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!