Can shiver rocks with more resistless blow
Than is the thunder’s. Argos’ prophet fell,
He and his house laid low,
And all for gain. The man of Macedon
Cleft gates of cities, rival kings o’erthrew
By force of gifts: their cunning snares have won
Rude captains and their crew.
As riches grow, care follows: men repine
And thirst for more. No lofty crest I raise:
Wisdom that thought forbids, Maecenas mine,
The knightly order’s praise.
He that denies himself shall gain the more
From bounteous Heaven. I strip me of my pride,
Desert the rich man’s standard, and pass o’er
To bare Contentment’s side,
More proud as lord of what the great despise
Than if the wheat thresh’d on Apulia’s floor
I hoarded all in my huge granaries,
’Mid vast possessions poor.
A clear fresh stream, a little field o’ergrown
With shady trees, a crop that ne’er deceives,
Pass, though men know it not, their wealth, that own
All Afric’s golden sheaves.
Though no Calabrian bees their honey yield
For me, nor mellowing sleeps the god of wine
In Formian jar, nor in Gaul’s pasture-field
The wool grows long and fine,
Yet Poverty ne’er comes to break my peace;
If more I craved, you would not more refuse.
Desiring less, I better shall increase
My tiny revenues,
Than if to Alyattes’ wide domains
I join’d the realms of Mygdon. Great desires
Sort with great wants. ’Tis best, when prayer obtains
No more than life requires.
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.