The Odes and Carmen Saeculare/Book 3/Part 27

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

XXVII.

Impios parrae.

WHEN guilt goes forth, let lapwings shrill,
And dogs and foxes great with young,
And wolves from far Lanuvian hill,
Give clamorous tongue:
Across the roadway dart the snake,
Frightening, like arrow loosed from string,

The horses. I, for friendship's sake,
Watching each wing,
Ere to his haunt, the stagnant marsh,
The harbinger of tempest flies,
Will call the raven, croaking harsh,
From eastern skies.
Farewell!—and wheresoe'er you go,
My Galatea, think of me:
Let lefthand pie and roving crow
Still leave you free.
But mark with what a front of fear
Orion lowers. Ah! well I know
How Hadria glooms, how falsely clear
The west-winds blow.
Let foemen's wives and children feel
The gathering south-wind's angry roar,
The black wave's crash, the thunder-peal,
The quivering shore.
So to the bull Europa gave
Her beauteous form, and when she saw
The monstrous deep, the yawning grave,
Grew pale with awe.
That morn of meadow-flowers she thought,
Weaving a crown the nymphs to please:
That gloomy night she look'd on nought
But stars and seas.
Then, as in hundred-citied Crete
She landed,—"O my sire!" she said,
"O childly duty! passion's heat
Has struck thee dead.

Whence came I? death, for maiden's shame,
Were little. Do I wake to weep
My sin? or am I pure of blame,
And is it sleep
From dreamland brings a form to trick
My senses? Which was best? to go
Over the long, long waves, or pick
The flowers in blow?
O, were that monster made my prize,
How would I strive to wound that brow,
How tear those horns, my frantic eyes
Adored but now!
Shameless I left my father's home;
Shameless I cheat the expectant grave;
O heaven, that naked I might roam
In lions' cave!
Now, ere decay my bloom devour
Or thin the richness of my blood,
Fain would I fall in youth's first flower,
The tigers' food.
Hark! 'tis my father—'Worthless one!
What, yet alive? the oak is nigh.
'Twas well you kept your maiden zone,
The noose to tie.
Or if your choice be that rude pike,
New barb'd with death, leap down and ask
The wind to bear you. Would you like
The bondmaid's task,
You, child of kings, a master's toy,
A mistress' slave?'" Beside her, lo!

Stood Venus smiling, and her boy
With unstrung bow.
Then, when her laughter ceased, "Have done
With fume and fret," she cried, "my fair;
That odious bull will give you soon
His horns to tear.
You know not you are Jove's own dame:
Away with sobbing; be resign'd
To greatness: you shall give your name
To half mankind."