The Odes and Carmen Saeculare/Book 4/Part 11

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XI.

Est mihi nonum.

HERE is a cask of Alban, more
Than nine years old: here grows for you
Green parsley, Phyllis, and good store
Of ivy too
(Wreathed ivy suits your hair, you know):
The plate shines bright: the altar, strew'd
With vervain, hungers for the flow
Of lambkin's blood.
There's stir among the serving folk;
They bustle, bustle, boy and girl;
The flickering flames send up the smoke
In many a curl.
Rut why, you ask, this special cheer?
We celebrate the feast of Ides,
Which April's month, to Venus dear,
In twain divides.
O, 'tis a day for reverence,
E'en my own birthday scarce so dear.
For my Mæcenas counts from thence
Each added year.
'Tis Telephus that you'd bewitch:
But he is of a high degree;
Bound to a lady fair and rich,
He is not free.

O think of Phaethon half burn'd,
And moderate your passion's greed:
Think how Bellerophon was spurn'd
By his wing'd steed.
So learn to look for partners meet,
Shun lofty things, nor raise your aims
Above your fortune. Come then, sweet,
My last of flames
(For never shall another fair
Enslave me), learn a tune, to sing
With that dear voice: to music care
Shall yield its sting.