Page:The works of Horace - Christopher Smart.djvu/78

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THE THIRD BOOK

OF THE

ODES OF HORACE.


ODE I.

ON CONTENTMENT.

I abominate the uninitiated vulgar, and keep them at a distance. Preserve a religious silence: I, the priest of the Muses, sing to virgins and boys verses not heard before. The dominion of dread sovereigns is over their own subjects; that of Jupiter, glorious for his conquest over the giants, who shakes all nature with his nod, is over sovereigns themselves. It happens that one man, arranges trees, in regular rows, to a greater extent than another; this man comes down into the Campus [Martius][1] as a candidate of a better family; another vies with him for morals and a better reputation; a third has a superior number of dependants; but Fate, by the impartial law of nature, is allotted both to the conspicuous and the obscure; the capacious urn keeps every name in motion. Sicilian dainties will not force a delicious relish to that man, over whose impious neck the naked sword hangs: the songs of birds and the lyre will not restore his sleep. Sleep disdains not the humble cottages and shady bank of peasants; he disdains not Tempe, fanned by zephyrs. Him, who desires but a competency, neither the tempestuous sea renders anxious, nor the malign violence of Arcturus setting,[2] or of the rising

  1. The Field of Mara, where the popular assemblies were held for elections, was in the lowest ground of Rome, from whence the poet uses the word descendat. Sin.
  2. Setting Arcturas, a constellation of fourteen stars, which follow the Ursus Major, whence it has its name. It is thought, both at rising and setting, to cause tempests. The ancients have observed its rising to be in the middle of September, and its setting in the beginning of October. Watson.