The Odes and Carmen Saeculare/Book 3/Part 3

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III.

Justum et tenacem.

THE man of firm and righteous will,
No rabble, clamorous for the wrong,
No tyrant's brow, whose frown may kill,
Can shake the strength that makes him strong:
Not winds, that chafe the sea they sway,
Nor Jove's right hand, with lightning red:
Should Nature's pillar'd frame give way,
That wreck would strike one fearless head.
Pollux and roving Hercules
Thus won their way to Heaven's proud steep,
'Mid whom Augustus, couch'd at ease,
Dyes his red lips with nectar deep.
For this, great Bacchus, tigers drew
Thy glorious car, untaught to slave
In harness: thus Quirinus flew
On Mars' wing'd steeds from Acheron's wave,

When Juno spoke with Heaven's assent:
"O Ilium, Ilium, wretched town!
The judge accurst, incontinent,
And stranger dame have dragg'd thee down
Pallas and I, since Priam's sire
Denied the gods his pledged reward,
Had doom'd them all to sword and fire,
The people and their perjured lord.
No more the adulterous guest can charm
The Spartan queen
: the house forsworn
No more repels by Hector's arm
My warriors, baffled and outworn:
Hush'd is the war our strife made long:
I welcome now, my hatred o'er,
A grandson in the child of wrong,
Him whom the Trojan priestess bore.
Receive him, Mars! the gates of flame
May open: let him taste forgiven
The nectar, and enrol his name
Among the peaceful ranks of Heaven.
Let the wide waters sever still
Ilium and Rome, the exiled race
May reign and prosper where they will:
So but in Paris' burial-place
The cattle sport, the wild beasts hide
Their cubs, the Capitol may stand
All bright, and Rome in warlike pride
O'er Media stretch a conqueror's hand.
Aye, let her scatter far and wide
Her terror, where the land-lock'd waves

Europe from Afric's shore divide,
Where swelling Nile the corn-field laves—
Of strength more potent to disdain
Hid gold, best buried in the mine,
Than gather it with hand profane,
That for man's greed would rob a shrine.
Whate'er the bound to earth ordain'd,
There let her reach the arm of power,
Travelling, where raves the fire unrein'd,
And where the storm-cloud and the shower.
Yet, warlike Roman, know thy doom,
Nor, drunken with a conqueror's joy,
Or blind with duteous zeal, presume
To build again ancestral Troy.
Should Troy revive to hateful life,
Her star again should set in gore,
While I, Jove's sister and his wife,
To victory led my host once more.
Though Phœbus thrice in brazen mail
Should case her towers, they thrice should fall,
Storm'd by my Greeks: thrice wives should wail
Husband and son, themselves in thrall."
—Such thunders from the lyre of love!
Back, wayward Muse! refrain, refrain
To tell the talk of gods above,
And dwarf high themes in puny strain.