This Canada of ours and other poems/Nunc est Bibendum

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For other English-language translations of this work, see Nunc est bibendum.



Horace, Ode 37, Book I.

Now drink and dance, my comrades,
    And spread the splendid feast,
The haughty Queen of Egypt
    Is fleeing to the East.

When Caesar led his war-ships,
    Spread far in battle line,
A panic fell upon her,
    Half mad with lust and wine.

She fled before his galleys
    Far from the Italian shore;
The herd of loathsome traitors
    Now threaten Rome no more.

As swoops the eagle on the dove,
    The hunter on the hare,
So Cæsar followed swiftly
    To bind her in her lair.

The daughter of a hundred kings,
    She spurned the Roman chains,
And sought to spill the fiery blood
    That swelled her ruby veins.

She failed! but in her woman's breast
    Her courage rose serene;
She walked again her father's halls,
    And still was Egypt's queen.

She pictured the proud triumph
    Beneath the Roman sky,
And fiercely flamed her passion,
    And sternly flashed her eye;

In her ears the chariots rumbled,
    In her ears the shoutings rang,
Then she bared her snowy bosom
    To the serpent's poisoned fang.