The Odes and Carmen Saeculare/Book 4/Part 14

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XIV.

Quæ cura patrum.

WHAT honours can a grateful Rome,
A grateful senate, Cæsar, give
To make thy worth through days to come
Emblazon'd on our records live,
Mightiest of chieftains whomsoe'er
The sun beholds from heaven on high?
They know thee now, thy strength in war,
Those unsubdued Vindelici.
Thine was the sword that Drusus drew,
When on the Breunian hordes he fell,
And storm'd the fierce Genaunian crew
E'en in their Alpine citadel,
And paid them back their debt twice told;
'Twas then the elder Nero came
To conflict, and in ruin roll'd
Stout Rætian kernes of giant frame.
O, 'twas a gallant sight to see
The shocks that beat upon the brave
Who chose to perish and be free!
As south winds scourge the rebel wave
When through rent clouds the Pleiads weep,
So keen his force to smite, and smite
The foe, or make his charger leap
Through the red furnace of the fight.

Thus Daunia's ancient river fares,
Proud Aufidus, with bull-like horn,
When swoln with choler he prepares
A deluge for the fields of corn.
So Claudius charged and overthrew
The grim barbarian's mail-clad host,
The foremost and the hindmost slew,
And conquer'd all, and nothing lost.
The force, the forethought, were thine own,
Thine own the gods. The selfsame day
When, port and palace open thrown,
Low at thy footstool Egypt lay,
That selfsame day, three lustres gone,
Another victory to thine hand
Was given; another field was won
By grace of Cæsar's high command.
Thee Spanish tribes, unused to yield,
Mede, Indian, Scyth that knows no home,
Acknowledge, sword at once and shield
Of Italy and queenly Borne.
Ister to thee, and Tanais fleet,
And Nile that will not tell his birth,
To thee the monstrous seas that beat
On Britain's coast, the end of earth,
To thee the proud Iberians bow,
And Gauls, that scorn from death to flee;
The fierce Sygambrian bends his brow,
And drops his arms to worship thee.