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Or if thou rather, smiling Venus, willest,
Mars, again lookest:
Our misdemeanours !
Thou, our commander.
The ship addressed was one in which Virgil was embarking for
Athens. So much the Ode itself tells us. Anything more would be mere conjecture.
So, potent Cyprian Goddess-Queen,
And so the sire of every wind,
Sive tu mavis, Erycina ridens,
Voltus in hostem.
Caesaris ultor :
Te duce, Caesar.
III. AD NAVEM QUA VEHEBATUR
Sic te, Diva potens Cypri,
Ventorumque regat pater,
O ship! direct thee, I implore,
Land Virgil, lent in trust to thee,
Oak, verily, and triple brass
To launch on unrelenting sea
Contending with the northern blast,
By none in sway o'er Adria,
Him, what approach of death could awe
The turmoil of the swollen sea,
In vain has providence divine
If yet the interdicted deep
Adventuring every risk to run,
Iapetus' adventurous son Fire to mankind by baleful fraud brought down.
When fire had been from ether's reign Ravished, diseases new, a ghastly train,
Made of our earth their dwelling-place : And, distant until then, with quickened pace
Advanced Death's slow necessity. By Daedalus was air's vacuity
Navis, quae tibi creditum
Reddas incolumem, precor,
Illi robur et aes triplex
Commisit pelago ratem
Quo non arbiter Adriae
Quem Mortis timuit gradum,
Qui vidit mare turgidum, et Infames scopulos Acroceraunia ?
Nequicquam deus abscidit
Terras, si tamen impiae
Audax omnia perpeti
Audax Iapeti genus
Post ignem aetheria domo
Terris incubuit cohors; Semotique prius tarda necessitas
Leti corripuit gradum. Expertus vacuum Daedalus aëra
Essayed with wings to man not given :
For mortals nothing is too high :
Our sinfulness will not permit
Written in early Spring.
At Spring and Zephyr's glad return, keen winter melts
away ; On sledges, barks are launched, that dry upon the
shingle lay; And neither does the flock its stall, nor ploughman
love the fire, Nor longer does the hoary rime the whitened fields attire: But Cytherean Venus now leads forth her choral band, And (the moon hanging o'er them) Nymphs and
Graces, hand in hand, In comely union, strike the earth, with alternating feet, While the Cyclopes' smithy huge burns with Vulcanian heat. Meet is it now that glistening brow should be with
myrtle bound Or with the flower by vernal power raised from the