The Odes and Carmen Saeculare/Book 2/Part 16

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XVI.

Otium divos.

FOR ease, in wide Ægean caught,
The sailor prays, when clouds are hiding
The moon, nor shines of starlight aught
For seaman's guiding:
For ease the Mede, with quiver gay:
For ease rude Thrace, in battle cruel:
Can purple buy it, Grosphus? Nay,
Nor gold, nor jewel.
No pomp, no lictor clears the way
'Mid rabble-routs of troublous feelings,
Nor quells the cares that sport and play
Round gilded ceilings.
More happy he whose modest board
His father's well-worn silver brightens;
No fear, nor lust for sordid hoard,
His light sleep frightens.
Why bend our bows of little span?
Why change our homes for regions under
Another sun? What exiled man
From self can sunder?
Care climbs the bark, and trims the sail,
Curst fiend! nor troops of horse can 'scape her,
More swift than stag, more swift than gale
That drives the vapour.

Blest in the present, look not forth
On ills beyond, but soothe each bitter
With slow, calm smile. No suns on earth
Unclouded glitter.
Achilles' light was quench'd at noon;
A long decay Tithonus minish'd;
My hours, it may be, yet will run
When yours are finish'd.
For you Sicilian heifers low,
Bleat countless flocks; for you are neighing
Proud coursers; Afric purples glow
For your arraying
With double dyes; a small domain,
The soul that breathed in Grecian harping,
My portion these; and high disdain
Of ribald carping.