The Odes and Carmen Saeculare/Book 4/Part 8

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VIII.

Donarem pateras.

All Censorinus! to my comrades true
Rich cups, rare bronzes, gladly would I send:
Choice tripods from Olympia on each friend
Would I confer, choicer on none than you,
Had but my fate such gems of art bestow'd
As cunning Scopas or Parrhasius wrought,
This with the brush, that with the chisel taught
To image now a mortal, now a god.
But these are not my riches: your desire
Such luxury craves not, and your means disdain:
A poet's strain you love; a poet's strain
Accept, and learn the value of the lyre.

Not public gravings on a marble base,
Whence comes a second life to men of might
E'en in the tomb: not Hannibal's swift flight,
Nor those fierce threats flung back into his face,
Not impious Carthage in its last red blaze,
In clearer light sets forth his spotless fame,
Who from crush'd Afric took away—a name,
Than rude Calabria's tributary lays.
Let silence hide the good your hand has wrought,
Farewell, reward! Had blank oblivion's power
Dimm'd the bright deeds of Romulus, at this hour,
Despite his sire and mother, he were nought.
Thus Æacus has 'scaped the Stygian wave,
By grace of poets and their silver tongue,
Henceforth to live the happy isles among.
No, trust the Muse: she opes the good man's grave,
And lifts him to the gods. So Hercules,
His labours o'er, sits at the board of Jove:
So Tyndareus' offspring shine as stars above,
Saving lorn vessels from the yawning seas:
So Bacchus, with the vine-wreath round his hair,
Gives prosperous issue to his votary's prayer.