E’en in the tomb: not Hannibal’s swift flight,
Nor those fierce threats flung back into his face,
Not impious Carthage in its last red blaze,
In clearer light sets forth his spotless fame,
Who from crush’d Afric took away—a name,
Than rude Calabria’s tributary lays.
Let silence hide the good your hand has wrought.
Farewell, reward! Had blank oblivion’s power
Dimm’d the bright deeds of Romulus, at this hour,
Despite his sire and mother, he were nought.
Thus Aeacus has ’scaped the Stygian wave,
By grace of poets and their silver tongue,
Henceforth to live the happy isles among.
No, trust the Muse: she opes the good man’s grave,
And lifts him to the gods. So Hercules,
His labours o’er, sits at the board of Jove:
So Tyndareus’ offspring shine as stars above,
Saving lorn vessels from the yawning seas:
So Bacchus, with the vine-wreath round his hair,
Gives prosperous issue to his votary’s prayer.
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