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An outburst of exultation at the general approval with which the
first three Books of Odes, and the Secular Hymn had been received.
Him on whose birth, Melpomene,
Thou once hast looked with gentle eye,
Never shall athlete's mastery
In Isthmian conflict glorify.
Him, victor, in Achaian car,
Impetuous horse shall never bear :
In him, no enterprise of war,
Upon the Capitol, shall e'er,
A general wreathed with laurel show,
Who quelled the tumid threats of kings:
But him shall rivulets that flow
Welling from fertile Tibur's springs,
And groves with clustering ringlets hung,
Ennoble with Aeolian strains.
Me, Rome, of cities chief, among
Her favourite bards a place ordains :
And hushed is Envy's mordant tongue.
O Muse who, of my burnished shell
The dulcet clamour temperest,
Who with the swan's sonorous swell
Canst, if thou wilt, mute fish invest,
Wholly thy gift it is that I,
Inventor of the Roman lyre,
Am pointed out by passers by:
Thine that I breathe and please, if I
Indeed do please—thy gift entire !
QUEM tu, Melpomene, semel
Nascentem placido lumine videris, Illum non labor Isthmius
Clarabit pugilem; non equus impiger Curru ducet Achaico
Victorem; neque res bellica Deliis Ornatum foliis ducem,
Quod regum tumidas contuderit minas, Ostendet Capitolio :
Sed quae Tibur aquae fertile praefluunt, Et spissae nemorum comae,
Fingent Aeolio carmine nobilem. Romae principis urbium
Dignatur suboles inter amabiles Vatum ponere me choros;
Et jam dente minus mordeor invido. O testudinis aureae
Dulcem quae strepitum, Pieri, temperas ! O mutis quoque piscibus
Donatura cycni, si libeat, sonum! Totum muneris hoc tui est,
Quod monstror digito praetereuntium Romanae fidicen lyrae :
Quod spiro, et placeo (si placeo) tuum est.
In B.C. 15 the Vindelici, inhabitants of a district lying between the
Danube and the Lake of Constance, and their southern neighbours, the Rhaeti, commenced a series of predatory incursions into Cisalpine Gaul. Augustus, who together with his stepson Tiberius was at that time in Transalpine Gaul, having gone there to oppose the Sicambri, ordered Drusus, younger brother of Tiberius, to proceed against them from Rome, where he was serving the office of Quaestor. Drusus signally defeated the Vindelici, but Augustus nevertheless found it necessary to send Tiberius with more troops to his brother's assistance, and the two together completely subdued the offending tribes, whose territories thereupon became the Roman provinces of Rhaetia Prima and Secunda. In honour of these achievements Horace composed this Ode, and also the 14th of the 4th Book, the one more particularly in praise of Drusus, the other in that of Tiberius.
LIKE as the levin's winged minister
(To whom, found faithful with fair Ganymed,
The sovereign of the gods, great Jupiter,
The kingdom of the roving birds conveyed)
Is by his youth and inborn energy
Forth from his nest to unknown labours sped,
And, when the rains are past, is taught to try.
By vernal breezes, unaccustomed things:
Timorous at first, on sheepcotes presently
A keen impetuous enemy he springs;
Nay, urged by lust of feasting and of fight,
Onslaught 'gainst reluctating dragons flings:
Or like as a she-goat with sudden fright,
While browsing on luxuriant pasture, sees
A lion cub, weaned newly, opposite
Armed with young tooth that her death-warrant is :
QUALEM ministrum fulminis alitem (Cui rex deorum regnum in aves vagas Permisit, expertus fidelem
Juppiter in Ganymede flavo) Olim juventas et patrius vigor Nido laborum propulit inscium, Vernique, jam nimbis remotis,
Insolitos docuere nisus
Venti paventem: mox in ovilia
Demisit hostem vividus impetus:
Nunc in reluctantes dracones
Egit amor dapis atque pugnae :
Qualemve laetis caprea pascuis
Intenta, fulvae matris ab ubere
Jam lacte depulsum leonem,
Dente novo peritura vidit:
So did the Rhaeti and Vindelici
See Drusus 'neath their Alpine boundaries
Carrying on war. I shrink from asking why
That people's custom through all time has been
The Amazonian axe to brandish high
In the right hand : all things to know were sin.
But when their bands, far and wide conquering,
Conquered by a youth's strategy were seen,
They learnt what mind, what heart beneath the wing
Of fortunate home-nurture may be reared :
What fruit, the youthful Neros tutoring,
Augustus's paternal soul prepared.
Brave men are gendered by the good and brave:
Ever in steers, in horses, has appeared
The courage of the sire : fierce, eagles have
Never as progeny unwarlike doves.
Yet do all natures strengthening culture crave,
And learning native energy improves :
Wherever morals do not find a home dues
Polluting vice the germs of good removes.
What to the Neros is thy debt, oh Rome,
Witness is Metro's stream, and Asdrubal
Vanquished, and that bright day that through the gloom
First smiled on Latium at victory's call;
When, as the flame through pine-forest, or through
Sicilian waves east wind, through Italy's
Pale cities, Africa's dire horseman flew.
With aye successful exploits after this
The Roman youth advanced : temples anew,
Restored from impious Punic ravages,