The Odes and Carmen Saeculare/Book 4/Part 13

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XIII.

Audivere, Lyce.

THE gods have heard, the gods have heard my prayer;
Yes, Lyce! you are growing old, and still
You struggle to look fair;
You drink, and dance, and trill

Your songs to youthful Love, in accents weak
With wine, and age, and passion. Youthful Love!
He dwells in Chia's cheek,
And hears her harp-strings move.
Rude boy, he flies like lightning o'er the heath
Past wither'd trees like you; you're wrinkled now;
The white has left your teeth
And settled on your brow.
Your Coan silks, your jewels bright as stars,
Ah no! they bring not back the days of old,
In public calendars
By flying Time enroll'd.
Where now that beauty? where those movements? where
That colour? what of her, of her is left,
Who, breathing Love's own air,
Me of myself bereft,
Who reign'd in Cinara's stead, a fair, fair face,
Queen of sweet arts? but Fate to Oinara gave
A life of little space;
And now she cheats the grave
Of Lyce, spared to raven's length of days,
That youth may see, with laughter and disgust*
A fire-brand, once ablaze,
Now smouldering in grey dust.