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- Odes and Carmen Saeculare of Horace - 6/26 -


On harp or flute wilt thou proclaim? What god shall echo's voice repeat In mocking game To Helicon's sequester'd shade, Or Pindus, or on Haemus chill, Where once the hurrying woods obey'd The minstrel's will, Who, by his mother's gift of song, Held the fleet stream, the rapid breeze, And led with blandishment along The listening trees? Whom praise we first? the Sire on high, Who gods and men unerring guides, Who rules the sea, the earth, the sky, Their times and tides. No mightier birth may He beget; No like, no second has He known; Yet nearest to her sire's is set Minerva's throne. Nor yet shall Bacchus pass unsaid, Bold warrior, nor the virgin foe Of savage beasts, nor Phoebus, dread With deadly bow. Alcides too shall be my theme, And Leda's twins, for horses be, He famed for boxing; soon as gleam Their stars at sea, The lash'd spray trickles from the steep, The wind sinks down, the storm-cloud flies, The threatening billow on the deep Obedient lies. Shall now Quirinus take his turn, Or quiet Numa, or the state Proud Tarquin held, or Cato stern, By death made great? Ay, Regulus and the Scaurian name, And Paullus, who at Cannae gave His glorious soul, fair record claim, For all were brave. Thee, Furius, and Fabricius, thee, Rough Curius too, with untrimm'd beard, Your sires' transmitted poverty To conquest rear'd. Marcellus' fame, its up-growth hid, Springs like a tree; great Julius' light Shines, like the radiant moon amid The lamps of night. Dread Sire and Guardian of man's race, To Thee, O Jove, the Fates assign Our Caesar's charge; his power and place Be next to Thine. Whether the Parthian, threatening Rome, His eagles scatter to the wind, Or follow to their eastern home Cathay and Ind, Thy second let him rule below: Thy car shall shake the realms above; Thy vengeful bolts shall overthrow Each guilty grove.

XIII.

CUM TU, LYDIA.

Telephus--you praise him still, His waxen arms, his rosy-tinted neck; Ah! and all the while I thrill With jealous pangs I cannot, cannot check. See, my colour comes and goes, My poor heart flutters, Lydia, and the dew, Down my cheek soft stealing, shows What lingering torments rack me through and through. Oh, 'tis agony to see Those snowwhite shoulders scarr'd in drunken fray, Or those ruby lips, where he Has left strange marks, that show how rough his play! Never, never look to find A faithful heart in him whose rage can harm Sweetest lips, which Venus kind Has tinctured with her quintessential charm. Happy, happy, happy they Whose living love, untroubled by all strife, Binds them till the last sad day, Nor parts asunder but with parting life!

XIV

O NAVIS, REFERENT,

O LUCKLESS bark! new waves will force you back To sea. O, haste to make the haven yours! E'en now, a helpless wrack, You drift, despoil'd of oars; The Afric gale has dealt your mast a wound; Your sailyards groan, nor can your keel sustain, Till lash'd with cables round, A more imperious main. Your canvass hangs in ribbons, rent and torn; No gods are left to pray to in fresh need. A pine of Pontus born Of noble forest breed, You boast your name and lineage--madly blind! Can painted timbers quell a seaman's fear? Beware! or else the wind Makes you its mock and jeer. Your trouble late made sick this heart of mine, And still I love you, still am ill at ease. O, shun the sea, where shine The thick-sown Cyclades!

XV.

PASTOR CUM TRAHERET.

When the false swain was hurrying o'er the deep His Spartan hostess in the Idaean bark, Old Nereus laid the unwilling winds asleep, That all to Fate might hark, Speaking through him:--"Home in ill hour you take A prize whom Greece shall claim with troops untold, Leagued by an oath your marriage tie to break And Priam's kingdom old. Alas! what deaths you launch on Dardan realm! What toils are waiting, man and horse to tire! See! Pallas trims her aegis and her helm, Her chariot and her ire. Vainly shall you, in Venus' favour strong, Your tresses comb, and for your dames divide On peaceful lyre the several parts of song; Vainly in chamber hide From spears and Gnossian arrows, barb'd with fate, And battle's din, and Ajax in the chase Unconquer'd; those adulterous locks, though late, Shall gory dust deface. Hark! 'tis the death-cry of your race! look back! Ulysses comes, and Pylian Nestor grey; See! Salaminian Teucer on your track, And Sthenelus, in the fray Versed, or with whip and rein, should need require, No laggard. Merion too your eyes shall know From far. Tydides, fiercer than his sire, Pursues you, all aglow; Him, as the stag forgets to graze for fright, Seeing the wolf at distance in the glade, And flies, high panting, you shall fly, despite Boasts to your leman made. What though Achilles' wrathful fleet postpone The day of doom to Troy and Troy's proud dames, Her towers shall fall, the number'd winters flown, Wrapp'd in Achaean flames."

XVI.

O MATRE PULCHRA.

O lovelier than the lovely dame That bore you, sentence as you please Those scurril verses, be it flame Your vengeance craves, or Hadrian seas. Not Cybele, nor he that haunts Rich Pytho, worse the brain confounds, Not Bacchus, nor the Corybants Clash their loud gongs with fiercer sounds Than savage wrath; nor sword nor spear Appals it, no, nor ocean's frown, Nor ravening fire, nor Jupiter In hideous ruin crashing down. Prometheus, forced, they say, to add To his prime clay some favourite part From every kind, took lion mad, And lodged its gall in man's poor heart. 'Twas wrath that laid Thyestes low; 'Tis wrath that oft destruction calls On cities, and invites the foe To drive his plough o'er ruin'd walls. Then calm your spirit; I can tell How once, when youth in all my veins Was glowing, blind with rage, I fell On friend and foe in ribald strains. Come, let me change my sour for sweet, And smile complacent as before: Hear me my palinode repeat, And give me back your heart once more.


Odes and Carmen Saeculare of Horace - 6/26

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