The Odes and Carmen Saeculare/Book 3/Part 1

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Horace Odes etc tr Conington (1872) - headpiece from page 63.jpg



Odi profanum.

I BID the unhallow'd crowd avaunt!
Keep holy silence; strains unknown
Till now, the Muses' hierophant,
I sing to youths and maids alone.
Kings o'er their flocks the sceptre wield;
E'en kings beneath Jove's sceptre bow:
Victor in giant battle-field,
He moves all nature with his brow.
This man his planted walks extends
Beyond his peers; an older name
One to the people's choice commends;
One boasts a more unsullied fame;
One plumes him on a larger crowd
Of clients. What are great or small?
Death takes the mean man with the proud;
The fatal urn has room for all.
When guilty Pomp the drawn sword sees
Hung o'er her, richest feasts in vain

Strain their sweet juice her taste to please;
No lutes, no singing birds again
Will bring her sleep. Sleep knows no pride;
It scorns not cots of village hinds,
Nor shadow-trembling river-side,
Nor Tempe, stirr'd by western winds.
Who, having competence, has all,
The tumult of the sea defies,
Nor fears Arcturus' angry fall,
Nor fears the Kid-star's sullen rise,
Though hail- storms on the vineyard beat,
Though crops deceive, though trees complain,
One while of showers, one while of heat,
One while of winter's barbarous reign.
Fish feel the narrowing of the main
From sunken piles, while on the strand
Contractors with their busy train
Let down huge stones, and lords of land
Affect the sea
: but fierce Alarm
Can clamber to the master's side:
Black Cares can up the galley swarm,
And close behind the horseman ride.
If Phrygian marbles soothe not pain,
Nor star-bright purple's costliest wear,
Nor vines of true Falernian strain,
Nor Achæmenian spices rare,
Why with rich gate and pillar'd range
Upbuild new mansions, twice as high,
Or why my Sabine vale exchange
For more laborious luxury?