The Odes and Carmen Saeculare/Book 2/Part 11

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XI.

Quid bellicosus.

O ASK not what those sons of war,
Cantabrian, Scythian, each intend,
Disjoin'd from us by Hadria's bar,
Nor puzzle, Quintius, how to spend
A life so simple. Youth removes,
And Beauty too; and hoar Decay
Drives out the wanton tribe of Loves
And Sleep, that came or night or day.
The sweet spring-flowers not always keep
Their bloom, nor moonlight shines the same
Each evening. Why with thoughts too deep
O'ertask a mind of mortal frame?
Why not, just thrown at careless ease
'Neath plane or pine, our locks of grey
Perfumed with Syrian essences
And wreathed with roses, while we may,

Lie drinking? Bacchus puts to shame
The cares that waste us. Where's the slave
To quench the fierce Falernian's flame
With water from the passing wave?
Who'll coax coy Lyde from her home?
Go, bid her take her ivory lyre,
The runaway, and haste to come,
Her wild hair bound with Spartan tire.