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And how, by furious south-west maimed, thy mast And yard-arms groan? and how thy keel, embraced
By girding ropes, can scarce sustain
The force of the imperious main ?
Thy sails are not entire: in thy distress
No gods are left whom thou may'st still address.
What though composed of Pontic pine,
Some famous forest's daughter fine, Thy boast is of an useless name and race. No confidence do timid sailors place
In painted hulls. Beware lest thou
For the wind's sport thyself bestow.
Thou who of late wert pain and grief to me,
Now my chief hope and grave anxiety,
Ah pr’ythee shun the dangerous seas
Effused 'mid glittering Cyclades.
This is probably one of the earliest of Horace's compositions. It
certainly reads very much like a college exercise. In excuse for making the second syllable of Meriones short, I may perhaps be permitted to plead that Horace himself never scrupled to take similar liberty in case of need.
WHEN Helen, his hostess, the treacherous swain
In galleys Idaean bore over the main,
With quiet unwelcome did Nereus restrain
The winds, his dark future to sing.
• With ill omen thou bear'st to thy mansion the dame
Whom Greece shall with numberless soldiers reclaim,
In league to dissever thy nuptials of shame
And Priam's old realm to downfling.
Et malus celeri saucius Africo,
Antennaeque gemant: ac sine funibus
Vix durare carinae
Aequor ? Non tibi sunt integra lintea;
Non Dii, quos iterum pressa voces malo.
Quamvis Pontica pinus,
Silvae filia nobilis,
Jactes et genus et nomen inutile ;
Nil pictis timidus navita puppibus
Fidit. Tu nisi ventis
Debes ludibrium, cave.
Nuper sollicitum quae mihi taedium,
Nunc desiderium, curaque non levis,
Vites aequora Cycladas.
Pastor cum traheret per freta navibus
Idaeis Helenam perfidus hospitam,
Ingrato celeres obruit otio
Ventos, ut caneret fera
Nereus fata. Mala ducis avi domum,
Quam multo repetet Graecia milite,
Conjurata tuas rumpere nuptias,
Et regnum Priami vetus.
Ah what sweat shall now come upon horses and men ! For the whole Dardan race, of disasters what train Thou stirr'st! and lo, Pallas makes ready again
Helm, aegis and chariot and ire!
By protection of Venus emboldened, in vain
Thy locks wilt thou comb, and the composite strain
With which women are pleased, on soft cithern sustain;
In vain to thy couch wilt retire
From lances and spikes of the Cnossian reed,
And from war-cries and Ajax pursuing with speed:
Not the less thine adulterous ringlets must need
At length by the dust be distained.
Ah, dost thou not Nestor, the Pylian old,
Nor Ulysses, thy nation's perdition, behold?
On thee Salaminian Teucer, the bold,
On thee shall rush Sthenelus, trained
To arms; or when horses are needing a guide,
Not a dull charioteer. Thou wilt notice beside
Meriones. See in keen quest of thee stride
Tydides, his father excelling;
Whom thou, as a stag from his grazing-ground flies
When a wolf on the vale's other side he espies,
Wilt, effeminate, fee, heaving upward-borne sighs !
Not this to thy bride thou 'rt foretelling! Though the squadron irate of Achilles may stay For awhile Troy's and Phrygian women's last day, Some few winters yet, and Greek fire shall lay
In ashes each Ilian dwelling.'
Heu, heu quantus equis, quantus adest viris
Sudor ! quanta moves funera Dardanae
Genti! Jam galeam, Pallas et aegida
Currusque et rabiem parat.
Nequicquam, Veneris praesidio ferox,
Pectes caesariem, grataque faeminis
Imbelli cithara carmina divides,
Nequicquam thalamo graves
Hastas et calami spicula Cnossii
Vitabis, strepitumque, et celerem sequi
Ajacem. Tamen heu! serus adulteros
Crines pulvere collines.
Non Laërtiaden, exitium tuae
Gentis, non Pylium Nestora respicis ?
Urgent impavidi te Salaminius
Teucer, te Sthenelus sciens
Pugnae. Sive opus est imperitare equis,
Non auriga piger. Merionen quoque
Nosces. Ecce furit te reperire atrox,
Tydides melior patre :
Quem tu, cervus uti vallis in altera
Visum parte lupum graminis immemor,
Sublimi fugies mollis anhelitu,
Non hoc pollicitus tuae.
Iracunda diem proferet Ilio,
Matronisque Phrygum classis Achillei.
Post certas hiemes uret Achaicus
Ignis Iliacas domos.
Who were the mother and daughter referred to in this poem many
have confidently guessed, but nobody knows. It is generally assumed that one or other had been previously lampooned by Horace, but even this does not seem quite certain.
Of lovely mother, daughter lovelier still,
Restrain my fierce iambics at thy will:
Let the flame blast them,
Or, if so please, on Adrian billows cast them.
Not so Cybele stirs the priestly heart,
Nor Pythian, dwelling in his fane apart,
Nor Bacchus' even;
Nor Corybantes when, together driven,
Their cymbals clash, -as stirreth brooding ire,
Which neither Noric sword, nor ruthless fire,
Nor wrecking sea, nor Jove,
Can daunt with terrors thundered from above.
'is said, our raw material to prepare,
Prometheus had to gather here and there
A particle—and gave
The rage to us which rabid lions have.
'Twas rage that urged on dire perdition's jaws
Thyestis. Rage was final cause
Why palmiest town
Hath perished utterly,—whose walls, o'erthrown,
Insulting foe with hostile plough hath pressed.
Compose thy mind. Like fervour of the breast
Me too in the sweet prime
Of life beset-on swift iambic rhyme