Youth's radiant tide too swiftly rolls away; Now, in its flow, let pleasures round thee bloom; Join the gay dance, awake the melting lay, Ere hoary tresses blossom for the tomb!
Spears, and the Steed, in busy camps impel; And, when the early darkness veils the groves, Amid the leafless boughs let whispers steal, While frolic Beauty seeks the near alcoves.
Soft as thy tip-toe steps the mazes rove, A laugh, half-smother'd, thy pleas'd ear shall meet, And, sportive in the charming wiles of love, Betray the artifice of coy retreat;
And then the ring, or, from her snowy arm, The promis'd bracelet may thy force employ; Her feign'd reluctance, height'ning every charm, Shall add new value to the ravish'd toy.
1: This Ode was probably written at the Country Seat of that Nobleman, near the mountain Soracte, in Tuscany, twenty-six miles from Rome.
BOOK THE FIRST, ODE THE ELEVENTH.
LEUCONOE, cease presumptuous to inquire Of grave Diviner, if successive years Onward shall roll, ere yet the funeral pyre, For thee and me, the hand of Friendship rears! Ah rather meet, with gay and vacant brow, Whatever youth, and time, health, love, and fate allow;
If many winters on the naked trees Drop in our sight the paly wreaths of frost, Or this for us the last, that from the seas Hurls the loud flood on the resounding coast.— Short since thou know'st the longest vital line, Nurse the near hope, and pour the rosy wine.
E'en while we speak our swiftly-passing Youth Stretches its wing to cold Oblivion's shore; Then shall the Future terrify, or sooth, Whose secrets no vain foresight can explore? The Morrow's faithless promise disavow, And seize, thy only boast, the GOLDEN NOW.
BOOK THE FIRST, ODE THE THIRTY-FIRST.
What asks the POET, when he pours His first libation in the Delphic Bowers? Duteous before the altar standing, With lively hope his soul expanding, O! what demands he, when the crimson wine Flows sparkling from the vase, and laves the golden shrine?
Not the rich and swelling grain That yellows o'er Sardinia's isle; Nor snowy herds, slow winding thro' the plain, When warm Calabria's rosy mornings smile; Nor gold, nor gems, that India yields, Nor yet those fair and fertile fields, Which, thro' their flow'ry banks as calm he glides, The silent Liris' azure stream divides.
Let those, for whom kind fortune still Leads lavish tendrils o'er the sloping hill, Let such, with care their vineyard dressing, Their bursting grapes assiduous pressing, Gather, self-gratulant, the costly store, And of the future year propitious suns implore!
May luscious wines, in cups of gold, Oft for the wealthy Merchant flow! Nor let cold Thrift those plenteous draughts withhold That prosperous Commerce shall again bestow. The flowing bowl he safely drains, Since every favouring God ordains That more than once, within the circling year, His prow shall o'er the smooth Atlantic steer.
Me, let tawny olives feed! Me, lenient mallows from the simple mead! Son of Latona, grant the blessing, That, a cloudless mind possessing, And not infirm of frame, in soft decay, Cheer'd by the breathing lyre, my life may pass away!
1: Liris—a beautiful river of remarkably placid current. It rises near Sora, a city of Latium, which it divides from Campania.
2: The Poet deems it a peculiar mark of the favor of the Deities when the Merchant is enabled safely to make repeated voyages in one year through hazardous seas.
TO HIS ATTENDANT.
BOOK THE FIRST, ODE THE THIRTY-EIGHTH.
Boy, not in these Autumnal bowers Shalt thou the Persian Vest dispose, Of artful fold, and rich brocade; Nor tie in gaudy knots the sprays and flowers. Ah! search not where the latest rose Yet lingers in the sunny glade; Plain be the vest, and simple be the braid! I charge thee with the myrtle wreath Not one resplendent bloom entwine; We both become that modest band, As stretch'd my vineyard's ample shade beneath, Jocund I quaff the rosy wine; While near me thou shalt smiling stand, And fill the sparkling cup with ready hand.
BOOK THE SECOND, ODE THE SECOND.
Dark in the Miser's chest, in hoarded heaps, Can Gold, my SALLUST, one true joy bestow, Where sullen, dim, and valueless it sleeps, Whose worth, whose charms, from circulation flow? Ah! then it shines attractive on the thought, Rises, with such resistless influence fraught As puts to flight pale Fear, and Scruple cold, Till Life, e'en Life itself, becomes less dear than Gold.
Rome, of this power aware, thy honor'd name O Proculeius! ardently adores, Since thou didst bid thy ruin'd Brothers claim A filial right in all thy well-earn'd stores.— To make the good deed deathless as the great, Yet fearing for her plumes Icarian fate, This Record, Fame, of precious trust aware, Shall long, on cautious wing, solicitously bear.
And thou, my SALLUST, more complete thy sway, Restraining the insatiate lust of gain, Than should'st thou join, by Conquest's proud essay, Iberian hills to Libya's sandy plain; Than if the Carthage sultry Afric boasts, With that which smiles on Europe's lovelier coasts, Before the Roman arms, led on by thee, Should bow the yielding head, the tributary knee.
See bloated Dropsy added strength acquire As the parch'd lip the frequent draught obtains; Indulgence feeds the never-quench'd desire, That loaths the viand, and the goblet drains. Nor could exhausted floods the thirst subdue Till that dire Cause, which spreads the livid hue O'er the pale Form, with watry languor swell'd, From the polluted veins, by medicine, be expell'd.
Virtue, whate'er the dazzled Vulgar dream, Denies Phraaetes, seated on thy throne, Immortal Cyrus, Joy's internal gleam, And thus she checks the Crowd's mistaken tone; "He, only he, who, calmly passing by, Not once shall turn the pure, unwishing eye On heaps of massy gold, that near him glare, My amaranthine wreath, my diadem shall wear."
1: Penna metuente solvi must surely be allusive to the dissolving pinions of Icarus—and mean, that deeds of private generosity are apt to melt from the recollection of mankind; while those of what is called heroic exertion go down to Posterity. For this idea of the passage the Translator was indebted to a learned Friend.
TO THE HON. THOMAS ERSKINE.
HORACE, BOOK THE SECOND, ODE THE THIRD, IMITATED.
Conscious the mortal stamp is on thy breast, O, ERSKINE! still an equal mind maintain, That wild Ambition ne'er may goad thy rest, Nor Fortune's smile awake thy triumph vain,
Whether thro' toilsome tho' renowned years 'T is thine to trace the Law's perplexing maze, Or win the SACRED SEALS, whose awful cares To high decrees devote thy honor'd days.
Where silver'd Poplars with the stately Pines Mix their thick branches in the summer sky, And the cool stream, whose trembling surface shines, Laboriously oblique, is hurrying by;
There let thy duteous Train the banquet bring, In whose bright cups the liquid ruby flows, As Life's warm season, on expanded wing, Presents her too, too transitory rose;
While every Muse and Grace auspicious wait, As erst thy Handmaids, when, with brow serene, Gay thou didst rove where Buxton views elate A golden Palace deck her savage scene.
At frequent periods woo th' inspiring Band Before thy days their summer-course have run, While, with clos'd shears, the fatal Sisters stand, Nor aim to cut the brilliant thread they spun.
Precarious Tenant of that gay Retreat, Fann'd by pure gales on Hampstead's airy downs, Where filial troops for thee delighted wait, And their fair Mother's smile thy banquet crowns!
Precarious Tenant!—shortly thou may'st leave These, and propitious Fortune's golden hoard; Then spare not thou the stores, that shall receive, When set thy orb, a less illustrious Lord.
What can it then avail thee that thy pleas Charm'd every ear with TULLY's periods bland? Or that the subject Passions they could seize, And with the thunder of the GREEK command?
What can it then avail thee that thy fame Threw tenfold lustre on thy noble Line? Since neither birth, nor self-won glory, claim One hour's exemption from the sable shrine.
E'en now thy lot shakes in the Urn, whence Fate Throws her pale edicts in reverseless doom! Each issues in its turn, or soon, or late, And lo! the great Man's prize!—a SILENT TOMB!
1: The Author had the pleasure of passing a fortnight with Mr. and Mrs. Erskine at Buxton in August 1796.
BOOK THE SECOND, ODE THE EIGHTH.
BARINE, to thy always broken vows Were slightest punishment ordain'd; Hadst thou less charming been By one grey hair upon thy polish'd brows; If but a single tooth were stain'd, A nail discolour'd seen, Then might I nurse the hope that, faithful grown, The FUTURE might, at length, the guilty PAST atone.
But ah! no sooner on that perjur'd head, With pomp, the votive wreaths are bound, In mockery of truth, Than lovelier grace thy faithless beauties shed; Thou com'st, with new-born conquest crown'd, The care of all our Youth, Their public care;—and murmur'd praises rise Where'er the beams are shot of those resistless eyes.
Thy Mother's buried dust;—the midnight train, Of silent stars,—the rolling spheres, Each God, that list'ning bows, With thee it prospers, false-One! to profane. The Nymphs attend;—gay Venus hears, And all deride thy vows; And Cupid whets afresh his burning darts On the stone, moist with blood, that dropt from wounded hearts.
For thee our rising Youth to Manhood grow, Ordain'd thy powerful chains to wear; Nor do thy former Slaves From the gay roof of their false Mistress go, Tho' sworn no more to linger there; Triumphant BEAUTY braves The wise resolve;—and, ere they reach the door, Fixes the faltering step to thy magnetic floor.
Thee the sage Matron fears, intent to warn Her Striplings;—thee the Miser dreads, And, of thy power aware, Brides from the Fane with anxious sighs return, Lest the bright nets thy beauty spreads, Their plighted Lords ensnare, Ere fades the marriage torch; nay even now, While undispers'd the breath, that form'd the nuptial vow!
TO TITUS VALGIUS.
BOOK THE SECOND, ODE THE NINTH.
Not ceaseless falls the heavy shower That drenches deep the furrow'd lea; Nor do continual tempests pour On the vex'd Caspian's billowy sea; Nor yet the ice, in silent horror, stands Thro' all the passing months on pale Armenia's Lands.
Fierce storms do not for ever bend The Mountain's vast and labouring oak, Nor from the ash its foliage rend, With ruthless whirl, and widowing stroke; But, Valgius, thou, with grief's eternal lays Mournest thy vanish'd joys in MYSTES' shorten'd days.
When Vesper trembles in the west, Or flies before the orient sun, Rise the lone sorrows of thy breast.— Not thus did aged Nestor shun Consoling strains, nor always sought the tomb, Where sunk his filial Hopes, in life and glory's bloom.
Not thus, the lovely Troilus slain, His Parents wept the Princely Boy; Nor thus his Sisters mourn'd, in vain, The blasted Flower of sinking Troy; Cease, then, thy fond complaints!—Augustus' fame, The new Cesarian wreaths, let thy lov'd voice proclaim!
So shall the listening World be told Medus, and cold Niphates guide, With all their mighty Realms controul'd, Their late proud waves in narrower tide; That in scant space their steeds the Scythians rein, Nor dare transgress the bounds our Victor Arms ordain.
1: This Ode is addressed to his Friend, an illustrious Roman, who had lost a beloved Son. The poetic literature of Titus Valgius is ascertained by the honourable mention made of him by Horace, in his Tenth Satire, Book the First. Valgius, like Sir Brooke Boothby, in these days, had poured forth a train of elegiac Sorrows over the blight of his filial hopes. Horace does not severely reprove these woes, he only wishes they may not be eternal, and that he will, at least, suspend them and share the public joy; for this Ode was composed while the splendid victories, which Augustus had obtained in the East, were recent.
2: The Caspian is a stormy and harbourless Sea—Yet the Poet observes that not even the Caspian is always tempestuous—insinuating, that inevitable as his grief must be for such a loss, it yet ought not to be incessant.
3: The coldness of Armenia is well known, surrounded as it is by the high mountains of Niphates, Taurus, Pariades, Antiaurus, and Ararat, which are always covered with snow.
4: VESPER—alike the Evening and Morning Star—appearing first and remaining last in the Horizon, it ushers in both the Evening and the Dawn. In the first instance it is called Vesper, or Hesperus, in the last Lucifer, or Phospher.
5: Filial Hopes. Antilochus, the Son of Nestor, observing his Father likely to fall in Battle, by the sword of his Adversary, threw himself between the Combatants, and thus sacrificed his own life to preserve that of his Parent.
6: By the Rivers Medus, and Niphates, are meant the Parthians, or Scythians, for they are the same people, and the Armenians. The River Tigris, rising in the cold Mountain, Niphates, Horace gives its name to the Stream, as he does that of Medus to the Euphrates, which Plato asserts to have been formerly so called. Uniting those Rivers in his verse, the Poet means to denote the Roman Conquest over two Enemies widely distant from each other.
7: The Scythians, or Parthians, were a warlike People, famous for their Equestrian prowess, for the speed of their horses, and for the unerring aim of their arrows, shot when flying on full speed. Augustus obliged their King, Phraaetes, not only to restore the Roman Standards and Prisoners, taken many years before, but to withdraw his Troops from Armenia.
TO LICINIUS MURENA.
BOOK THE SECOND, ODE THE TENTH.
Not always, dear Licinius, is it wise On the main Sea to ply the daring Oar; Nor is it safe, from dread of angry Skies, Closely to press on the insidious Shore. To no excess discerning Spirits lean, They feel the blessings of the golden mean; They will not grovel in the squalid cell, Nor seek in princely domes, with envied pomp, to dwell.
The pine, that lifts so high her stately boughs, Writhes in the storms, and bends beneath their might, Innoxious while the loudest tempest blows O'er trees, that boast a less-aspiring height. As the wild fury of the whirlwind pours, With direst ruin fall the loftiest towers; And 't is the mountain's summit that, oblique, From the dense, lurid clouds, the baleful lightnings strike.
A mind well disciplin'd, when Sorrow lours, Not sullenly excludes Hope's smiling rays; Nor, when soft Pleasure boasts of lasting powers, With boundless trust the Promiser surveys. It is the same dread Jove, who thro' the sky Hurls the loud storms, that darken as they fly; And whose benignant hand withdraws the gloom, And spreads rekindling light, in all its living bloom.
To-day the Soul perceives a weight of woe;— A brighter Morrow shall gay thoughts inspire. Does Phoebus always bend the vengeful bow? Wakes he not often the harmonious lyre? Be thou, when Danger scowls in every wave, Watchful, collected, spirited, and brave; But in the sunny sky, the flattering gales, Contract, with steady hand, thy too expanded sails.
1: Licinius Murena was a Patrician of high rank, one of the Brothers of Proculeius, whose fraternal generosity is celebrated in the Ode to Sallust, the ninth of these Paraphrases. The property of Licinius had been confiscated for having borne arms against the second Triumvirate. Upon this confiscation Proculeius divided two thirds of that large fortune, with which the Emperor had rewarded his valor and fidelity in the royal cause, between Licinius, and his adopted Brother, Terentius, whose fortunes had suffered equal wreck on account of the Party he had taken. Horace wrote this Ode soon after the affectionate bounty of Proculeius had restored his Friend to affluence. It breathes a warning spirit towards that turbulent, and ambitious temper, which Horace perceived in this young Nobleman. The Poet, however, has used great address and delicacy, making the reflections not particular but general; and he guards against exciting the soreness People feel from reprehension for their prevailing fault, by censuring with equal freedom the opposite extreme. That kind caution insinuated in this Ode, proved eventually vain, as did also the generosity of the Emperor, who soon after permitted Licinius to be chosen Augur;—probably at the intercession of his Favorite Maecenas, who had married Terentia, a Daughter of that House, and whom Horace calls Licinia in the Ode which is next paraphrased. Upon the election of Licinius to this post of honor, trust, and dignity, we perceive the spirits of Horace greatly elevated; probably as much from the pleasure he knew Maecenas would take in the promotion of his Brother-in-law, as from the attachment himself bore to Licinius. A peculiar air of hilarity shines out in the Ode addressed to Telephus, written the evening on which this Licinius, then newly chosen Augur, gave his first supper to his Friends. The Reader will find it somewhat lavishly paraphrased in the course of this Selection. By the above Ode the Poet seems to have feared the seditious disposition of Licinius:—but when he afterwards strung his lyre to notes of triumph for the honors of his Friend, he little imagined that Friend would finally suffer death for ungratefully conspiring against the Monarch, who had so liberally overlooked his former enmity.
2: Epidemic Diseases were, by the Pagans, believed to be the effect of having offended Apollo. The arrows he shoots among the Greeks in the first Book of the Iliad, produce the Pestilence, which follows the rape of his Priest's Daughter, Chryseis. When we consider the dependence of the human constitution upon the temperate, or intemperate influence of the Sun, the avenging bow of Phoebus appears an obvious allegory;—and since it is in the hours of health that the fine Arts are sought and cultivated, the Sun, under the name of Phoebus, Apollo, &c. is with equal propriety of fable, supposed their Patron, as well as the Avenger of crimes by the infliction of diseases.
BOOK THE SECOND, ODE THE TWELFTH.
Maecenas, I conjure thee cease To wake my harp's enamour'd strings To tones, that fright recumbent Peace, That Pleasure flies on rapid wings!
Slow conquest on Numantia's plain, Or Hannibal, that dauntless stood, Tho' thrice he saw Ausonia's main Redden with Carthaginian blood;
The Lapithae's remorseless pride, Hylaeus' wild inebriate hours; The Giants, who the Gods defied, And shook old Saturn's splendid towers;
These, dear Maecenas, thou should'st paint, Each glory of thy Caesar's reign, In eloquence, that scorns restraint, And sweeter than the Poet's strain;
Show captive Kings, who from the fight Drag at his wheels their galling chain, And the pale lip indignant bite With mutter'd vengeance, wild and vain.
Enraptur'd by Licinia's grace, My Muse would these high themes decline, Charm'd that the heart, the form, the face Of matchless Excellence is thine.
Ah, happy Friend! for whom an eye, Of splendid, and resistless fire, Lays all its pointed arrows by, For the mild gleams of soft desire!
With what gay spirit does she foil The Pedant's meditated hit! What happy archness in her smile! What pointed meaning in her wit!
Her cheek how pure a crimson warms, When with the Nymphs, in circling line, Bending she twines her snowy arms, And dances round Diana's shrine!
Maecenas, would'st not thou exchange The treasures gorgeous Persia pours, The wealth of Phrygia's fertile range, Or warm Arabia's spicy shores,
For one light ringlet of the hair, Which shades thy sweet Licinia's face, In that dear moment when the Fair, In flying from thy fond embrace,
Relenting turns her snowy neck, To meet thy kisses half their way, Or when her feign'd resentments check The ardors thy warm lips convey?
While in her eyes the languid light Betrays a yielding wish to prove, Amid her coy, yet playful flight, The pleasing force of fervent Love;
Or when, in gaily-frolic guise, She snatches her fair self the kiss, E'en at the instant she denies Her Lover the requested bliss.
1: Of that artful caution, which marks the character of Horace, this Ode forms a striking instance. He declines the task appointed by his Patron, that of describing the Italian Wars, because he foresees that in its execution he must either disoblige the Emperor, and his Minister, by speaking too favorably of their Enemies, or offend some Friends, whom he yet retained amongst those, who had exerted themselves against the Caesars. Horace endeavours to soften the effect of this non-compliance by a warm panegyric upon Licinia, the betrothed bride of Maecenas. She is in other places called Terentia. Both these names have affinity to those of her Brothers, Licinius, afterwards Augur, and her adopted Brother, Terentius.
Horace mentions plainly the Numantian Wars, and those with Hannibal, but artfully speaks of those of Brutus, and Cassius, and of the Character of Antony, under fabulous denomination, sufficiently understood by Augustus, and his Minister. Dacier justly observes how easy it is to discern, that by the Lapithae, and Giants, defeated by Hercules on the plains of Thessaly, the Poet means the Armies of Brutus, and Cassius, defeated by Augustus, almost in the same place, at the Battle of Philippi. He concludes also that by Hylaeus is meant Mark Antony, who assumed the name of Bacchus, and ruined himself by his profligate passion for Cleopatra. Another Commentator observes, that as the Giants, and Lapithae, are said to have made the Palace of Saturn shake, so also did Brutus, and Cassius, and afterwards Mark Antony, make all Italy tremble, and that it is Rome itself that Horace would have to be understood by the magnificent Palace of Saturn. Some Critics seek to destroy all the common sense, beauty, and character of this Ode, by denying the allegoric interpretation; and also by insisting that Licinia was the Poet's own Mistress, and not the mistress of his Patron. It had been absurd, and inconceivably unmeaning, if, when he was requested to sing the triumphs of Augustus in the Italian Wars, he should, during the brief mention of them, have adverted to old fables, uniting them, not as a simile, but in a line of continuation with the Numantian, and Carthaginian Wars; unless, beneath those fables, he shadowed forth the Roman Enemies of Augustus.
The idea that Licinia was the Mistress of Horace, has surely little foundation:—for it were strange indeed if he could take pleasure in describing amorous familiarities between Maecenas, and the Person with whom himself was in love. One of these Critics alledges, as the reason why this Lady could not be the destined Bride of Maecenas, that it would have been as indiscreet in him to have admitted Horace to be a witness of his passion for Licinia-Terentia, as it would have been impertinent in the Poet, to have invaded the privacies of his Patron. It is not necessary, from this Ode, to conclude that Horace had witnessed the tender scene he describes. He might, without any hazard of imputed impertinence, venture to paint, from his imagination, the innocently playful endearments of betrothed Lovers. The picture was much more likely to flatter than to disgust the gay, and gallant Maecenas.
2: The Roman Ladies, according to ancient custom, danced with entwined arms, around the Altar of Diana, on the day of her Festival.
BOOK THE SECOND, ODE THE FOURTEENTH.
Alas! my Posthumus, the Years Unpausing glide away; Nor suppliant hands, nor fervent prayers, Their fleeting pace delay; Nor smooth the brow, when furrowing lines descend, Nor from the stoop of Age the faltering Frame defend.
Time goads us on, relentless Sire! On to the shadowy Shape, that stands Terrific on the funeral pyre, Waving the already kindled brands.— Thou canst not slacken this reluctant speed, Tho' still on Pluto's shrine thy Hecatomb should bleed.
Beyond the dim Lake's mournful flood, That skirts the verge of mortal light, He chains the Forms, on earth that stood Proud, and gigantic in their might; That gloomy Lake, o'er whose oblivious tide Kings, Consuls, Pontiffs, Slaves, in ghastly silence glide.
In vain the bleeding field we shun, In vain the loud and whelming wave; And, as autumnal winds come on, And wither'd leaves bestrew the cave, Against their noxious blast, their sullen roar, In vain we pile the hearth, in vain we close the door.
The universal lot ordains We seek the black Cocytus' stream, That languid strays thro' dreary plains, Where cheerless fires perpetual gleam; Where the fell Brides their fruitless toil bemoan, And Sisyphus uprolls the still-returning stone.
Thy tender wife, thy large domain, Soon shalt thou quit, at Fate's command; And of those various trees, that gain Their culture from thy fost'ring hand, The Cypress only shall await thy doom, Follow its short-liv'd Lord, and shade his lonely tomb!
ON HER REFUSING TO ADMIT HIS VISITS.
BOOK THE THIRD, ODE THE TENTH.
Now had you drank cold Tanais' wave, Whose streams the drear vale slowly lave, A barbarous Scythian's Bride, Yet, Lyce, might you grieve to hear Your Lover braves the winds severe, That pierce his aching side.
O listen to the howling groves, That labour o'er your proud alcoves, And hear the jarring door! Mark how the star, at eve that rose, Has brightly glaz'd the settled snows, While every leaf is hoar!
Gay Venus hates this cold disdain;— Cease then its rigors to maintain, That sprightly joys impede, Lest the strain'd cord, with which you bind The freedom of my amorous mind, In rapid whirl recede!
Born of a jocund Tuscan Sire, Did he transmit his ardent fire That, like Ulysses' Queen, His beauteous Daughter still should prove Relentless to the sighs of Love, With frozen heart and mien?—
If nor blue cheek of shivering Swain, Nor yet his richest gifts obtain Your smile, and soft'ning brow; Nor if a faithless Husband's rage For a gay Syren of the stage, And broken nuptial vow;
If weak e'en Jealousy should prove To bend your heart to truer love, Yet pity these my pains, O Nymph, than oaks more hard, and fierce As snakes, that Afric's thickets pierce, Those terrors of the plains!
When heavy falls the pattering shower, And streaming spouts their torrents pour Upon my shrinking head, Not always shall wild Love command These limbs obsequiously to stand Beneath your dropping shed.
TO THE FOUNTAIN OF BLANDUSIA.
BOOK THE THIRD, ODE THE THIRTEENTH.
Nymph of the stream, whose source perpetual pours The living waters thro' the sparkling sand, Cups of bright wine, enwreath'd with summer flowers, For rich libation, round thy brink shall stand, When on the morrow, at thy Bard's decree, A young and spotless Kid is sacrificed to thee.
He, while his brows the primal antlers swell, Conscious of strength, and gay of heart prepares To meet the female, and the foe repel.— In vain he wishes, and in vain he dares! His ardent blood thy pebbly bed shall stain, Till each translucent wave flows crimson to the plain.
In vain shall Sirius shake his fiery hairs O'er thy pure flood, with waving poplars veil'd, For thou, when most his sultry influence glares, Refreshing shade, and cooling draughts shalt yield To all the flocks, that thro' the valley stray, And to the wearied steers, unyok'd at closing day.
Now dear to Fame, sweet Fountain, shalt thou flow, Since to my lyre those breathing shades I sing That crown the hollow rock's incumbent brow, From which thy soft, loquacious waters spring. To vie with streams Aonian be thy pride, As thro' Blandusia's Vale thy silver currents glide!
1: It was common with the Ancients to consecrate Fountains by a sacrifice, and vinous libations, poured from goblets crowned with flowers. Lively imaginations glow over the idea of such a beautiful ceremony.
BOOK THE THIRD, ODE THE NINETEENTH.
The number of the vanish'd years That mark each famous Grecian reign, This night, my Telephus, appears Thy solemn pleasure to explain;
Or else assiduously to dwell, In conscious eloquence elate, On those who conquer'd, those who fell At sacred Troy's devoted gate.
But at what price the cask, so rare, Of luscious chian may be ours, Who shall the tepid baths prepare, And who shall strew the blooming flowers;
Beneath what roof we next salute, And when shall smile these gloomy skies, Thy wondrous eloquence is mute, Nor here may graver topics rise.—
Fill a bright bumper,—to the Moon! She's new!—auspicious be her birth! One to the Midnight!—'t is our noon Of jocund thought, and festal mirth!
And one to him, for whom the feasts This night are held with poignant gust, MURENA, whom his Rome invests With solemn honors, sacred trust!
Kind omens shall his voice convey, That may each rising care beguile; Propitious fled the Birds to-day? Will Love be ours, and Fortune smile?—
Arrange the cups of various size, The least containing bumpers three, And nine the rest.—Come, no disguise! Nor yet constraint, the choice is free!
All but the BARD's—the bowl of nine He is, in duty, bound to fill; The Muses number to decline Were treason at Aonia's hill.
For here the Sisters shall preside, So they allow us leave to laugh; Unzon'd the Graces round us glide, While we the liquid ruby quaff.
Yet they, in kind and guardian care, Dreading left wild inebriate glee With broils disturb our light career, Would stint us to their number, three.
Away ye Prudes!—the caution wise Becomes not this convivial hour, That every dull restraint defies, And laughs at all their frigid power.—
Thou say'st I rave;—and true thou say'st, Nor must thou check the flowing vein, For sprightly nonsense suits him best Whom grave reflection leads to pain.
Why mute the pipe's enlivening note? Why sleeps the charming lyre so long? O! let their strains around us float, Mix'd with the sweet and jocund song!
And lavish be the roses strewn! Ye flutes, ye lyres, exulting breathe! The festal Hour disdains to own The mournful note, the niggard wreath.
Old Lycon, with the venal Fair, Who courts yet hates his vile embrace, Our lively strains shall muttering hear, While Envy pales each sullen face:
THOU, with thy dark luxuriant hair, Thou, Telephus, as Hesper bright, Thou art accomplish'd Chloe's care, Whose glance is Love's delicious light.
Thy utmost wish the Fair-One crowns, And thy calm'd heart may well pursue The paths of knowledge;—Lyce frowns, And I, distasteful, shun their view.
From themes, that wake the powers of mind, The wounded Spirit sick'ning turns; To those be then this hour consign'd, That Mirth approves, tho' Wisdom spurns.
They shall disarm my Lyce's frown, The frolic jest, the lively strain, In flowing bowls, shall gaily drown The memory of her cold disdain.
1: At the feast, held in honor of Licinius Murena having been chosen Augur, Horace endeavours to turn the conversation towards gayer subjects than Grecian Chronology, and the Trojan War, upon which his Friend Telephus had been declaiming; and for this purpose seems to have composed the ensuing Ode at table. It concludes with an hint, that the unpleasant state of the Poet's mind, respecting his then Mistress, incapacitates him for abstracted themes, which demand a serene and collected attention, alike inconsistent with the amorous discontent of the secret heart, and with the temporary exhilaration of the spirits, produced by the occasion on which they were met. This must surely be the meaning of Horace in this Ode, however obscurely expressed. People of sense do not, even in their gayest conversation, start from their subject to another of total inconnexion. When the latent meaning in the concluding verses is perspicuously paraphrased, it accounts for the Poet's preference at that period, of trifling to literary subjects. These slight, and often obscure allusions, closely, and what is called faithfully translated, give a wild and unmeaning air to the Odes of Horace, which destroys their interest with the unlearned admirers of Poetry. To give distinct shape and form to these embryo ideas, often capable of acquiring very interesting form and shape, is the aim of these Paraphrases.
Telephus, who was a Greek, appears to have been a Youth of noble birth—being mentioned as such in the Ode to PHYLLIS, which will be found farther on amongst these Paraphrases. From that to LYDIA, so well known, and so often translated, we learn that he had a beautiful form, and was much admired by the Roman Ladies.
2: The Translator was doubtful about using that word, till she recollected it in the gravest of Pope's Poems,
"Destroy all creatures for thy sport and gust; Then cry, If Man's unhappy God's unjust." ESSAY ON MAN.
EXHORTING HER TO BE CONTENT WITH A FRUGAL SACRIFICE.
BOOK THE THIRD, ODE THE TWENTY-THIRD.
My Phidyle, retir'd in shady wild, If thou thy virgin hands shalt suppliant raise, If primal fruits are on thy altars pil'd, And incense pure thy duteous care conveys, To sooth the LARES, when the moon adorns, With their first modest light, her taper horns;
And if we pierce the throat of infant swine, A frugal victim, not the baleful breath Of the moist South shall blast our tender vine; Nor shall the lambs sink in untimely death When the unwholesome gales of Autumn blow, And shake the ripe fruit from the bending bough.
Let snowy Algidum's wide vallies feed, Beneath their stately holme, and spreading oak, Or the rich herbage of Albania's mead, The Steer, whose blood on lofty Shrines shall smoke! Red may it stain the Priest's uplifted knife, And glut the higher Powers with costly life!
The rosemary and myrtle's simple crown Thou on our household Gods, with decent care Art gently placing; and they will not frown; No stern demand is theirs, that we prepare Rich Flocks, and Herds, at Duty's solemn call, And, in the pomp of slaughter, bid them fall.
O! if an innocent hand approach the shrine, The little votive cake it humbly lays, The crackling salt, that makes the altar shine, Flung on the cheerful sacrificial blaze, To the mild LARES shall be grateful found As the proud Steer, with all his garlands crown'd.
BOOK THE FOURTH, ODE THE THIRD.
Not he, O MUSE! whom thy auspicious eyes In his primeval hour beheld, Shall victor in the Isthmian Contest rise; Nor o'er the long-resounding field Impetuous steeds his kindling wheels shall roll, Gay in th' Olympic Race, and foremost at the goal.
Nor in the Capitol, triumphant shown, The victor-laurel on his brow, For Cities storm'd, and vaunting Kings o'erthrown;— But Tibur's streams, that warbling flow, And groves of fragrant gloom, resound his strains, Whose sweet AEolian grace high celebration gains.
Now that his name, her noblest Bards among, Th' imperial City loudly hails, That proud distinction guards his rising song, When Envy's carping tongue assails; In sullen silence now she hears his praise, Nor sheds her canker'd spots upon his springing bays.
O MUSE! who rulest each melodious lay That floats along the gilded shell, Who the mute tenant of the watry way Canst teach, at pleasure, to excel The softest note harmonious Sorrow brings, When the expiring Swan her own sad requiem sings.
Thine be the praise, that pointing Romans guide The Stranger's eye, with proud desire That well he note the Man, whom Crowds decide Should boldly string the Latian lyre.— Ah! when I charm, if still to charm be mine, Nymph of the warbling shell, be all the glory THINE!
TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, Esq.
BOOK THE FOURTH, ODE THE SEVENTH, IMITATED.
The snows dissolve, the rains no more pollute, Green are the sloping fields, and uplands wide, And green the trees luxuriant tresses shoot, And, in their daisied banks, the shrinking rivers glide.
Beauty, and Love, the blissful change have hail'd, While, in smooth mazes, o'er the painted mead, Aglaia ventures, with her limbs unveil'd, Light thro' the dance each Sister-Grace to lead.
But O! reflect, that Sport, and Beauty, wing Th' unpausing Hour!—if Winter, cold and pale, Flies from the soft, and violet-mantled Spring, Summer, with sultry breath, absorbs the vernal gale.
Reflect, that Summer-glories pass away When mellow Autumn shakes her golden sheaves; While she, as Winter reassumes his sway, Speeds, with disorder'd vest, thro' rustling leaves.
But a short space the Moon illumes the skies; Yet she repairs her wanings, and again Silvers the vault of Night;—but no supplies, To feed their wasting fires, the lamps of Life obtain.
When our pale Form shall pensive vigils keep Where COLLINS, AKENSIDE, and SHENSTONE roam, Or quiet with the Despot, JOHNSON, sleep, In that murk cell, the Body's final home,
To senseless dust, and to a fleeting shade Changes the life-warm Being!—Ah! who knows If the next dawn our eye-lids may pervade? Darken'd and seal'd, perchance, in long, and last repose!
When vivid Thought's unceasing force assails, It shakes, from Life's frail glass, the ebbing sands; Their course run out, ah! what to us avails Our fame's high note, tho' swelling it expands!
Reflect, that each convivial joy we share Amid encircling Friends, with grace benign, Escapes the grasp of our rapacious Heir;— Pile then the steaming board, and quaff the rosy wine!
Illustrious HAYLEY!—in that cruel hour, When o'er thee Fate the sable flag shall wave, Not thy keen wit, thy fancy's splendid power, Knowledge, or worth, shall snatch thee from the grave.
Not to his MASON's grief, from Death's dim plains Was honor'd GRAY's departed form resign'd; No tears dissolve the cold Lethean chains, That, far from busy Life, the mortal semblance bind.
Then, for the bright creations of the brain, O! do not thou from health's gay leisure turn, Lest we, like tuneful MASON, sigh in vain, And grasp a timeless, tho' a LAUREL'D URN!
1: Aglaia, the eldest of the Graces.
BOOK THE FOURTH, ODE THE TENTH.
O thou! exulting in the charms, Nature, with lavish bounty, showers, When youth no more thy spirit warms, And stealing age thy pride alarms, For fleeting graces, and for waning powers;
When all the shining locks, that now Adown those ivory shoulders bound, With deaden'd colour shade thy brow, And fall as from th' autumnal bough Leaves, that rude winds have scatter'd on the ground;
And on that cheek the tints, that shame May's orient light and Summer's rose, Dim as yon taper's sullen flame, Shall, in a dusky red, proclaim That not one hue in wonted lustre glows;
When wrinkles o'er LIGURIA's face Their daily strengthening furrows lead; When faithful mirrors cease to place In her charm'd sight each blooming grace, And will no more her heart's proud triumph feed;
Then the chang'd Maid, with secret shame, Shall thus the past, and present chide; O! why, amid the loud acclaim, That gave my rising charms to Fame, Swell'd this coy bosom with disdainful pride?
Or why, since now the wish to yield Steals pensive thro' each melting vein, The ice dissolv'd, that scorn congeal'd, And every tender thought reveal'd, Why, vanish'd BEAUTY, com'st not thou again?
INVITING HER TO CELEBRATE THE BIRTHDAY OF MAECENAS.
BOOK THE FOURTH, ODE THE ELEVENTH.
Sweet Phyllis, leave thy quiet home, For lo! the ides of April come! Then hasten to my bower; A cask of rich Albanian wine, In nine years mellowness, is mine, To glad the festal hour.
My garden-herbs, in fragrance warm, Our various chaplets wait to form; My tender ivies grow, That, twining in thy amber hair, Add jocund spirit to thine air, And whiteness to thy brow.
My walls with silver vessels shine; Chaste vervain decks the modest shrine, That longs with crimson stains To see its foliage sprinkled o'er, When the devoted Lamb shall pour The treasure of his veins.
The household Girls, and menial Boy, From room to room assiduous fly, And busy hands extend; Our numerous fires are quivering bright, And, rolling from their pointed height, The dusky wreaths ascend.
Convivial rites, in mystic state, Thou, lovely Nymph, shalt celebrate, And give the day to mirth That this Love-chosen month divides; Since honor'd rose its blooming ides By dear Maecenas' birth.
O! not to me my natal star So sacred seems;—then, Nymph, prepare To grace its smiling dawn! A wealthier Maid, in pleasing chains, Illustrious Telephus detains, From humble THEE withdrawn.
When Pride would daring hopes create, Of Phaeton recall the fate, Consum'd in his career! Let rash Bellerophon, who tried The fiery Pegasus to guide, Awake thy prudent fear!
Thus warn'd, thy better interest know, And cease those charming eyes to throw On Youths of high degree! Come then, of all my Loves the last, For, every other passion past, I only burn for thee!
Come, and with tuneful voice rehearse The measures of thy Poet's verse And charm the list'ning Throng! Believe me, Fairest, all our cares Will soften at the melting airs That deck the lyric song.
1: The Romans made fires in the middle of their rooms, with an hole in the ceiling, to let out the smoke, which is described as rolling to the top of the House.
2: The feast of Venus was held by the Romans in April.
3: It is agreed that this is the same young Nobleman, to whom the Ode is addressed, on Licinius being appointed Augur, and which has been paraphrased in this Collection.
ON THE PLEASURES OF RURAL LIFE.
BOOK THE FIFTH, EPODE THE SECOND.
Thrice happy he, whose life restores The pleasures pure of early times; That ne'er, with anxious heart, explores The rugged heights Ambition climbs; Exempt from all the din, the toil, the care, That Cities for their busy Sons prepare; Fatigue, beneath the name of pleasure, Contentious law, usurious treasure, A tedious mean attendance on the Great, And emulation vain of all their pomp and state.
Not his sound and balmy sleep The trumpet's martial warning breaks; Nor the loud billows of the angry Deep, When thro' the straining cords the Tempest shrieks; But the Morning's choral lay, Chanted wild from every spray. Swift at the summons flies the wilder'd dream, And up he springs alert, to meet the orient beam.
The vine-clad hill he lightly scales, Where tall the frequent poplars rise, From branch to branch assiduous trails The pendent clusters rich supplies; And cautious prunes the weak, the useless shoot, Engrafting healthier boughs, that promise fruit.— Then his arms serenely folding, And the smiling scene beholding, Marks, as the fertile valley winds away, His Flocks and lowing Herds, in ample numbers stray.
Then to the warm bank below, Yellow with the morning-ray, And sees his shelter'd hives in even row, And hears their hum mix with the linnet's lay. Recent from the crystal springs Many a vessel pure he brings, In them, from all the waxen cells to drain The fragrant essence rich of flow'ry dale and plain.
On the river's shady side White his gather'd flock appears, And, plung'd into the flashing tide, Their curl'd and snowy fleece he shears; But when, 'mid laughing fields diffusive spread, Majestic Autumn rears her placid head, Wreath'd with wheaten garlands yellow, Bearing various fruitage mellow, How gladly from the trees, that loaded stand, Shakes he the ripen'd pears, engrafted by his hand.
Or his swelling grapes, that vie With the fleece of Tyrian stain! Such precious gifts his grateful cares supply To thee, Protector of his wide domain, Bounteous Sylvanus!—and to thee, The garden's watchful Deity; Beneath your favoring power he little cares Who wields the Lictor's rod, or who the fasces bears.
In sultry noon's oppressive ray, Beneath the holme, of ample shade, His listless limbs he loves to lay On herbage, matted in the glade; Hears down the steeps the white rills dashing play, Till under the long grass they purl away; While, on wing of swift vibration, Murmuring range the honied nation, And the sweet stock-dove, the thick boughs among, His dewy slumber courts with her complaining song.
Loud when wintry winds arise, And the feeble race appal, While o'er the earth, from dim and thicken'd skies, The flaky snows in white profusion fall, Then the sylvan chase he seeks;— Lo! furious from the thicket breaks The gnashing Boar!—Flies he, or stands at bay, Into the circling toils the staunch dogs drive the prey.
When thro' the clear, and sparkling air, Fleet the pointed darts of frost, The filmy nets, now here, now there, For thievish birds, are lightly toss'd; Or, plac'd with silent heed, the wily snares, To lure the stranger-cranes, and timid hares. Rich viands they, whose pleasing flavor Crown his board, reward his labor. In those convivial hours the Heart forgets Its vain tumultuous hopes, and all its fond regrets.
These the pleasures unalloy'd, That brighten oft the rural scene; But, if yet dearer joys supply the void, That, even there, will sometimes intervene When days are cold, and nights are long, And business goes a little wrong, Should an endearing faithful Wife be seen, With the warm light of love she chases gloomy spleen.
As the Sabine Matron chaste, Active as th' Apulian Wife, See she assumes, with cheerful haste, The pleasing cares of wedded life; Draws the clean vestment o'er the little limbs, And, when the tearful eye of passion swims, With mild authority commanding, Repressing ill, and good expanding, Anxious she weeds the infant heart betimes, Ere ill propension thrive, and ripen into crimes.
Dusky grows the winter-eve, In hurdled cotes the flocks are penn'd; Her vessels pure the frothing milk receive, As from swell'd udders its full streams descend. Bright the crackling faggots blaze, While she strains the eager gaze, O'er the dim vale to see her Husband come, With tir'd, yet willing step, to his warm, happy home.
Her beating heart, and gladden'd eyes Perceive him ope the wicker gate; And swift her busy hand supplies The flowing bowl, the steaming plate; Her sparkling wine from their own vintage press'd; From their own stores her grateful viand dress'd; Less welcome far the proud collation, Cull'd with painful preparation, When earth, and air, and seas, have been explor'd For those expensive meats, that pile the Consul's board.
Not the shell-fish, pampering food! Of Lucrine's azure lake the boast; Nor luscious product of the eastern flood, Driven by the stormy winds upon our coast; Nor costly birds, that hither rove Natives of Ionian grove, Can with more poignant zest his senses meet Than the love-kneaded cates of this unpurchas'd treat.
To his border's guardian Power When he spreads the vernal feast. Then bleeds the kid, in lucky hour, From the hungry wolf releas'd; Then round the primal lamb's sweet flesh is seen The crisp salubrious herbage of the green; And, from loaded boughs descending, Unctuous olives richly blending;— These form the dainties of his festal day, When every heart expands, and every face is gay.
Circled by a jocund train, With joy the new-shorn Flock he hears Come bleating homeward o'er the russet plain; While slow, with languid neck, the weary Steers Th' inverted ploughshare drag along, Mindless of the Shepherd's song; Then, round his smiling Household-Gods, surveys A numerous, menial Group, the proof of prosperous days.
'T was thus, amidst his ill-got wealth, The Roman Usurer justly thought, Resolv'd to purchase peace and health, And live, at length, as Nature taught; No more with subtle avarice to lend, Oppressive foe beneath the name of friend! Now grasping views, for once, rejected, He on the Ides his sums collected, But on the Calends, lo! with anxious pain, On the same interest vast, he sends them forth again.
Thus can lust of gold controul, Tho' the Heart urge a wiser choice, By force of habit lord it o'er the Soul, And stifle e'en Conviction's powerful voice. See, with sighs the Miser yield The promis'd joys of wood, and field; Against experienc'd disappointment, try With Gold to purchase that, which Gold can never buy!
1: The Reader will remember, that in the course of these Paraphrases the design has been avowed of stretching the pictures of Horace upon a wider canvass, of filling up what are so often mere outlines. If learned eyes ever glance over this Ode, it is hoped they will not frown upon the many circumstances and reflections which have been added, upon a presumption, induced by the pleasing nature of the subject, since the Roman customs and manners are preserved with fidelity. Those customs and manners, resulting from their festal, gay, and picturesque Religion, cannot surely be presented without proving interesting. Yet, to create this interest, stronger and more circumstantial description seems required than can be found in Horace, if the Paraphraser may be allowed to judge of the poetic feelings of others by her own. It was doubtless sufficient for his contemporary Readers, and for those of some succeeding Generations, that he slightly alluded to events and ceremonies, which were familiar to their recollection. In our day more precision is demanded, at least by those who have poetic taste without knowledge of the dead languages, or intimacy with the national and domestic customs of that Time, and of that People. Also, to strengthen this necessary interest in the mind of the Reader, it must be eligible to infuse a more liberal portion of those sentiments and ideas, which speak to the Heart in every Age, and in every Climate.
To Scholars the fascinating music of the Latin tones and measures, and the elegance with which Horace knew to select, and to regulate them, recompense the obscurity which is so frequent in his allusions, and in the violence of his transitions from one subject to another, between which the line of connexion is with difficulty traced. What is called a faithful translation of these Odes cannot, therefore, be interesting to unlearned Lovers of Verse, how alive soever they may be to poetic beauty.—A literal translation in the plainest prose, will always shew the precise quantity of real poetic matter, contained in any Production, independent of the music of its intonation, and numbers, and the elegance of its style.—The prose translations of Horace' Odes evince that their merit does not consist in the plenitude of poetic matter, or essence, constituted by circumstances of startling interest, by exalted sentiment, impassioned complaint, or appeal, distinct and living imagery, happy apposite allusion, and sublime metaphor; but in certain elegant verbal felicities and general charm of style, produced by the force and sweetness of the Latin Language, subservient to the fine ear, the lively and exquisite taste of Horace. These are the graces which we find so apt to evaporate in Translation, while genuine POETIC MATTER, as defined above, is capable of being transfused into any other Language without losing a particle of its excellence, provided the Chemist, who undertakes the operation, has genius and skill. The more this POETIC MATTER in an Author abounds, the more close and faithful a Translator, who has judgment, may venture to render his version—but to transfuse merely verbal felicities into another Language is an attempt scarcely less fruitless than to clasp the Rainbow. A kindred nothingness, as to poetic value, ensues. There is, however, a considerable, though not abounding quantity of poetic matter, or essence in Horace; but it bears no proportion to the profusion of those evanescent glories, which will not bear the grasp of another Language. To give that essence in increased quantity, and in the freedom of unimitative numbers, is attempted in this selection. Dryden and Pope translated upon that plan, and hence their Paraphrases have the spirit of original Poems.
Ere this note closes, its Author desires to observe, that Painters cannot take a striking likeness of a face, in which there is no predominant feature, and the Poet can only make his image, or description, distinct, animated, and forcible, by bringing forward some characteristic trait of the object he is presenting.
When Horace says in this Ode, "How pleasing is it to see the well-fed sheep hastening home," the observation is not picturesque, and therefore does not strongly impress the Imagination; but when he adds—"to see the weary Oxen dragging, with languid neck, the inverted Ploughshare," he gives perhaps the most poetic feature in this Ode. Had he only said, "to see the Oxen returning from their labor," his Oxen had been as much without character as his Sheep, and the sentence must have passed unimpressive over the mind of the Reader. It is the words—dragging, with languid neck, the inverted ploughshare, that makes the sentence Poetry, and empowers it to arrest and charm the fancy. Had Horace always written thus, undeviating fidelity had been the best aim of his Translator, and the sure way of rendering him delightful in every Language.
2: Dacier observes that Vines supported on the highest Trees produce Wines of the most exquisite flavor.
3: The feast of Terminus, one of the rural Gods, was held on the first of February, at which time, in those warm climates, the spring is very forward.
4: The Romans fancied that the struggle and terror of a kid on being seized by the Wolf, made its flesh more tender.
5: Ides, the middle of a month.
6: Calends, the beginning of the next month.
BOOK THE FIFTH, EPODE THE FIFTEENTH.
'T was night—the moon, upon her sapphire throne, High o'er the waning stars serenely shone, When thou, false Nymph, determin'd to prophane Them, and each Power that rules the earth, and main, As thy soft, snowy arms about me twin'd, Close as round oaks the clasping ivies wind, Swore, while the gaunt wolf shall infest the lea, And red Orion vex the wintry sea, While gales shall fan Apollo's floating locks, That shed their golden light o'er hills and rocks, So long thy breast should burn with purest fires, With mutual hopes, and with unchang'd desires.
Perjur'd Neaēra! thou shalt one day prove The worth, the vengeance of my slighted love; For O! if Manhood steels, if Honor warms, Horace shall fly, shall scorn thy faithless charms; Seek some bright Maid, whose soul for him shall glow, Nor art, nor pride, nor wandering wishes know.
Then should'st thou languish, sigh, and weep once more, And with new vows his injur'd heart implore, Nor sighs, nor vows, nor tears shall he regard Cold as the snow and as the marble hard.
And THOU, triumphant Youth, so gay, so vain, Proud of my fate, exulting in my pain, Tho' on thy hills the plenteous Herd should feed, And rich Pactolus roll along thy mead; For thee tho' Science ope the varied store, And Beauty on thy form its graces pour, Ere long shalt thou, while wrongs like these degrade, Droop with my woes, and with my rage upbraid; See on a Rival's brow thy garlands worn, And, with her falsehood, bear my jocund scorn.
TO THE ROMAN PEOPLE,
ON THEIR RENEWING THE CIVIL WARS.
BOOK THE FIFTH, ODE THE SEVENTH.
Where do ye rush, ye impious Trains, Why gleams afar the late-sheath'd sword? Is it believ'd that Roman veins Their crimson tides have sparely pour'd? Is not our scorn of safety, health, and ease, Shewn by devasted climes, and blood-stain'd seas?
Those scowling brows, those lifted spears, Bend they against the threat'ning towers Proud Carthage emulously rears? Or Britain's still unconquer'd shores? That her fierce Sons, yet free from hostile sway, May pass in chains along our SACRED WAY?
No!—but that warring Parthia's curse May quickly blast these far-famed Walls; Accomplish'd when, with direful force, By her own strength the City falls; When Foes no more her might resistless feel, But Roman bosoms bleed by Roman steel.
O! worse than Wolves, or Lions fierce, Who ne'er, like you, assault their kind! By what wild phrenzy would ye pierce Each other's breast in fury blind?— Silent, and pale ye stand, with conscious sighs, Your struck soul louring in your down-cast eyes!
The blood our rising walls that stain'd, Shed by the ruthless Fratricide, High Heaven's avenging power ordain'd Should spread the rage of discord wide, Bid kindred Blood in dread profusion flow Thro' darken'd years of expiatory woe.
1: Romulus, who killed his Brother Remus, for ridiculing his Wall by leaping over it.
Transcriber's Note: Macrons are denoted as ā, ē, etc.