Flaccus, you write us charming songs:
No bard we know possesses
In such perfection what belongs
To brief and bright addresses;
No man can say that life is short
With mien so little fretful;
No man to virtue's paths exhort
In phrases less regretful;
Or touch with more serene distress
On fortune's ways erratic;
And then delightfully digress
From Alp to Adriatic.
All this is well, no doubt, and tends
Barbarian minds to soften;
But, Quintus — we, we are your friends —
Why tell us this so often?
Why feign to spread a cheerful feast,
And then thrust in our face
These barren scraps (to say the least)
Of stoic commonplace?
Recount, and welcome, your pursuits:
Sing Lyde's loosened hair;
Sing drums and Berycynthian flutes;
Sing parsley-wreaths; but spare, —
Ah, spare to tell, what none deny,
That fairest things decay;
That time and gold have wings to fly;
That all must fate obey!
Or bid us dine — on this day week —
And pour us — if you can —
From inmost bin, as velvet sleek,
Your cherished Cæcuban;
Of that we fear not overplus;
But your didactic "tap"
(Forgive us !) grows monotonous;
Nunc vale! Verbum sap.