Turn haughty eyes from bribes away,
Or bear your banners through the fight,
Scattering the foeman’s firm array.
The lord of boundless revenues,
Salute not him as happy: no,
Call him the happy, who can use
The bounty that the gods bestow,
Can bear the load of poverty,
And tremble not at death, but sin:
No recreant he when called to die
In cause of country or of kin.
EST MIHI NONUM.
Here is a cask of Alban, more
Than nine years old: here grows
Green parsley, Phyllis, and good store
Of ivy too
(Wreathed ivy suits your hair, you know)
The plate shines bright: the altar, strewn
With vervain, hungers for the flow
Of lambkin’s blood.
There’s stir among the serving folk;
They bustle, bustle, boy and girl;
The flickering flames send up the smoke
In many a curl.
But why, you ask, this special cheer?
We celebrate the feast of Ides,
Which April’s month, to Venus dear,
In twain divides.
O, ’tis a day for reverence,
E’en my own birthday scarce so dear,
For my Maecenas counts from thence
Each added year.
’Tis Telephus that you’d bewitch:
But he is of a high degree;
Bound to a lady fair and rich,
He is not free.
O think of Phaethon half burn’d,
And moderate your passion’s greed:
Think how Bellerophon was spurn’d
By his wing’d steed.
So learn to look for partners meet,
Shun lofty things, nor raise your aims
Above your fortune. Come then, sweet,
My last of flames
(For never shall another fair
Enslave me), learn a tune, to sing
With that dear voice: to music care
Shall yield its sting.
Jam VERIS COMITES.
The gales of Thrace, that hush
the unquiet sea,
Spring’s comrades, on the bellying canvas blow:
Clogg’d earth and brawling streams alike are free
From winter’s weight of snow.
Wailing her Itys in that sad, sad strain,
Builds the poor bird, reproach to after time
Of Cecrops’ house, for bloody vengeance ta’en
On foul barbaric crime.
The keepers of fat lambkins chant their loves
To silvan reeds, all in the grassy lea,
And pleasure Him who tends the flocks and groves
Of dark-leaved Arcady.
It is a thirsty season, Virgil mine:
But would you taste the grape’s Calenian juice,
Client of noble youths, to earn your wine
Some nard you must produce.
A tiny box of nard shall bring to light
The cask that in Sulpician cellar lies:
O, it can give new hopes, so fresh and bright,
And gladden gloomy eyes.
You take the bait? then come without delay
And bring your ware: be sure, ’tis not my plan
To let you drain my liquor and not pay,
As might some wealthy man.
Come, quit those covetous thoughts, those knitted brows,
Think on the last black embers, while you may,
And be for once unwise. When time allows,
’Tis sweet the fool to play.