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But now the troubled times of tumult past,
The reign of superstition comes at last.
The fatted calf, the milk white heifer slay,
And feasts prepare for Herod's natal day.
Let colour'd lamps from every window beam,
Fat clouds of incense rise in oily steam,
Bright censers burn with flowery garlands crown'd,
And blooming violets breathe odours round.
Let hungry Jews at your rich banquets sup,
And wines luxuriant sparkle in their cup.
In whispers mutter the mysterious prayer,
And tremble at the rites yourselves prepare.
Now fancied evils fill you with affright,
Omens by day, and visions in the night:
Cybebe's shrines you visit with her priests,
Behold their orgies, and partake their feasts.
While the blind priestess incantations makes,
And o'er your heads the sounding sistrum shakes;
With direful omens all your souls alarms,
And guards you round with amulets and charms.
Now should you teach this doctrine to the crowd,
Some military fool would laugh aloud,
At a clipp'd farthing all the sages prize,
Whom Athens valued, and whom Greece thought wisç.
Apmovit jam bruma foco te, Basse, Sabino?
Jamne lyra, et tetrico vivunt tibi pectine chordæ ?
Mire opifex numeris veterum primordia rerum,
Atque marem strepitum fidis intendisse Latinæ,
Mox juvenes agitare jocos, et pollice honesto
Egregios lusisse senes? mihi nunc Ligus ora
Intepet, hybernatque meum mare, qua latus ingens
Dant scopuli, et multa littus se valle receptat.
Lunai portum est operæ cognoscere cives.
Cor jubet hoc Enni, postquam destertuit esse
Mæonides, Quintus pavone ex Pythagoreo.
Heic ego securus vulgi, et quid præparet Auster
ÁDDRESSED TO CÆSIUS BASSUS.
Hath the stern aspect of the winter sky
Compell’d thee, Bassus, yet from Rome to fly;
From crowded streets and temples to retire,
In Sabine solitudes to string the lyre?
Dost thou, O wondrous artist, now rehearse,
In all the majesty of Latin verse,
How from the first great cause existence sprung,
While brooding'night o'er inert matter hung?
Or is gay youth delighted by thy page,
Or does thy sprightly satire rally age?
For me, I seek, while distant tempests roar,
A warm retirement on Liguria's shore,
Where circling rocks an ample valley form,
And Luna's port lies shelter'd from the storm.
Thy Muse, O Ennius, sung this tranquil scene,
This sea cærulean, and this sky serene.
Thy spirit now, its earthly labours o'er,
Lives in thy verse, and transmigrates no more,
No tumults here disturb my peaceful life,
No loud declaimers bent on public strife.
Unheedful too of winter's rage I sleep,
Though Auster threaten, and Aquarius weep.