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.