The Odes and Carmen Saeculare of Horace eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 91 pages of information about The Odes and Carmen Saeculare of Horace.

     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.

VI.

DELICTA MAJORUM.

     Your fathers’ 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

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The Odes and Carmen Saeculare of Horace from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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