in some other instances I have been studiously paraphrastic. Nor have I thought it worth while to extend my translation from the Odes to the Epodes. The Epodes were the production of Horace’s youth, and probably would not have been much cared for by posterity if they had constituted his only title to fame. A few of them are beautiful, but some are revolting, and the rest, as pictures of a roving and sensual passion,
I should add that any coincidences that may be noticed between my version and those of my predecessors are, for the most part, merely coincidences. In some cases I may have knowingly borrowed a rhyme, but only where the rhyme was too common to have created a right of property.
I am very sensible of the favour which has carried this translation from a first edition into a second. The interval between the two has been too short to admit of my altering my judgment in any large number of instances; but I have been glad to employ the present opportunity in amending, as I hope, an occasional word or expression, and, in one or two cases, recasting a stanza. The notices which my book has received, and the opinions communicated by the kindness of friends, have been gratifying to me, both in themselves, and as showing the interest which is being felt in the subject of Horatian translation. It is not surprising that there should be considerable differences of opinion about the manner in which Horace is to be rendered, and also about the metre appropriate to particular Odes; but I need not say that it is through such discussion that questions like these advance towards settlement. It would indeed be a satisfaction to me to think that the question of translating Horace had been brought a step nearer to its solution by the experiment which I again venture to submit to the public.
The changes which I have made in this impression of my translation are somewhat more numerous than those which I was able to introduce into the last, as might be expected from the longer interval between the times of publication; but the work may still be spoken of as substantially unaltered.
Maecenas, born of monarch
The shield at once and glory of my life!
There are who joy them in the Olympic strife
And love the dust they gather in the course;
The goal by hot wheels shunn’d, the famous prize,
Exalt them to the gods that rule mankind;
This joys, if rabbles fickle as the wind
Through triple grade
Jam SATIS Terris.
Enough of snow and hail at last
The Sire has sent in vengeance down:
His bolts, at His own temple cast,
Appall’d the town,
Appall’d the lands, lest Pyrrha’s time
Return, with all its monstrous sights,
When Proteus led his flocks to climb
The flatten’d heights,
When fish were in the elm-tops caught,
Where once the stock-dove wont to bide,
And does were floating, all distraught,
Adown the tide.
Old Tiber, hurl’d in tumult back
From mingling with the Etruscan main,
Has threaten’d Numa’s court with wrack
And Vesta’s fane.
Roused by his Ilia’s plaintive woes,
He vows revenge for guiltless blood,
And, spite of Jove, his banks o’erflows,
Yes, Fame shall tell of civic steel
That better Persian lives had spilt,
To youths, whose minish’d numbers feel
Their parents’ guilt.
What god shall Rome invoke to stay
Her fall? Can suppliance overbear
The ear of Vesta, turn’d away
From chant and prayer?
Who comes, commission’d to atone
For crime like ours? at length appear,
A cloud round thy bright shoulders thrown,
Or Venus, laughter-loving dame,
Round whom gay Loves and Pleasures fly;
Or thou, if slighted sons may claim
A parent’s eye,
O weary—with thy long, long game,
Who lov’st fierce shouts and helmets
Sic te diva.
may Cyprus’ heavenly queen,
Thus Helen’s brethren, stars of brightest sheen,
Guide thee! May the Sire of wind
Each truant gale, save only Zephyr, bind!
So do thou, fair ship, that ow’st
Virgil, thy precious freight, to Attic coast,
Safe restore thy loan and whole,
And save from death the partner of my soul!
Oak and brass of triple fold
Encompass’d sure that heart, which first made bold
To the raging sea to trust
A fragile bark, nor fear’d the Afric gust
With its Northern mates at strife,
Nor Hyads’ frown, nor South-wind fury-rife,
Mightiest power that Hadria knows,
Wills he the waves to madden or compose.
What had Death in store to awe
Those eyes, that huge sea-beasts unmelting saw,
Saw the swelling of the surge,
And high Ceraunian cliffs, the seaman’s scourge?
Heaven’s high providence in vain
Has sever’d countries with the estranging main,
If our vessels ne’ertheless
With reckless plunge that sacred bar transgress.
Daring all, their goal to win,
Men tread forbidden ground, and rush on sin:
Daring all, Prometheus play’d
His wily game, and fire to man convey’d;
Soon as fire was stolen away,
Pale Fever’s stranger host and wan Decay
Swept o’er earth’s polluted face,
And slow Fate quicken’d Death’s once halting pace.
Daedalus the void air tried
On wings, to humankind by Heaven denied;
Acheron’s bar gave way with ease
Before the arm of labouring Hercules.
Nought is there for man too high;
Our impious folly e’en would climb the sky,
Braves the dweller on the steep,
Nor lets the bolts of heavenly vengeance sleep.
Solvitur acris hiems.
The touch of Zephyr
and of Spring has loosen’d Winter’s thrall;
The well-dried keels are wheel’d again to sea:
The ploughman cares not for his fire, nor cattle for their stall,
And frost no more is whitening all the lea.
Now Cytherea leads the dance, the bright moon overhead;
QUIS MULTA GRACILIS.
What slender youth, besprinkled
Courts you on roses in some grotto’s shade?
Fair Pyrrha, say, for whom
Your yellow hair you braid,
So trim, so simple! Ah! how oft shall he
Lament that faith can fail, that gods can change,
Viewing the rough black sea
With eyes to tempests strange,
Who now is basking in your golden smile,
And dreams of you still fancy-free, still kind,
Poor fool, nor knows the guile
Of the deceitful wind!
Woe to the eyes you dazzle without cloud
Untried! For me, they show in yonder fane
My dripping garments, vow’d
To Him who curbs the main.
Not I, but Varius:—he,
of Homer’s brood
A tuneful swan, shall bear you on his wing,
Your tale of trophies, won by field or flood,
Mighty alike to sing.
Not mine such themes, Agrippa; no, nor mine
To chant the wrath that fill’d Pelides’ breast,
Nor dark Ulysses’ wanderings o’er the brine,
Nor Pelops’ house unblest.
Vast were the task, I feeble; inborn shame,
And she, who makes the peaceful lyre submit,
Forbid me to impair great Caesar’s fame
And yours by my weak wit.
But who may fitly sing of Mars array’d
In adamant mail, or Merion, black with dust
Of Troy, or Tydeus’ son by Pallas’ aid
Strong against gods to thrust?
Feasts are my theme, my warriors maidens fair,
Who with pared nails encounter youths in fight;
Be Fancy free or caught in Cupid’s snare,
Her temper still is light.
Let others Rhodes or Mytilene
Or Ephesus, or Corinth, set between
Two seas, or Thebes, or Delphi, for its king
Each famous, or Thessalian Tempe green;
There are who make chaste Pallas’ virgin tower
The daily burden of unending song,
And search for wreaths the olive’s rifled bower;
The praise of Juno sounds from many a tongue,
Telling of Argos’ steeds, Mycenaes’s gold.
For me stern Sparta forges no such spell,
No, nor Larissa’s plain of richest mould,
As bright Albunea echoing from her cell.
O headlong Anio! O Tiburnian groves,
And orchards saturate with shifting streams!
Look how the clear fresh south from heaven removes
The tempest, nor with rain perpetual teems!
You too be wise, my Plancus: life’s worst cloud
Will melt in air, by mellow wine allay’d,
Dwell you in camps, with glittering banners proud,
Or ’neath your Tibur’s canopy of shade.
When Teucer fled before his father’s frown
From Salamis, they say his temples deep
He dipp’d in wine, then wreath’d with poplar crown,
And bade his comrades lay their grief to sleep:
“Where Fortune bears us, than my sire more kind,
There let us go, my own, my gallant crew.
’Tis Teucer leads, ’tis Teucer breathes the wind;
No more despair; Apollo’s word is true.
Another Salamis in kindlier air
Shall yet arise. Hearts, that have borne with me
Worse buffets! drown to-day in wine your care;
To-morrow we recross the wide, wide sea!”
Lydia, DIC per omnes.
Lydia, by all above,
Why bear so hard on Sybaris, to ruin him with love?
What change has made him shun
The playing-ground, who once so well could bear the dust and sun?
Why does he never sit
On horseback in his company, nor with uneven bit
His Gallic courser tame?
Why dreads he yellow Tiber, as ’twould sully that fair frame?
Like poison loathes the oil,
His arms no longer black and blue with honourable toil,
He who erewhile was known
For quoit or javelin oft and oft beyond the limit thrown?
Why skulks he, as they say
Did Thetis’ son before the dawn of Ilion’s fatal day,
For fear the manly dress
Should fling him into danger’s arms, amid the Lycian press?
Vides ut Alta.
See, how it stands,
one pile of snow,
Soracte! ’neath the pressure yield
Its groaning woods; the torrents’ flow
With clear sharp ice is all congeal’d.
Heap high the logs, and melt the cold,
Good Thaliarch; draw the wine we ask,
That mellower vintage, four-year-old,
From out the cellar’d Sabine cask.
The future trust with Jove; when He
Has still’d the warring tempests’ roar
On the vex’d deep,
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;
Cum tu, Lydia.
His waxen arms, his rosy-tinted neck;
Ah! and all the while I thrill
With jealous pangs I cannot, cannot check.
See, my colour comes and goes,
My poor heart flutters, Lydia, and the dew,
Down my cheek soft stealing, shows
What lingering torments rack me through and through.
Oh, ’tis agony to see
Those snowwhite shoulders scarr’d in drunken fray,
Or those ruby lips, where he
Has left strange marks, that show how rough his play!
Never, never look to find
A faithful heart in him whose rage can harm
Sweetest lips, which Venus kind
Has tinctured with her quintessential charm.
Happy, happy, happy they
Whose living love, untroubled by all strife,
Binds them till the last sad day,
Nor parts asunder but with parting life!
O NAVIS, referent.
O Luckless bark! new waves
will force you back
To sea. O, haste to make the haven yours!
E’en now, a helpless wrack,
You drift, despoil’d of oars;
The Afric gale has dealt your mast a wound;
Your sailyards groan, nor can your keel sustain,
Till lash’d with cables round,
A more imperious main.
Your canvass hangs in ribbons, rent and torn;
No gods are left to pray to in fresh need.
A pine of Pontus born
Of noble forest breed,
You boast your name and lineage—madly blind!
Can painted timbers quell a seaman’s fear?
Beware! or else the wind
Makes you its mock and jeer.
Your trouble late made sick this heart of mine,
And still I love you, still am ill at ease.
O, shun the sea, where shine
The thick-sown Cyclades!
Pastor cum TRAHERET.
When the false swain was hurrying
o’er the deep
His Spartan hostess in the Idaean bark,
Old Nereus laid the unwilling winds asleep,
That all to Fate might hark,
Speaking through him:—“Home in ill hour you take
A prize whom Greece shall claim with troops untold,
Leagued by an oath your marriage tie to break
And Priam’s kingdom old.
Alas! what deaths you launch on Dardan realm!
What toils are waiting, man and horse to tire!
See! Pallas trims her aegis and her helm,
Her chariot and her ire.
Vainly shall you, in Venus’ favour strong,
Your tresses comb, and for your dames divide
On peaceful lyre the several parts of song;
Vainly in chamber hide
From spears and Gnossian arrows, barb’d with fate,
And battle’s din, and Ajax in the chase
Unconquer’d; those adulterous locks, though late,
Shall gory dust deface.
Hark! ’tis the death-cry of your race! look back!
Ulysses comes, and Pylian Nestor grey;
See! Salaminian Teucer on your track,
And Sthenelus, in the fray
Versed, or with whip and rein, should need require,
No laggard. Merion too your eyes shall know
From far. Tydides, fiercer than his sire,
Pursues you, all aglow;
Him, as the stag forgets to graze for fright,
Seeing the wolf at distance in the glade,
And flies, high panting, you shall fly, despite
Boasts to your leman made.
What though Achilles’ wrathful fleet postpone
The day of doom to Troy and Troy’s proud dames,
Her towers shall fall, the number’d winters flown,
Wrapp’d in Achaean flames.”
O MATRE PULCHRA.
O lovelier than the lovely dame
That bore you, sentence as you please
Those scurril verses, be it flame
Your vengeance craves, or Hadrian seas.
Not Cybele, nor he that haunts
Rich Pytho, worse the brain confounds,
Not Bacchus, nor the Corybants
Clash their loud gongs with fiercer sounds
Than savage wrath; nor sword nor spear
The pleasures of Lucretilis
Tempt Faunus from his Grecian seat;
He keeps my little goats in bliss
Apart from wind, and rain, and heat.
In safety rambling o’er the sward
For arbutes and for thyme they peer,
The ladies of the unfragrant lord,
Nor vipers, green with venom, fear,
Nor savage wolves, of Mars’ own breed,
My Tyndaris, while Ustica’s dell
Is vocal with the silvan reed,
And music thrills the limestone fell.
Heaven is my guardian; Heaven approves
A blameless life, by song made sweet;
Come hither, and the fields and groves
Their horn shall empty at your feet.
Here, shelter’d by a friendly tree,
In Teian measures you shall sing
Bright Circe and Penelope,
Love-smitten both by one sharp sting.
Here shall you quaff beneath the shade
Sweet Lesbian draughts that injure none,
Nor fear lest Mars the realm invade
Of Semele’s Thyonian son,
Lest Cyrus on a foe too weak
Lay the rude hand of wild excess,
His passion on your chaplet wreak,
Or spoil your undeserving dress.
Varus, are your trees in planting?
put in none before the vine,
In the rich domain of Tibur, by the walls of Catilus;
There’s a power above that hampers all that sober brains design,
And the troubles man is heir to thus are quell’d, and only thus.
Who can talk of want or warfare when the wine is in his head,
Not of thee, good father Bacchus, and of Venus fair and bright?
But should any dream of licence, there’s a lesson may be read,
How ’twas wine that drove the Centaurs with the Lapithae to fight.
And the Thracians too may warn us; truth and falsehood, good and
How they mix them, when the wine-god’s hand is heavy on them laid!
Never, never, gracious Bacchus, may I move thee ’gainst thy will,
MATER SAEVA CUPIDINUM
Cupid’s mother, cruel
And Semele’s Theban boy, and Licence bold,
Bid me kindle into flame
This heart, by waning passion now left cold.
O, the charms of Glycera,
That hue, more dazzling than the Parian stone!
O, that sweet tormenting play,
That too fair face, that blinds when look’d upon!
Venus comes in all her might,
Quits Cyprus for my heart, nor lets me tell
Of the Parthian, hold in flight,
Nor Scythian hordes, nor aught that breaks her spell.
Heap the grassy altar up,
Bring vervain, boys, and sacred frankincense;
Fill the sacrificial cup;
A victim’s blood will soothe her vehemence.
Not large my cups, nor rich my
This Sabine wine, which erst I seal’d,
That day the applauding theatre
Your welcome peal’d,
Dear knight Maecenas! as ’twere fain
That your paternal river’s banks,
And Vatican, in sportive strain,
Should echo thanks.
For you Calenian grapes are press’d,
And Caecuban; these cups of mine
Falernum’s bounty ne’er has bless’d,
Nor Formian vine.
Of Dian’s praises, tender
Of Cynthus’ unshorn god, young striplings, sing;
And bright Latona, well
Beloved of Heaven’s high King.
Sing her that streams and silvan foliage loves,
Whate’er on Algidus’ chill brow is seen,
In Erymanthian groves
Dark-leaved, or Cragus green.
Sing Tempe too, glad youths, in strain as loud,
And Phoebus’ birthplace, and that shoulder fair,
His golden quiver proud
And brother’s lyre to bear.
His arm shall banish Hunger, Plague, and War
To Persia and to Britain’s coast, away
From Rome and Caesar far,
If you have zeal to pray.
No need of Moorish archer’s
To guard the pure and stainless liver;
He wants not, Fuscus, poison’d shaft
To store his quiver,
Whether he traverse Libyan shoals,
Or Caucasus, forlorn and horrent,
Or lands where far Hydaspes rolls
His fabled torrent.
A wolf, while roaming trouble-free
In Sabine wood, as fancy led me,
Unarm’d I sang my Lalage,
Beheld, and fled me.
Dire monster! in her broad oak woods
Fierce Daunia fosters none such other,
You fly me, Chloe, as o’er
A young fawn runs her timorous dam to find,
Whom empty terror thrills
Of woods and whispering wind.
Whether ’tis Spring’s first shiver, faintly heard
Through the light leaves, or lizards in the brake
The rustling thorns have stirr’d,
Her heart, her knees, they quake.
Yet I, who chase you, no grim lion am,
No tiger fell, to crush you in my gripe:
Come, learn to leave your dam,
For lover’s kisses ripe.
Why blush to let our tears unmeasured
For one so dear? Begin the mournful stave,
Melpomene, to whom the Sire of all
Sweet voice with music gave.
And sleeps he then the heavy sleep of death,
Quintilius? Piety, twin sister dear
Of Justice! naked Truth! unsullied Faith!
When will ye find his peer?
By many a good man wept. Quintilius dies;
By none than you, my Virgil, trulier wept:
Devout in vain, you chide the faithless skies,
Asking your loan ill-kept.
No, though more suasive than the bard of Thrace
You swept the lyre that trees were fain to hear,
Ne’er should the blood revisit his pale face
Whom once with wand severe
Mercury has folded with the sons of night,
Untaught to prayer Fate’s prison to unseal.
Ah, heavy grief! but patience makes more light
What sorrow may not heal.
The Muses love me: fear and
The winds may blow them to the sea;
Who quail before the wintry chief
Of Scythia’s realm, is nought to me.
What cloud o’er Tiridates lowers,
I care not, I. O, nymph divine
Of virgin springs, with sunniest flowers
A chaplet for my Lamia twine,
Pimplea sweet! my praise were vain
Without thee. String this maiden lyre,
Attune for him the Lesbian strain,
O goddess, with thy sister quire!
Natis in USUM.
What, fight with cups
that should give joy?
’Tis barbarous; leave such savage ways
To Thracians. Bacchus, shamefaced boy,
Is blushing at your bloody frays.
The Median sabre! lights and wine!
Was stranger contrast ever seen?
Cease, cease this brawling, comrades mine,
Te maris et Terra.
The sea, the earth,
the innumerable sand,
Archytas, thou couldst measure; now, alas!
A little dust on Matine shore has spann’d
That soaring spirit; vain it was to pass
The gates of heaven, and send thy soul in quest
O’er air’s wide realms; for thou hadst yet to die.
Ay, dead is Pelops’ father, heaven’s own guest,
And old Tithonus, rapt from earth to sky,
And Minos, made the council-friend of Jove;
And Panthus’ son has yielded up his breath
Once more, though down he pluck’d the shield, to prove
His prowess under Troy, and bade grim death
O’er skin and nerves alone exert its power,
Not he, you grant, in nature meanly read.
Yes, all “await the inevitable hour;”
The downward journey all one day must tread.
Some bleed, to glut the war-god’s savage eyes;
Fate meets the sailor from the hungry brine;
Youth jostles age in funeral obsequies;
Each brow in turn is touch’d by Proserpine.
Me, too, Orion’s mate, the Southern blast,
Whelm’d in deep death beneath the Illyrian wave.
But grudge not, sailor, of driven sand to cast
A handful on my head, that owns no grave.
So, though the eastern tempests loudly threat
Hesperia’s main, may green Venusia’s crown
Be stripp’d, while you lie warm; may blessings yet
Stream from Tarentum’s guard, great Neptune, down,
And gracious Jove, into your open lap!
What! shrink you not from crime whose punishment
Falls on your innocent children? it may hap
Imperious Fate will make yourself repent.
My prayers shall reach the avengers of all wrong;
No expiations shall the curse unbind.
Great though your haste, I would not task you long;
Thrice sprinkle dust, then scud before the wind.
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.
What, Albius! why this passionate
For cruel Glycera? why melt your voice
In dolorous strains, because the perjured fair
Has made a younger choice?
See, narrow-brow’d Lycoris, how she glows
For Cyrus! Cyrus turns away his head
To Pholoe’s frown; but sooner gentle roes
Apulian wolves shall wed,
Than Pholoe to so mean a conqueror strike:
So Venus wills it; ’neath her brazen yoke
She loves to couple forms and minds unlike,
All for a heartless joke.
For me sweet Love had forged a milder spell;
But Myrtale still kept me her fond slave,
More stormy she than the tempestuous swell
That crests Calabria’s wave.
My prayers were scant, my offerings
While witless wisdom fool’d my mind;
But now I trim my sails anew,
And trace the course I left behind.
For lo! the Sire of heaven on high,
By whose fierce bolts the clouds are riven,
To-day through an unclouded sky
His thundering steeds and car has driven.
E’en now dull earth and wandering floods,
And Atlas’ limitary range,
And Styx, and Taenarus’ dark abodes
Are reeling. He can lowliest change
And loftiest; bring the mighty down
And lift the weak; with whirring flight
Comes Fortune, plucks the monarch’s crown,
And decks therewith some meaner wight.
O diva, GRATUM.
Lady of Antium, grave
O Goddess, who canst lift the low
To high estate, and sudden turn
A triumph to a funeral show!
Thee the poor hind that tills the soil
Implores; their queen they own in thee,
Who in Bithynian vessel toil
Amid the vex’d Carpathian sea.
Thee Dacians fierce, and Scythian hordes,
Peoples and towns, and Koine, their head,
And mothers of barbarian lords,
And tyrants in their purple dread,
Lest, spurn’d by thee in scorn, should fall
The state’s tall prop, lest crowds on fire
To arms, to arms! the loiterers call,
And thrones be tumbled in the mire.
Necessity precedes thee still
With hard fierce eyes and heavy tramp:
Her hand the nails and wedges fill,
The molten lead and stubborn clamp.
Hope, precious Truth in garb of white,
Attend thee still, nor quit thy side
When with changed robes thou tak’st thy flight
In anger from the homes of pride.
Then the false herd, the faithless fair,
Start backward; when the wine runs dry,
The jocund guests, too light to bear
An equal yoke, asunder fly.
O shield our Caesar as he goes
To furthest Britain, and his band,
Rome’s harvest! Send on Eastern foes
Et THURE, et FIDIBUS.
Bid the lyre and cittern play;
Enkindle incense, shed the victim’s gore;
Heaven has watch’d o’er Numida,
And brings him safe from far Hispania’s shore.
Now, returning, he bestows
On each, dear comrade all the love he can;
But to Lamia most he owes,
By whose sweet side he grew from boy to man.
Note we in our calendar
This festal day with whitest mark from Crete:
Let it flow, the old wine-jar,
And ply to Salian time your restless feet.
Damalis tosses off her wine,
But Bassus sure must prove her match to-night.
Give us roses all to twine,
And parsley green, and lilies deathly white.
Every melting eye will rest
On Damalis’ lovely face; but none may part
Damalis from our new-found guest;
She clings, and clings, like ivy, round his heart.
Nunc est BIBENDUM.
Now drink we deep, now
A measure; now before each shrine
With Salian feasts the table spread;
The time invites us, comrades mine.
’Twas shame to broach, before to-day,
The Caecuban, while Egypt’s dame
Threaten’d our power in dust to lay
And wrap the Capitol in flame,
Girt with her foul emasculate throng,
By Fortune’s sweet new wine befool’d,
In hope’s ungovern’d weakness strong
To hope for all; but soon she cool’d,
To see one ship from burning ’scape;
Great Caesar taught her dizzy brain,
Made mad by Mareotic grape,
To feel the sobering truth of pain,
And gave her chase from Italy,
As after doves fierce falcons speed,
As hunters ’neath Haemonia’s sky
Chase the tired hare, so might he lead
The fiend enchain’d; she sought to die
More nobly, nor with woman’s dread
Quail’d at the steel, nor timorously
In her fleet ships to covert fled.
Amid her ruin’d halls she stood
Unblench’d, and fearless to the end
Grasp’d the fell snakes, that all her blood
Might with the cold black venom blend,
Death’s purpose flushing in her face;
Nor to our ships the glory gave,
That she, no vulgar dame, should grace
A triumph, crownless, and a slave.
No Persian cumber, boy, for me;
I hate your garlands linden-plaited;
Leave winter’s rose where on the tree
It hangs belated.
Wreath me plain myrtle; never think
Plain myrtle either’s wear unfitting,
Yours as you wait, mine as I drink
In vine-bower sitting.
MOTUM ex METELLO.
The broils that from
The secret springs, the dark intrigues,
The freaks of Fortune, and the great
Confederate in disastrous leagues,
And arms with uncleansed slaughter red,
A work of danger and distrust,
You treat, as one on fire should tread,
Scarce hid by treacherous ashen crust.
Let Tragedy’s stern muse be mute
Awhile; and when your order’d page
Has told Rome’s tale, that buskin’d foot
Again shall mount the Attic stage,
Pollio, the pale defendant’s shield,
In deep debate the senate’s stay,
The hero of Dalmatic field
By Triumph crown’d with deathless bay.
E’en now with trumpet’s threatening blare
You thrill our ears; the clarion brays;
The lightnings of the armour scare
The steed, and daunt the rider’s gaze.
Methinks I hear of leaders proud
With no uncomely dust distain’d,
And all the world by conquest bow’d,
And only Cato’s soul unchain’d.
Yes, Juno and the powers on high
That left their Afric to its doom,
Have led the victors’ progeny
As victims to Jugurtha’s tomb.
What field, by Latian blood-drops fed,
Proclaims not the unnatural deeds
It buries, and the earthquake dread
Whose distant thunder shook the Medes?
What gulf, what river has not seen
Those sights of sorrow? nay, what sea
Has Daunian carnage yet left green?
What coast from Roman blood is free?
But pause, gay Muse, nor leave your play
Another Cean dirge to sing;
With me to Venus’ bower away,
And there attune a lighter string.
The silver, Sallust, shows not
While buried in the greedy mine:
You love it not till moderate wear
Have given it shine.
Honour to Proculeius! he
To brethren play’d a father’s part;
Fame shall embalm through years to be
That noble heart.
Who curbs a greedy soul may boast
More power than if his broad-based throne
Bridged Libya’s sea, and either coast
Were all his own.
Indulgence bids the dropsy grow;
Who fain would quench the palate’s flame
Must rescue from the watery foe
The pale weak frame.
Phraates, throned where Cyrus sate,
May count for blest with vulgar herds,
But not with Virtue; soon or late
From lying words
She weans men’s lips; for him she keeps
The crown, the purple, and the bays,
Who dares to look on treasure-heaps
With unblench’d gaze.
An equal mind, when storms o’ercloud,
Maintain, nor ’neath a brighter sky
Let pleasure make your heart too proud,
O Dellius, Dellius! sure to die,
Whether in gloom you spend each year,
Or through long holydays at ease
In grassy nook your spirit cheer
With old Falernian vintages,
Where poplar pale, and pine-tree high
Their hospitable shadows spread
Entwined, and panting waters try
To hurry down their zigzag bed.
Bring wine and scents, and roses’ bloom,
Too brief, alas! to that sweet place,
While life, and fortune, and the loom
Of the Three Sisters yield you grace.
Soon must you leave the woods you buy,
Your villa, wash’d by Tiber’s flow,
Leave,—and your treasures, heap’d so high,
Your reckless heir will level low.
Whether from Argos’ founder born
In wealth you lived beneath the sun,
Or nursed in beggary and scorn,
You fall to Death, who pities none.
One way all travel; the dark urn
Shakes each man’s lot, that soon or late
Will force him, hopeless of return,
On board the exile-ship of Fate.
NE SIT ANCILLAE
Why, Xanthias, blush to own you
Your slave? Briseis, long ago,
A captive, could Achilles move
With breast of snow.
Tecmessa’s charms enslaved her lord,
Stout Ajax, heir of Telamon;
Atrides, in his pride, adored
The maid he won,
When Troy to Thessaly gave way,
And Hector’s all too quick decease
Made Pergamus an easier prey
To wearied Greece.
What if, as auburn Phyllis’ mate,
You graft yourself on regal stem?
Oh yes! be sure her sires were great;
She weeps for them.
Believe me, from no rascal scum
Your charmer sprang; so true a flame,
Such hate of greed, could never come
From vulgar dame.
With honest fervour I commend
Those lips, those eyes; you need not fear
A rival, hurrying on to end
His fortieth year.
Septimius, who with me would brave
Far Gades, and Cantabrian land
Untamed by Home, and Moorish wave
That whirls the sand;
Fair Tibur, town of Argive kings,
There would I end my days serene,
At rest from seas and travellings,
And service seen.
Should angry Fate those wishes foil,
Then let me seek Galesus, sweet
To skin-clad sheep, and that rich soil,
The Spartan’s seat.
O, what can match the green recess,
Whose honey not to Hybla yields,
Whose olives vie with those that bless
Long springs, mild winters glad that spot
By Jove’s good grace, and Aulon, dear
To fruitful Bacchus, envies not
That spot, those happy heights desire
Our sojourn; there, when life shall end,
Your tear shall dew my yet warm pyre,
Your bard and friend.
O SAEPE Mecum.
O, Oft with me in troublous time
Involved, when Brutus warr’d in Greece,
Who gives you back to your own clime
And your own gods, a man of peace,
Pompey, the earliest friend I knew,
With whom I oft cut short the hours
With wine, my hair bright bathed in dew
Of Syrian oils, and wreathed with flowers?
With you I shared Philippi’s rout,
Unseemly parted from my shield,
When Valour fell, and warriors stout
Were tumbled on the inglorious field:
But I was saved by Mercury,
Wrapp’d in thick mist, yet trembling sore,
While you to that tempestuous sea
Were swept by battle’s tide once more.
Come, pay to Jove the feast you owe;
Lay down those limbs, with warfare spent,
Beneath my laurel; nor be slow
To drain my cask; for you ’twas meant.
Lethe’s true draught is Massic wine;
Fill high the goblet; pour out free
Rich streams of unguent. Who will twine
The hasty wreath from myrtle-tree
Or parsley? Whom will Venus seat
Chairman of cups? Are Bacchants sane?
Then I’ll be sober. O, ’tis sweet
To fool, when friends come home again!
ULLA si Juris.
Had chastisement for perjured
Barine, mark’d you with a curse—
Did one wry nail, or one black tooth,
But make you worse—
I’d trust you; but, when plighted lies
Have pledged you deepest, lovelier far
You sparkle forth, of all young eyes
The ruling star.
’Tis gain to mock your mother’s bones,
And night’s still signs, and all the sky,
And gods, that on their glorious thrones
Chill Death defy.
Ay, Venus smiles; the pure nymphs smile,
And Cupid, tyrant-lord of hearts,
Sharpening on bloody stone the while
His fiery darts.
New captives fill the nets you weave;
New slaves are bred; and those before,
Though oft they threaten, never leave
Your godless door.
The mother dreads you for her son,
The thrifty sire, the new-wed bride,
Lest, lured by you, her precious one
Should leave her side.
Non semper IMBRES.
The rain, it rains not every day
On the soak’d meads; the Caspian main
Not always feels the unequal sway
Of storms, nor on Armenia’s plain,
Dear Valgius, lies the cold dull snow
Through all the year; nor northwinds keen
Upon Garganian oakwoods blow,
And strip the ashes of their green.
You still with tearful tones pursue
Your lost, lost Mystes; Hesper sees
Your passion when he brings the dew,
And when before the sun he flees.
Yet not for loved Antilochus
Grey Nestor wasted all his years
In grief; nor o’er young Troilus
His parents’ and his sisters’ tears
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
Ille et NEFASTO.
Black day he chose for planting
Accurst he rear’d thee from the ground,
The bane of children yet to be,
The scandal of the village round.
His father’s throat the monster press’d
Beside, and on his hearthstone spilt,
I ween, the blood of midnight guest;
Black Colchian drugs, whate’er of guilt
Is hatch’d on earth, he dealt in all—
Who planted in my rural stead
Thee, fatal wood, thee, sure to fall
Upon thy blameless master’s head.
The dangers of the hour! no thought
We give them; Punic seaman’s fear
Is all of Bosporus, nor aught
Recks he of pitfalls otherwhere;
The soldier fears the mask’d retreat
Of Parthia; Parthia dreads the thrall
Of Rome; but Death with noiseless feet
Has stolen and will steal on all.
How near dark Pluto’s court I stood,
And AEacus’ judicial throne,
The blest seclusion of the good,
And Sappho, with sweet lyric moan
Bewailing her ungentle sex,
And thee, Alcaeus, louder far
Chanting thy tale of woful wrecks,
Of woful exile, woful war!
In sacred awe the silent dead
Attend on each: but when the song
Of combat tells and tyrants fled,
Keen ears, press’d shoulders, closer throng.
What marvel, when at those sweet airs
The hundred-headed beast spell-bound
Each black ear droops, and Furies’ hairs
Uncoil their serpents at the sound?
Prometheus too and Pelops’ sire
In listening lose the sense of woe;
Orion hearkens to the lyre,
And lets the lynx and lion go.
Ah, Postumus! they fleet
Our years, nor piety one hour
Can win from wrinkles and decay,
And Death’s indomitable power;
Not though three hundred bullocks flame
Each year, to soothe the tearless king
Who holds huge Geryon’s triple frame
And Tityos in his watery ring,
That circling flood, which all must stem,
Who eat the fruits that Nature yields,
Wearers of haughtiest diadem,
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;
Cur me QUERELIS.
Why rend my heart with that sad
It cannot please the gods or me
That you, Maecenas, first should die,
My pillar of prosperity.
Ah! should I lose one half my soul
Untimely, can the other stay
Behind it? Life that is not whole,
Is that as sweet? The self-same day
Shall crush us twain; no idle oath
Has Horace sworn; whene’er you go,
We both will travel, travel both
The last dark journey down below.
No, not Chimaera’s fiery breath,
Nor Gyas, could he rise again,
Shall part us; Justice, strong as death,
So wills it; so the Fates ordain.
Whether ’twas Libra saw me born
Or angry Scorpio, lord malign
Of natal hour, or Capricorn,
The tyrant of the western brine,
Our planets sure with concord strange
Are blended. You by Jove’s blest power
Were snatch’d from out the baleful range
Of Saturn, and the evil hour
Was stay’d, when rapturous benches full
Three times the auspicious thunder peal’d;
Me the curst trunk, that smote my skull,
Had slain; but Faunus, strong to shield
The friends of Mercury, check’d the blow
In mid descent. Be sure to pay
The victims and the fane you owe;
Your bard a humbler lamb will slay.
Carven ivory have I none;
No golden cornice in my dwelling shines;
Pillars choice of Libyan stone
Upbear no architrave from Attic mines;
’Twas not mine to enter in
To Attalus’ broad realms, an unknown heir,
Nor for me fair clients spin
Laconian purples for their patron’s wear.
Truth is mine, and Genius mine;
The rich man comes, and knocks at my low door:
Favour’d thus, I ne’er repine,
Nor weary out indulgent Heaven for more:
In my Sabine homestead blest,
Why should I further tax a generous friend?
Suns are hurrying suns a-west,
And newborn moons make speed to meet their end.
You have hands to square and hew
Vast marble-blocks, hard on your day of doom,
Ever building mansions new,
Nor thinking of the mansion of the tomb.
Now you press on ocean’s bound,
Where waves on Baiae beat, as earth were scant;
Now absorb your neighbour’s ground,
And tear his landmarks up, your own to plant.
Hedges set round clients’ farms
Your avarice tramples; see, the outcasts fly,
Wife and husband, in their arms
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
I bid the unhallow’d
Keep holy silence; strains unknown
Till now, the Muses’ hierophant,
I sing to youths and maids alone.
Kings o’er their flocks the sceptre wield;
E’en kings beneath Jove’s sceptre bow:
Victor in giant battle-field,
He moves all nature with his brow.
This man his planted walks extends
Beyond his peers; an older name
One to the people’s choice commends;
One boasts a more unsullied fame;
One plumes him on a larger crowd
Of clients. What are great or small?
Death takes the mean man with the proud;
The fatal urn has room for all.
When guilty Pomp the drawn sword sees
Hung o’er her, richest feasts in vain
Strain their sweet juice her taste to please;
No lutes, no singing birds again
Will bring her sleep. Sleep knows no pride;
It scorns not cots of village hinds,
Nor shadow-trembling river-side,
Nor Tempe, stirr’d by western winds.
Who, having competence, has all,
The tumult of the sea defies,
Nor fears Arcturus’ angry fall,
Nor fears the Kid-star’s sullen rise,
Though hail-storms on the vineyard beat,
Though crops deceive, though trees complain.
One while of showers, one while of heat,
One while of winter’s barbarous reign.
Fish feel the narrowing of the main
From sunken piles, while on the strand
Contractors with their busy train
Let down huge stones, and lords of land
Affect the sea: but fierce Alarm
Can clamber to the master’s side:
Black Cares can up the galley swarm,
And close behind the horseman ride.
If Phrygian marbles soothe not pain,
Nor star-bright purple’s costliest wear,
Nor vines of true Falernian strain,
Nor Achaemenian spices rare,
Why with rich gate and pillar’d range
Upbuild new mansions, twice as high,
Or why my Sabine vale exchange
For more laborious luxury?
To suffer hardness with
In sternest school of warfare bred,
Our youth should learn; let steed and spear
Make him one day the Parthian’s dread;
Cold skies, keen perils, brace his life.
Methinks I see from rampined town
Some battling tyrant’s matron wife,
Some maiden, look in terror down,—
“Ah, my dear lord, untrain’d in war!
O tempt not the infuriate mood
Of that fell lion! see! from far
He plunges through a tide of blood!”
What joy, for fatherland to die!
Death’s darts e’en flying feet o’ertake,
Nor spare a recreant chivalry,
A back that cowers, or loins that quake.
True Virtue never knows defeat:
Her robes she keeps unsullied still,
Nor takes, nor quits, her curule seat
To please a people’s veering will.
True Virtue opens heaven to worth:
She makes the way she does not find:
The vulgar crowd, the humid earth,
Her soaring pinion leaves behind.
Seal’d lips have blessings sure to come:
Who drags Eleusis’ rite to day,
That man shall never share my home,
Or join my voyage: roofs give way
And boats are wreck’d: true men and thieves
Neglected Justice oft confounds:
Though Vengeance halt, she seldom leaves
The wretch whose flying steps she hounds.
Justum et tenacem.
The man of firm and
No rabble, clamorous for the wrong,
No tyrant’s brow, whose frown may kill,
Can shake the strength that makes him strong:
Not winds, that chafe the sea they sway,
Nor Jove’s right hand, with lightning red:
Should Nature’s pillar’d frame give way,
That wreck would strike one fearless head.
Pollux and roving Hercules
Thus won their way to Heaven’s proud steep,
’Mid whom Augustus, couch’d at ease,
Dyes his red lips with nectar deep.
For this, great Bacchus, tigers drew
Thy glorious car, untaught to slave
In harness: thus Quirinus flew
On Mars’ wing’d steeds from Acheron’s wave,
When Juno spoke with Heaven’s assent:
“O Ilium, Ilium, wretched town!
The judge accurst, incontinent,
And stranger dame have dragg’d thee down.
Pallas and I, since Priam’s sire
Denied the gods his pledged reward,
Had doom’d them all to sword and fire,
The people and their perjured lord.
No more the adulterous guest can charm
The Spartan queen: the house forsworn
No more repels by Hector’s arm
My warriors, baffled and outworn:
Hush’d is the
Come down, Calliope,
Breathe on the pipe a strain of fire;
Or if a graver note thou love,
With Phoebus’ cittern and his lyre.
You hear her? or is this the play
Of fond illusion? Hark! meseems
Through gardens of the good I stray,
’Mid murmuring gales and purling streams.
Me, as I lay on Vultur’s steep,
A truant past Apulia’s bound,
O’ertired, poor child, with play and sleep,
With living green the stock-doves crown’d—
A legend, nay, a miracle,
By Acherontia’s nestlings told,
By all in Bantine glade that dwell,
Or till the rich Forentan mould.
“Bears, vipers, spared him as he lay,
The sacred garland deck’d his hair,
The myrtle blended with the bay:
Jove rules in heaven,
his thunder shows;
Henceforth Augustus earth shall own
Her present god, now Briton foes
And Persians bow before his throne.
Has Crassus’ soldier ta’en to wife
A base barbarian, and grown grey
(Woe, for a nation’s tainted life!)
Earning his foemen-kinsmen’s pay,
His king, forsooth, a Mede, his sire
A Marsian? can he name forget,
Gown, sacred shield, undying fire,
And Jove and Rome are standing yet?
’Twas this that Regulus foresaw,
What time he spurn’d the foul disgrace
Of peace, whose precedent would draw
Destruction on an unborn race,
Should aught but death the prisoner’s chain
Unrivet. “I have seen,” he said,
“Rome’s eagle in a Punic fane,
And armour, ne’er a blood-drop shed,
Stripp’d from the soldier; I have seen
Free sons of Rome with arms fast tied;
The fields we spoil’d with corn are green,
And Carthage opes her portals wide.
The warrior, sure, redeem’d by gold,
Will fight the bolder! Aye, you heap
On baseness loss. The hues of old
Revisit not the wool we steep;
And genuine worth, expell’d by fear,
Returns not to the worthless slave.
Break but her meshes, will the deer
Assail you? then will he be brave
Who once to faithless foes has knelt;
Yes, Carthage yet his spear will fly,
Who with bound arms the cord has felt,
The coward, and has fear’d to die.
He knows not, he, how life is won;
Thinks war, like peace, a thing of trade!
Great art thou, Carthage! mate the sun,
While Italy in dust is laid!”
His wife’s pure kiss he waved aside,
And prattling boys, as one disgraced,
They tell us, and with manly pride
Stern on the ground his visage placed.
With counsel thus ne’er else aread
He nerved the fathers’ weak intent,
And, girt by friends that mourn’d him, sped
Into illustrious banishment.
Well witting what the torturer’s art
Design’d him, with like unconcern
The press of kin he push’d apart
And crowds encumbering his return,
As though, some tedious business o’er
Of clients’ court, his journey lay
Towards Venafrum’s grassy floor,
Or Sparta-built Tarentum’s bay.
guilt you still must pay,
Till, Roman, you restore each shrine,
Each temple, mouldering in decay,
And smoke-grimed statue, scarce divine.
Revering Heaven, you rule below;
Be that your base, your coping still;
’Tis Heaven neglected bids o’erflow
Quid FLES, ASTERIE.
Why weep for him whom sweet Favonian
Will waft next spring, Asteria, back to you,
Rich with Bithynia’s wares,
A lover fond and true,
Your Gyges? He, detain’d by stormy stress
At Oricum, about the Goat-star’s rise,
Cold, wakeful, comfortless,
The long night weeping lies.
Meantime his lovesick hostess’ messenger
Talks of the flames that waste poor Chloe’s heart
(Flames lit for you, not her!)
With a besieger’s art;
Shows how a treacherous woman’s lying breath
Once on a time on trustful Proetus won
To doom to early death
Too chaste Bellerophon;
Warns him of Peleus’ peril, all but slain
For virtuous scorn of fair Hippolyta,
And tells again each tale
That e’er led heart astray.
In vain; for deafer than Icarian seas
He hears, untainted yet. But, lady fair,
What if Enipeus please
Your listless eye? beware!
Though true it be that none with surer seat
O’er Mars’s grassy turf is seen to ride,
Nor any swims so fleet
Adown the Tuscan tide,
Yet keep each evening door and window barr’d;
Look not abroad when music strikes up shrill,
And though he call you hard,
Remain obdurate still.
The first of March! a man unwed!
What can these flowers, this censer
Or what these embers, glowing red
On sods of green?
You ask, in either language skill’d!
A feast I vow’d to Bacchus free,
A white he-goat, when all but kill’d
By falling tree.
So, when that holyday comes round,
It sees me still the rosin clear
From this my wine-jar, first embrown’d
In Tullus’ year.
Come, crush one hundred cups for life
Preserved, Maecenas; keep till day
The candles lit; let noise and strife
Be far away.
Lay down that load of state-concern;
The Dacian hosts are all o’erthrown;
The Mede, that sought our overturn,
Now seeks his own;
A servant now, our ancient foe,
The Spaniard, wears at last our chain;
The Scythian half unbends his bow
And quits the plain.
Then fret not lest the state should ail;
A private man such thoughts may spare;
Enjoy the present hour’s regale,
And banish care.
DONEC GRATUS Eram.
While I had power to bless you,
Nor any round that neck his arms did fling
More privileged to caress you,
Happier was Horace than the Persian king.
Lydia. While you for
none were pining
Sorer, nor Lydia after Chloe came,
Lydia, her peers outshining,
Might match her own with Ilia’s Roman fame.
H. Now Chloe is my treasure,
Whose voice, whose touch, can make sweet music flow:
For her I’d die with pleasure,
Would Fate but spare the dear survivor so.
L. I love my own fond lover,
Young Calais, son of Thurian Ornytus:
For him I’d die twice over,
Would Fate but spare the sweet survivor thus.
H. What now, if Love returning
Should pair us ’neath his brazen yoke once more,
And, bright-hair’d Chloe spurning,
Horace to off-cast Lydia ope his door?
L. Though he is fairer, milder,
Than starlight, you lighter than bark of tree,
Than stormy Hadria wilder,
With you to live, to die, were bliss for me.
Ah Lyce! though your drink were
Your husband some rude savage, you would weep
To leave me shivering, on a night like this,
Where storms their watches keep.
Hark! how your door is creaking! how the grove
In your fair court-yard, while the wild winds blow,
Wails in accord! with what transparence Jove
Is glazing the driven snow!
Cease that proud temper: Venus loves it not:
The rope may break, the wheel may backward turn:
Begetting you, no Tuscan sire begot
Penelope the stern.
O, though no gift, no “prevalence of prayer,”
Nor lovers’ paleness deep as violet,
Nor husband, smit with a Pierian fair,
Move you, have pity yet!
O harder e’en than toughest heart of oak,
Deafer than uncharm’d snake to suppliant moans!
This side, I warn you, will not always brook
Rain-water and cold stones.
Mercuri, Nam te.
Come, Mercury, by whose minstrel
Amphion raised the Theban stones,
Come, with thy seven sweet strings, my shell,
Thy “diverse tones,”
Nor vocal once nor pleasant, now
To rich man’s board and temple dear:
Put forth thy power, till Lyde bow
Her stubborn ear.
She, like a three year colt unbroke,
Is frisking o’er the spacious plain,
Too shy to bear a lover’s yoke,
A husband’s rein.
The wood, the tiger, at thy call
Have follow’d: thou canst rivers stay:
The monstrous guard of Pluto’s hall
To thee gave way,
Grim Cerberus, round whose Gorgon head
A hundred snakes are hissing death,
Whose triple jaws black venom shed,
And sickening breath.
Ixion too and Tityos smooth’d
Their rugged brows: the urn stood dry
One hour, while Danaus’ maids were sooth’d
Let Lyde hear those maidens’ guilt,
Their famous doom, the ceaseless drain
Of outpour’d water, ever spilt,
And all the pain
Reserved for sinners, e’en when dead:
Those impious hands, (could crime do more?)
Those impious hands had hearts to shed
Their bridegrooms’ gore!
One only, true to Hymen’s flame,
Was traitress to her sire forsworn:
That splendid falsehood lights her name
Through times unborn.
“Wake!” to her youthful spouse she cried,
“Wake! or you yet may sleep too well:
Fly—from the father of your bride,
Her sisters fell:
They, as she-lions bullocks rend,
Tear each her victim: I, less hard
Than these, will slay you not, poor friend,
Nor hold in ward:
Me let my sire in fetters lay
For mercy to my husband shown:
Me let him ship far hence away,
To climes unknown.
Go; speed your flight o’er land and wave,
While Night and Venus shield you; go
Be blest: and on my tomb engrave
This tale of woe.”
How unhappy are the maidens who
with Cupid may not play,
Who may never touch the wine-cup, but must tremble all the day
At an uncle, and the scourging of his tongue!
Neobule, there’s a robber takes your needle and your thread,
Lets the lessons of Minerva run no longer in your head;
It is Hebrus, the athletic and the young!
O, to see him when anointed he is plunging in the flood!
What a seat he has on horseback! was Bellerophon’s as good?
As a boxer, as a runner, past compare!
When the deer are flying blindly all the open country o’er,
He can aim and he can hit them; he can steal upon the boar,
As it couches in the thicket unaware.
O Fons BANDUSIAE.
Bandusia’s fount, in clearness
O worthy of the wine, the flowers we vow!
To-morrow shall be thine
A kid, whose crescent brow
Is sprouting all for love and victory.
In vain: his warm red blood, so early stirr’d,
Thy gelid stream shall dye,
Child of the wanton herd.
Thee the fierce Sirian star, to madness fired,
Forbears to touch: sweet cool thy waters yield
To ox with ploughing tired,
And lazy sheep afield.
Thou too one day shalt win proud eminence
’Mid honour’d founts, while I the ilex sing
Crowning the cavern, whence
Thy babbling wavelets spring.
Our Hercules, they told us, Rome,
Had sought the laurel Death bestows:
Now Glory brings him conqueror home
From Spaniard foes.
Proud of her spouse, the imperial fair
Must thank the gods that shield from death;
His sister too:—let matrons wear
The suppliant wreath
For daughters and for sons restored:
Ye youths and damsels newly wed,
Let decent awe restrain each word
Best left unsaid.
This day, true holyday to me,
Shall banish care: I will not fear
Rude broils or bloody death to see,
While Caesar’s here.
Quick, boy, the chaplets and the nard,
And wine, that knew the Marsian war,
If roving Spartacus have spared
A single jar.
And bid Nesera come and trill,
Her bright locks bound with careless art:
If her rough porter cross your will,
Why then depart.
Soon palls the taste for noise and fray,
When hair is white and leaves are sere:
How had I fired in life’s warm May,
In Plancus’ year!
UXOR PAUPERIS IBYCI.
Wife of Ibycus the poor,
Let aged scandals have at length their bound:
Give your graceless doings o’er,
Ripe as you are for going underground.
You the maidens’ dance to lead,
And cast your gloom upon those beaming stars!
Daughter Pholoe may succeed,
But mother Chloris what she touches mars.
Young men’s homes your daughter storms,
Like Thyiad, madden’d by the cymbals’ beat:
Nothus’ love her bosom warms:
She gambols like a fawn with silver feet.
Yours should be the wool that grows
By fair Luceria, not the merry lute:
Flowers beseem not wither’d brows,
Nor wither’d lips with emptied wine-jars suit.
Full well had Danae been secured,
By oaken portals, and a brazen tower,
And savage watch-dogs, from the roving youth
That prowl at midnight’s hour:
But Jove and Venus mock’d with gay disdain
The jealous warder of that close stronghold:
The way, they knew, must soon be smooth and plain
When gods could change to gold.
Aelius, of Lamus’ ancient
(For since from that high parentage
The prehistoric Lamias came
And all who fill the storied page,
No doubt you trace your line from him,
Who stretch’d his sway o’er Formiae,
And Liris, whose still waters swim
Where green Marica skirts the sea,
Lord of broad realms), an eastern gale
Will blow to-morrow, and bestrew
The shore with weeds, with leaves the vale,
If rain’s old prophet tell me true,
The raven. Gather, while ’tis fine,
Your wood; to-morrow shall be gay
With smoking pig and streaming wine,
And lord and slave keep holyday.
O wont the flying Nymphs to woo,
Good Faunus, through my sunny farm
Pass gently, gently pass, nor do
My younglings harm.
Each year, thou know’st, a kid must die
For thee; nor lacks the wine’s full stream
To Venus’ mate, the bowl; and high
The altars steam.
Sure as December’s nones appear,
All o’er the grass the cattle play;
The village, with the lazy steer,
Wolves rove among the fearless sheep;
The woods for thee their foliage strow;
The delver loves on earth to leap,
His ancient foe.
What the time from Inachus
To Codrus, who in patriot battle fell,
Who were sprung from Aeacus,
And how men fought at Ilion,—this you tell.
What the wines of Chios cost,
Who with due heat our water can allay,
What the hour, and who the host
To give us house-room,—this you will not say.
Ho, there! wine to moonrise, wine
To midnight, wine to our new augur too!
Nine to three or three to nine,
As each man pleases, makes proportion true.
Who the uneven Muses loves,
Will fire his dizzy brain with three times three;
Three once told the Grace approves;
She with her two bright sisters, gay and free,
Shrinks, as maiden should, from strife:
But I’m for madness. What has dull’d the fire
Of the Berecyntian fife?
Why hangs the flute in silence with the lyre?
Out on niggard-handed boys!
Rain showers of roses; let old Lycus hear,
Envious churl, our senseless noise,
And she, our neighbour, his ill-sorted fere.
You with your bright clustering hair,
Your beauty, Telephus, like evening’s sky,
Rhoda loves, as young, as fair;
I for my Glycera slowly, slowly die.
O Nate Mecum.
O born in Manlius’
year with me,
Whate’er you bring us, plaint or jest,
Or passion and wild revelry,
Or, like a gentle wine-jar, rest;
Howe’er men call your Massic juice,
Its broaching claims a festal day;
Come then; Corvinus bids produce
A mellower wine, and I obey.
Though steep’d in all Socratic lore
He will not slight you; do not fear.
They say old Cato o’er and o’er
With wine his honest heart would cheer.
Tough wits to your mild torture yield
Their treasures; you unlock the soul
Of wisdom and its stores conceal’d,
Arm’d with Lyaeus’ kind control.
’Tis yours the drooping heart to heal;
Your strength uplifts the poor man’s horn;
Inspired by you, the soldier’s steel,
The monarch’s crown, he laughs to scorn.
Liber and Venus, wills she so,
And sister Graces, ne’er unknit,
And living lamps shall see you flow
Till stars before the sunrise flit.
Guardian of hill and woodland,
Who to young wives in childbirth’s hour
Thrice call’d, vouchsafest sovereign aid,
O three-form’d power!
This pine that shades my cot be thine;
Here will I slay, as years come round,
A youngling boar, whose tusks design
The side-long wound.
If, Phidyle, your hands you lift
To heaven, as each new moon is born,
Soothing your Lares with the gift
Of slaughter’d swine, and spice, and corn,
Ne’er shall Scirocco’s bane assail
Your vines, nor mildew blast your wheat,
Ne’er shall your tender younglings fail
In autumn, when the fruits are sweet.
The destined victim ’mid the snows
Of Algidus in oakwoods fed,
Or where the Alban herbage grows,
Shall dye the pontiff’s axes red;
No need of butcher’d sheep for you
To make your homely prayers prevail;
Give but your little gods their due,
The rosemary twined with myrtle frail.
The sprinkled salt, the votive meal,
As soon their favour will regain,
Let but the hand be pure and leal,
As all the pomp of heifers slain.
Though your buried wealth
The unsunn’d gold of Ind or Araby,
Though with many a ponderous mass
You crowd the Tuscan and Apulian sea,
Let Necessity but drive
Her wedge of adamant into that proud head,
Vainly battling will you strive
To ’scape Death’s noose, or rid your soul of dread.
Better life the Scythians lead,
Trailing on waggon wheels their wandering home,
Or the hardy Getan breed,
As o’er their vast unmeasured steppes they roam;
Free the crops that bless their soil;
Their tillage wearies after one year’s space;
Each in turn fulfils his toil;
His period o’er, another takes his place.
There the step-dame keeps her hand
From guilty plots, from blood of orphans clean;
There no dowried wives command
Their feeble lords, or on adulterers lean.
Theirs are dowries not of gold,
Their parents’ worth, their own pure chastity,
True to one, to others cold;
They dare not sin, or, if they dare, they die.
O, whoe’er has heart and head
To stay our plague of blood, our civic brawls,
Would he that his name be read
“Father of Rome” on lofty pedestals,
Let him chain this lawless will,
And be our children’s hero! cursed spite!
Living worth we envy still,
Then seek it with strain’d eyes, when snatch’d from sight.
What can sad laments avail
Unless sharp justice kill the taint of sin?
What can laws, that needs must fail
Shorn of the aid of manners form’d within,
If the merchant turns not back
From the fierce heats that round the tropic glow,
Turns not from the regions black
With northern winds, and hard with frozen snow;
Sailors override the wave,
While guilty poverty, more fear’d than vice,
Bids us crime and suffering brave,
And shuns the ascent of virtue’s precipice?
Let the Capitolian fane,
The favour’d goal of yon vociferous crowd,
Aye, or let the nearest main
Receive our gold, our jewels rich and proud:
Slay we thus the cause of crime,
If yet we would repent and choose the good:
Quo me, BACCHE.
Whither, Bacchus, tear’st
Fill’d with thy strength? What dens, what forests these,
Thus in wildering race I see?
What cave shall hearken to my melodies,
Tuned to tell of Caesar’s praise
And throne him high the heavenly ranks among?
Sweet and strange shall be my lays,
A tale till now by poet voice unsung.
As the Evian on the height,
Housed from her sleep, looks wonderingly abroad,
Looks on Thrace with snow-drifts white,
And Rhodope by barbarous footstep trod,
So my truant eyes admire
The banks, the desolate forests. O great King
Who the Naiads dost inspire,
And Bacchants, strong from earth huge trees to wring!
Not a lowly strain is mine,
No mere man’s utterance. O, ’tis venture sweet
Thee to follow, God of wine,
Making the vine-branch round thy temples meet!
For ladies’s love
I late was fit,
And good success my warfare blest,
But now my arms, my lyre I quit,
And hang them up to rust or rest.
Here, where arising from the sea
Stands Venus, lay the load at last,
Links, crowbars, and artillery,
Threatening all doors that dared be fast.
O Goddess! Cyprus owns thy sway,
And Memphis, far from Thracian snow:
Raise high thy lash, and deal me, pray,
That haughty Chloe just one blow!
When guilt goes forth, let lapwings
And dogs and foxes great with young,
And wolves from far Lanuvian hill,
Give clamorous tongue:
Across the roadway dart the snake,
Frightening, like arrow loosed from string,
The horses. I, for friendship’s sake,
Watching each wing,
Ere to his haunt, the stagnant marsh,
The harbinger of tempest flies,
Will call the raven, croaking harsh,
From eastern skies.
Farewell!—and wheresoe’er you go,
My Galatea, think of me:
Let lefthand pie and roving crow
Still leave you free.
But mark with what a front of fear
Orion lowers. Ah! well I know
How Hadria glooms, how falsely clear
FESTO quid POTIUS.
Neptune’s feast-day! what
Think first of doing? Lyde mine, be bold,
Broach the treasured Caecuban,
And batter Wisdom in her own stronghold.
Now the noon has pass’d the full,
Yet sure you deem swift Time has made a halt,
Tardy as you are to pull
Old Bibulus’ wine-jar from its sleepy vault.
I will take my turn and sing
Neptune and Nereus’ train with locks of green;
You shall warble to the string
Latona and her Cynthia’s arrowy sheen.
Hers our latest song, who sways
Cnidos and Cyclads, and to Paphos goes
With her swans, on holydays;
Night too shall claim the homage music owes.
Heir of Tyrrhenian kings,
A mellow cask, unbroach’d as yet,
Maecenas mine, and roses new,
And fresh-drawn oil your locks to wet,
Are waiting here. Delay not still,
Nor gaze on Tibur, never dried,
And sloping AEsule, and the hill
Of Telegon the parricide.
O leave that pomp that can but tire,
Those piles, among the clouds at home;
Cease for a moment to admire
The smoke, the wealth, the noise of Rome!
In change e’en luxury finds a zest:
The poor man’s supper, neat, but spare,
With no gay couch to seat the guest,
Has smooth’d the rugged brow of care.
Now glows the Ethiop maiden’s sire;
Now Procyon rages all ablaze;
The Lion maddens in his ire,
As suns bring back the sultry days:
The shepherd with his weary sheep
Seeks out the streamlet and the trees,
Silvanus’ lair: the still banks sleep
Untroubled by the wandering breeze.
You ponder on imperial schemes,
And o’er the city’s danger brood:
Bactrian and Serian haunt your dreams,
And Tanais, toss’d by inward feud.
The issue of the time to be
Heaven wisely hides in blackest night,
And laughs, should man’s anxiety
Transgress the bounds of man’s short sight.
Control the present: all beside
Flows like a river seaward borne,
Now rolling on its placid tide,
Now whirling massy trunks uptorn,
And waveworn crags, and farms, and stock,
In chaos blent, while hill and wood
Reverberate to the enormous shock,
When savage rains the tranquil flood
Have stirr’d to madness. Happy he,
Self-centred, who each night can say,
“My life is lived: the morn may see
A clouded or a sunny day:
That rests with Jove: but what is gone,
He will not, cannot turn to nought;
Nor cancel, as a thing undone,
What once the flying hour has brought.”
Fortune, who loves her cruel game,
Still bent upon some heartless whim,
Shifts her caresses, fickle dame,
Now kind to me, and now to him:
She stays; ’tis well: but let her shake
Those wings, her presents I resign,
Cloak me in native worth, and take
Chaste Poverty undower’d for mine.
Though storms around my vessel rave,
I will not fall to craven prayers,
Nor bargain by my vows to save
My Cyprian and Sidonian wares,
Else added to the insatiate main.
Then through the wild Aegean roar
The breezes and the Brethren Twain
Shall waft my little boat ashore.
And now ’tis done:
more durable than brass
My monument shall be, and raise its head
O’er royal pyramids: it shall not dread
Corroding rain or angry Boreas,
Nor the long lapse of immemorial time.
I shall not wholly die: large residue
Shall ’scape the queen of funerals. Ever new
My after fame shall grow, while pontiffs climb
With silent maids the Capitolian height.
“Born,” men will say, “where Aufidus is loud,
Where Daunus, scant of streams, beneath him bow’d
The rustic tribes, from dimness he wax’d bright,
First of his race to wed the Aeolian lay
To notes of Italy.” Put glory on,
My own Melpomene, by genius won,
And crown me of thy grace with Delphic bay.
Yet again thou wak’st
That long had slumber’d! Spare me, Venus, spare!
Trust me, I am not the same
As in the reign of Cinara, kind and fair.
Cease thy softening spells to prove
On this old heart, by fifty years made hard,
Cruel Mother of sweet Love!
Haste, where gay youth solicits thy regard.
With thy purple cygnets fly
To Paullus’ door, a seasonable guest;
There within hold revelry,
There light thy flame in that congenial breast.
He, with birth and beauty graced,
The trembling client’s champion, ne’er tongue-tied,
Master of each manly taste,
Shall bear thy conquering banners far and wide.
Let him smile in triumph gay,
True heart, victorious over lavish hand,
By the Alban lake that day
’Neath citron roof all marble shalt thou stand:
Incense there and fragrant spice
With odorous fumes thy nostrils shall salute;
Blended notes thine ear entice,
The lyre, the pipe, the Berecyntine flute:
Graceful youths and maidens bright
Shall twice a day thy tuneful praise resound,
While their feet, so fair and white,
In Salian measure three times beat the ground.
I can relish love no more,
Nor flattering hopes that tell me hearts are true,
Nor the revel’s loud uproar,
Nor fresh-wreathed flowerets, bathed in vernal dew.
Ah! but why, my Ligurine,
Steal trickling tear-drops down my wasted cheek?
Wherefore halts this tongue of mine,
So eloquent once, so faltering now and weak?
Now I hold you in my chain,
And clasp you close, all in a nightly dream;
Now, still dreaming, o’er the plain
I chase you; now, ah cruel! down the stream.
Who fain at Pindar’s flight
On waxen wings, Iulus, he
Soars heavenward, doom’d to give his name
To some new sea.
Pindar, like torrent from the steep
Which, swollen with rain, its banks o’erflows,
With mouth unfathomably deep,
Foams, thunders, glows,
All worthy of Apollo’s bay,
Whether in dithyrambic roll
Pouring new words he burst away
Or gods and god-born heroes tell,
Whose arm with righteous death could tame
Grim Centaurs, tame Chimaeras fell,
Or bid the boxer or the steed
In deathless pride of victory live,
And dower them with a nobler meed
Than sculptors give,
Or mourn the bridegroom early torn
From his young bride, and set on high
Strength, courage, virtue’s golden morn,
Too good to die.
Antonius! yes, the winds blow free,
When Dirce’s swan ascends the skies,
To waft him. I, like Matine bee,
In act and guise,
That culls its sweets through toilsome hours,
Am roaming Tibur’s banks along,
And fashioning with puny powers
A laboured song.
Your Muse shall sing in loftier strain
How Caesar climbs the sacred height,
The fierce Sygambrians in his train,
With laurel dight,
Than whom the Fates ne’er gave mankind
A richer treasure or more dear,
Nor shall, though earth again should find
The golden year.
Your Muse shall tell of public sports,
And holyday, and votive feast,
For Caesar’s sake, and brawling courts
Where strife has ceased.
Then, if my voice can aught avail,
Grateful for him our prayers have won,
My song shall echo, “Hail, all hail,
There as you move, “Ho! Triumph, ho!
Great Triumph!” once and yet again
All Rome shall cry, and spices strow
Before your train.
Ten bulls, ten kine, your debt discharge:
A calf new-wean’d from parent cow,
Battening on pastures rich and large,
Shall quit my vow.
Like moon just dawning on the night
The crescent honours of his head;
One dapple spot of snowy white,
The rest all red.
Quem tu, Melpomene.
He whom thou, Melpomene,
Hast welcomed with thy smile, in life arriving,
Ne’er by boxer’s skill shall be
Renown’d abroad, for Isthmian mastery striving;
Him shall never fiery steed
Draw in Achaean car a conqueror seated;
Him shall never martial deed
Show, crown’d with bay, after proud kings defeated,
Climbing Capitolian steep:
But the cool streams that make green Tibur flourish,
And the tangled forest deep,
On soft Aeolian airs his fame shall nourish.
Rome, of cities first and best,
Deigns by her sons’ according voice to hail me
Fellow-bard of poets blest,
And faint and fainter envy’s growls assail me.
Goddess, whose Pierian art
The lyre’s sweet sounds can modulate and measure,
Who to dumb fish canst impart
The music of the swan, if such thy pleasure:
O, ’tis all of thy dear grace
That every finger points me out in going
Lyrist of the Roman race;
Breath, power to charm, if mine, are thy bestowing!
E’en as the lightning’s
Whom Jove o’er all the feather’d breed
Made sovereign, having proved him sure
Erewhile on auburn Ganymede;
Stirr’d by warm youth and inborn power,
He quits the nest with timorous wing,
For winter’s storms have ceased to lower,
And zephyrs of returning spring
Tempt him to launch on unknown skies;
Next on the fold he stoops downright;
Last on resisting serpents flies,
Athirst for foray and for flight:
As tender kidling on the grass
Espies, uplooking from her food,
A lion’s whelp, and knows, alas!
Those new-set teeth shall drink her blood:
So look’d the Raetian mountaineers
On Drusus:—whence in every field
They learn’d through immemorial years
The Amazonian axe to wield,
I ask not now: not all of truth
We seekers find: enough to know
The wisdom of the princely youth
Has taught our erst victorious foe
What prowess dwells in boyish hearts
Rear’d in the shrine of a pure home,
What strength Augustus’ love imparts
To Nero’s seed, the hope of Rome.
Good sons and brave good sires approve:
Strong bullocks, fiery colts, attest
Their fathers’ worth, nor weakling dove
Is hatch’d in savage eagle’s nest.
But care draws forth the power within,
And cultured minds are strong for good:
Let manners fail, the plague of sin
Taints e’en the course of gentle blood.
How great thy debt to Nero’s race,
O Rome, let red Metaurus say,
Slain Hasdrubal, and victory’s grace
First granted on that glorious day
Which chased the clouds, and show’d the sun,
When Hannibal o’er Italy
Ran, as swift flames o’er pine-woods run,
Or Eurus o’er Sicilia’s sea.
Henceforth, by fortune aiding toil,
Rome’s prowess grew: her fanes, laid waste
By Punic sacrilege and spoil,
Beheld at length their gods replaced.
Then the false Libyan own’d his doom:—
“Weak deer, the wolves’ predestined prey,
Blindly we rush on foes, from whom
’Twere triumph won to steal away.
That race which, strong from Ilion’s fires,
Its gods, on Tuscan waters tost,
Its sons, its venerable sires,
Bore to Ausonia’s citied coast;
That race, like oak by axes shorn
On Algidus with dark leaves rife,
Laughs carnage, havoc, all to scorn,
And draws new spirit from the knife.
Not the lopp’d Hydra task’d so sore
Alcides, chafing at the foil:
No pest so fell was born of yore
Divis Orte BONIS.
Best guardian of Rome’s
people, dearest boon
Of a kind Heaven, thou lingerest all too long:
Thou bad’st thy senate look to meet thee soon:
Do not thy promise wrong.
Restore, dear chief, the light thou tak’st away:
Ah! when, like spring, that gracious mien of thine
Dawns on thy Rome, more gently glides the day,
And suns serener shine.
See her whose darling child a long year past
Has dwelt beyond the wild Carpathian foam;
That long year o’er, the envious southern blast
Still bars him from his home:
Weeping and praying to the shore she clings,
Nor ever thence her straining eyesight turns:
So, smit by loyal passion’s restless stings,
Rome for her Caesar yearns.
In safety range the cattle o’er the mead:
Sweet Peace, soft Plenty, swell the golden grain:
O’er unvex’d seas the sailors blithely speed:
Fair Honour shrinks from stain:
No guilty lusts the shrine of home defile:
Cleansed is the hand without, the heart within:
The father’s features in his children smile:
Swift vengeance follows sin.
Who fears the Parthian or the Scythian horde,
Or the rank growth that German forests yield,
While Caesar lives? who trembles at the sword
The fierce Iberians wield?
In his own hills each labours down the day,
Teaching the vine to clasp the widow’d tree:
Then to his cups again, where, feasting gay,
He hails his god in thee.
A household power, adored with prayers and wine,
Thou reign’st auspicious o’er his hour of ease:
Thus grateful Greece her Castor made divine,
And her great Hercules.
Ah! be it thine long holydays to give
To thy Hesperia! thus, dear chief, we pray
At sober sunrise; thus at mellow eve,
When ocean hides the day.
Dive, Quem PROLES.
Thou who didst make thy vengeful
To Niobe and Tityos known,
And Peleus’ son, when Troy’s tall height
Was nigh his own,
Victorious else, for thee no peer,
Though, strong in his sea-parent’s power,
He shook with that tremendous spear
The Dardan tower.
He, like a pine by axes sped,
Or cypress sway’d by angry gust,
Fell ruining, and laid his head
The snow is fled: the trees
their leaves put on,
The fields their green:
Earth owns the change, and rivers lessening run.
Their banks between.
Naked the Nymphs and Graces in the meads
The dance essay:
“No ’scaping death” proclaims the year, that speeds
This sweet spring day.
Frosts yield to zephyrs; Summer drives out Spring,
To vanish, when
Rich Autumn sheds his fruits; round wheels the ring,—
Yet the swift moons repair Heaven’s detriment:
We, soon as thrust
Where good Aeneas, Tullus, Ancus went,
What are we? dust.
Can Hope assure you one more day to live
From powers above?
You rescue from your heir whate’er you give
The self you love.
When life is o’er, and Minos has rehearsed
The grand last doom,
Not birth, nor eloquence, nor worth, shall burst
Not Dian’s self can chaste Hippolytus
To life recall,
Nor Theseus free his loved Pirithous
From Lethe’s thrall.
Ah Censorinus! to my comrades
Rich cups, rare bronzes, gladly would I send:
Choice tripods from Olympia on each friend
Would I confer, choicer on none than you,
Had but my fate such gems of art bestow’d
As cunning Scopas or Parrhasius wrought,
This with the brush, that with the chisel taught
To image now a mortal, now a god.
But these are not my riches: your desire
Such luxury craves not, and your means disdain:
A poet’s strain you love; a poet’s strain
Accept, and learn the value of the lyre.
Not public gravings on a marble base,
NE Forte CREDAS.
Think not those strains
can e’er expire,
Which, cradled ’mid the echoing roar
Of Aufidus, to Latium’s lyre
I sing with arts unknown before.
Though Homer fill the foremost throne,
Yet grave Stesichorus still can please,
And fierce Alcaeus holds his own,
With Pindar and Simonides.
The songs of Teos are not mute,
And Sappho’s love is breathing still:
She told her secret to the lute,
And yet its chords with passion thrill.
Not Sparta’s queen alone was fired
By broider’d robe and braided tress,
And all the splendours that attired
Her lover’s guilty loveliness:
Not only Teucer to the field
His arrows brought, nor Ilion
Beneath a single conqueror reel’d:
Not Crete’s majestic lord alone,
Or Sthenelus, earn’d the Muses’ crown:
Not Hector first for child and wife,
Or brave Deiphobus, laid down
The burden of a manly life.
Before Atrides men were brave:
But ah! oblivion, dark and long,
Has lock’d them in a tearless grave,
For lack of consecrating song.
’Twixt worth and baseness, lapp’d in death,
What difference? You shall ne’er be dumb,
While strains of mine have voice and breath:
The dull neglect of days to come
Those hard-won honours shall not blight:
No, Lollius, no: a soul is yours,
Clear-sighted, keen, alike upright
When fortune smiles, and when she lowers:
To greed and rapine still severe,
Spurning the gain men find so sweet:
A consul, not of one brief year,
But oft as on the judgment-seat
You bend the expedient
EST MIHI NONUM.
Here is a cask of Alban, more
Than nine years old: here grows
Green parsley, Phyllis, and good store
Of ivy too
(Wreathed ivy suits your hair, you know)
The plate shines bright: the altar, strewn
With vervain, hungers for the flow
Of lambkin’s blood.
There’s stir among the serving folk;
They bustle, bustle, boy and girl;
The flickering flames send up the smoke
In many a curl.
But why, you ask, this special cheer?
We celebrate the feast of Ides,
Which April’s month, to Venus dear,
In twain divides.
O, ’tis a day for reverence,
E’en my own birthday scarce so dear,
For my Maecenas counts from thence
Each added year.
’Tis Telephus that you’d bewitch:
But he is of a high degree;
Bound to a lady fair and rich,
He is not free.
O think of Phaethon half burn’d,
And moderate your passion’s greed:
Think how Bellerophon was spurn’d
By his wing’d steed.
So learn to look for partners meet,
Shun lofty things, nor raise your aims
Above your fortune. Come then, sweet,
My last of flames
(For never shall another fair
Enslave me), learn a tune, to sing
With that dear voice: to music care
Shall yield its sting.
Jam VERIS COMITES.
The gales of Thrace, that hush
the unquiet sea,
Spring’s comrades, on the bellying canvas blow:
Clogg’d earth and brawling streams alike are free
From winter’s weight of snow.
Wailing her Itys in that sad, sad strain,
Builds the poor bird, reproach to after time
Of Cecrops’ house, for bloody vengeance ta’en
On foul barbaric crime.
The keepers of fat lambkins chant their loves
To silvan reeds, all in the grassy lea,
And pleasure Him who tends the flocks and groves
Of dark-leaved Arcady.
It is a thirsty season, Virgil mine:
But would you taste the grape’s Calenian juice,
Client of noble youths, to earn your wine
Some nard you must produce.
A tiny box of nard shall bring to light
The cask that in Sulpician cellar lies:
O, it can give new hopes, so fresh and bright,
And gladden gloomy eyes.
You take the bait? then come without delay
And bring your ware: be sure, ’tis not my plan
To let you drain my liquor and not pay,
As might some wealthy man.
Come, quit those covetous thoughts, those knitted brows,
Think on the last black embers, while you may,
And be for once unwise. When time allows,
’Tis sweet the fool to play.
The gods have heard, the gods
have heard my prayer;
Yes, Lyce! you are growing old, and still
You struggle to look fair;
You drink, and dance, and trill
Your songs to youthful Love, in accents weak
With wine, and age, and passion. Youthful Love!
He dwells in Chia’s cheek,
And hears her harp-strings move.
Rude boy, he flies like lightning o’er the heath
Past wither’d trees like you; you’re wrinkled now;
The white has left your teeth
And settled on your brow.
Your Coan silks, your jewels bright as stars,
Ah no! they bring not back the days of old,
In public calendars
By flying Time enroll’d.
Where now that beauty? where those movements? where
That colour? what of her, of her is left,
Who, breathing Love’s own air,
Me of myself bereft,
Who reign’d in Cinara’s stead, a fair, fair face,
Queen of sweet arts? but Fate to Cinara gave
A life of little space;
And now she cheats the grave
Of Lyce, spared to raven’s length of days,
That youth may see, with laughter and disgust,
A fire-brand, once ablaze,
Now smouldering in grey dust.
QUAE Cura Patrum.
What honours can a grateful Rome,
A grateful senate, Caesar, give
To make thy worth through days to come
Emblazon’d on our records live,
Mightiest of chieftains whomsoe’er
The sun beholds from heaven on high?
They know thee now, thy strength in war,
Those unsubdued Vindelici.
Thine was the sword that Drusus drew,
When on the Breunian hordes he fell,
And storm’d the fierce Genaunian crew
E’en in their Alpine citadel,
And paid them back their debt twice told;
’Twas then the elder Nero came
To conflict, and in ruin roll’d
Stout Raetian kernes of giant frame.
O, ’twas a gallant sight to see
The shocks that beat upon the brave
Who chose to perish and be free!
As south winds scourge the rebel wave
When through rent clouds the Pleiads weep,
So keen his force to smite, and smite
The foe, or make his charger leap
Through the red furnace of the fight.
Thus Daunia’s ancient river fares,
Proud Aufidus, with bull-like horn,
When swoln with choler he prepares
A deluge for the fields of corn.
So Claudius charged and overthrew
The grim barbarian’s mail-clad host,
The foremost and the hindmost slew,
And conquer’d all, and nothing lost.
The force, the forethought, were thine own,
Thine own the gods. The selfsame day
When, port and palace open thrown,
Low at thy footstool Egypt lay,
That selfsame day, three lustres gone,
Another victory to thine hand
Was given; another field was won
By grace of Caesar’s high command.
Thee Spanish tribes, unused to yield,
Of battles fought I
fain had told,
And conquer’d towns, when Phoebus smote
His harp-string: “Sooth, ’twere over-bold
To tempt wide seas in that frail boat.”
Thy age, great Caesar, has restored
To squalid fields the plenteous grain,
Given back to Rome’s almighty Lord
Our standards, torn from Parthian fane,
Has closed Quirinian Janus’ gate,
Wild passion’s erring walk controll’d,
Heal’d the foul plague-spot of the state,
And brought again the life of old,
Life, by whose healthful power increased
The glorious name of Latium spread
To where the sun illumes the east
From where he seeks his western bed.
While Caesar rules, no civil strife
Shall break our rest, nor violence rude,
Nor rage, that whets the slaughtering knife
And plunges wretched towns in feud.
The sons of Danube shall not scorn
The Julian edicts; no, nor they
By Tanais’ distant river born,
Nor Persia, Scythia, or Cathay.
And we on feast and working-tide,
While Bacchus’ bounties freely flow,
Our wives and children at our side,
First paying Heaven the prayers we owe,
Shall sing of chiefs whose deeds are done,
As wont our sires, to flute or shell,
And Troy, Anchises, and the son
Of Venus on our tongues shall dwell.
Phoebus and Dian, huntress fair,
To-day and always magnified,
Bright lights of heaven, accord our prayer
This holy tide,
On which the Sibyl’s volume wills
That youths and maidens without stain
To gods, who love the seven dear hills,
Should chant the strain!
Sun, that unchanged, yet ever new,
Lead’st out the day and bring’st it home,
May nought be present to thy view
More great than Rome!
Blest Ilithyia! be thou near
In travail to each Roman dame!
Lucina, Genitalis, hear,
Whate’er thy name!
O make our youth to live and grow!
The fathers’ nuptial counsels speed,
Those laws that shall on Rome bestow
A plenteous seed!
So when a hundred years and ten
Bring round the cycle, game and song
Three days, three nights, shall charm again
The estranging main.
“The unplumb’d, salt,
And slow Fate quicken’d Death’s once halting pace.
The commentators seem generally to connect Necessitas with Leti; I have preferred to separate them. Necessitas occurs elsewhere in Horace (Book I, Ode 35, v. 17; Book III, Ode 1, v. 14; Ode 24, v. 6) as an independent personage, nearly synonymous with Fate, and I do not see why she should not be represented as accelerating the approach of Death.
I have ventured to model my version of this Ode, to some extent, on Milton’s, “the high-water mark,” as it has been termed, “which Horatian translation has attained.” I have not, however, sought to imitate his language, feeling that the attempt would be presumptuous in itself, and likely to create a sense of incongruity with the style of the other Odes.
Who with pared nails encounter youths in fight.
I like Ritter’s interpretation of sectis, cut sharp, better than the common one, which supposes the paring of the nails to denote that the attack is not really formidable. Sectis will then be virtually equivalent to Bentley’s strictis. Perhaps my translation is not explicit enough.
And search for wreaths the olive’s rifled bower.
Undique decerptam I take, with Bentley, to mean “plucked on all hands,” i. e. exhausted as a topic of poetical treatment. He well compares Lucretius, Book I, v. 927—
novas decerpere flores,
Insignemque meo capiti petere inde coronam
Unde prius nulli velarint tempora Musae.”
’Tis Teucer leads, ’tis Teucer breathes the wind.
If I have slurred over the Latin, my excuse must be that the precise meaning of the Latin is difficult to catch. Is Teucer called auspex, as taking the auspices, like an augur, or as giving the auspices, like a god? There are objections to both interpretations; a Roman imperator was not called auspex, though he was attended by an auspex, and was said to have the auspicia; auspex is frequently used of one who, as we should say, inaugurates an undertaking, but only if he is a god or a deified mortal. Perhaps Horace himself oscillated between the two meanings; his later commentators do not appear to have distinguished them.
Since this Ode was printed off, I find that my last stanza bears a suspicious likeness to the version by “C. S. C.” I cannot say whether it is a case of mere coincidence, or of unconscious recollection; it certainly is not one of deliberate appropriation. I have only had the opportunity of seeing his book at distant intervals; and now, on finally comparing his translations with my own, I find that, while there are a few resemblances, there are several marked instances of dissimilarity, where, though we have adopted the same metre, we do not approach each other in the least.
for your dames divide
On peaceful lyre the several parts of song.
I have taken feminis with divides, but it is quite possible that Orelli may be right in constructing it with grata. The case is really one of those noticed in the Preface, where an interpretation which would not commend itself to a commentator may be adopted by a poetical translator simply as a free rendering.
There is no warrant in the original for representing this person as a guest of the company; but the Ode is equally applicable to a tavern party, where all share alike, and an entertainment where there is a distinction between hosts and guests.
I have translated this Ode as it stands, without attempting to decide whether it is dialogue or monologue. Perhaps the opinion which supposes it to be spoken by Horace in his own person, as if he had actually perished in the shipwreck alluded to in Book III, Ode 4, v. 27, “Me... non exstinxit... Sicula Palinurus unda,” deserves more attention than it has received.
Methinks I hear of leaders proud.
Horace supposes himself to hear not the leaders themselves, but Pollio’s recitation of their exploits. There is nothing weak in this, as Orelli thinks. Horace has not seen Pollio’s work, but compliments him by saying that he can imagine what its finest passages will be like—“I can fancy how you will glow in your description of the great generals, and of Cato.” Possibly “Non indecoro pulvere sordidos” may refer to the deaths of the republican generals, whom old recollections would lead Horace to admire. We may then compare Ode 7 of this Book, v. 11—
“Cum fracta virtus,
Turpe solum tetigere mento,”
where, as will be seen, I agree with Ritter, against Orelli, in supposing death in battle rather than submission to be meant, though Horace, writing from a somewhat different point of view, has chosen there to speak of the vanquished as dying ingloriously.
Where poplar pale and pine-tree high.
I have translated according to the common reading “Qua pinus ... et obliquo,” without stopping to inquire whether it is sufficiently supported by MSS. Those who with Orelli prefer “Quo pinus ... quid obliquo,” may substitute—
Know you why pine and
Their hospitable shadows spread
Entwined? why panting waters try
To hurry down their zigzag bed?
A man of peace.
Quiritem is generally understood of a citizen with rights undiminished. I have interpreted it of a civilian opposed to a soldier, as in the well-known story in Suetonius (Caes. c. 70), where Julius Caesar takes the tenth legion at their word, and intimates that they are disbanded by the simple substitution of Quirites for milites in his speech to them. But it may very well include both.
In sacred awe the silent
Attend on each.
digna silentio:’ digna eo silentio quod
Not though three hundred bullocks
I have at last followed Ritter in taking trecenos as loosely put for 365, a steer for each day in the year. The hyperbole, as he says, would otherwise be too extravagant. And richer spilth the pavement stain.
“Our vaults have wept
With drunken spilth of wine.”
Shakespeare, Timon of Athens.
Suns are hurrying suns a-west,
And newborn moons make speed to meet their end.
The thought seems to be that the rapid course of time, hurrying men to the grave, proves the wisdom of contentment and the folly of avarice. My version formerly did not express this, and I have altered it accordingly, while I have rendered “Novaeque pergunt interire lunae” closely, as Horace may perhaps have intended to speak of the moons as hastening to their graves as men do.
Yet no hall
that wealth e’er plann’d
Waits you more surely than the wider room
Traced by Death’s yet greedier hand.
Fine is the instrumental ablative constructed with destinata, which is itself an ablative agreeing with aula understood. The rich man looks into the future, and makes contracts which he may never live to see executed (v. 17—“Tu secanda marmora Locas sub ipsum funus"); meantime Death, more punctual than any contractor, more greedy than any encroaching proprietor, has planned with his measuring line a mansion of a different kind, which will infallibly be ready when the day arrives.
whom you call
Your friend, Maecenas.
With Ritter I have rendered according to the interpretation which makes dilecte Maecenas’ address to Horace; but it is a choice of evils.
lords of land
Affect the sea.
Terrae of course goes with fastidiosus, not with dominus. Mine is a loose rendering, not a false interpretation.
Her robes she keeps unsullied still.
The meaning is not that worth is not disgraced by defeat in contests for worldly honours, but that the honours which belong to worth are such as the worthy never fail to attain, such as bring no disgrace along with them, and such as the popular breath can neither confer nor resume.
True men and thieves
Neglected Justice oft confounds.
“The thieves have bound
the true men.”
Shakespeare, Henry IV, Act ii. Scene 2;
where see Steevens’ note.
No more the adulterous guest can
The Spartan queen.
I have followed Ritter in constructing Lacaenae adulterae as a dative with splendet; but I have done so as a poetical translator rather than as a commentator.
Or if a graver note
With Phoebus’ cittern and his lyre.
I have followed Horace’s sense, not his words. I believe, with Ritter, that the alternative is between the pipe as accompanying the vox acuta, and the cithara or lyre as accompanying the vox gravis. Horace has specified the vox acuta, and left the vox gravis to be inferred; I have done just the reverse.
Me, as I lay on Vultur’s steep.
In this and the two following stanzas I have paraphrased Horace, with a view to bring out what appears to be his sense. There is, I think, a peculiar force in the word fabulosae, standing as it does at the very opening of the stanza, in close connection with me, and thus bearing the weight of all the intervening words till the very end, where its noun, palumbes, is introduced at last. Horace says in effect, “I, too, like other poets, have a legend of my infancy.” Accordingly I have thrown the gossip of the country-side into the form of an actual speech. Whether I am justified in heightening the marvellous by making the stock-doves actually crown the child, instead of merely laying branches upon him, I am not so sure; but something more seems to be meant than the covering of leaves, which the Children in the Wood, in our own legend, receive from the robin.
the leafy growth
Of Lycia next his native wood.
Some of my predecessors seem hardly to distinguish between the Lyciae dumeta and the natalem silvam of Delos, Apollo’s attachment to both of which warrants the two titles Delius et Patareus. I knew no better way of marking the distinction within the compass of a line and a half than by making Apollo exhibit a preference where Horace speaks of his likings as co-ordinate.
Strength mix’d with mind is made more strong.
“Mixed” is not meant as a precise translation of temperatam, chastened or restrained, though “to mix” happens to be one of the shades of meaning of temperare.
The fields we spoil’d with corn are green.
The later editors are right in not taking Marte nostro with coli as well as with populata. As has been remarked to me, the pride of the Roman is far more forcibly expressed by the complaint that the enemy have been able to cultivate fields that Rome has ravaged than by the statement that Roman captives have been employed to cultivate the fields they had ravaged as invaders. The latter proposition, it is true, includes the former; but the new matter draws off attention from the old, and so weakens it.
Who once to faithless foes has knelt.
“Knelt” is not strictly accurate, expressing Bentley’s dedidit rather than the common, and doubtless correct, text, credidit.
And, girt by friends that mourn’d
* * *
The press of kin he push’d apart.
I had originally reversed amicos and propinquos, supposing it to be indifferent which of them was used in either stanza. But a friend has pointed out to me that a distinction is probably intended between the friends who attended Regulus and the kinsmen who sought to prevent his going.
Lay down that load of state-concern.
I have translated generally; but Horace’s meaning is special, referring to Maecenas’ office of prefect of the city.
Buttmann complains of the editors for specifying the interlocutors as Horace and Lydia, which he thinks as incongruous as if in an English amoebean ode Collins were to appear side by side with Phyllis. The remark may be just as affects the Latin, though Ode 19 of the present Book, and Odes 33 and 36 of Book I, might be adduced to show that Horace does not object to mixing Latin and Greek names in the same poem; but it does not apply to a translation, where to the English reader’s apprehension Horace and Lydia will seem equally real, equally fanciful.
Lamia was doubtless vain of his pedigree; Horace accordingly banters him good-humouredly by spending two stanzas out of four in giving him his proper ancestral designation. To shorten the address by leaving out a stanza, as some critics and some translators have done, is simply to rob Horace’s trifle of its point.
There is something harsh in the expression of the fourth stanza of this Ode in the Latin. Tentare cannot stand without an object, and to connect it, as the commentators do, with deos is awkward. I was going to remark that possibly some future Bentley would conjecture certare, or litare, when I found that certare had been anticipated by Peerlkamp, who, if not a Bentley, was a Bentleian. But it would not be easy to account for the corruption, as the fact that the previous line begins with cervice would rather have led to the change of tentare into certare than vice versa.
Necessity but drive
Her wedge of adamant into that proud head.
I have translated this difficult passage nearly as it stands, not professing to decide whether tops of buildings or human heads are meant. Either is strange till explained; neither seems at present to be supported by any exact parallel in ancient literature or ancient art. Necessity with her nails has met us before in Ode 35 of Book I, and Orelli describes an Etruscan work of art where she is represented with that cognizance; but though the nail is an appropriate emblem of fixity, we are apparently not told where it is to be driven. The difficulty here is further complicated by the following metaphor of the noose, which seems to be a new and inconsistent image.
Nor gaze on Tibur, never dried.
With Ritter I have connected semper udum (an interpretation first suggested by Tate, who turned ne into ut); but I do not press it as the best explanation of the Latin. The general effect of the stanza is the same either way.
Those piles, among the clouds at home.
I have understood molem generally of the buildings of Rome, not specially of Maecenas’ tower. The parallel passage in Virg. Aen. i. 421—
molem Aeneas, magalia quondam,
Miratur portas strepitumque et strata viarum”—
is in favour of the former view.
What once the flying hour has brought.
I have followed Ritter doubtfully. Compare Virg. Georg. i. 461,—
“Quid vesper serus vehat.”
Shall waft my little boat ashore.
I have hardly brought out the sense of the Latin with sufficient clearness. Horace says that if adversity comes upon him he shall accept it, and be thankful for what is left him, like a trader in a tempest, who, instead of wasting time in useless prayers for the safety of his goods, takes at once to the boat and preserves his life.
Before your train.
I had written “And gifts bestow at every fane;” but Ritter is doubtless right in explaining dabimus tura of the burning of incense in the streets during the procession. About the early part of the stanza I am less confident; but the explanation which makes Antonius take part in the procession as praetor, the reading adopted being Tuque dum procedis, is perhaps the least of evils.
On soft AEolian airs his fame shall nourish.
Horace evidently means that the scenery of Tibur contributes to the formation of lyric genius. It is Wordsworth’s doctrine in the germ; though, if the author had been asked what it involved, perhaps he would not have gone further than Ritter, who resolves it all into the conduciveness of a pleasant retreat to successful composition.
I have deranged the symmetry of the two opening similes, making the eagle the subject of the sentence in the first, the kid in the second, an awkwardness which the Latin is able to avoid by its power of distinguishing cases by inflexion. I trust, however, that it will not offend an English reader.
in every field
Horace seems to allude jokingly to some unseasonable inquiry into the antiquity of the armour of these Alpine tribes, which had perhaps been started by some less skilful celebrator of the victory; at the same time that he gratifies his love of lyrical commonplace by a parenthetical digression in the style of Pindar.
And watchful potencies
For them the tangled paths of war.
On the whole, Ritter seems right, after Acron, in understanding curae sagaces of the counsels of Augustus, whom Horace compliments similarly in the Fourteenth Ode of this Book, as the real author of his step-son’s victories. He is certainly right in giving the stanza to Horace, not to Hannibal. Even a courtly or patriotic Roman would have shrunk from the bad taste of making the great historical enemy of Italy conclude his lamentation over his own and his country’s deep sorrow by a flattering prophecy of the greatness of his antagonist’s family.
’Twixt worth and baseness,
lapp’d in death,
I believe I have expressed Horace’s meaning, though he has chosen to express himself as if the two things compared were dead worthlessness and uncelebrated worth. By fixing the epithet sepultae to inertiae he doubtless meant to express that the natural and appropriate fate of worthlessness was to be dead, buried, and forgotten. But the context shows that he was thinking of the effect of death and its consequent oblivion on worth and worthlessness alike, and contending that the poet alone could remedy the undiscriminating and unjust award of destiny. Throughout the first half of the Ode, however, Horace has rather failed to mark the transitions of thought. He begins by assuring himself and, by implication, those whom he celebrates, of immortality, on the ground that the greatest poets are not the only poets; he then exchanges this thought for another, doubtless suggested by it, that the heroes of poetry are not the only heroes, though the very fact that there have been uncelebrated heroes is used to show that celebration by a poet is everything.
Or bear your banners
through the fight,
Scattering the Joemari’s firm array.
It seems, on the whole, simpler to understand this of actual victories obtained by Lollius as a commander, than of moral victories obtained by him as a judge. There is harshness in passing abruptly from the judgment-seat to the battle-field; but to speak of the judgment-seat as itself the battle-field would, I think, be harsher still.
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