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Thou in their mansions of delight installest
Pious men's souls, the airy throng directing
With thy gold wand-approved by Gods supernal
And by infernal.
Fortune-telling would seem to have been much in vogue at Rome in
Horace's time, and Chaldeans its chief professors.
Don't ask ('tis forbidden to know) what will be
The bound set by the gods, or for you, or for me,
Nor yet, my Leuconoë, try to explore
Babylonian cyphers : for, trust me, there's more
Of sense shown in bearing whate'er may betide,
Whether many more winters Jove yet may provide,
Or this—which on barriers of pumice has cast
The broken Tyrrhenian sea—be our last.
Be wise, rack your wine, and from life's narrow scope
Cut away the delusion of far-reaching hope.
E'en now, while we speak, spiteful time slips away :
Don't believe in the future, lay hold on to-day.
Tu pias laetis animas reponis
Sedibus, virgaque levem coërces
Aurea turbam, superis deorum
Gratus, et imis.
Tu ne quaesiêris (scire nefas) quem mihi, quem tibi Finem dî dederint, Leuconoë; nec Babylonios Tentâris numeros. Ut melius, quidquid erit, pati !
Seu plures hiemes, seu tribuit Juppiter ultimam,
Quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare
Tyrrhenum. Sapias, vina liques, et spatio brevi
, Spem longam reseces. Dum loquimur, fugerit invida
Aetas : carpe diem, quàm minimum credula postero.
The Latin inscription does not seem to express the scope of this ode,
which is rather to celebrate the popular deities and heroes of Rome than Augustus exclusively: though the design is so worked out as to draw the chief attention to him. “The poet, though making Augustus the climax of his song, goes through the praise of Jove and his children, and that of twelve of Rome's principal worthies, before he comes to Augustus.' Marcellus, mentioned in the tweifth stanza, the nephew and son-in-law of Augustus, died in his twentieth year.
What man or hero with the lyre, or shrilly
Pipe, wilt thou take to celebrate, O Clio?
Which of the gods? Whose name by sportive Echo
Shall be repeated,
Either on slopes of Helicon umbrageous,
Or upon Pindus, or on gelid Haemus,
Rashly from whence came down the woods, attending
Who, with maternal art, the nimbly gliding
Rivers, and winds in their swift flight arrested:
Who the oaks guided, list’ning to his sweetly
What shall I sing before the wonted praises
Due to the god, of gods and men the parent,
Who, unto them, and earth and sky and ocean,
Tempers the seasons ?
QUEM virum aut heroa, lyra, vel acri
Tibia sumis celebrare, Clio?
Quem deum ? Cujus recinet jocosa
Aut in umbrosis Heliconis oris,
Aut super Pindo, gelidove in Haemo
Unde vocalem temere insecutae
Arte materna rapidos morantem
Fluminum lapsus, celeresque ventos,
Blandum et auritas fidibus canoris
Ducere quercus ?
Quid prius dicam solitis parentis Laudibus, qui res hominum ac deorum, Qui mare ac terras, variisque mundum
Temperat horis ?
Whence than himself is naught engendered greater,
Naught doth there flourish similar or second;
Albeit, nighest unto his, the honours
Held by Minerva.
Nor of thee, Bacchus, valorous in battle,
Nor of thee, Virgin, foe to beasts ferocious,
Nor of thee, Phoebus, feared for shaft unerring,
Will I be silent.
Hercules too I'll sing, and Leda's children;
This in the race, with caestus that, excelling :
White is their star, nor sooner doth its fulgence
Gleam on the sailor,
Than from the rocks flows off the heaving water,
And the winds straightway fall, and vapours vanish,
And—for 'tis so they will—the threat’ning billows
Lie down on Ocean.
Next after these, of whom to speak I waver :
Romulus, say, or Numa's calm dominion ?
Either of Tarquin's fasces proud, or Cato's
Unto the Scauri, Regulus, and Paulus
Lavish of life sublime when Carthage triumphed,
Shall I with signal strain pay grateful homage,
And to Fabricius.
Him, and unkempt Curius for campaigning
Poverty tutored: tutored too Camillus-
Poverty stern and patrimony scanty
Matching the homestead.