The Odes and Carmen Saeculare/Book 3/Part 14

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XIV.

Herculis ritu.

OUR Hercules, they told us, Rome,
Had sought the laurel Death bestows:
How Glory brings him conqueror home
From Spaniard foes.

Proud of her spouse, the imperial fair
Must thank the gods that shield from death;
His sister too:—let matrons wear
The suppliant wreath
For daughters and for sons restored:
Ye youths and damsels newly wed,
Let decent awe restrain each word
Best left unsaid.
This day, true holyday to me,
Shall banish care: I will not fear
Rude broils or bloody death to see,
While Cæsar's here.
Quick, boy, the chaplets and the nard,
And wine, that knew the Marsian war,
If roving Spartacus have spared
A single jar.
And bid Neæra come and trill,
Her bright locks bound with careless art:
If her rough porter cross your will,
Why then depart.
Soon palls the taste for noise and fray,
When hair is white and leaves are sere:
How had I fired in life's warm May,
In Plancus' year!