Acknowledge, sword at once and shield
Of Italy and queenly Rome.
Ister to thee, and Tanais fleet,
And Nile that will not tell his birth,
To thee the monstrous seas that beat
On Britain’s coast, the end of earth,
To thee the proud Iberians bow,
And Gauls, that scorn from death to flee;
The fierce Sygambrian bends his brow,
And drops his arms to worship thee
Of battles fought I
fain had told,
And conquer’d towns, when Phoebus smote
His harp-string: “Sooth, ’twere over-bold
To tempt wide seas in that frail boat.”
Thy age, great Caesar, has restored
To squalid fields the plenteous grain,
Given back to Rome’s almighty Lord
Our standards, torn from Parthian fane,
Has closed Quirinian Janus’ gate,
Wild passion’s erring walk controll’d,
Heal’d the foul plague-spot of the state,
And brought again the life of old,
Life, by whose healthful power increased
The glorious name of Latium spread
To where the sun illumes the east
From where he seeks his western bed.
While Caesar rules, no civil strife
Shall break our rest, nor violence rude,
Nor rage, that whets the slaughtering knife
And plunges wretched towns in feud.
The sons of Danube shall not scorn
The Julian edicts; no, nor they
By Tanais’ distant river born,
Nor Persia, Scythia, or Cathay.
And we on feast and working-tide,
While Bacchus’ bounties freely flow,
Our wives and children at our side,
First paying Heaven the prayers we owe,
Shall sing of chiefs whose deeds are done,
As wont our sires, to flute or shell,
And Troy, Anchises, and the son
Of Venus on our tongues shall dwell.
Phoebus and Dian, huntress fair,
To-day and always magnified,
Bright lights of heaven, accord our prayer
This holy tide,
On which the Sibyl’s volume wills
That youths and maidens without stain
To gods, who love the seven dear hills,
Should chant the strain!
Sun, that unchanged, yet ever new,
Lead’st out the day and bring’st it home,
May nought be present to thy view
More great than Rome!
Blest Ilithyia! be thou near
In travail to each Roman dame!
Lucina, Genitalis, hear,
Whate’er thy name!
O make our youth to live and grow!
The fathers’ nuptial counsels speed,
Those laws that shall on Rome bestow
A plenteous seed!
So when a hundred years and ten
Bring round the cycle, game and song
Three days, three nights, shall charm again