The Odes and Carmen Saeculare/Book 3/Part 2

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II.

Angustam amice.

TO suffer hardness with good cheer,
In sternest school of warfare bred,
Our youth should learn; let steed and spear
Make him one day the Parthian's dread;
Cold skies, keen perils, brace his life.
Methinks I see from rampired town
Some battling tyrant's matron wife,
Some maiden, look in terror down, —
"Ah, my dear lord, untrain'd in war!
O tempt not the infuriate mood
Of that fell lion! see! from far
He plunges through a tide of blood!"
What joy, for fatherland to die!
Death's darts e'en flying feet o'ertake,
Nor spare a recreant chivalry,
A back that cowers, or loins that quake.
True Virtue never knows defeat:
Her robes she keeps unsullied still,
Nor takes, nor quits, her curule seat
To please a people's veering will.
True Virtue opens heaven to worth:
She makes the way she does not find:
The vulgar crowd, the humid earth,
Her soaring pinion leaves behind.

Seal'd lips have blessings sure to come:
Who drags Eleusis' rite to-day,
That man shall never share my home,
Or join my voyage: roofs give way
And boats are wreck'd: true men and thieves
Neglected Justice oft confounds
:
Though Vengeance halt, she seldom leaves
The wretch whose flying steps she hounds.