The Odes and Carmen Saeculare/Book 1/Part 6

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VI.

Scriberis Vario.

NOT I, but Varius:—he, of Homer's brood
A tuneful swan, shall bear you on his wing,
Your tale of trophies, won by field or flood,
Mighty alike to sing.
Not mine such themes, Agrippa; no, nor mine
To chant the wrath that fill'd Pelides' breast,
Nor dark Ulysses' wanderings o'er the brine,
Nor Pelops' house unblest.
Vast were the task, I feeble; inborn shame,
And she, who makes the peaceful lyre submit,
Forbid me to impair great Cæsar's fame
And yours by my weak wit.
But who may fitly sing of Mars array'd
In adamant mail, or Merion, black with dust
Of Troy, or Tydeus' son by Pallas' aid
Strong against gods to thrust?
Feasts are my theme, my warriors maidens fair,
Who with pared nails encounter youths in fight;
Be Fancy free or caught in Cupid's snare,
Her temper still is light.