The Odes and Carmen Saeculare/Book 1/Part 12
Quem virum aut heroa.
WHAT man, what hero, Clio sweet,
On harp or flute wilt thou proclaim?
What god shall echo's voice repeat
In mocking game
To Helicon's sequester'd shade,
Or Pindus, or on Hæmus chill,
Where once the hurrying woods obey'd
The minstrel's will,
Who, by his mother's gift of song,
Held the fleet stream, the rapid breeze,
And led with blandishment along
The listening trees?
Whom praise we first? the Sire on high,
Who gods and men unerring guides,
Who rules the sea, the earth, the sky,
Their times and tides.
No mightier birth may He beget;
No like, no second has He known;
Yet nearest to her sire's is set
Nor yet shall Bacchus pass unsaid,
Bold warrior, nor the virgin foe
Of savage beasts, nor Phœbus, dread
With deadly bow.
Alcides too shall be my theme,
And Leda's twins, for horses he,
He famed for boxing; soon as gleam
Their stars at sea,
The lash'd spray trickles from the steep,
The wind sinks down, the storm-cloud flies,
The threatening billow on the deep
Shall now Quirinus take his turn,
Or quiet Huma, or the state
Proud Tarquin held, or Cato stern,
By death made great?
Ay, Begulus and the Scaurian name,
And Paullus, who at Cannæ gave
His glorious soul, fair record claim,
For all were brave.
Thee, Furius, and Fabricius, thee,
Rough Curius too, with untrimm'd beard,
Your sires' transmitted poverty
To conquest rear'd.
Marcellus' fame, its up-growth hid,
Springs like a tree; great Julius' light
Shines, like the radiant moon amid
The lamps of night.
Dread Sire and Guardian of man's race,
To Thee, O Jove, the Fates assign
Our Cæsar's charge; his power and place
Be next to Thine.
Whether the Parthian, threatening Rome,
His eagles scatter to the wind,
Or follow to their eastern home
Cathay and Ind,
Thy second let him rule below:
Thy car shall shake the realms above;
Thy vengeful bolts shall overthrow
Each guilty grove.