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Galatea, a lady of Horace's acquaintance, was meditating a voyage
to Greece, when Horace, having the story of Europa to tell,
ingeniously turned that into an occasion for telling it. Under stress of rhyme I have been compelled, if not to coin a new
word, at least to employ an old word in a new sense. By 'iron stile,' in the twelfth stanza, the critical reader is entreated to understand, not the stilus used by the ancients in writing, but the weapon which would be indicated by the augmentative of the Italian stiletto—that is to say, a short pointed sword' like that which formed part of the equipment of a Roman foot-soldier.
Let to the impious, the chattering jay
Lanuvine wolf descending.
Let serpent interrupt their destined course
Will I, as augur, tending
Her whom fear for, from the east invoke
Re-seek the still morasses.
Be happy, Galatea, wheresoe'er
That on the left-hand passes.
IMPIOS parrae recinentis omen
Rumpat et serpens iter institutum,
Solis ab ortu.
Sis licet felix ubicunque mavis,
Nec vaga cornix.
Yet, see how prone Orion hurries on
Bland Japyx faith be breaking.
Let wives and children of our foes deplore
Beneath its lashes quaking.
So too Europa, daring to confide
And treachery self-revealing.
Busied of late with flowers, she wandered through The fields, and wreathed for nymphs their chaplets due: Now, in the dusky night nought meets her view
Save stars, and billows reeling.
So soon as unto potent Crete she came,
Oh duty, foiled by passion !
Whence come, and whither? can one death atone
Doth dream, in spectral fashion,
Sed vides quanto trepidet tumultu
Hostium uxores puerique caecos
Sic et Europe niveum doloso
Nuper in pratis studiosa florum, et
Vidit et undas.
Quae simul centum tetigit potentem
Unde ? Quo veni? Levis una mors est Virginum culpae. Vigilansne ploro Turpe commissum ? An vitiis carentem
Emerging, vacant, from the ivory gate
Than when fresh flowrets culling ?
How, to mine anger were that monster vile,
So much my fondness gulling.
Shameless, I quitted the paternal home:
Naked 'mid lions raging:
Ere ugly leanness my fair cheeks depress,
Be tiger's ravin 'suaging.
My absent father taunts me: Why delay
Break, from an elm suspended.
Do rather rocks, death-pointed, captivate,
To harlotry descended,