The Odes and Carmen Saeculare/Book 4/Part 1

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Horace Odes etc tr Conington (1872) - headpiece from page 104.jpg


Intermissa, Venus.

YET again thou wak'st the flame
That long had slumber'd! Spare me, Venus, spare!
Trust me, I am not the same
As in the reign of Cinara, kind and fair.
Cease thy softening spells to prove
On this old heart, by fifty years made hard,
Cruel Mother of sweet Love!
Haste, where gay youth solicits thy regard.
With thy purple cygnets fly
To Paullus' door, a seasonable guest;
There within hold revelry,
There light thy flame in that congenial breast.
He, with birth and beauty graced,
The trembling client's champion, ne'er tongue-tied,
Master of each manly taste,
Shall bear thy conquering banners far and wide.

Let him smile in triumph gay,
True heart, victorious over lavish hand,
By the Alban lake that day
'Neath citron roof all marble shalt thou stand:
Incense there and fragrant spice
With odorous fumes thy nostrils shall salute;
Blended notes thine ear entice,
The lyre, the pipe, the Berecyntine flute:
Graceful youths and maidens bright
Shall twice a day thy tuneful praise resound,
While their feet, so fair and white,
In Salian measure three times beat the ground.
I can relish love no more,
Nor flattering hopes that tell me hearts are true,
Nor the revel's loud uproar,
Nor fresh-wreathed flowerets, bathed in vernal dew.
Ah! but why, my Ligurine,
Steal trickling tear-drops down my wasted cheek?
Wherefore halts this tongue of mine,
So eloquent once, so faltering now and weak?
Now I hold you in my chain,
And clasp you dose, all in a nightly dream;
Now, still dreaming, o'er the plain
I chase you; now, ah cruel! down the stream.