The Odes and Carmen Saeculare/Book 2/Part 12

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XII.

Nolis longa feræ.

THE weary war where fierce Numantia bled,
Fell Hannibal, the swoln Sicilian main
Purpled with Punic blood—not mine to wed
These to the lyre's soft strain,
Nor cruel Lapithæ, nor, mad with wine,
Centaurs, nor, by Herculean arm o'ercome,
The earth-born youth, whose terrors dimm'd the shine
Of the resplendent dome
Of ancient Saturn. You, Mæcenas, best
In pictured prose of Cæsar's warrior feats
Will tell, and captive kings with haughty crest
Led through the Roman streets.
On me the Muse has laid her charge to tell
Of your Licymnia's voice, the lustrous hue
Of her bright eye, her heart that beats so well
To mutual passion true:

How nought she does but lends her added grace,
Whether she dance, or join in bantering play,
Or with soft arms the maiden choir embrace
On great Diana's day.
Say, would you change for all the wealth possest
By rich Achæmenes or Phrygia's heir,
Or the full stores of Araby the blest,
One lock of her dear hair,
While to your burning lips she bends her neck,
Or with kind cruelty denies the due
She means you not to beg for, but to take,
Or snatches it from you?